Thursday, January 12, 2012


Lab-RAT-ory Potential
One of my constant pleasures other than building models and dioramas is riding my Yamaha V-Star 1100 Classic motorcycle up and down Highway 27 in Florida, from Tallahassee all the way down to Miami, a city I love and have a past in.  The ride normally takes me 14 hours or so, and depending on how tired I am I will stop somewhere for the night.  What I love about these rides is that I get to take my camera, always hoping to veer off and get a little lost.  There's always the adrenalin and excitement of finding something new, something I have never seen before.

Other than my obvious styrene addiction, I am addicted to rust, gunk, and the way things will decompose.  I'm hooked on taking pictures of buildings off the road that are abandoned, too-far gone for anyone to save.  We live in a if-it's-broken-throw-it-away culture.  The old gets tossed out, abandoned.  So there's pure gold on the road.  I travel with my cameras and take pictures.  In my heart I feel a great tenderness for places overgrown with weeds, with roofs caved in, with the smell of decay thick in the humid air.  There's a rush and a high about them.  For me, they are  beautiful, perfect places.  Often, I am tempted to preserve them in pictures so I stop and photograph.  I wish more people would do this in their own cities and towns.  Communally, we could preserve a record of the way little towns and cities along the Blue Highways of the United States existed.  The way I think of it is if each of us took pictures of what we saw and witness, then the people coming up behind us would benefit from such a record.  For those of us who build models and dioramas those pictures are very important, not only as reference, but a source of inspiration.  We replicate what we see.  In doing so we are living our lives to the fullest.  There's a feeling I get by looking at these pictures that often scares me in that if we don't REMEMBER who we've been, what we've built, we will never learn what we are capable of being, dreaming, creating. It's an act of preservation, sure, but it's also a way forward.

It's all in the eyes, in the details.  It's the connection between one place and the next, between one person and another.  The stuff gets passed down in normal circumstances, but these are NOT normal circumstances.  As I approach the big Five-Oh, I wonder how much longer will these places exist, or me in them.  I live in a State where the current Governor does not believe in the beauty of ARCHEOLOGY, and he's a fool, like most people who don't believe you can learn your own history from looking at the rubble, at what remains in that corner of our lives, standing there, still solid after all these years.

We eventually leave, turn and go away, and these places remain to tell their story, and OURS too.  My taking photographs is not just a mere act of preservation, it's a act of remembrance.

Which is why I build models.  I try to have control over the story, what all I want to say about what I've seen, the lives I've lived, what it all means to be here in the now.  It's a privilege and a pleasure to be able to build something out of nothing.


  1. Dr, there is so much truth to this story it actually brings a tear to my eye. Makes me think if cars could actually come to life how poorly they would think of us for letting such beautiful things rust away. It is so bittersweet, could almost say that the rusting away of our past is the rusting away of all that we are. It is scary that it all could be lost. Is our Americana going to come down to styrene? It is possible.

  2. I hear you, buddy. I think the landscape of most cities and towns IS disappearing and we might not be able to preserve it all. Glad to see and hear I am not the only one. Thanks for staying tuned in.