North Shore Journal: Part Two
Posted on December 17, 2011
I lied. I did put some color in here, but the idea is the same. Like I said in the first post about this project, my underlying theme was 35mm black and white. But, each year I would choose another side project, native to a different format and concept.
You ever hear of the term “The Salt Line?” Well, the salt line is what you cross when you are driving near the ocean and suddenly you can smell the salt, the water and the tide. This is a critically important line. It is said that in places like Mississippi and Louisiana that the entire culture changes when you cross this line. I believe it, I really do.
So after returning to Hawaii over and over I began to notice a few things, and I began to notice them first in myself. Life was stressful at that time, just as it is now, so when I would exit the plane in Honolulu I could FEEL my body begin to relax. Even though the work ahead of me was considerable, it was different. I would exit the plane, rent a car, drive north and enter my home away from home, the Turtle Bay. I would grab my suit, my flip flops and I would walk to the waters edge and just stare. I would stop. I would freeze. And I was not alone.
I realized that the salt line in Hawaii represented something very dramatic. It meant everything. I began to track hotel newcomers as they arrived then jettisoned their bags and did the exact same thing I did. They would stagger to the waters edge and lust after something they couldn’t find back home…..peace. It was precisely this reason I made these images. I spent an entire trip wandering the salt line area looking for people, for things that represented this place. I wanted you to feel what I felt, what these other folks felt.
To do this I needed to choose a technique that would assist me in my quest. What struck me at the time was to make images that looked like charcoal sketches(I have zero ability to actually make them with charcoal.) Problem was I didn’t know how to do this. So, I started testing. And I tested. And tested. And finally I found a way. This was the fun part folks, especially when you consider it was film based testing, meaning it was SLOW. I wasn’t sitting at a computer “playing around.” I was torturing myself. I ended up with the Hasselblad and after landing on Oahu I started in.
I realized the power of the salt line transcended sport, development and my own brain. I saw things I never noticed before. One long exposure at a time. Working this way forced me to think, to really think, about what I was doing, what I was including. I also honed my technique, adding wrinkle after wrinkle, taking insane photographic chances like spending a half day doing one exposure then blowing it at the last minute. I didn’t care because I believed in where I was heading. And I had the Mai Tai waiting at the Turtle Bay. Just kidding.
You see, this is what pure photography is about for me. It’s about time. It’s about focus. It’s about working toward a greater good in some odd way. And I don’t mean greater good in the world. I mean a totally selfish greater good of trying to make insanely good photos. I fail most of the time. That is probably pretty obvious.
This salt line project will continue. Perhaps not in Hawaii, but it will continue. I have a current project that focuses on this area, but not in quite the same way. I sometimes dream about living on the North Shore, at least part time, or going even further and going off the grid in Kauai, trying to find a place that is all about not being found. I dream, but I think someday it will be a reality. You will hear from me no more, you will see me no more, but if you walk to the waters edge and relax….maybe we can still connect.