Inside the Blue Line



Several things attracted me to the idea of photographing within New York’s Adirondack Park. At over six million acres, it is the largest nature preserve in the lower forty-eight states, and one of the oldest. And perhaps nowhere else can one so accurately track the changes in the ethics of land use.


In pre-colonial times, the Haudenosaunee used the Adirondacks mainly for hunting because they deemed the region too harsh and barren for year-round living.  When the Lewis and Clark Expedition reached the Pacific coast in the early 1800s, the Adirondacks had been little explored by Europeans. But by mid-century, painters and writers had begun to romanticize the rugged landscape and its inhabitants, and the region grew increasingly popular as a tourist destination.


In the 1880s, extensive clear-cutting of forestlands prompted the New York State Legislature to create the Adirondack Forest Preserve. The state established the Adirondack Park in 1892, incorporating the public Forest Preserve and private lands surrounding it. Three years later, voters amended the state Constitution to declare the Forest Preserve “forever wild.” Because the Adirondack Park’s original boundaries—designated on a map by a blue line—included public and private land, an uneasy alliance was created that continues to test individual and collective ideas regarding land management and preservation.


These photographs refer to and have been inspired by the Adirondacks and its history, but only to serve a broader narrative—that of our irresolute response to the persistence of nature. In resisting the urge to “tell the story” of the Adirondacks, I found visual situations that resonate on multiple levels--pictorially, contextually, and poetically – images that speak to how we experience and contend with nature.

Haudenosaunee Creed, Six Nations Museum, Onchiota, 1998
Replica of Early Adirondack Cabin, Elizabethtown, 1999
Beaver and Window Reflections, Adirondack Loj, 1999
004 canoe roof
Akwesasne School Portraits and Raven, Six Nations Museum, Onchio
Antler Sagamore Great Camp, Raquette, 2000
Table and Mt. Fay, Fish and Game Club, Lewis, 2000
Heron and Trphy, Rod and Game Club, Saranac Lake, 2000
Raccoon, Rod and Gun Club, Saranac Lake, 2000
Heron on Mantel, Santanoni Great Camp, Newcomb, 1998
Cougar, Clasroom, Newcomb, 2001
Shooting Range, Rod and Gun Club, Dannemora, 1998
Log and Parking Lot, Keene, 2000
Birdhouse, Six Nations Museum, Onchiota, 1998
Bunny, Tailings Pile, Lyon Mountain, 1998
Flight Line, former Air Force Base, Plattsburgh, 1998
Wall Seam and Nails, Trudeau Sanatorium, Saranac Lake, 1999
Motel Sign, Keeseville, 2000
Leech and Insects, Camp, Summer Camp, Valcour, 1999
Luna Moth Coccoons in Pillowcases, nea Paul Smiths, 2001
McIntyre Blast Furnace, Tahawus, 1999
Roof and Erratic Boulder, St. Regis Falls, 2001
Tailings Pile, Tahawus, 1998
Window Louvers and Lake Champlain, Valcour, 2001
Observation Hole, Lake Placid, 1999
Duck Decal and Window, Summer Camp, Lake Cahmplain, 1997
Shad Fly and Reflections, Valcour, 2000
White Pine and Raindrops, Valcour, 1999