A Sheaf of Stories

The telling of stories must be as old as the first campfires keeping away the dark. Along with the light of the fire, the stories drew the listeners together and built community. Stories are a way to transfer information by putting it into a framework that facilitates understanding and provides an avenue to memory. While the presentation of stories started with the oral tradition, it has evolved into the written narrative and the dramatic presentation. Dramatic presentations inspired the long-standing metaphor of viewing the world as a stage. My introduction to Venice, as I exited from the Santa Lucia train station, immediately brought this metaphor to mind. Stepping onto the plaza in front of the station was like moving from a theatre lobby into the seating area. The golden afternoon light on the Church of San Simeone Piccolo, across the canal, defined the stage. Unlike in the theatre, I now had the opportunity to step out of the darkness and onto the stage. The implication that accompanies the metaphor is that we each act out our parts while thinking we know the stories of the other actors. Similarly, an aspect of travel photography is the challenge of documenting, in a distinctive way, the places that we think we know because we have seen so many pictures of them. The people and their stories are unique in any location, and they provide a way of breaking through the difficulty of false familiarity. By walking onto the stage and focusing on the other actors, I wanted to forget my story and think about the stories of the people around me as a way of experiencing the daily and weekly rhythms of a place. In this body of work I’ve focused on people viewed at distances defined by the scale of human interaction. I have not defined one story. Instead, I chose to feature an anthology of individuals, with their work, families, and neighborhoods. They are the building blocks from which I invite you to construct your stories.

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