Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July and an Indelible Ridge Line

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A long time ago, I was wandering around the Portland Museum of Art (Maine, not Oregon) when I found my self in an upstairs gallery with what seemed like hundreds of works of art. I walked in to a large gallery space and, at first, I was stuck in the middle not knowing what to focus on.   Pieces hung on the wall three and four high. As my eye scanned the walls, I was drawn to a smallish painting hung about six feet off the ground and surrounded by many others.

It kills me that I can't remember the artist, but the title is significant... "View of Moriah from Gorham". To clarify, that's the Carter-Moriah Range as seen from Gorham, NH. The view was from what is today the Gorham Common. As a kid, my Uncle lived and owned businesses a block from there. I've spent a lot of time on Gorham Common and hiking the surrounding ridges. The shape of the ridge line is burned in to my mind and was the some sort of mental template that helped me unconsciously sort out all of those pieces of art.

The Gorham Common always was...and still is... 4th of July central for folks north of the notches with a carnival, parade and fireworks. Through no particular plan and even though we live an hour south, Gorham has become the place I take my kids to celebrate the 4th as well. This year, we were a day early and missed the parade, but the carnival was in full swing.

 When I look at these photos, there are lots of layers of meaning to them for me: photography-geekdom-artsy mumbo jumbo, a tribute to the 4th of July and small town America, sweet childhood memories and memorial to those not with us anymore.  And, of course, gratitude that I get to do this with my kids and a lot of love. I hope you enjoy the images near as much as I did making them.

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