Manhole Covers Etc.
An * indicates my favorite sites.
This project grew out of my frustration with traveling and returning with useless souvenirs with little or no relevance to my (or anyone else's) life. In addition, I stumbled upon some beautiful painted covers in Osaka, Japan. Some of the covers were downright spiritual. It turns out that many covers throughout the world, make cultural statements about the people and their geographically / environmentally inspired requirements for civilization.
Previously, I had spent a significant amount energy and money traveling to
these places for business or pleasure and, after looking at my standard tourist
type photos, I could not remember the details of each place. I could buy
calendars or postcards with better photos of most of these vertically viewed
Paris, France (under the Eiffel Tower)
But to my surprise, no one had shot the mundane details of any of these
places. I found one book with B&W photos of manhole covers that were
more like a lessons of industrial design than statements of detail and cultural
In contrast, a lot of my photos will include cigarette butts, leaves and
miscellaneous debris that try to reflect influences of the particular location
(i.e. chocolate colored photo from Hershey Park), as well as the manufacturer's
/ installer’s practical, cultural and design influences. There are many
things I say through these photos in terms of traditions, habits, efforts,
impatience, hope and frustration and many other emotions. My eyes in the
process of selecting photo subjects tell you where I've been geographically,
academically, artistically and socially.
There are many references to my exposure to art history from prehistoric
drawings, through the evolution of art and civilization to the contemporary
custom of drip paintings.
Chicago Urban Wandjina
NYC Dripper (like Jackson Pollock)
My web execution tells you how I would like to balance chaos and harmony. Can
you tell that I have a BFA in painting from Mass Art, and have taken a number of
grad courses at Harvard, been Art Director of display companies and that my
father is an artist/sign painter?
Over the last few years, I found many websites with photographers around the world working on similar projects, going in many different directions, like paintings, sculptures, quilts, as well as other types of photos.
My visual explorations have taken me to the outer reaches of looking down at
the pavement and finding various new motifs like "Sidewalk Crack Floral
Bouquets", "Pothole Manifestations", "Urban Wandjinas",
(for info search web for “wandjina”) "Fountain Drain Reflections",
"Weed Extravaganzas" "Street Line Scrolls" and the always
popular "Government Approved Utility Worker Graffiti", which is
greatly enhanced by the safety program "Dig Safe" which provides the
utility worker with various colors indicating the type of utility cover.
For instance YELLOW is GAS, BLUE is WATER, GREEN is SEWER, RED is ELECTRICAL,
ORANGE is COMMUNICATION/CATV, etc.
I've tried to edit my website to include only the best photos.
Sometimes it's an evolutionary process and I don't quite recognize the quality
or associative value at the time of the web posting, but it eventually becomes
apparent. Just recently, I've found a group of like-minded people,
shooting similar manhole cover photos etc., and we are emailing many ideas back
and forth. We are all in search of relevance.
The web is a wonderful thing. It has allowed us to make a community where we can see and learn from each others work, as if we are living in the same city. The scope of our personal and visual experiences is apparent through our photos. Maybe someday, we'll have a big group show that covers these world experiences.