Mr. Green’s machine shop in Lambertville, NJ, has virtually disappeared. Mr. Green is gone, and his machinery, although extant, is now being scattered. The shell housing his equipment has an uncertain future. As a photographer, my involvement began when this outcome was an eventuality. Working at the behest of the Lambertville Historical Society, my task was to make and preserve images of a wonderful past.
There are many versions of history that might be recorded. In a similar project a historian might have listed the specific machinery used in a work place, the equipment’s function, its produce, or its geographic orientation. Certainly this type of information has many uses. But as a history, it overlooks a more fragile perspective. This is the perspective of individual experience, the subliminal impressions felt by the senses.
All of our senses can, I believe, be cued by the many shades of grey, white and black. Photographs describe to our mind the feeling of light, space and surface. In photographic imagery, weight is measured by presence, depth by darkness, and volume by lustre. This vocabulary is direct. It addresses our senses.
I’ve defined my objectives in the context of this perspective. Through visual imagery – often only parts of a whole – I hope to preserve in the viewer the experience of a very special place. This is a history that cannot be recorded. It must be suggested.