Posts Tagged ‘.impermanance’
Musings on Permanence/Impermanence
In a nation often characterized by its frontier past, the zest for the Now has always contended with its opposite: the urge to constellate older, permanent values. Centuries of the wide open West brought us the enduring myth of cowboy who roamed freely across open spaces but whose assignment was often to save a threatened town. Trappers, miners and farmers kept moving on to the next big thing. Less romanticized, other farmers and their town-dwelling cousins put down roots, planting for permanence.
Today the theme lives on in other forms, such as in the struggle between development and preservation. Or between the risks of global thinking and the reassurances of old-time religion. Universally, man struggles for immortality against his evident mortality.
My first two books – Ghost Towns of the West and Middle West Country – probed America’s frontier tensions in detail. My newest one, Causes and Spirits, is a photographic art book of worldwide scope; yet it, too, explores the contest between “dust to dust” on the one hand, and surpassing vision on the other. Threaded through the book in varying dimensions, the underlying polarity can be summed up here in two images involving the widespread deployment of Greek classical architecture. References to a shared European ancestry and taste, such structures served as emblems of a hoped-for permanence as America unfurled its banner westward.
Some dreams were broken. Some dreams survived.