The Weekend of July 4th in California

There’s something quintessentially “summer” about a pool party at a weird California hillside home built in the mid-twentieth century. There are little details and vignettes among the clusters of people—stories packed into the space. This party took place almost nine years ago; I can’t remember what a single group was discussing.

The Weekend of July 4th In California

Multnomah Bridge

Traveling across America, I can’t help but be astonished by the difference in scale between the East and West Coasts. The Northeast has waterfalls, sure—but nothing like Multnomah falls. (Well, not many.) The majesty must become almost pedestrian after a while when living adjacent to such a place. I particularly like this image two two reasons: the tiny hikers clustered on the bridge add a sense of impossible scale, and cropping out the top of the falls lends the setting a feeling that the falls must continue on forever. In my own tiny way, as well, I really love the tiny insertion of man-made concrete into the otherwise natural scene.

Multnomah Bridge

The Fall and the Pool

A year ago, I stood atop this waterfall in the corner of Connecticut, relaxing and hiking in the last few days before I traveled north to Canton to begin the faculty life. There are three things that this image captures:

  • So many waterfall pictures use a long exposure to smooth the water into some blurry, surreal, Platonic ideal of flow. The effect might be pretty, but that effect is also a lie about the true experience of the crashing and splashing. Let’s get some spray in here!
  • Poetically standing atop a waterfall in a wood, with a calming pool nearby, seems to me less a cliché than something that is consistently authentic across the American experience.
  • Nostalgia may power a lot of my images, but it’s a force that only works retroactively. I would feel very different about the image if I’d promptly slipped and trashed my camera. Can that “dodged danger” exist within the image itself?

The Fall and the Pool

Reflecting Annulus

The quiet corners of Berkeley’s campus are united by the coniferous smell that takes me back to summers in New England. Even when science won’t cooperate, no walk home disappoints me if I travel through this strange, surreal little place.

(And as a note to the geometry buffs out there–yes, I realize that the annular part of the picture is not reflective. The name was too good to pass up.)

Reflecting Annulus

Jet Set Hotel

Costao do Satinho fills almost an entire end of Florianopolis’s island, and the hotel pictured here represents just a small bit of it. There are villas and beaches sprawling out over acres. Still, this part (at night) was one of my favorites, with its 1960’s style and very jet-set-minded architecture. This is a place that caters to a group from the past.

Jet Set Hotel