April 08, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

                                                       ENSLAVED PERSON'S VIOLIN : FINAL VERSION

                                                        ENSLAVED PERSON'S VIOLIN : FINAL B&W VERSION

March and April 2022 have proven to be a very interesting time for this writer, photographer, grandfather and birthday boy. In no apparent order I had a wonderful trip with Fran to North Carolina to see Benjamin, Margaret, and Isaac; started off the art year with a nice few weeks at the Market; spent a wonderful time on the beach with our extended family, Vinny and Steve; created several nice images without driving myself silly; celebrated my 66th Birthday; and caught Covid. I am fine, and my week on the couch is over, and I am trying to take it easy and realize how lucky I am that I caught it in April 2022 instead of April 2020 or April 2021. To say it was anti-climatic would be to overly dramatize my bout, which was somewhere between a bad cold and the flu. Of course I was vaccinated and boosted, so the reaction of my doctors was muted; call us if you feel bad. I probably caught it either on the airport trips or at the Market, and felt much worse when I had double-pnemonia a few years ago. Mostly just tired to the point where napping and going to bed early could be done without much guilt.

                                                       ANTEBELLUM STAIR : FINAL B&W VERSION

                                                       ANTEBELLUM STAIRCASE : FINAL B&W VERSION

We spent our time in Wilmington on the beach about a half-hour from Benjamin's apartment in town, and though our accomodations kept going up in price each time we delayed our trip, the decision to book actual beachfront property was wonderful. We really lucked out with the weather, which was basically better than any week on the Oregon Coast any time of the year. It rained one day out of ten, and most days we could walk into the surf.


Wilmington is opening up nicely, and while it never was as buttoned-down as Portland, it also didn't seem like it was completely ignoring the fact that there had been a Pandemic. North Carolina seems to be stuck in purgatory somewhere between the Yankees in Virginia and the yahoos to the South, ashamed at the obvious problems with its history but unwilling to cow-tow to Northern superiority as well. Thus a considerable chip on it's shoulder that goes along with a pride in difference, and an urban/rural split very familiar to this Oregonian/New Yorker, with even less urban to leaven the overall countryside. Consider that Wilmington was really the only city in North Carolina for most of its history, and that Charlotte is so close to the border that it might as well be in South Carolina, and you can see why the overall ambience is distinctively rural.

                                                       PLANTATION SEATING : FINAL VERSION

                                                        PLANTATION SEATING : FINAL B&W VERSION

We had a wonderful time with everyone and my grandson is just a pistol. He is very different than Benjamin, with a sly side-eye, and you've got to watch him like a hawk. Thank god that his digital photo efforts do not cost me any money, since he is completely enamored with the camera and actually sometimes seems to be better than Grandpa in taking pictures of people, as long as you discount his interest in taking pictures of the floor with an attention to detail that borders on the obsessive.

                                                       ISAAC AT REST : FINAL B&W VERSION

I still have to go through most of the images I took on the trip. I'm beginning to realize that no matter how much I endeavor to experiment, my best images seem to be close to my wheelhouse, despite or in spite of their purported subjects. Most of these images come from the end of our trip, when we spent a few hours at a Plantation House near Wilmington. The tour guide was a wonderful woman who rightly emphasized the stories of the enslaved people who had actually built and lived in the house, rather than the purported owners. While I certainly did not "work" the subjects, I  am pleased that post-processing has brought out some of the artistic value of ordinary domestic objects; hopefully these images can honor their lives lived in the shadows.

                                                       WILMINGTON COUP MEMORIAL : FINAL VERSION

                                                       WILMINGTON COUP MEMORIAL : FINAL B&W VERSION

This detail of a new memorial for The Coup that took place in Wilmington in 1891 - the only documented coup of a legally constituted municipal government in the United States - brought to an end a successful Reconstruction administration and led to Jim Crow for seventy years. While the memorial seems ill-placed at an ordinary suburban intersection, it actually might someday play a more important role at a site that might be central to the city's future growth. It struck me that the site might one day be as central as the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin - a permanent reminder that precludes commercial use of the site.

                                                        BACK STAIRS : FINAL B&W VERSION