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Tipi Burner Rosette – Fort Missoula – Missoula, MT

Today’s post and tomorrows are essentially the same photograph, though the outcomes are radically different, an idea I explored in the “At the Intersection Of Two Traditions” posts (2008.03.11 – Near Boise, ID and 2008.04.07 – Window Rock AZ – Navajo Veterans Cemetery).

Early on, my camera taught me how to pre-visualize a three-dimensional space into two dimensions. This remapping, at times, can be exploited to expose the geometry of space without the depth.

What is proving to be a lifelong lesson is how to see clearly the telling details about a subject, so it is reveled in manner that we all have the ability to see, but may have overlooked. Great poets do this all the time as they are blessed with the talent to distill the grain of language into whiskey.

Growing up my family spent a fair amount of time bouncing around rural areas in our well used VW Beetle, partly because my parents enjoyed car trips and secondly, because it was cheap entertainment.

At that time, the Pacific Northwest, rich with trees, was peppered with small independent lumber mills, which now have almost entirely, disappeared from the landscape. Part of their operations consisted of disposing of waste lumber. The main method was to burn it inside of conical steel structures with a wire mesh dome on top that allowed the smoke to escape while still trapping the embers inside.

In my mind’s eye, I still see the forbidding glow of these at night, full of evil potential, which at any moment could explode and set everything ablaze. This and other things I would imagine in the backseat of our VW, its weak headlights barely illuminating the road to home.

Copyright 2012 By Katherine Johnson – All Rights Reserved.

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