Saturday, February 24, 2007

Trackmarks


Snowy travels
Ridgetown, Ontario, January 2007


Sometimes, you find yourself sitting in an airport shuttle in the middle of a small town that would easily fit into the parking lot of the average Wal-Mart. It begins to snow, and you think about how depressing it is to be surrounded by strangers far from home on a bitterly cold, gray day.

Then you look out the window and think that the tire tracks made by the locals on their way to , well, wherever look somewhat interesting to the eye. You don't want to freak your fellow passengers out by pulling out your large camera from the hidden space beneath your trench coat-covered legs. But you don't want to miss this moment either, because it reminds you of a lonely silence while moving between places that are somewhat less isolated.

By now, I suppose you've guessed that I risked it. No one freaked. They did smile, however, which was nice.

Your turn: Do you have any images from a small town knocking around your memories? What is it that is so compelling about these scenes, about these places?

17 comments:

Yaeli said...

I remember the small town where we used to have a holiday house when I was a kid. It had 3 streets, a roundabout and a corner store. I've never managed to work out why a town with only 3 streets needed a roundabout.

Michele sent me this time Carmi!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I don't know...Maybe it is because it is such a different place to be in than my usual place...I have some oictures I am sure, of a small town...I just don't know where they are!
I LOVE that picture Carmi....It is so "what it is"...you know? And Artful in the design of the tiretracks!

BTW: I have posted a lot of lovely pictures over this last week or so---go on by and take a look! I think you will enjoy them...But be sure to go back maybe 4 posts or so....It's a lot of plants from my garden, starting with things down stairs and then the Yucca Rostrat's, etc, etc., etc....

Cravey said...

My parents grew up in the littlest of towns in central Pennsyvlania. A town full of coal miners and iron workers. As a child when we would go visit I was always amazed that after dinner everyone in the town would come out and sit on their porches or front steps. EVERYONE. They all said hello as you passed and sometimes gave me things, like jars of homemade pickles or hard candies. As a little girl, I didn't realize they all knew who's child I was. I just thought all these people were just really nice. It was a lovely way to grow up.

Awareness said...

small towns have always played a predominant role in my life and travels....it's hard to think of just one. My work takes me to many small towns and villages in and around Fredericton. Some, I always get a warm feeling when heading in...a sense of welcome and a sense of community seems to permeate the place. Gagetown is like that. I always have the feeling that I could easily settle there and fit in.

Last week, I was in a town called McAdam to visit a client. It has definately seen better days. Because it's off the beaten path (though only 5 mins. from the border) it seems very isolated and closed to new people and "fresh breezes." Poverty and fatigue permeate this place.

I shared my feelings with the client....told her that I knew there was a supportive sense of community in McAdam, but I never see it or feel it. She agreed.....thought everyone knows one another and they are supportive, most families are struggling to get by. They keep to themselves because they don't have much to offer outwardly.

As far as your neck of the woods? I spent a few years in K-W and LOVED the small towns and villages in the area......Elmira, St. Jacobs......like going back in time.

The small towns along the 401? from Cornwall to Colburg? A trip I've made MANY times like you? What sticks out in my mind are Canadian Tires and small fast food strips at the exits.... :)

Leanne said...

I love your perspective, Carmi. That's a great photo.

I have an image of a sunset, that is insane, here: http://intricateart.com/blog/archives/2006/03/25/quad-city-sunset/

I look at it once in a while because it reminds me that this little dot in the middle of a cornfield CAN be pretty, and wherever I am and whenever I feel "stuck" here, it makes me grateful for not being in a place too big to see past the buildings and appreciate such a view.

Anna said...

Cool marks Carmi. Love the black and white also.

Thanks for your comment to me on my post last night! I am so excited I cant stand it! I will be emailing you regarding your speedlight and macro lens! :) You said it would pay for itself....maybe I should have gotten the D80...hehehehe.

Have a good day.

colleen said...

Carmi,
I'm getting better and better at taking shots anywhere without worrying how I look (mostly). Pretty good for a shy girl. I had a recent shot of tiretracks in the snow, called it "mixed messages." I find these kinds of shots very interesting to look at when isolated in a photo. As a whole scene you might not even notice.

So are you getting flu shot? Your comment at micheles (where I came from) says something about a big needle and then I came here and saw the title TRACKS. I was worried for a split second!

Now I just re-read this and noticed the word SHOT is everywhere!!! We shouldn't have to edit comments, right?

Michael Manning said...

Oh, yeah! When I was a tot we used to drive to Michigan to visit my Grandparents in Royal Oak (Who could have predicted a small city would be a coffee house mecca for artists like Jewel?). I grabbed our Family Camera (a Kodak Brownie) and took three shots of an abandoned gas station with those old fashioned gas pumps that had multi-colored wooden marbles that floated in a glass cover as you were filling up. When we came back home and had the film developed at Walgreen's there was no denying who the "Phographer" was! Thanks for bringing back a great memory, Carmi!

Gyrobo said...

People feel comfortable in these small, familiar places because they're afraid of change.

Also, because nature looks cool.

craziequeen said...

We used to live in a small village with a village shop and post office. Due to current politics, the village shop and post office are disappearing fast.....

Came to see you after hearing about your plasma donation, today - you're a good man, Carmi Levy.

cq

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I was lucky enough to do my grad work in a small town. You'd better believe I have memories seared into my brain!

Mostly I stopped in to tell you that's one mega cool picture!! Well worth the risk!

Bob-kat said...

cool pic - like mechanical footprints! Interesting to think of who made them and where they were going! Love the use of black and white in this photo.

Michele sent me :-)

srp said...

I lived this small town for fifteen years. The small town where the "regional" airport could only serve the turbo-props, where the same ticket agent worked the ASA desk for 15 years and his daughter was in ballet with mine and when the flight was going to be late he took it upon himself to re-ticket our second leg of the trip and gave us first class tickets because he knew we would miss the connection. And when we missed our flight but it was only taxiing, had the tower call it back for us so we wouldn't miss the last flight connection to Chicago. Yes, there are wonderful things about a small town and more often than not, the small town people open their homes and hearts to stranded strangers.

Rainbow dreams said...

I have memories of the small coal mining village where my Dad grew up and my grandparents and great grandmother lived - we want to return to show our children - we have no photos, and much has changed, but I have more memories built from stories my Dad has told over the years...images stored in my head that noone can really share...
I think what is so compellng is the way life is compacted and concentrated into a small area and almost intensified because of it

Thanks to you and a few other sites, I'm getting slightly better at taking my camera out with me, just in case something grabs me... cheers

Carmi said...

Quick tech-note on this picture:

It's actually a color shot. But the day was so gray and there were no other visual cues beyond the asphalt and the snow that it rendered as b&w.

I seem to be bringing home many of these washed out images this winter. I think it's kind of neat when it happens, because I'm not specfically planning to capture it as monochrome...it just works out that way as I play with the composition before tripping the shutter.

This motivates me to focus a little more closely on deliberately b&w images in the near future. Watch for 'em!

michelle said...

wow - first, I am in love with your photographs...
I have only really lived in one small town in my lifetime when I was a kid and I hated it. Now, that I have 2 kids of my own, I want to move out of the big city into a small little town, ironic, huh.

kristin said...

When I think of the small towns i have lived in the majority of my life (until the last 6 yrs or so), i think of the PEOPLE, and how everyone seems to know everyone else, in a small town. I think of going to the dentist ofc., or the grocery store, or the florist shop, and running into SOMEONE that you know (or who knows you). There is a way in which that is so very comforting, like a sense of "family" and "belonging". At the same time I can remember sometimes being frustrated, because there were those people who seemed to have their business in everyone else's business...partly accurate, and part fantasy = gossip.

When I close my eyes, I see the faces,young and old, of the people who I passed, year after year, and whose lives my own was interwoven with. They helped to shape me, to influence my becoming who I am today. For this mysterious gift, i am truly grateful...and wish I could tell them all "thank you". They are imprinted on my memories, like photographs in an album...some of them fading and fuzzy now.

If I had to make a choice where to live, where to grow up, where to raise my children (all over again), I would definitely choose a small town...where I can watch my child ride off down the road, and feel some sense of comfort that he will be safe...knowing that the many people who know and love me, also know and love HIM, and will watch out for him, as he travels along, oblivious to their protective glances...