On my site, there is a small lane with houses on either side that is home to clergy and faculty. This little lane was what first drew me to the site – not the towering church, the gothic architecture, or the Brutalist library. I stumbled upon it on the snow, and from where I stood, it seemed to me to be the perfect picture of a small New England town. Saltbox houses set in small lawns, a gravel road, and a backdrop of a miniature New England wood seemed idylic and quaint to me. I fell in love immediately, and wondered what sort of place I had found. On my way out, though, I turned around to look at the other side of the lane. That side was the exact opposite of the image I’d seen on my way in – 1960’s architecture with large glass windows, spare Japanese Maples, and a backdrop of rooflines, not trees. For a long time when I started revisitng the site for this class, I couldn’t make sense of the stark contrast on either side of the lane. On one hand, I am still drawn to the New England-y side of the lane, and often take pictures of it when I visit. On the other hand, I have never once taken a photo of the other side of the lane, and can’t imagine why I would, aside from highlighting the stark contrast in this miniature village. Its like two different worlds only yards apart from one another – the contrast is something I still grapple with, turning my body fully towards one side or the other, rarely taking in both sides at once.
The facades of the buidlings on my site lend themselves to rhythm easily. The main wing of dorms (the photo from the details assignment with the fans) presents a facade that repeats itself over and over – window, window, recess, window with an arch, end recess, window, window, repeat, repeat. The roofline goes small peak, large peak, small peak, large peak, again and again. Even the stones in the facade create a pattern and a rhythm, and it makes me imagine the rhythm of the life that happens behind the facade, the patterns of the student’s lives as a second layer behind the patterns of the facade.
I see climax on my site in the spire on top of the church. The spire is, to me, the culmination of all of the prayer, the study, the devotion, and the hopes and dreams of the students. They all gather together, constantly, and the energy that they create winds its way up the spire, around and through the cross, and into the sky, for God, or whatever/whomever to hear, or answer. The spire is also the tallest point on the site, so on a more practical note, it is actually the geographical climax of the site. This was highlighted by the bird that I found, resting on the cross, on one of the days that I visited the site – the bird automatically found the climax of the site and used it as its perch, emphasizing it as the high point, the highlight, the culmination of the site.
I chose these terms to describe the contrast in the architecture of the library, which is a 1960’s Brutalist-style building, and the main building, which is almost gothic in its architecture. But I can’t seem to decide if the main building is an anachronism, or the library is a prochronism. Which is out of place, the past or the future? I don’t know that I have an answer.
Ephemism is everywhere on my site. Not necessarily explicitly, but to me, at least, it is implied. It is a calm, holy, reverent place, a place where religious leaders are born. This is played out in the architecture, in the silence, in the trees and lawns, the landscaping, the arhcitecture. But, and I keep forgetting this, it is home to college students. College students, even if they are destined to be religious leaders, drink soda, ride their bikes everywhere, hang out in groups, try to act cool, and sometimes steal away to the shadows, where they can’t be seen, to do things they don’t want people to see. Once, when I was visiting the site in the evening, I saw two students (one male, one female) sitting in a childs play structure in the dark, whispering, hidden. The next time I went back to the site, the play structure was gone, and the yard was again restored to its stately self. While I know it wasn’t cause and effect, it almost felt like the site saw what I saw, deemed it unsavory, and cleaned itself up for me.
Although this isn’t exactly the right word, I chose euphony to describe my site because the silence that prevails there adds so deeply to the sense of the mood on the site. Euphony is a harmonious blending of sounds that can add a mood to a place – my site, I think, is harmonious in its silence, punctuated by low voices on occasion, or the voice of a child walking with a parent through the site. Mostly it is the silence though, that is so pleasing to the ear, that helps it feel cohesive, calm, and like it is its own distinct “place,” separate from its surroundings.
I found this short story very photographic in its telling. Welty describes the settings in exquisite detail, and emotional detail, not only describing how things look, but what they mean to Livvie, and the people who created them and brought them to where they are resting. Every description of a physical object stands for something else – the quilt that Solomon lies under is really his mother, her care, her life work; the pickled peaches and fig preserves standing for Livvie, and the small life that she occupies in the house, caring for her elderly husband. One element that may be difficult is the thoughts inside Livvie’s head – everything that happens means something to her, affects her in some way, but she keeps it all inside her head. I could see this story being told as a pairing of photographs and a poem, with spare use of words suggesting Livvie’s thoughts and feelings. I think that the way the photographs are set up could speak volumes for the words unspoken.
I chose Joel Meyerowitz this week, in response to some thoughts I had last week while photographing my site on the spire of the church being the symbol for the place, much like Joel uses the arch as a symbol for the city. In his photographs, Joel uses the arch as many different metaphors, changing its presence from small to large, caring to looming, soft to harsh. I chose two photographs that I felt personified the arch, or turned it into character playing a role in the story of the city. The first shows the arch in a glowing mist, behind a stately building and a statue of a human. This, to me, showed the arch as a sort of god-like presence, looking over the city, looking over the seats of power and archetype (the building), and looking over the people (the statue). Other poetic words that can describe this photo include framing, synechdoche, litotes, and mood.
The second photo I chose also personfiy the arch, but this time as a small, humble human rather than a great power such as God. The photo shows the arch as a reflection in a diner window, almost as if it is a person contemplating stepping inside for a plate of eggs. I liked how these two photos showed the arch in completely different scales – both as a large, looming, overlooking presence, and also as a small, contained, human presence. Other poetic words to describe the second photo can include anticlimax, anastrophe, litotes.