That Afternoon

Since about 2011, I have been traveling back to my hometown of Denver, CO to make photographs.

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I am in the midst of putting this all together for my next book project, Denver Revisited.

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I’ve learned a lot going back to Denver to photograph, both about myself and about the city.

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I can think of many times and days and afternoons photographing in these years, in which I felt fully engaged and alive in a moment of discovery.  All the pictures here were made on one afternoon, in March 2016, a perfect day in some regards.

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I can’t begin to explain how incredible this afternoon really was.  I went to a park I’d never been in before, located in the southwest corner of the city just off the South Platte River.  There was a huge hill overlooking the whole city.

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It was about 60 degrees, but there was still snow on the ground.  It was a Sunday afternoon, and dozens of people were sledding down the hill.

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Between the sun, snow, warmth, and joy, I was mesmerized by the feelings I felt in the air, and then of course the view of the city.  I made pictures of the sledding tracks and the sun soaking the top of the hill.

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I then walked down the hill – photographing trees and geese along the way – before coming to the South Platte.  Here I photographed people fishing and some debris left by a construction project along the river.

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These pictures were made using just a couple rolls of film – all really subsequent frames on the rolls – and a dying Pentax camera a former student gave to me as a thank you gift.  It was an incredibly afternoon, in every way.  I loved making pictures that day, and now feel it revealed everything I wanted in making pictures in Denver – the light and beauty of the landscape, with a sense of pain found in the detritus along the river.

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I am reminded of that great quote by William Carlos Williams in his introduction to Paterson:  A man is indeed a city, and for the poet there are no ideas but in things.

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