Dwelling: Expressions of Time

The past is not dead.

In fact, it’s not even past.

—William Faulkner

 

Dwelling: Expressions of Time is a series of photographs that unfolded while walking the hardwood forests of my new home in Northeast Connecticut. I expected a landscape familiar from my childhood on the southern edge of the Laurentide Ice Sheet in the mid-Atlantic region. However, I found something different in the cliché images of New England stonewalls, abandoned fields, and millraces. I felt lives lived in these clues from the past, and set about to unravel the social and economic history of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century life based in small-scale agriculture and light industry.

Earlier people found ways to sustain life tied to this glaciated landscape of small-scale landforms crisscrossed by a network of rivers and streams that are foreign to us now. Yet in these woods, just a short walk away, lie memories of other times stacked like geologic strata just below the surface often overlooked as we go about the everyday. Research helped me understand the artifacts I was seeing, but I struggled to find a visual form that would evoke this blending of histories, physical, biotic, and human. My analogue-digital hybrid process, beginning with Polaroid film and ending with an archival pigment print on rag paper, suggests the layers of past and present I feel in the landscape of Southern New England.