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Carrie Furnaces (Rankin, PA) | i hope you can forgive me

Carrie Furnaces (Rankin, PA) | i hope you can forgive me - Carrie Furnaces
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I get so frustrated with my work sometimes.
I find myself combating my own limitations,
the limitations of my camera, the lighting,
my time and finances and thus my ability to travel to photograph these sites,
my lack of ability to turn the showings and lectures I've had into something tangible and meaningful.
I spend hours on these shots fighting with the imperfections inherent in them -
I try to correct the perspectives, the exposure, the contrast, the colors,
all to wind up with final products that are not what I want them to be,
that don't live up to the potential that I saw in the original frame.
I am grateful for the compliments I receive on my photography and my related accomplishments,
but all I can see sometimes is the trail of mistakes and missed opportunities,
the areas where I should have been able to do better but for some reason or another did not.
There are pictures that I've spent hours working on only to ultimately discard,
shots that were perfect except that the camera was placed a foot too high or low,
ones where the focus was off, or the alignment incorrect, and that was enough to kill them.
There is a mass graveyard on my hard drive of stillborn photographs,
many of which are from places that are gone now, that I will never be able to redo correctly.
I try to add writing to the shots to provide context and meaning,
and really I think it just sounds like a one-note piano after a while.
It's enough to make me want to quit, to simply delete everything I've done
and shut down my website, to give up on this ridiculous quixotic quest
to do whatever it is that I think I'm supposed to be accomplishing here.
There are location galleries like this one that
I know aren't my best, that I should by all rights have managed to
turn into a real tribute to a place that was so important and still is amazing.
I suppose this is where I'm supposed to have some clever way of
turning this whole thing upside-down, of squeezing out some wise message about
perseverance, maybe. Or maybe about how none of us are perfect, or that
ultimately it's the journey and not the end product. I don't know.
It's a lot like my whole existence, really.
I just don't have it in me, to be honest. Maybe I never did.
maybe I never was very good at making some sort of point,
a period at the end of the sentence that is my life.
Maybe all it's ever been is just a big empty question mark,
a riddle about the meaning of things in a world where
nothing really lasts or seems to work out the way it should -
a riddle I keep trying to figure out the answer to
and just drawing a blank.
I'm sorry that these pictures aren't what I had seen or felt or hoped,
and I'm sorry that my writing isn't as deep or profound as it pretends to be.
I'm sorry that no matter how hard I try,
I'm just never going to get anything completely right.
I hope you can forgive me for it.
I hope someone can.
Carrie Furnaces, Rankin PA. 2009

If you'd like to learn more about this location, it is a featured chapter in the new Abandoned America book Abandoned America: The Age of Consequences. Signed copies are available through my website, or you can find (unsigned) copies available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other online booksellers across the globe.

I also teach photography workshops here periodically; to check availability follow this link.

Photograph and unattributed text by Matthew Christopher of Abandoned America.

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