Diptych and story.

Oct 27, 2007
I wrote this right after it happened, I was in the story mood. You don't have to read it if you don't want to, but it goes along with the pictures.

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It was high tide, so the 8 foot fence and large no trespassing sign were blocking my direct route. As I waded through the water to go around these obstacles, it occurred to me that if I was caught it would be bad. Its not something that you can lie about, claiming you missed the sign or didn't notice the fence. You had to be aware of them to get to where I stood. The openness of the whole environment meant that this was that much more obvious. But I brushed these feelings off and kept moving. I've never had anyone really get angry about photographing anything, with the exception of a few comments about my presence with a camera. Those are the kinds of comments that you get a little defensive about, yet its hard to explain why if you've never experienced it. So I wasn't really prepared for anything as far as legitimately angry people. I was counting on my youth to subdue any suspicions people might have.

The other thing is that old things in general attract photographers. Humans are naturally curious, I'm no exception. So its easy to see why we as photographers would want to see and document old things. Its the curiosity in me to want to investigate an old building and speculate about its history. This is why I was there, really. The spot I had risked shooting was no more than an old building by the water as far as I could tell. But hey, I was almost there anyway, I might as well go the whole way.

In front of the first building I came to was a door. In front of that door was a large peice of foam that I needed to climb over to get inside. Okay, that's not bad. Of course, if I had been thinking, I would have realized how old this foam must be. The building itself was barely holding together. The roof was slanted at an impossible angle and the floor had more lumps than I could count. And to top it all off, the door had been opened as well as the shattered window. This room could not have been in worse shape. Yet I didn't transfer this observation to the foam I was about to stand on. I should have, as within seconds of standing on this I was knee deep in rotting foam. Trying to pull my feet out, my sandals got stuck as well. This wasn't going well.

Finally getting out, I pushed onto the door to open it enough to squeeze through. It wouldn't budge, so I put both hands on it and gave it a shove. The door freed of its swelling wood bonds and I got through, both hands covered in 50 year old lead paint. But what I found inside made it all worth it.

In the middle of this room was a large gear. It was up to my chest in height and length easily. Attached to this was a chain with 3 inch thick links that disappeared through a hole in the front. I pulled on the light bulb, not expecting much. Not to my surprise, it was long dead. I took a step back for a minute and shot a frame of this gear like thing, sitting in soft light from the overcast day outside before following the chain back outside. Once out, I looked up to see the restaurant probably 75 yards away. If anyone looked out the window, they would see me. I hoped that didn't happen and went on my way. I saw the chain again, balled up and leading off into a rickety structure perched above the waves gently moving through the harbor. It was clear that this gear was used to haul boats out of the water, but it must have been a long time ago. The structure must have been there for years just rotting away. But I could hear the huge engine running, the grinding of chain on metal, and the yelling voices of those who must have operated it. But there was another voice too. This wasn't yelling, rather was trying to tell me something quietly. I opened my eyes to see a man standing on the shore, telling me that I best get out of there before the harbormaster got back. I hurried back around the fence and up the man made slope. I got to the top and thanked him for the warning. He told me about the harbormaster and how he wouldn't think twice about my age before going into a yelling fit about how I shouldn't have been where I was. After we had talked for a few minutes, I asked him for a photograph before I left. He waved a hand that clearly meant no. I thanked him anyway and went on my way, having only two pictures and a story to go along with them.

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