As the world dances foolishly along embracing styrofoam, sheetrock, laminates, plastic and more plastic, I remain firmly and devoutly rooted in the ancient love and lore of wood. I love the smell of fresh cut wood, the peculiarities of each of it’s species and mostly the framing and shaping of it’s vast variety into a special enclosure called a home. I also love wood furniture. As it slowly ages it only gets more majestic, with a deeper patina, exposing it’s organic history with pride and grace. What piece of molded plastic ages so beautifully?
Besides loving the deep bowels of a home referred to as it’s basement, throughout my photographic career, I have been attracted to garrets. I am not referring to a modern day attic in houses built since the 1950’s. I am referring to a majestic home, manor house, cathedral, or ancient structure, where hidden in the upper floors among the thick wooden trusses, that criss-cross to shape and hold the basic structure is on occasion a truly holy and private place.
It is here where the oak, chestnut, or fir braces, from a hidden nearby forest were felled to provide support. These braces criss-cross and form elaborate patterns that have always intrigued me. It is the ancient basic, unadorned part of the house that remains pure and undecorated. It contains the history of the house and if I find the right space, I feel equally at home in these garrets as I do in the basements.
Throughout the years as I have scouted locations throughout the world, and I am shown the often magnificent decorated spaces below, I will often ask to look at the forbidden place to everyone except the owners, the garret. I am often met with hesitation, but on occasion I sometimes gain the owners or caretakers trust and find myself climbing legions of stairs up, up into the upper recesses and nooks of a creaky old building. I am climbing closer and closer to something hidden, private and if I am lucky, glorious. I have reached the pinacle of the structure and feel comforted by the strength and sturdiness of the building. On rare occasions, I am in a holy, private, powerful place, with a strong presence, unknown to most, interesting to only a few.
It is often very hard if not impossible to make picture there, but I love it just the same. These are often very cramped and small spaces and only on rare occasions, despite my many years of looking do I find the right spot.
The pictures I make there today never seem to do justice to the place. But then again, this is a private adventure that takes me climbing, searching, and yearning for something old, mysterious, and transcendent. I am climbing into new territory.