I just stashed a whole bunch of black and white photos from my college years on my Flickr page . I’ve decided over the past few days since getting my fancypants new camera that I really miss photography. I dunno if it’ll ever be the same though….
I started taking pictures probably around sixth grade but always loved any opportunity to futz around with a camera for as far back as I can remember. In high school I took graphic arts classes and had access to a darkroom so I took a lot of photographs, but I took many of my best photos in college. The Iron Heritage set is a product of that.
The set contains black and white photographs of objects steeped in history but largely forgotten except for the odd tourist in Athens, GA. All the objects photographed in the set were forged in the Athens iron and machineworks, now nonexistent, and are so integrated into the landscape of Athens as to be difficult to really appreciate. My favourite of them all is the Iron Horse, found off a highway just outside of Athens, literally mere meters away from the centre of Nowhere. The horse is so majestic and powerful, even in its abstracted form, you can’t help but pause even if you’re driving by, slowing down just a little to try to take it in. Go ahead and slow down, there’s nobody behind you for miles. It’s easy to pass though, going 60mph down the road. I stopped and had a closer look. The horse struck me as painfully lonely, not only because of its isolation but because of its origin. It was a sculpture created by one of the art school faculty that was so hated by the rest of the campus that it was defaced nearly constantly and had to be removed from campus permanently so as not to cause a riot. So unappreciated and so solemn, it just seems very alone in that field.
The double-barreled cannon, not yet uploaded as of this blog, is another favourite, if only because it’s such a ridiculous story. The double-barreled cannon, conceived in the times of the Civil WarÃ¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€žÃƒÂ®or, as it is known in the South, The War of Northern AggressionÃ¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€žÃƒÂ®was invented by two Athenians for the war effort. The idea was that two cannon balls could be linked with a chain and loaded into the barrels, with the chain presumably hanging down in a loop in front. This would create a pants-shittingly terrifying projectile that would mow the enemy down. Its only recorded victim, who died during the first test-firing, was a cow far far away from the intended trajectory. What the brilliant inventors had forgotten to consider is that cannon loads are inconsistent at best, and even two fuses can’t be guaranteed to burn down at the same speed, so one barrel fired noticeably earlier than the other, causing that cannonball to swing in an arc towards the other barrel, which fired soon thereafter, breaking the chain. One cannonball was the harbinger of a cow’s demise and the other was never seen nor heard from ever again. Presumably during this test phrases like “Lawd a’merceh!” and “I do declare!” were heard. What gets me is the sheer chutzpah Athens has for proudly displaying this example of engineering gone horribly wrong; it’s right in front of City Hall where everyone can see it.
The arches and fence around the main UGA quad are also pretty fascinating. They’re a landmark, so much so that they’re incorporated into Athens’s official city seal. The city is absolutely flooded with photos of them that all look exactly the same. Every other wedding photograph taken in Athens is the happy couple posing on the Broad Street side of the arches, on the steps, with the camera facing through the arches towards the quad. It’s understandable, I guess; the quad, being all green and filled with trees and classical greek architecture, is pretty photogenic. I get it. I just didn’t want my photo of the arches to be typical, so I shot it at night from the quad looking out through the bushes onto Broad Street. What resulted is, I think, a more honest take on the arches, as I portrayed them as real things existing in a real city, not existing in some fairyland.
I’ll upload some more tomorrow, as well as some old photographs from my grandfather (including some of middle school me… I probably won’t be publishing those). Enjoy, space cadets!