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Roadside Memorials project / TV feature 4-30-15
Old 04-30-2015   #1
rhl-oregon
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Roadside Memorials project / TV feature 4-30-15

I've been working on a project to document roadside memorials in my region of western Oregon for a while. Recently this project caught the attention of a young television journalist who was working on a story about children killed at a traffic crossing.

Edit 10/15: here at last is a link to the TV profile:
http://www.kezi.com/news/Eugene_Phot...er_Snaps_.html

If you are able to watch it, consider me the intermediary of a story better expressed by the photographs, a few of which I will cross-post from the RFF gallery
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I'd be interested to see this thread generate more images and discussion on the subject of roadside memorials, ghost bikes, and similar forms of commemoration at the sites where people died.
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Last edited by rhl-oregon : 10-21-2015 at 14:29. Reason: Updated video link
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Old 07-15-2015   #2
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More work from this ongoing project--at this point, mostly still close to home in western Oregon.

You're welcome to add your own images, stories, comments about all types of roadside memorials.































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Old 07-15-2015   #3
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Most of these are from Lane County, an area the size of Connecticut.



















































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Old 07-16-2015   #4
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Robert, I missed this in my absence here.

What a powerful project. I admire your dedication to it.
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Old 07-16-2015   #5
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A serious interesting project, sad as well. Congrats for seeing your efforts recognized.
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Old 07-16-2015   #6
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Thanks, Will; thanks, Robert (I just mentioned your name yesterday to an acquaintance here btw).

To the extent that I had a critical literary reputation, while writing was my primary form in the decades preceding 2011, it was about being an elegiac poet--concerned with narratives and moments of loss, absence, regret, longing. It appears that this impulse remains strong in the shift to photography. I suppose I should be the least surprised by this. ;-)

I decided to reinforce/update this thread in part, though, because not much attention is devoted to the visual ethnography of mortality, memorials, commemoration. Meditating, visually, on the pathos of accidental or reckless highway deaths is never going to bring a viewer the serenity associated with many landscape images, the companionability of the most casual portraits, or the gratuitous urbanity of street shooting (to say nothing of tourist and pet shots). But there should be a place for it on RFf because we all have a place for it in our private hearts to the extent that we each have loved ones in cemeteries.
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Old 07-17-2015   #7
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Old 07-18-2015   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhl-oregon View Post
... But there should be a place for it on RFf because we all have a place for it in our private hearts to the extent that we each have loved ones in cemeteries.
Your work is a good step in keeping them alive, in our hearts, memories, thoughts...thanks
robert
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Old 07-19-2015   #9
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I first became obsessed with Descansos while in New Mexico, about twenty years ago. I've been shooting them ever since. I'll be returning to New Mexico soon, which is fraught with Descansos. It's like driving by a picket fence.



https://www.flickr.com/photos/384632...41973?detail=1

Here is a good article on them by David Nance:

http://webpages.charter.net/dnance/descansos/

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Old 07-19-2015   #10
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This is a fascinating piece of work, Robert, and I've looked at it several times (and will be back again I'm sure).
What I especially like is that you have shot what is there in front of you that moment, and have not used the scenery to make pretty, decorative or "artistic" images.
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Old 07-19-2015   #11
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Thanks for taking part, Russ. I just toured your Descansos folder on Flickr, and notice some images from the interior NW (Highway 97 in Washington, but others where the hills and brush and evergreens show a familiar topography).

I also hear what you say about picket fences in New Mexico, and imagine that the further south we go, the more roadside shrines of all kinds we'll see. I'd love to make that sort of documentary trip through the SW and into Mexico, but I've told myself I have to finish my not inconsiderable county first.

Thanks for them Nance link too. I'll have a look soon.

Quote:
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I first became obsessed with Descansos while in New Mexico, about twenty years ago. I've been shooting them ever since. I'll be returning to New Mexico soon, which is fraught with Descansos. It's like driving by a picket fence.



https://www.flickr.com/photos/384632...41973?detail=1

Here is a good article on them by David Nance:

http://webpages.charter.net/dnance/descansos/

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Old 07-19-2015   #12
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Dave, thanks for stopping in. I did make an artistic decision or two, though--sticking to black and white being the primary one, but all of them are composed in one way or another: to include the contrasting blur of speeding vehicles to the stasis of the memorial, to include mourners and gawkers, to suggest how empty and depopulated the world around them appears, or to make the viewer effectively have to kneel, as I did, and get close to every detail as though nothing else exists.....

I do take your point--the images are not meant to be attractive or ornamental, though the memorials are often laden with souvenirs and tokens, and some are very neatly maintained. i do hope some beauty emerges, and some mystery remains, in the images, however severe and plain.
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Old 07-19-2015   #13
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I usually shoot them in B/W. But occasionally get caught with color film in the rig. This one is from an unsolved roadside murder along the highway leading out of Espanola, towards Abiquiu in New Mexico. Driving south through the country of Mexico, you'll also be bombarded with descansos. :-(
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Old 07-19-2015   #14
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01 December 2006; Roadside memorial worded:
"Forever in our hearts
“Boy”
Raymond Ramos Jr
9-30-50 - 8-28-98
We miss you so..."
on north shore of West Maui, HI

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Old 07-19-2015   #15
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haunting stuff...very very good.
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Old 08-08-2015   #16
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Found yesterday on a late-day drive. X-Pro and X-E1, 35 1.4 and SLR Magic 23 1.7.

Prairie Road near Junction City


On a curve of the Crow Road






A mile away on the Crow Road
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Old 10-21-2015   #17
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There is now an active weblink to the original 4/30/15 TV profile on my project:


http://www.kezi.com/news/Eugene_Phot...er_Snaps_.html
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Old 10-21-2015   #18
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Robert that is awesome. Great project, powerful images and congrats on the news piece.
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Old 10-21-2015   #19
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Thanks very much, Allen. I value your discernment and judgment.

Now I'm beginning to revisit some of the sites to do short-short videos (-30sec) about them.
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