This American Landscape

April 30, 2018

         

"Cotton Hollow" by Eric Rennie

If you go walking in any old New England cemetery, you will see many tombstones are so worn by time that their inscriptions are barely legible, if at all.  The granite used now to mark graves is more durable than the marble, slate or brownstone once favored for this purpose.  However, even the hardest rock will eventually succumb to the elements.  In the end, nature defeats every effort to leave one's mark on the world.

 
As it is with the stones that mark our passing, so it is with the structures we build to mark our civilization.   Sooner or later, even the most monumental edifice will return to the earth as we do, worn away by the elements and by time, until no trace can be found without digging.  The photograph above is meant to convey this: the ruins of an eighteenth-century cotton mill gradually disappearing into the woods.  The biblical curse on humankind in the Old Testament extends to every human artifact: from dust they came and to dust they shall return.
 
This image is part of a juried competition appearing at the Garner Center at the New England School of Photography in Waltham, MA.  The exhibit runs from May 1, 2018 to June 1, 2018.  The juror is photographer Jim Dow.