Northtown...in 3D!

On one level, the idea of photographing in 3-D is just a transparent gimmick to get people to look at my photos—like Lady Ga Ga wearing a meat dress. But on an entirely more sincere level it is an attempt to draw them into looking at what they might not otherwise. There was a buddhist monk named Bodhidharma who according to legend stared at a wall for 9 years in deep concentration; and when he grew frustrated with being unable to stay awake in his meditations, cut off his eyelids. I can’t realistically expect anyone to give these photos of walls more than about 20 seconds attention, never mind inflict disfiguring self-mutilation. But there is some value—I think—in looking at admittedly banal scenes with more than a casual glance, and if it takes something like anagrams and 3-D glasses, I’m certainly not too proud.

Besides, I find it pretty hilarious: the idea of presenting flat, two-dimensional scenes in three dimensions. And to heighten the experience of visiting humble Northtown, all the more so. Don’t get me wrong, North Kansas City—or as we locals fondly regard it, the “Paris of Southwest Clay County, Missouri”—is a beautiful place! But this is certainly no collection of kitten videos or gorgeous sunsets.

I’ve been meditating on such walls (and modest back-alley architecture) as these for a lot of years without any good, conscious justification. And I’ve come to question the formal schooling I’ve received that would have me subdue the world with pre-conceived intentions and “artist’s statement”. I’m trying to un-learn such mental hamstringing and am growing to trust my eye. I accept these walls and poles and wires as a sort of visual koan, or Rorschach inkblot test and resist assigning too much meaning to them. Words can only poorly represent a tiny fraction of the full spectrum of possible thought—the fewer I use to try to explain photographs, the better.