All There Is



These photographs were made in and around three apartment complexes on a former Air Force base in northern New York. The properties had been unoccupied for nearly ten years, and they were steadily encroached upon by foliage and fauna.


As I walked through the overgrown yards and into the abandoned buildings there was evidence everywhere of nature’s unrelenting persistence. Trees and bushes blocked doorways and windows. Birds and insects nested in rooms, and raccoons, skunks, foxes and groundhogs traveled freely throughout.


I discovered enduring traces of human nature, too. A picture-hanging nail left in the wall of a child’s bedroom. A piece of scotch tape stuck to a window. Coffee cup rings stained on a kitchen counter top. Vestiges of what Marilynne Robinson, in her book, Housekeeping, called the “density of presence.”


I found myself returning again and again to visit these banal buildings. As I sought out new subjects I would often say to myself, “Is this all there is?” In time, I realized it was.

Willow tree, 2004
Feral Cat, 2004
Bee and Thistle, 2004
Smudge, Kitchen Window, 2004
Picture Hanging Nail, Child's Bedroom, 2004
Peeled Paint, Bedroom, 2004
Kitchen Faucet, 2003
Muffin Wrapper, Kitchen, 2004
Grafitti, Living Room, 2004
Toilet, 2004
Thorn Bush, 2004
Dapple Light, Kitchen, 2004
Sunlight, Bedroom Closet Door, 2004
Reflections of Grass, Building, Sky, Living Room, 2004
Light Fixture and Reflections, Living Room, 2004
Grouse, Living Room, 2004
Inbedded Rock, Living Room, 2004
Sunlight, Stairwell, 2004
Oil Deposit, Bedroom Window, 2003
Reflection of Door in Living Room Window, 2004
Kitchen Window, 2003
Coffee Cup Rings, Kitchen, 2004
Branches, Living Room Window, 2004
Snow and Car Tracks, 2005
Spiderweb, Doorway, 2005
Doorbell, 2003
Window Frames, 2004
Screen Door, 2003
Pine Tree, 2004
Leaf Buds, 2004
Apple Tree Shadow, 2004
Tree Hedge, 2004
Apartments and Willow Tree, 2004
Poplars, 2004