“Reimagining Railroad” by Staff Photographer Stevens Brosnihan
After his first assignment
, we decided to give our staff photographer Stephens Brosnihan another chance at covering the Gloucester news beat. This… is what he gave us.
Beige is the New Black
The Clamtributors asked me to cover the second public hearing of the ‘Reimagining Railroad’ project held this Monday night between 6 and 8 pm. Being so close to the the Golden Hours of pre-sunset light, I was bereft to think of such precious photons being lost to interior shots of talking heads in City Hall. So, I headed down to the locus of the imaginary citadel that is being proposed. In preparation for the shoot I built a pinhole camera, reimagining an oatmeal box into an imaging device. It’s a classic beginner’s project, parting the seas of technique and techné to reveal the essence of the materials at hand. The lens is the only carefully considered element, and it is but a tiny, clean and round hole.
I was graced by an outbound commuter during my first shoot and was immediately transported to post-war Paris and the origins of musique concrète. The girth and power of the diesel locomotive producing seismic emanations evoked Pierre Schaeffer’s Etude aux chemins de fer, 1948. I had found my muse.
The paper negative is so well suited to the cardboard camera. Pulp suits itself. I used some stale Xtol developer to bring the latent images to bear. It ended up being a good paper developer, though still a little fast. Next time I’ll dilute the depleted stock for this purpose. I was certainly on my toes in the red light.
Reimag[in]ing of the core of Gloucester’s public transit gateway? It seems to be well underway with or without our ‘input.’ Beige rectangles (and triangles), while minimalist and demonstrating an economy of imagination, refuse to command a meaningful transition for Gloucester into the next realm of future possibilities (cultural or economic) and certainly ignore that which represents the aesthetic heart or spiritual soul of our fair city. The de facto boatyard abutting the train station provides a bitter richness and self evident reality that is superior and yet will likely be superseded by some soul-depleted franchise. Is beige the new black?