Thursday, May 24, 2012

Everglades



























After applying for an Everglades artist residency for next summer I decided to look back through photos made in the Everglades in August of 2008. At the time I decided I wanted to visit South Florida at lowest tourist ebb and sniff around for something other than travelicious photos. I stayed in a wonderfully cheap and private hotel in Florida City, and ventured out daily from there. The rumored clouds of Everglades mosquitos that could snuff out a lamp turned out to be not that bad, as long as I stayed in the sun, and the daily thunderstorms made for great dramatic photos. I had overlooked these five shown here because the mood is more on the muted side. The canal photograph above is a place that has been photographed by at least a handful of people who posted the result on Google Earth; it marks the spot where civilization ends (right), and the Everglades begin (left). At bottom of this post is an overlooked outtake taken at a vantage point I was fascinated with - the southernmost tip of the Florida peninsula at Flamingo. No beach -- the land ends and Florida Bay begins. The many borders, artificial lines, and end-of-the-line type "attractions" I find so interesting are what's behind South Florida Unseen. Been feeling pretty restless about getting back there lately. Grrrr. (Click for larger view.) 








Sunday, May 13, 2012

Nothing and Everything (South Florida Unseen)



   

























The above photograph, SW 336th Avenue, Florida City, FL, is from my personal project South Florida Unseen, a project I'm always over-eager to work on, and always the one that seems to take the most explaining to get anyone to understand. I shopped around proposals for this project over the past few years, usually met with absolute silence; the one organization who "got it" and was most enthusiastic about it sent regrets that they had nothing to help fund it.

The idea for the project is to amass a huge collection of images of South Florida, behind the tourist/travel magazine curtain; the South Florida that is off the beaten path, or overlooked in lieu of more sumptuous Floridian visuals. I wanted to show the parts of metro Miami, the lower peninsula, and the Florida Keys that intrigued me the most: the endless undeveloped lots; the strange, pronounced line of demarcation between suburbia and the Everglades (certain housing developments border an untamed wilderness that you probably couldn't survive the night in); the suburban cinder block cubicles that hold people who either came here for work or to chase dreams; the greenish-blue water of Florida Bay; and, like the photo above documents, named but undeveloped streets and avenues that lead to nowhere.

For some odd reason I'm fascinated by these roads to nowhere because they instantly fill my head with ideas about what they wanted to be, could have been, or what they exist for now.
I imagine perhaps the road above was named and cut so it could eventually be developed into some suburban lot with houses for sale, but somehow it never wound up happening. Not enough people moved to Florida City. But this is one of the last named blocks of metropolitan Miami, right before entering the undeveloped miles south on the way to the Keys - a most desolate area 25 miles south of a major city.

I made this photograph just as a major thunderstorm was entering the area on an extremely hot and humid summer evening; thunder was roaring, it was just beginning to rain, and if you look close enough (I won't say where) you can find a water droplet on the lens. This was a place I felt both the pleasure of solitude mixed with slight fears about what I would do if someone came behind me on the road; there was no place to turnaround, and I'd be trapped. This is a private place where people sometimes come to do "bad things," and there was no way out of this road other than to back up. Some might think there's really nothing to this image but I've always really liked it and I'm still moved by it.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival 2012


A wonderful day at Jazz Fest. All images from May 4th -- a day with no overcrowding due to no major arena rock star being on the bill. Instead we enjoyed a steady lineup of local and regional jazz, blues, and Cajun music. A day for locals, as some would call it. There are times I wish Jazz Fest would not book huge heavyweight acts such as Bruce Springsteen, who on April 29th apparently caused gate campers, impossible lines for food and drink, and such overcrowded conditions that it took 30 minutes to walk from one end of the fairgrounds to the other. But I have found that if you go on a day when no huge acts have been billed, you get great music, never have trouble getting a good seat, and no lines at all for food or facilities.

Red Hawk Mardi Gras Indians





















Mr. Okra
Hot 8 Brass Band



Larry Sieberth

Roland Guerin

Kid Simmonds Local International All-Stars

Refuge From the Heat

Germaine Bazzle

Germaine Bazzle

Sundown Playboys

Shannon Powell