Friday, February 27, 2009

The Reef

But it was not alone the distance that had attracted the Savage to his lighthouse; the near was as seductive as the far.  The woods, the open stretches of heather and yellow gorse; the clumps of Scotch firs, the shining ponds and their overhanging birch trees, their water lilies, their beds of rushes - these were beautiful and, to an eye accustomed to the aridities of the American desert, astonishing.

Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

The Reef was the name of a photography project I had created for a black & white class while enrolled at New York University.  It was a series of five or six double-negative photographs that explored the movement of humans through the landscape of a major city.  I was convinced that city-living was unnatural, that it was not normal for men and women to live stacked like inventory in buildings that blocked the progression of the sun.  City-living then became the reef; people ducking in an out of large buildings, buildings that seemed to grow and change constantly, weaving new forms to move through almost daily.  Apartments became havens, green spaces coveted and concrete the norm.  How do humans change in an environment that builds around tradition rather than through it?

This question inspired the photographs and now this blog.  I have lived in a major city for the last five years and haven't been able to shake the feeling that for all the city-planning wisdom, the real city exists in the spaces.

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