Monday, September 27, 2010

The Perry Project

"I suppose we will bore everyone to death talking about our trip but we had a wonderful time and hope to make more...will send some pictures soon if they turn out OK."
taken from an unaddressed letter written by Mrs. Perry

Monday, September 20, 2010

Regulated Navigation

When I was a child, my father worked as a deckhand for Foss Launch and Tug out of Tacoma, where he walked the endless rafts of logs with his spiked boots as they were towed behind the Shelley Foss. Over the years, he eventually worked his way up to captain, all the while working a schedule of living two weeks on the boat, followed by two weeks at home. Because his absence was often more noticeable then his presence, knowing which boat he was on provided a certain level of understanding and comfort. Rather then some abstract notion of “being out on the water”, I could place him on a specific boat, such as the Shelley, Benjamin, or Stacey. Thus, I was able to locate him in my imagination, surrounded by seawater at the mercy of changing tides.

I did not create the system of tracking the boats he worked on. I inherited it from generations of kids before me.

Tracking the names of the boats you work on is an inherent aspect of living a life centered on the sea. Each boat becomes a separate continent; country; city; neighborhood; person. As a result, your experiences aboard a boat become part of a shared life, forming a history that is larger then oneself. Therefore, an obsession of tracking specific Foss tugs as they move about the Puget Sound, passing from Commencement Bay to Elliott Bay and beyond, serves to re-inform my understanding of my father’s life, and perhaps more importantly, serves to locate myself within it.

Friday, September 17, 2010

obsession in a box

125 snapshots of Mount Rainier
85 of the surrounding area
brownie to 35 mm
1935 and 2006