I’ve taken photographs during the pandemic to preserve some of the sights and scenes and I’ve shared some of them here. My friend, architect, downtown denizen and sometimes contributor to this site, David Denton has used his sheltering in place time to create beautiful images that go beyond simple photographs, inventing his own mash-up version and re-imaginings of downtown. Please take the time to explore these amazing images through the videos.
It was 10 years ago this month that my wife and I moved to Knoxville after many years of living in Los Angeles. About that same time, I started taking pictures in Downtown Knoxville which offered an abundance of visual opportunity. In the 10 years that we have lived Downtown we have witnessed an amazing renaissance but now in a few short months Downtown is shuttered and struggling.
It seemed like the right time to celebrate Downtown at least virtually, and a good motivation for me to finally organize the hundreds of photographic images I have taken. I have attached the YouTube links for 3 volumes of some of my favorite photographic images .
Many people have asked me why I do not label the images or give some explanation. I’ve always said I don’t want to influence what people see but rather to allow them experience it from who they are. Perhaps more honestly, most of the time I don’t know what it means or why I take these pictures.
But I have learned that for me the greatest benefit of taking photographs is not the final print but rather the development of a way of living in which one is constantly scanning the visual landscape for photographic opportunities thus focusing on interesting and beautiful aspects of our environment ignoring the rest. It simply is a better way to live!
They say a photograph is worth 1000 words. But in fact, it’s worth even more in that photography can express something for which there may not be words. I don’t intend for these photographs to be documentary but rather interpretive as I see in my mind’s eye. Ten years of photographing Downtown Knoxville has given me a deeper understanding of the city, people and the history. It’s a kind of understanding that I don’t know how to put into words and thus let the images speak for themselves.
The current calm in Downtown is upsetting when one thinks about why it is so but it is a great time to really see Downtown without the distraction of people and see the physical environment and this potential as photographic subject material. I hope people will come Downtown when the time is right and bring their cameras and share their experience.
To look is to observe
To see is to understand
To gaze is to absorb
To ponder is to seek