Funny how a new camera will rekindle a smoldering project; I recently picked up a beautiful black walnut 4x5 camera, basically for the 90mm Angulon lens I needed for a large format point and shoot camera I purchased through Kickstarter (a blog for another day). Hand me any finely crafted object, especially in wood, and I'm in love. And if it is a camera I'm going to waltz it around the ballroom. You know what I mean.
Almost two years ago I started a project, "Iron Things" I called it, the title from a line in the Mary Oliver poem The Leaf and the Cloud. I had recently buried my father and "emptied the closets" of the house I grew up in and sold it. My sisters and I each kept what we wanted, locked the door, and left. These are a few of the objects I kept: a packet of hair pins my father saved that were his mother's, my grandfather's oil stained shop coat with a few matchbooks in the left pocket, a miniature Swedish book of Psalms. There is something like deep memory embedded in these, but memory not mine. What memories I do have are of a stern grandmother, and the tool and machine filled wonderland of my grandfather's automotive shop in Essex Connecticut, where time seemed to have stopped when he died. I never knew him, but I think I know the hole his death carved into my father's heart. Now I carry these memory weighted items my father held on to, and other objects from my childhood home.
I set up the 4x5, the new toy, and suddenly I'm back in my project. The hair pins, the matchbooks, the Swedish Psalm-bok, and the overcoat beckon. Though I started this project two years ago I don't consider the interval time lost, more like time lived, and these photographs intimate considerations on memory and time.