Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Published 12:22 PM by with 0 comment

Melancholia: Fragments of a life - past and present

Life Preserve

I've lost track of how long I've been here. Months? Maybe even years. I was expecting others to arrive by now but nothing has broken the monotony of my loneliness. The radio went out a few weeks ago. I think the batteries are dead.
The nights are so long here in winter. The daylight is fleeting. I talk aloud to myself to stay sane. I'm barely awake but I can't sleep.

I met a taxi driver once. He told me he had seen a ghost in this building. I don't doubt it. I wish I'd seen it myself. It would be a welcome distraction. These days I find myself looking for ways to forget certain things.

One thing I try not to forget though is the time I took my kids to the harbor one summer afternoon. They were little back then and we all had fish and chips. We laughed a lot and watched the big ships come in. I was a proud father. It was a great day.
As time passes, that memory is beginning to fade. The colors are slowly draining and voices are becoming distant echoes. Losing it completely is my single greatest fear.

In a Small Coastal Town

I decided to get up early one bleak morning and just walk with no particular destination in mind. I had been cooped up inside for the best part of a week.
It had rained all night and potholes overflowed with oily water. The town looked desolate.

I passed a man standing in the shadows. We didn't acknowledge each other, his face was obscured by the brim of his hat. He made me uneasy and I quickened my pace. I heard a loud crash but didn't look back.

The wind was biting and I hadn't dressed accordingly. I turned back towards home, being careful to cross to the other side of the street. Up ahead, someone was rushing to work, his silhouette reflecting perfectly in an ephemeral pond.
I worked at that same factory for forty years and was glad to be retired, free from the stench of fish.

When I arrived home, there was a handwritten note stuck to my door. It simply read "Car battery dead. Gone to get help."
I looked around but saw no one. This was obviously a mistake. I don't even own a car anymore.


Arriving at the church, I felt a deep sadness. The memory of my wife's sudden departure was overwhelming. I thought it would get easier. It didn't. She was everything I had. The lights went out that day and it's been dark ever since.

Standing there for a long time, I felt numb. A breeze meandered through the flowers and birds chirped on the church roof but the silence of my profound loss absorbed everything. I tried screaming in vain through my paralysis.

I fell to the ground in an utter panic. My heart thumped in my head. I laid there for what seemed like an eternity. I stared at the passing clouds and finally devised a way to see her again.

I closed my eyes and felt a brief sharp pain followed by something I hadn't experienced in a long time... tranquility. My heart slowed until it came to a complete stop.

I opened my eyes and noticed silk curtains swaying gently by an open window. The sun streamed in and it felt warm on my skin. I sat up and saw her hand on the white door frame. Her voice whispered my name.
I took her hand and we disappeared into a familiar room.

My Adobe Spark (formerly Slate) presentation of this post is available here

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Friday, July 01, 2016

Published 1:55 PM by with 0 comment

Time Traveling - Finding Ghosts in a Gold Mine


At 5:30 a.m. I was leaving the town of Wasilla in Alaska, sipping coffee and driving towards Independence Mine State Park at the top of Hatcher Pass. During my research the previous evening, I learned that this old gold mine is haunted. There have been several accounts of ghost sightings. They are classed as "friendly" spirits so that made me feel somewhat at ease.

Independence Mine as it found me

With pinhole photography in mind, I decided it was a good opportunity not to actually chase ghosts, but to perhaps conjure them up in my own images.

Death of a Mining Town

Arriving at such an early hour afforded me uninterrupted time. There wasn't a soul around and that suited me perfectly well.

I have to approach this style of photography differently from conventional shooting. It's not spontaneous in nature. There's a lot of running around, striking of odd poses and general experimentation to achieve the look I'm after.
To a passerby, it would look quite irregular. In fact, when other people are around at all, I don't bother setting up these kinds of shots. It's too distracting and I don't have the freedom needed to indulge a creative flow of ideas.


There was a sense of eeriness in the abandoned buildings and on the desolate streets. But for the occasional gust of wind, it was dead quiet. I was fascinated by the apparent state of suspended dilapidation. Some of the structures were at such an acute angle, I couldn't fathom how they were still standing.


I did encounter one oddity during my time there. While setting up a shot, I heard what sounded like someone pressing the shutter of a camera. It was kind of like a beep. None of my equipment makes that particular sound. I heard it distinctly and it was quite close but, when I turned around, nothing was there. Only me and the hundred-year-old structures towering overhead.
Maybe someone was spying on me or could it be I was in the presence of a real ghost? These questions remain unanswered.

The Secret Meeting

When I had exhausted all of my creative ideas, I could see people arriving with dogs in tow for their morning stroll down by the distant parking lot. My timing had been perfect. I felt the friendly spirits slip away and return into hiding.


I've had to work a little harder to seek out venues for my pinhole photography. Alaska has proven to be a fertile bed of unique locations, particularly given its rich mining history.
I'm now exactly halfway through my epic adventure in this most northern of states. As the journey continues I'm sure I'll chance upon more places like this where time stands still and phantoms can run free.

My Adobe Spark (formerly Slate) presentation of this post is available here

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