Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Scrap Metal as Temporary Archaeology

I became fascinated with photographing scrap metal from a geological photographer's point of view, and two visits to an unnamed scrap metal yard in May 2013 yielded a rich body of work. See it on my website

I returned to the yard this past March and had another field day, especially with the giant rusted "bricks" of compressed cans.

But there were also other beauties as well: 

One of the main reasons I went then was that there was snow on the ground, and I caught this pile of giant compressed bricks against the snow.

I returned to the yard this past Sunday, May 14, since I had seen a shiny wall of these huge bricks of compressed cans from the train I take into New York. The light was now on the side away from the tracks.

But when I went around to the shady side, the lower contrast from the skylight (rather than the intense sunlight) made the textures more visible:
 Then when I framed it as a wall, rather than just a stack, it took on archaeological resonances, recalling the large hewn stones of ancient buildings and walls. I rendered this one in toned monochrome to emphasize that aspect:
And this just happens to be the [W]estern [W]all in the scrap metal yard. Its archaeological evocations notwithstanding, it will disappear in a matter of days, hauled off in one of the hopper cars on the tracks that form the western border of the yard.


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