April fool

I told my coworker I was going to the beach by myself for the weekend and he said “I admire your solitude.” I like it too, although it is a little, uh, lonely. Yet I must be responsible for my own adventures. What Would Huck Finn Do?

It is spring and I can prove it. The inland waterways are forming, with round, lumpy islands of sand I call the turtles. Soon these mini-ponds will be hot springs, or warmer than the ocean, anyway.


People are here, which is a shock. I have a new job with a normal weekend, like normal people, and I’d better get used to it.I always feel better when I come here. The juxtaposition of destruction and renewal is consistently profound. Overturned giant trees have root balls as big as dinosaurs, lush with ground cover and clover.I went to art school in the ’80s, where the trend was that a photograph is only as good as the art babble accompanying it. I always bristled at that Post-Modern crap. So I go searching for meaning, trying to photograph my Feelings, and feeling the compulsion to heckle myself at the same time.

The gun turret from World War II is filling with sand and is now an inviting, if greenish, footbath.

Alfred Steiglitz took all these photographs of clouds, which he called Equivalents, and they are all about Feelings, though they look like pictures of clouds. “The talisman paradox for unique photography is to work the ‘mirror with a memory’ as if it were a mirage, and the camera a metamorphosing machine, and the photograph as if it were a metaphor,” Steiglitz wrote. “Once freed of the tyranny of surfaces and textures, substance and form, the photographer can…pursue poetic truth.”

I ran into Marcy on the beach and told her I brought two horns with me, trumpet and altonium, and was fixin’ to do a little Primal Scream therapy.

“I’m calling the cops,” she said.

As it turned out, my neighbors weren’t there and I was the loudest, most obnoxious noise in the world, except for the migrating Canada Geese. So we played some duets, me and the geese, notably “Stormy Weather”, “Good Morning Heartache”, and “Lover Man, Oh Where Can You Be?”

Dead man's Tyvek house, getting salvaged.

Then you have Minor White, Steiglitz’s protege, who, took this picture called “Three Thirds” that has a barn with an unbroken window, some siding, and a broken window, all in equal thirds. This is a photographic trick, the Rule of Thirds. Whatever you’re shooting, divide the frame in thirds and it’ll look better. White was so impressed with himself.

“What caprice of chance brought the photographer to this point exactly at the time when the continuity of birth, living and death were uppermost in his mind, and when he secretly hoped to materialize his feelings?” White wrote.

Welcome to Washaway, brother!

The weather is gorgeous, and the erosion is slowing down. Mario’s place is still picturesquely defying doom. How can spring not be a hopeful time? I cut my grass and opened up my trailers to the fresh air. This land is my land! I put on my big rubber boots and went for a walk in the ocean.

I am gathering power, preparing for the rites of spring.


About washybeach

Washaway Beach This Week is a blog by photojournalist Erika Langley. See more work at www.erikalangley.com.
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One Response to April fool

  1. Tom says:

    Never fail to be moved by a post from Washaway.

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