Up in Smoke I, 2016
I was born in Dubuque, Iowa and spent most of my first eight years there. In 1983 I began making trips
every ten years or so to photograph the city. My first solo show titled Dubuque Revisited, was the result of shooting there in the mid-80's with a 35mm camera and black and white film.
My return in the Spring of 2015 revealed a city with the same old buildings and steep hills, but it had transformed from a small industrial city of big shoulders to a city focused on bringing in tourist dollars. Not only had the city changed dramatically, but it was clear that my memories of what the city had been were merely memories of memories of memories.
My memories, and the city, had become fractal, and fractical, versions of the memory and the city that
once was. This realization served my purposes very well. I had no interest in creating a metaphor for
the overt Dubuque of today, or for what it had been, but rather I sought to uncover an aspect of its
subterranean, unconscious identity. The city and my memories were ripe for such an endeavor.
Manipulation of photographs, for me, is revealing of the deeper, inner energy of the subject. Manipulation is a partial disrobing.
Fractical Dubuque is unique and energetic in part because of my long relationship with the city. Besides
my birth and early years, a good number of my ancestors had lived in the region as early as the 19th
century when the city was new. The series reveals a hidden foundation, thick with a susurrus purr of
many thousands of past intentions. Combined with the geology and the river and the plains, these are
the forces that hold up the physical city of today.
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