Another re-visitation in my recent tour was the Montana ghost town of Bannack, where I have photographed my Ghost Light series. Although I’m not sure a project ever really ends, it does go through phases. I feel this one is nearly dormant: I still enjoy the location, I find photographs I want to make, but there’s a sense of approaching completion. The initial vision was about spaces and light and the stories suggested there (someone wrote me she kept looking at one of the pictures while, in fact, writing a story). Now I’m filling out with additions that make a more rounded view of the place, but may not advance the key ideas much.

So rather than views of rooms, doors and hallways, it’s mostly details. Often ones tending toward the abstract, though as you can see, I’m not sure how far to go that direction. Do you have a preference among these versions of the same window shown in my first A&P post?




The next does include a doorway, and is similar to one taken last year that is on my web site. But this time I deliberately made the viewpoint looking down, so the door frame is off vertical; the intention is to add to the sense of oddness and dislocation of this abandoned place.


I have mostly ignored the graffiti, which is generally not too prominent, and in fact can add interesting texture to blank walls. But the graffito below is unusual for its use of a sign of age, and its light-hearted curves.


I like this shed roof because it seems to have two sorts of musical rhythm, one with a beat at the board spacing, the other based on the lines and spots of blinding light, which also suggest a staff and notes. It doesn’t fit so well in the project, as it is not a living space, but I’m not drawing hard lines for now.


Perhaps it’s harder to finish a project than a single work, or at least harder to know if it is finished. Mostly, I imagine, one just goes on to other things. But there’s always the possibility of going back. I recently came across a nice example of that in Joanne Mattera’s Cera series of encaustic paintings, which she worked on in 1995 and again in 2001. They don’t seem to be on her web site, but are referenced in a blog post. (Coincidentally, I discovered Mattera was visiting Bozeman and met her yesterday.) Have you ever returned to an extended project after a long hiatus?