There are three silos just outside my studio door. They contain Portland cement, freshly come by ship from Thailand, across the Atlantic Ocean and up the Delaware River. Two silos are spherical, the other more of a cylinder. Immediately in front of them is a small, brick pumping station. It is nearly a perfect cube, capped with a roof comprised of four triangles. Off to the side are mountains of salt, floated in from the Caribbean.
Visitors arriving at my studio are often startled to discover the silos’ existence, even though the vessels are visible from a distance. These silos are so huge as to be inseparable from the landscape. They seemingly have always been there. It is, in fact, their enormity that disorders one’s perspective. They creep onto the horizon with stealth. Then, as one approaches, they overwhelm everything in their presence.
This monumental quality aside, the sheer geometry of these forms begs for a study of light, shadow and space. They are as if shaped, wooden blocks in an artist’s studio. They may not have been placed with artistic intent, but these silos now inhabit a still life composition. Not one, but many. Not once, but always.
Light wraps around their surfaces in both dramatic and nuanced ways. What one sees changes with the hour, day, and season. Sometimes it is their volume that one sees, other times their curvature. Still others it is the quality of their skin, or the paraphernalia attached to it. Sometimes one sees their function. Or, one sees nearly nothing because so much is hidden.
To the artist, then, the question these silos pose is: “How is the same thing different?” Or, more succinctly, “How is it now?”
These photographs are my response.
Over a year-long period I patiently observed, photographed, waited, observed, and photographed some more. I do not represent these photographs to be objectively seen, even if they are faithful to their subjects. Far too many choices were required along the way. The subtleties I stalked were visible only from a particular vantage, through a specific lens, and at a certain moment. I was constantly mindful of how colors might translate into shades of gray. And I reveled in the freedom to expand and contract space.
I found my answer in the stillness preceding each shutter’s click: “This is how it is now. See it. Rejoice.”