It has been requested that the Gloucester Clam report on more of the day to day goings on in our fair city. That we move past our current beat of intoxicated shouting and wiener jokes. Time to get serious and do some real journalism. To facilitate this, we welcome aboard Staff Photographer Stevens Brosnihan. Stevens received his Post-baccalaureate certificate and Masters Degree in Fine Arts in painting and drawing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. During his three-year tenure at SAIC he took full advantage of The School’s renown inter-disciplinary conceptual framework of competitive heuristic post-structural indifference. Which is a real thing, I guess.
Stevens’ first assignment was to cover Beeman Elementary School’s incoming Kindergarten Orientation on Wednesday. Fresh faced youngsters taking their first step on a long life of learning. The future, personified in lunch boxes, smiles and held hands. He assured us that with his art school background, he was the perfect man for the job.
This is what he gave us.
We are confused. Where are the kids? How hard was this? In a short text exchange Stevens chided us as boxed-in literalists, asking us to let the images speak for themselves. We argued that they looked like REM album covers from the late 80s we would see when we were a DJ in college and we don’t know what hell those bastards were talking about either. Since The Gloucester Clam is nothing but a media outlet with highest possible standards, we demanded a detailed explanation.
He sent us this:
The camera I chose (the 1930 Welta Gucki) is from photography’s youth. I felt it was perfect to reference the vitality and naive simplicity of children in an unfamiliar setting.
The camera is unfettered——no meter to gauge its surroundings, an uncoupled viewfinder like a child’s fresh, uncluttered take on life.
The 46mm film is hard to come by, so I rolled my own from a bulk package of 1983 Kodalith ortho, type 3 that I saved from a friend’s flooding basement. It was originally intended for newspaper halftone reproductions and can be coaxed into rendering continuous tones by using the wrong chemicals when developing it.
In life and in art alike, the child speaks and is unfazed by trivial parameters such as what is ‘correct.’ Choosing the developer was easy: a dilute ascorbic acid (vitamin C) based formula for 10 minutes at room temperature. I don’t use a thermometer and my darkroom was chilly today, so I let kept it in a few minutes longer. It felt right.
As I approached the school, the thought of photographing the actual children seemed irrelevant in the face of the power of nature. So instead I wandered into the woods and met a beautiful pile of compost.
The immensity of its potential seemed to poignantly and overwhelmingly speak of the future. It would become the future, from which gardens will take root. Much like the gardens of the mind these children have, ideas spreading forth like so many seedlings planted in the sweet April landscape.
The horizontal lines in the compositions are scratches likely caused by tiny specs of corrosion on the film path of the camera. Much like these children will have tiny specs of corrosion in their minds as years grow them wiser, more hardened, and less naive to the injustices of the world.
There you go folks. Kindergarten Orientation Day at Beeman. Thank you, Stevens.