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Serial Spaces

Last year, without much forethought, I began taking photographs from a particular spot in a plaza that I regularly visit, capturing images of this space at different times of the day, in various weather conditions, across seasons. Usually I ambled past this same spot in Pittsburgh's Schenley Plaza — more specifically, at the corner of Forbes Avenue and Schenley Drive Extension — during morning hours, though I did capture a few twilight moments that provided a golden quality of light. Some days it was raining or snowing, though mostly I encountered cloudy Pittsburgh gray.


I ended up with 34 different images from 34 different days. The first, taken on February 26th, shows daffodil shoots (and maybe crocuses) getting too early a jump on an unseasonably — though increasingly seasonably — warm day. Images from April and May reveal the drama of hyacinth purples and daffodil yellows, and then what I believe are salvia or sage flowers as summer starts. November and December pics display nature's dormancy, with a spot of enlivening snow. Meanwhile, the progression of images reveals more than what's depicted — between my many visits, plenty of hands and tools manipulated and manicured this space.


I've been wondering what I should do with these images — hoping, I think, that my imagination would bump up against some lucky profundity or recall some essay or quote that'd square the challenges of daily life with the essence of places or seasons or nature. I've wanted to know what serial images of manicured flora might "mean" to me, or others. I've wanted to know why I took these pictures in the first place.


But I don't have much in the way of insight here, and I'm okay with that. Sometimes simple contemplation is more important than laboring our way to resolution. I do know I've taken momentary pleasure in having a particular, small space matter to me during the workday, space that I could visit and consider and reconsider for a few restful beats. The picture taking provided a pause and, in a way, made that space mine.


Of course, the images do show ephemeral seasons, a reminder that, in the words of Robert Frost, while "Nature’s first green is gold," in the end "Nothing gold can stay" (and I happen to be reading The Outsiders with my kids right now). Everything - literally everything - is in some stage of decay.


Aside from these inklings, I think I'll just leave the images here as a source of simple meditation on a particular place that changes over time. I do find a bit of satisfaction in scrolling through these pics: They provide a sense of familiarity mixed with inspiration to simply witness detail and difference from one passing moment to the next.



February 26, 2018


March 19, 2018

March 23, 2018

March 27, 2018

March 28, 2018

April 4, 2018

April 10, 2018

April 16, 2018

April 26, 2018

May 8, 2018

May 9, 2018

May 23, 2018

July 16, 2018

July 20, 2018

July 26, 2018

August 5, 2018

August 7, 2018

August 16, 2018

August 28, 2018

August 30, 2018

September 6, 2018

September 13, 2018

October 1, 2018


October 10, 2018

October 11, 2018

October 23, 2018

November 6, 2018

November 14, 2018

November 19, 2018

November 20, 2018

December 4, 2018

December 5, 2018

December 9, 2018

December 31, 2018

































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