On Thursday I went down to the Boston Athanaeum to meet with the wonderful curator there. She had asked me to bring 14 prints down, along with “my favorites.” Since I couldn’t bring about 10,000 prints of my favorite images down, or even all of the images I could print without too much trouble, I ended up bringing about another 10 down, ranging from pigment prints of scans of 1981 vintage 4 x 5 film from my first view cameras, to some images exposed relatively recently on mirrorless sensors with some excellent modern lenses. In the end, she settled on 11 prints to add to the permanent collection.
We had a lot of really interesting conversations, but I think the most interesting aspect of the talks maybe had to do with time. The Athanaeum is a historical institution; they’ve been buying art for a long time. As a curator of 100,000 pieces, she lives with images of many times, all day. She says she walks around Boston, and she can also see those other times from her images. And the idea of acquiring my images is to grab me out of the present moment and add my images to this continuity as one representation of the current time. She told me that if I come back in 200 years I will find my work perfectly preserved and curated. I will try, but it’s hard to hold intentions over multiple lifetimes, as we all know.
It’s interesting for me, because most of those close to me will point out that I have a somewhat unusual sense of time. It gets weirder the more I meditate, I think. While I won’t deny that the damn clock ticks in a regular way, that’s not nearly as interesting as the way we relate to time, and to mind-time. Our experience doesn’t exactly have anything to do with the clock-tick, though maybe sometimes a little.
And it’s always been interesting in photography. I’ve written about this in my current version of the artist statement on the site as well as in previous and no doubt future blog posts.
My images in their collection are as follows:
Post Pond, Mist After Sunset, Ice Melt (Note: This print is no longer on my site. Instead I am offering a vertical composition of a different exposure, here. Please contact me if you’d like the print that is in the Atheneum Collection.