Randy, Nevada copyright 2007 Douglas Stockdale
I’m about a third of the way through revising all of my In Passing (project originally titled Bad Trip – Sad Trip) images and as usually it is more complex than just deleting a layer in Photoshop. Sometimes there is a need to revaluate the entire tonal range of the image so this has been a very slow process. After completing the new edition of “straight” prints, then the evaluation process of the entire series, which will take some time. I find that when I the eliminate the diffusion effect on most of the images the image actually read better for me. Although for a coupe of images, the diffusion effect seems to look better, and for a few, a more localized application appears to be an effective compromise. Nevertheless, I am removing all of the image diffusion effects.
For this blog, the image above is a straight black & white version of Randy. It still retains most of its high impact qualities for me, but there is an interesting effect with the diffusion in the immediate foreground that is no longer present. Not sure what that was and why that was. This project was not initially an attempt to create a “high concept” artistic body of work. It still is my reaction (documentary?) to what I saw and how I feel about it.
Working on this series some more today, plus a visit to the doc for a Hep-B booster shot as it appears that I have a better than 50-50 chance of heading back to China for a client project. I still have not spent much time on the few images I made from the last trip yet either, as I have been kinda consumed with getting the In Passing series relatively completed.
But I did make one observation in China as I did not recall seeing any roadside memorials like these here in the U.S. Thinking about my numerous trips into Western Europe a couple of years ago, I do not recall any road sider memorials there either. So perhaps this is a U.S. phonemenon? I completed only one cultural anthopology course, so I do not feel qualified to state that the roadside memorials are only a U.S. cultural expression of grief, BUT so far this is only where I have seen them. oh, well, back to printing….
Best regards, Doug
June 11th 2011 update: I have updated the image in this post with my current interpetation of this photograph, with the warmed toned version that was in my original post, below.
Roadside memorials are very common in New Zealand and Australia and have been for many years. I distinctly remember first noticing them, that they were a new phenomenon, probably in the 1980s … then again, that’s when I started driving, so maybe they hadn’t struck me before.
Australia and New Zealand very much look to the US culturally … Iwonder where it all began?
Lesley, thank you for the information about the memorials in New Zealand and Austrialia, and interestingly you corrolate this to the US culture, as I have not observed them while I have been recently driving about Northern England. As to their origins, you raise an interesting question for which I do not have an answer. I do remember them as a yound child in Arizonia, where my Father told me the plain white corsses were put in place by the state of Arizonia to provide a warning to motorist about the perils of driving.
You do see the plain white crosses in NZ and Australia, with bunches of flowers attached or at the foot. Sounds like it may have been picked up here in the 1980s, from that US practice. People also tie bunches of flowers around telephone/power (telegraph?) poles here. There’s a bit of controversy every now and then about whether the memorials are distracting but I think a lot of people find that they’re a reminder to take care…that roads can be dangerous places.
You might be interested in this site: http://www.aussieroadmemorials.com/
An Australian University academic has written a paper on it, showing its prominence down here.
I have seen the bunches of flowers around adjacent telephone poles here in the US as well as in Italy. Thanks for the link, but the site is difficult to negotiate.