Since I am back working on the photographs from my series In Passing, I also find myself thinking about the essence of this series. The way things are progressing, having completed a major redo of a half dozen images from the series, I will probably also re-publish my Blurb book as well.
That being the case, I will probably also update my thoughts about this series. I don’t know if that means just tweaking the Introduction or adding a new Forward for the second edition. Right now, I just don’t know.I also find myself re-examining why I started and eventually finished photographing this series as well.
Especially having read again the Szarkowski book Windows and Mirrors. I think that this project started off as a Window, a direct observation of what I saw. Then part way through it as I reflected on what I photographed, I realized that there was a big component of my dealing with my own mortality, thus it was becoming more of a Mirrorproject; introspective. So that effected what I subsequently photographed and how I developed the final photographic images.
Now I find that I am moving back to a stronger Window presentation of the photographs. And thinking that the series is more about the fragility of our existence and the rawness of sudden tragic events which can alter us forever more. A cemetery usually represents a peaceful final resting place. A roadside memorial grounds you to the actual, brutal event. Sometimes you can see the obvious traces. Sometimes not.
And increasingly, I am finding the roadside memorials that I did photograph, are no longer there. The traces of the events are rapidily fading, like most memories. The only thing remaining is my record.
I also find that after writing about Joel Sternfeld’s book American Prospects, that in fact I had incorporated some of his methodogly as my project had progressed, moving the subject further away and to the edges of the photograph. I had not realized I was creating my photographs in this manner, but there was the sudden recognition of familiarity of what I photographed and the Sternfeld photographs. Subtle influences that get incorporated, eh?
Best regards, Doug
11/18/09 Update: Second edition of In Passing is now published and available here.