John Wawrzonek images from The Hidden World of the Nearby
The title of my collection, The Hidden World of the Nearby, comes from my experience of finding nearly all my images in nearby and unexpected places, usually by ordinary roadsides.
By the time I took the photo below, I had been shooting with my 4"x 5" camera for seven years, but although there were some good photographs nothing clicked. Until I saw an image like the one below. It was 1981 and I had been shooting since 1974. A valley that was part of a maple swamp had been filled so that photographing from the guard rail I was at the height of the tree canopy yet close. This was an extremely unusual situation and the red and orange buds against the silver gray branches was a pointillist masterpiece. It took hold of me and I had to photograph it, Interstate highway or not,
To had a little background, early in the morning was rush hour into Boston and the traffic mad any sense of peacefully photographing nature impossible.. I spent a Saturday afternoon driving around to see if where was any other vantage point. Of course there wasn't. However, the view was not far from a rest area and I could get my car out of the breakdown lane and hike to whee the view was. You can see from the picture below that there was not much space to plant a camera (fortunately I had a tripod that allowed me to extend one leg far enough to level the camera.I got the picture I wanted and returned dozens of times, usually in the sprint and in the morning.
The photograph was made virtually sitting on the guardrail of the Massachusetts Turnpike (Interstate 90) about 12 miles west of Boston. Both photos below show the exact location. The photograph taken from below the highway shows the steep drop-pff that led to the elevation and also the very narrow space on the "safe" side of the guard rail.
Once I saw this view from my car there was no option but to make the photograph as crazy as I thought it was to shoot with a 4" x5" view camera on an interstate highway. It quickly became ordinary and I shot on the Pike for 10 years, as well as on other Interstates. including Interstate 5 in Florida.
The pointillist texture and colors of this image image affected me greatly and led ultimately to my photographing the Pike for over 10 years. It was also the motivation for creating my entire collection of 20,000 transparencies and for my constant explorations of New England (primarily) for over 30 years.
The photographs were all made with a 4" x 5" view camera.
THE "WESTON OVERLOOK," INTERSTATE 90 (THE MASS PIKE)