This project is the result of an accident — the almost universal way in which creative ideas infect us. Like so many photographers do on a regular basis, I was out in the world, exploring the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State and stumbled upon Fort Worden — an old, World War I artillery battery in the town of Port Townsend. Decommissioned decades ago, it is now a State Park recreation facility. Its miles of cement walls are the perfect target for the graffiti-prone and their profanities, a reality the Parks Service does its best to protect us from. Industrious — no, creative — Park Service employees periodically paint over the profanities with broad brushstrokes and whatever colors of paint are handiest. There is no attempt to beautify, only cover. Nonetheless, the result — at least to my eye — is a dance of the most wonderful shapes and colors, the perfect raw material for a photographer predisposed to enjoy abstract photographs.
For a few years in my youth, I studied Oriental calligraphy — Chinese and Japanese, in particular. I love the dance of the brush, the shapes that are both words and graphics that capture the motion of the master calligrapher's hand. These graffiti shapes on the wall of Fort Worden reminded me of the calligraphy I studied — and like the calligraphy, they seemed to be words that I could not read. Hence, wakarimasen— Japanese for "I don't understand."
This project is available in the following formats:
The sixteen images in this folio are accompanied by a title page, introductory text page, and a colophon page. The images are pigment-on-paper, printed and
signed by the photographer, numbered, with an embossed artpaper cover.
The folios are produced to archival, museum standards using an
Epson 4880 on Hahnemuhle PhotoRag Bright White 310. The folio measures 8x10.5".
The images are about 7x9", but vary in size. Here is a more detailed description of a folio.
Several images from the Fort Worden work (but none of the ones in the folio listed above) are available as single images in Popular Editions collection. These are aproximately 8x10", printed on 11x14" paper.
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