Layers: Photographs from Lompoc and the Santa Ynez Valley
During a dinner party conversation
in my parents’ dining room in about 1969, a composer friend
described a fantasy recording instrument sensitive enough to read
the sounds etched into the walls by the impact of sound waves. That
possibility of being able to listen to the history of a place--playing
back an echo of the past--has resonated in my work and the way I think
about photographs. I imagine that photographs provide proof of a moment
in time but also, by inference, evidence that all other moments also
The images from my
‘Layers’ project are collaborations. With this group of
works most of the creative decisions that normally belong to the artist/photographer
(subject, point of view, light, camera, time) were made for me decades
and, in many cases, more than a century ago. I am simply, miraculously,
revisiting moments in time, trying to share an experience with men
and women that I'll never meet.
When I am making my
version of the photographs, I try to imagine what it would have been
like to be there when the original photograph was taken: what the
weather was like, what sounds were in the air, what day it was, and
what world events were shaping life in this small corner of California.
I'd like to give special thanks to the Lompoc and Santa Ynez Valley Historical Societies, the Lompoc Museum, and Curt Cragg for their generosity in loaning me photographs from their archives. I hope that these layered images, and the stories behind them, will give pause and perhaps enrich our understanding of local history.