I’ve been tuning in to the History channel’s TV show ‘American Pickers’ a lot these days. And while many of the characters and destinations featured on the show could easily find their way to an episode of ‘Hoarders’. Digging through a families history as opposed to unearthing years of unattended cat feces somehow appeals to me.
As a kid growing up in the shadows of Shea stadium, the junk yards guarded by attack dogs and pop up automotive repair and parts shacks just a few feet beyond, I became enamored with old trucks, their histories and the miles they accumulated while making their rounds. You see, everyone and everything has a history as well as a unique story to tell. For myself, I’ve always felt a responsibility to document and whenever possible preserve it. Knowing full well, that nothing is permanent.
I was only seven years old when I wandered onto my first construction site in Jackson Heights, Queens and just weeks after that I watched a close friend fall to his death at the same site. Though tragic in every way, it never deterred me from hopping a fence or overlooking any signs that bore the words “NO TRESPASSING!” As an adult, I discovered a passion for photography and though that passion consumed me. My love and appreciation for things like construction sites, junk yards, factories and the numerous locations that are often deemed “Off Limits.” Having a camera and a desire to document my surroundings led me to many destinations. A few years ago, I attended a Q&A in downtown NYC where the author of a book whose title escapes me would speak about his experiences shooting his factory themed images for his book. Imagine how disappointed I was when he talked about getting permission and a time frame to capture the images for his project. “What a jip!” I thought. This guy got an all access pass and chose to shoot from the cushy balcony. Where was the rush of adrenaline coming from? Where was the risk? Undaunted, I returned to my passion and that rush that comes from not knowing what will happen next. That feeling you get when the hairs on your neck stand on end and tingle. While I’m too old and too sick to climb fences, outrun police or feel the breath of an angry guard dog on the chase,. I’m still holding out that there’s a gallery exhibit or even a book in the future. And while I’ve begun to gather and post pictures on my social media page, I know I still have a long way to go. Here’s a link to some of the images I’ve come across. Left Behind