The one thing I can count on, living in Florida, is the ever-changing cityscape. I would say that since the Covid-19 virus I have become more aware of my surroundings, however, that has been true for me since I started photography. The power of observation is a necessary skill set for most photographers and when I travel from location to location, I am always considering what would make an interesting image. Which is one of the reasons I have a unfailing love for roadside photography.
I was surprised when I found something new to photograph that was literally right under my feet. Painted markings across asphalt, cement, grass, and iron – markings left by line-locators and surveyors. Vibrant colors shaped in letters and forms, some which are recognizable like blue arrows and a capital “S” over a manhole cover probably indicates sewer. Others are challenging to decipher. I like to look at the markings more abstractly. So I began following the lead of Ernst Haas who photographed from the mid-forties until his death in 1986. He made a series of photographs which he called Street Detritus (street debris). Haas’ photographs are graphic and gritty, highlighting the stark differences between the bright nature of the paints and the depth of the black in which they are found.
I am amazed at the systems that lay just under the concrete, asphalt, and grass throughout our country and even more so the markings of the men and woman who locate and maintain these systems. A visual language as foreign to me as hieroglyphics, but I recognize that their work painted in orange, yellow, blue, purple, and white paint marks all across the city as art. The unintentional art of people making intentional marks.
The Accidental Artists was the original working title for this series of images. Considering the series more, I have decided to rename it Unintentional Artists -which I will be adding in the gallery soon.