032013 – Reviewing the Past

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My usual schedule was interrupted last week – more on that at the end of this post. This is a bit different from my usual posts. I was asked to give a lecture in a few weeks, one that would reflect on the arc of my career. So I’ve been spending time looking over images that I haven’t given thought to for a long, long time. I’ve decided to present a random handful, the results of my first round of digging and exploring (hey – isn’t that the way I describe my fossil finds – “digging and exploring”!).

For those who might think I’m a bit “obsessed” with the world of fossils let me share some of these earlier (non-fossil) works. Starting with the opening image, this was a Brooklyn street scene, a festival in fact, viewed from atop the monument in Grand Army Plaza. (kids and chalk!)

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This next handful deal with old sites, each with their own character.

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Two from Ellis Island before restoration. The haunting imprint of the millions who passed through these rooms was palpable.

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A long abandoned farmhouse on the high plains of Montana.

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Even longer ago (1250 A.D.), the abandoned community of Chaco Canyon, one of the oldest known sites in North America.

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An altar at the Metropolitan Museum’s Cloisters, an incorporation of five medieval European cloisters.

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And, lastly, more recent ruins – an abandoned and cannibalized rocket gantry from Cape Canaveral.

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I also photographed many people, some famous, some not, all very interesting, nonetheless.

A New Mexico rancher during a wind elk roundup.

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A few American treasures:

Pete Seeger

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Bill Cosby

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Al Hirschfeld

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Martin Sheen

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And finally, one more American treasure, a deeply personal one.

IN MEMORIAM

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ARTHUR A. MURPHY, SR.

In the predawn hour of March 10, my Dad passed away, quietly and peacefully in his sleep after a period of debilitating illness. He was eighty-five years old. All he ever wanted in his lifetime was to be a good husband and father. He cared for us selflessly and, happily, he achieved his goal. He was a fine and decent man and I will miss him greatly.

Earlier Work

Sometimes it seems like I’ve been photographing fossils forever. In fact, it’s been my focus for about five years. And, while I find time to aim the camera in other directions, I have become rather obsessed with these 385 million year old former neighbors of mine. The image above, from my new “Devonian Drawer” series, is full of miscellaneous marine invertebrates from that time.

The other day I was busy making selections for some upcoming juried shows and found myself trolling my photo library. It’s not uncommon to spot images that were initially overlooked, that fell through the cracks, so to speak, and became “seconds.” And what a pleasant surprise it is to look again, from a new and possibly different perspective, and enthusiastically reattach and re-engage with an image. Fresh files to work on in the middle of February (when it’s just too damned cold to go out exploring) are the perfect antidote to cabin fever!

Revisiting the photo library also brought up previous projects that had been out of sight for too long. And as I re-evaluated, re-viewed, and remembered so went the remainder of an afternoon.

What follows is a small selection I gathered together from that session and I’d like to share them with you today. The first image was taken while on assignment for the Metropolitan Museum of Art – a view from the bell tower at The Cloisters in upper Manhattan. The following four images are from an urban landscape series across New York City. And the final image, a seeming “Rube Goldberg” contraption of pipes, was taken in Troy, New York, in the old (and recently demolished) Burden Iron Works. I hope you enjoy.

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