This morning I came across this image from 2014 and I can’t stop staring at it. I don’t know if it’s even a good photo, but it does have an odd hold on my attention. Everything in this image is subservient to the typewriter curiously perched on a shelf that fits it perfectly. The door, slightly ajar, points to it. The spout on the watering can is aimed directly at it. But what’s the damned typewriter doing there? What’s its purpose? While we’re at it, what is the purpose of anything? What is the purpose of people?
It makes no sense. The watering can, the urn with twigs, one of which twines out to above the slightly open door, the objects on the wall, the writing, the sign on the door, and the goddamn yellow typewriter.
This swing set is stationed on a beach near San Clemente. Sand, rocks, the gentle surf, a fence to keep people out or in. I can’t take my eyes off the garbage. There’s the plastic cup in front of the fence and then there’s the Starbucks cup by the one potential swinger. Was it there when they arrived? Will it be there when they leave? I see garbage everywhere. We the people of the planet earth excel at making and distributing garbage. We’re also experts at melting ice.
Sometimes we take the train to or from New York and I aim my camera out the window. As the train works its way through North Philadelphia, I snap photo after photo of the past, the once vibrant manufacturing housed in now abandoned factory buildings. Some have been converted to apartments, but most serve as canvases for graffiti artists and targets for rock throwers. Philadelphia Pants lived in two of these North Philadelphia buildings. One at Tenth & Berks from 1960-1980, and another at Nineteenth & Allegheny from 1987-1989. There were other homes in South Philadelphia and Center City. Listen carefully and you can still hear the echos of sewing machines and the hiss of steam presses.