Once or twice a year I take to the road on long trips across the country, looking for interesting landscapes to photograph. In my travels I’ve noticed and photographed what, for want of a better term, could be called “structures” – lone buildings, towers, monuments, objects, remains of dwellings – isolated within the landscape. Some are merely functional, some are commemorative, and some are surviving remnants of what once was, but they all serve as a fascinating counterpoint to the wider expanse around them.
The Columbia Canal and Guignard Brick KIlns
Using an infrared modified digital camera, I photographed two examples of old industrial sites in the Columbia, South Carolina area. I spent a foggy December morning at the Columbia Canal and then a few days later wandered a bit downriver to the site of an abandoned brickworks complex. Recording these scenes in infrared added an interesting dimension to these historic sites.
The Columbia Canal was built in 1824 to allow river traffic to navigate around the rapids where the Saluda and Broad Rivers join to form the Congaree River. Although its importance as a means of transportation significantly decreased after the arrival of the railroad in Columbia in 1842, the canal continued to be used for local commerce and provided water power for small industries.
In 1888, as part of the post-Civil War movement to industrialize the South, the State of South Carolina decided to enlarge the canal as a means of providing a power source to aid in the industrial development of Columbia. The enlarged canal, completed in 1891, subsequently served as an impetus to the establishment of mills and factories in Columbia, thereby playing an important role in the growth of the city. In addition, the Columbia Canal was the site of one of the first power houses in the nation to utilize hydroelectric power to drive a large textile mill.
Since its completion in 1891 the Columbia Canal has continuously served as a major power source for the city of Columbia.
Located a short distance downriver from the Columbia Canal, the Guignard Brick Kilns are the remnants of a manufacturing complex with a long history.
The Guignard family began producing bricks on or near this site around 1801, utilizing the rich clay deposits on the banks of the nearby Congaree River. Initially used to produce bricks for the family’s own use, it became a profitable business starting in 1850 until production was shut down during the Civil War.
In the late 1880s production was revived and then expanded in the 1890s due to the increased demand for bricks caused by a building boom in neighboring Columbia.
What remains of the complex today consists of an office building constructed around 1900 and four beehive shaped kilns, three of which were built in the 1920s, and a fourth built around 1932 to replace an earlier kiln that had burned beyond repair. The complex also includes portions of a small rail system used to transport materials within the brickworks.
The kilns ceased operating in 1956, being replaced by more efficient underground tunnel kilns. The site was then abandoned in 1974 when the company moved its manufacturing to a new location.
The photographs in this portfolio appeared in the March/April 2015 issue of LensWork Extended.
A Hawai‘i Portfolio
This portfolio is a selection of black and white photographs I made on two trips to the Hawaiian Islands. The ?rst was to the Big Island where I circled the island on the Hawai‘i Belt Road, photographing in rain forests, on the coast, in cemeteries, and in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. The Big Island was the most recently formed of all the Hawaiian Islands and is thus the most volcanic and rocky, with lava ?elds everywhere. Typical mornings were overcast and rainy, but great clouds would form later in the afternoon.
The second trip started on the Big Island, where I revisited some places from the ?rst trip, and then moved west to O‘ahu and Kaua‘i. The light and clouds were even more beautiful than on the ?rst trip because I was following a very severe weather system that dumped a lot of rain on the islands. I arrived on each island just as the rains had moved off to the west, leaving skies with great clouds as the weather system broke up.
Many of the places I went to have interesting histories. Honohina Cemetery, for example, which I photographed on both trips, is an old cemetery established in the early 1900s to serve the Japanese community in a now vanished sugar cane town. South Point on the Big Island is the site of the ruins of World War II Army barracks, now covered with artwork. And the Thurston Lava Tube in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park was formed by a lava ?ow hundreds of years ago.
When photographing in Hawai‘i I tried to avoid the typical clichéd palm-trees-on-the-beach-at-sunset shot. Even though I did in fact take some pictures like that, the images presented here are intended to reveal more of the mystical and historical aspects of Hawai‘i.
Washington and Oregon in Infrared
In August of 2007 I spent two weeks traveling in Oregon and Washington. I made a large circle starting at the Columbia River Gorge, heading east to southeastern Washington, then north and west through the Cascades to western Washington, and returning to the Columbia River Gorge. This wasn’t the first time I had been to this part of the country on a photo trip, but it was the first time I had been in this area with my infrared modified Canon 5D.
When I used to shoot film, I did a lot of work with infrared. To continue this in digital, in 2006 I bought a Canon 5D and had it converted to infrared. I then started a project on Las Vegas in Infrared, which I completed shortly before this trip.
I’ve been going on photo trips in the West since the early 90s, and traveled through different areas of Washington and Oregon twice including the Columbia River, John Day Fossil Beds, Astoria, and Olympic National Park. After seeing a PBS documentary on the Channeled Scablands of eastern Washington – an area that was scarred by numerous megafloods in ancient times by the bursting of glacial dams – I had to photograph this visually and historically rich area.
The photographs in this portfolio appeared in the November/December 2009 issue of LensWork Extended.
I’ve exhibited my work in many galleries and venues including: Soho Arts South in West Palm Beach, Florida; Stepping Stone Gallery in Huntington, New York; Collectors Café in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Spinnato Gallery in East Setauket, New York; The Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, Colorado; and in New York City: The Governors Island Art Fair; Photoville; Pfizer Inc.; Barns & Noble Bookstore; the law firm of Cleary, Gotlieb; and Soho Photo Gallery.
My work is included in the corporate collections of Cleary, Gotlieb; Hahn & Hessen; State Street Bank; and Pfizer Inc.
I’ve won several awards for my photography from organizations such as The Maine Photographic Workshops, Santa Fe Photography Workshops, and Photo Lucida.
I’ve been published in several books and magazines including Photo Art International, PhotoTechniques, Black & White Magazine, LensWork Extended, Shadow & Light Magazine, and the book Looking at Images, published by LensWork Publishing.
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