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Charter Weeks


Lee Raceway Engine Check

Elephant Girl

2 Bald Guys

 

KEEPING YESTERDAY SAFE FOR TOMORROW Documentary projects do not necessarily have to be filled with pathos to be interesting or useful historical records. Even frivolous subjects tell us a great deal about time, place and circumstance. One of my projects over the years has been what my writer wife and I call “the other Saturday night.” We have gone to see dirt track race cars, motorcycle parades and races, tent circuses, boxing matches, country fairs, and other small entertainments. They are fascinating because they are, among other things, the entertainments of the American working class, and they are a whole lot of fun, visually rich in unexpected ways. This is not an unusual subject matter for photographers, and some have given us an exciting glimpse of these events over the last 100 years. There is, for instance, an excellent collection at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida. Here are a selection of images that I have had the pleasure to record over the past twenty years here in southern New Hampshire. It has been ten years since we last saw a traveling tent circus. The dirt tracks are now paved and have official NASCAR recognition. And so whatever is deemed progress will one day be replaced by something else, or more likely disappear entirely. We will be left with my simple record and those of others to remind us of what things were like at this time in this place. One can only hope that the future will be as grateful for the past as I was for Walker Evans and Dorothea Lang and W. Eugene Smith and a whole host of image makers who have saved yesterday for today. Charter Weeks






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