The Story of a Wall
It began innocently, as a wall of curiosity that I would see if I took a different route than usual on my way to and from work. That different route became the usual route. The job lasted two years, and so, the project to shoot that wall did as well. The cracks, the crumbled cement, the ivy, the graffiti and iron gates, the changing seasons. There was light from the morning that would beam down on it from windows across the street. There were crumbling stones, weeds, and art. Sometimes there was water and ice. These things required a camera.
The Wall As Change
If the wall had remained constant, I likely wouldn’t have entered so fully into the project as I did. One day my eyes were opened to something new. It was this very neon orange smiley that caused me to look a second and third time, until the wall became a ritualized part of my workday. It hadn’t always been there, and appeared about three months into my knowledge of the wall. This sinister smile and wink revealed a process of transformation. Like discovering a new form of life.
Agents Of Change
I never saw the actual agent of change, the artist(s) who forced their paint, names and marks into our view. This left a feeling that the wall was growing via its own internal forces, that its roots went deep. Its history remains unknown to me, despite my hunt for knowledge, that much is certain.
I always attempt in my work to get close, invasively familiar, intimate with my subject. And so, I have examined the wall’s many details, facets and reactions. It may be a good idea to point out here for you, a fellow spectator, some of the peculiar nuances, nooks, and niches that the wall has and is. For instance, the wall grows taller from left to right, and in the same direction grows both thicker and in material constitution denser. This would give the mural a weighted imbalance if not for the fact that the two doors that break through its surface are placed to the left, attracting the eye with an equal weight.
There are numerous ghostly figures and faces in the wall. They add an element of forgotten personality and haunted beauty.
There is but one road sign that juxtaposes itself in front of the wall, at far right. The white doe sticker on the back side of this sign has many a mythological connection. One website points to some eerie possibilities to the wall, given the many ghosts that cover its surface. “The white stag in Celtic myth is an indicator that the Otherworld is near.”
Numerous holes can be found throughout and within the wall, adding to its intriguing character. If you are to look, there is an ever changing array of assorted items that invisible people place in these holes and then later mysteriously remove.
The Wall is at all times of day bathed in light. When the sun comes up over the hill and building, it is already high enough and angled just right, so that the windows of the apartment building across the street reflect the sun directly into the wall. To add to this auspicious circumstance, the wall is painted here and there with no less than reflective silver and copper spray paint. This is especially noticeable on the right of the two doors.
It was a very rare occasion that in all of two years time walking past this wall, there was seldom anyone else who walked that side of the street. The main arteries of the city flow elsewhere it seems. I did however have one, and only one, opportunity to photograph someone passing by the wall in a blurred rush. I maintained my intention to keep the wall rather than this individual in focus.
I could honestly spend another two or ten years documenting changes and transformations. But at some point it has to end. It did end when my previous job ended. And here it ends, with 100 selected images from the many that I’ve collected over time. I will note here that I had no intentions of publishing exactly 100 images, but that, when I had finally selected all images I wished to share, that that was their count. Seemed right to finish there.
The number of images I found worth keeping had in fact increased at a faster pace than I had time to process them, especially since it was a series that had taken place almost unbeknownst to me, at different times of day and year. I’ve taken them all using two different phones, mostly my Galaxy S3 and more recently a few with my S5. I have used a variety of apps to process the wall images, allowing its many, many facets and nuances to dictate for me which app ought to be used. I used primarily VSCOcam, Snapseed, Pixlr Express and Photo Editor.
- The Wall As Collage
You can see a selection of these images edited with VSCOcam on my VSCO Grid – Mobilography.
The Wall On A Map
I recommend street view!