I practice photography in a not very photogenic and a very economically depressed area of rural Texas. There is a large reservoir here that was built in the 1960s in the middle of worn out cotton fields to send fresh water to Dallas. When it filled there was a boom of “resort” trailer parks and tiny cheap week-end cabins and low budget fishing camps. Now, decay is everywhere, and not the beautiful genteel decay found in the ageless patina of old European capitols or the artful vintage architecture newly re-discovered in trendy inner cities.
The decay here is too recent. Too close to how we live now. I live with the deterioration of a low income environment that never had the money to be beautiful even when new. It is a landscape rampant with weeds and junk and abandonment of that which is younger than I am.
The poignancy is almost overwhelming at times. Too much a reminder of my own mortality. It often seems too hard to find a compelling image that is not depressing. Yet somehow I am compelled. I quit, but I always come back. The quitting grates, eats away at the edges, until I give up and quit quitting. Until I pick up the camera and get to it. I cannot fathom why. It’s just a basic need, a pressure in my chest like hunger is a hole in my belly. I have no idea where it is going, and mostly I don’t even care. It simply is.
There are small beauties to be found. That certain color in the rust. The pattern of light coming down through the collapsing roof. The curl of a wild native vine rim lit by the light from a broken window. But I have to work for them, ferret them out, risk snakes and stings and rashes for them... It seems strange to be so taken by this at my stage of life. To be beginning when most I know in my generation are stopping. I read a blog post recently that wondered if the entire generation [mine] of people born with Pluto in Leo are destined to never grow up. If that is so, I have to say it’s not all bad.
My art becomes a reaffirmation among the detritus, at least to me.
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Guest Audrie Mallory comes to us today from Lake Tawakoni, TX, where she lives life on the edge of [her] toe-the-line culture. Visit her Audrie Mallory blog where she explores her evolving philosophy in Rosewater Art & Photography. Thank you, Audrie, for joining us today.