Trip Like I Do—Snoqualmie Falls, June 27

So here we are, back to the start; these iconic falls “where Heaven and Earth meet” were the very first stop on our itinerary, making these some of my very first photographs on the journey. I’d read about this sacred place and wanted to capture a little bit of how indigenous peoples might perceive these waters, these “mists that roll up to Heaven” and “carry our prayers and our hopes and our dreams to the Creator of us all,” in the words of Ernie Barr, Jr. My photos weren’t successful in the way I’d imagined them when I looked through … Continue reading “Trip Like I Do—Snoqualmie Falls, June 27”

Trip Like I Do—Secret Place, Idaho

A friend mentioned this place in a quick exchange as I was being eaten by mosquitos in the one spot with wifi in the whole of Priest Lake. When the mood turned sour in our immediate surroundings, Christine and I decided to head out here to spend the day somewhere totally unplanned, to catch our breath and reset; we were not disappointed. “It’s so unexpectedly nice,” I said to my friend, after asking her to guess where we are. “Exactly,” she replied and mentioned pickles. They have really good pickles here. Then she said: “Keep it a secret place…” No worries … Continue reading “Trip Like I Do—Secret Place, Idaho”

Trip Like I Do—E. Washington Roadscapes

x “I went in search of astral America, not social and cultural America, but the America of the empty, absolute freedom of the freeways, not the deep America of mores and mentalities, but the America of desert speed, of motels and mineral surfaces. I looked for it in the speed of the screenplay, in the indifferent reflex of television, in the film of days and nights projected across an empty space, in the marvelously affectless succession of signs, images, faces, and ritual acts on the road; looked for what was nearest to the nuclear and enucleated universe, a universe which … Continue reading “Trip Like I Do—E. Washington Roadscapes”

Trip Like I Do—Hanford Works, June 28

Somewhere past this barrier is the B Reactor, where plutonium was manufactured for more than a quarter of a century and was used “in the first nuclear bomb, tested at the Trinity site, and in ‘Fat Man,’ the atomic bomb that was detonated over Nagasaki, Japan.” By 1966, the N Reactor came on and this death factory started to produce electricity, so up until that moment, the massive amount of energy produced here through the splitting of atoms and collision of neutrons “served no social purpose,” as Richard White so poignantly puts it. He goes on: “Everything at Hanford seemed … Continue reading “Trip Like I Do—Hanford Works, June 28”

Trip Like I Do—Ellensburg, June 27

The guy at Brick Road Books was full of stories. He told me about the biker gangs that congregate at Palace Cafe and the many permutations of place names that change with the tides of patronage. He also talked about the kind of outside real estate development that made the city what it is today. His way of speaking was hazy and circuitous, kinda like a Kerouac novel, so it was hard to grasp everything he was saying about the dynamics between locals and outsiders trying to make this place more attractive, but I do remember that, at one point, … Continue reading “Trip Like I Do—Ellensburg, June 27”

Trip Like I Do—Eastern Washington, June 27-29

For the longest time, I avoided taking photos of human beings like the plague. No one’s ever happy with how they look, so if they know you, they’ll be sad, and if they don’t, why are you pointing a camera in their face? I couldn’t imagine walking up to a stranger and asking them for something so terrible as their photograph—who would say yes? Would you? I’d never in a million years. And yet, turns out that much of that anxiety is a set up for one of those “expectations versus reality” memes. As you might recall, I deliberately devised … Continue reading “Trip Like I Do—Eastern Washington, June 27-29”

Trip Like I Do—Sunland, June 28

Someone asked me some time ago why my username points to the Columbia River—why not the coordinates of Seattle itself? I said something about my fascination with dislocation & slippery identities; it’s that “catch me if you can” kinda vibe that’s very “on brand.” And all of that is true; I do indeed prefer to be pinned down &/or mapped out with at least some effort—quite literally miss me with that noise, as the kids might say. But there’s another dimension to my choice of this particularly off-centered coordinate. Before I ever read a thing about Nch’i-Wàna, a.k.a. the Columbia, itself, … Continue reading “Trip Like I Do—Sunland, June 28”

Trip Like I Do—Seattle, July 4

“Processing” takes a much more visceral meaning when you’re literally waiting for a roll of film to develop. I’ve never really known a time when photography wasn’t instantaneous; I mean, I do remember those days, but they didn’t effect me personally. The gap between holiday and photo album was like the cash my father drove to retrieve from a robot in the wall—someone else’s magic trick. We’ve all been processing something very heavy and very large in the past few months. It rolled in like a summer storm and it just sat there, covering everything with the acid rain of … Continue reading “Trip Like I Do—Seattle, July 4”

Metafiction

A non-negligible number of books I’ve read of late have shared a common conceit: a chapter that holds the key to unlock the mystery of the whole. Granted, a climax or conclusion is pretty standard fair in any standard text, but that’s not what I’ve been reading. In ‘Camera Lucida,’ we have the clean break along the middle of the spine; in ‘Devil House,’ a whole number of a-ha moments, but only one chapter that literally fractured the narrative (read: act of narrating) in faux-Fraktur; in ‘Immortality,’ it’s part 6. Kundera tells us ahead of time what he’s going to … Continue reading “Metafiction”

47

“Photography has two antithetical ideals: in the first, #photography is about the world and the photographer is a mere observer who counts for little; but in the second, photography is the instrument of intrepid, questing subjectivity and the photographer is all.” (Susan Sontag) X “You can grieve for what you are grateful.” I was out of town when @jacquelineviola’s last installment of the (inconceivable and unbelievably absurd) times landed in my mailbox, so when I opened the carefully wrapped package this morning, I was more than a little surprised to see a sentence that so directly spoke to my mood while away. Wistful, … Continue reading “47”