Birth/Rebirth

My friend Anna is working on her MFA project, and needed an assistant to shoot her conceptual photography for one of her presentations. 

Her work centers around the events in her life in the past five years: the death of her father, her marriage, and the birth of her second child. This turbulence has changed her quite a bit, and her photography has both documented the actual events and transformed into concepts dealing with the aftermath.

We hopped in the car and drove 30 miles east, to a very rural area in central PA where I grew up. It was an amazing early spring day: slightly warm, very sunny, but still stark in the woods. I suggested we check out the creek road behind Spring Mills, which has a splendid farm junkyard and very scenic views.

It ended up being a great choice. The sunlight was incredible, and there was wonderful shadowplay with the fabric. We first shot a series by an abandoned railroad bridge near Spring Mills, along Penns Creek. It's a little eerie back there. I found a disembodied squirrel tail on the ground.

We went up the road to a junkyard on a farm property. I've photographed the place many times in the past - it contains an interesting 1950s bus that says "CAPTAIN JACK AND THE SEA-CRUISERS" with each Sea Cruiser name painted under each window. I've been enchanted by this bus for years, but sadly it will be junked soon. 

The owner of the junkyard came by to make sure we weren't stealing anything, and, satisfied, launched into a monologue about how everyone's stealing off of him and that he's never committed any crimes. It was all very fascinating, but he had work to do, so he took off and let us have the run of the place. 

There was a dilapidated trailer along the road, which the owner had lamented was destroyed in a car accident. It had served as storage for a while, but now was a pile of crumpled metal and glass. I photographed Anna in the doorway, and later in front of a pile of firewood, and then on top of a tractor. I didn't have much of a plan, but it looked fantastic. She brought her ideas to the table and I shot some other pictures.


After flagging down a couple in a truck to jump her car (she'd accidentally worn out the battery by forgetting to unplug her iPhone) we went back on our merry way down the creek road. I photographed her on top of an abandoned railroad bridge, then we went to Coburn to photograph by the tunnel. 

These photos were very ethereal and strange. 

I shot many additional photos with Anna's Nikon, but I'm not going to publish them here because she's still going through her review and I don't know what she wants to have public at this point. All I can say is, her conceptual ideas and direction has really been inspiring. I'm not usually a conceptual person when it comes to photography, but she's opened up some interesting ideas. I'm really proud of where her work has gone, and grateful for the opportunity to work with her. Anna and I do great work together. I am very excited to continue to work with her on this project.