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Tag Archives: Saginaw Michigan

Someone to watch over me.

My Hometown #15 (©2012 Richard X. Moore)

A calm and steady gaze amid the urban confusion, behind a badge or behind dark sunglasses.

My Hometown #16 (©2012 Richard X. Moore)

I was pleased to see so much activity in Old Town Saginaw, the stomping ground of my youth. Maybe my cynicism is fading.  I sure hope so.

My Hometown #14: Sleeping Doorway (©2012 Richard X. Moore)

There is something starkly beautiful in the weathering plywood and ancient brick. It’s as if this doorway is resting, waiting for the good times to return.

What is life? An illusion, a shadow, a story,
And the greatest good is little enough:
for all life is a dream, and dreams themselves are only dreams.
Pedro Calderon de la Barca (1600 – 1681)

My Hometown #5: Shadows (©2012Richard X. Moore)

I can’t explain why I normally shun the brightest of days. Mostly, I like my light filtered through clouds, even and soft and illuminating everything like some great visual democracy. Bright light and deep shadow seem somehow unfair to my eye.

My Hometown #6: Shadows (©2012 Richard X. Moore)

I see things first as shape and texture. Details come to me only after I’ve studied a scene for a little white. I “credit” my visual impairment for this. Details take hard work. Shadows make that work so much harder for me, so maybe I’m avoiding the challenge instead of just embracing it.

My Hometown #7: Shadows (©2012 Richard X. Moore)

Not this day. I ventured out with a bright sun hung low in the winter sky and not a cloud to be seen. That sun drew lines on walls and on the crisp white snow as if it were a well-sharpened pencil. The lines, the forms, they told different stories from the ones I might have learned from the soft gray world I usually occupy.

My Hometown #8: Shadows (©2012 Richard X. Moore)

This world, this beautiful world of shadows and light, I won’t ever see it exactly as I saw it yesterday. Each moment appears and then vanishes into the past. Life is motion. Time is a long dream, a parade of moments strung together like pearls. I take them in and make them mine and they write their words on the pages of my small life, here in a place where difficult times have come.

My Hometown #9: Shadows (©2012 Richard X. Moore)


Now main streets whitewashed windows and vacant stores
Seems like there aint nobody wants to come down here no more
They’re closing down the textile mill across the railroad tracks
Foreman says these jobs are going boys and they aint coming back to
Your hometown……

My Hometown
Bruce Springsteen
From: Born in the USA (Released: 1984)

My Hometown #1: Giant Rabbit (©2012 Richard X. Moore)

This is a personal project for 2012.

I returned to Saginaw last summer after a very long absence. I was moved by the experience and wrote a lot about it in a series of four posts that I consider my best work over the last 12 months. It was dark and fatalistic and I was criticized for it (rightly so, I think). My city is deeply wounded but it isn’t dead.

Still, given my personality, most of the time I’ll see the glass as not only half-empty but cracked and leaking what little liquid it is able to contain. I mean, when your psychic card reader packs up and leaves town, that’s an omen and not a really good one.

My Hometown #2: Vanishing Psychic (©2012Richard X. Moore)

So I will be moving about this place where I grew up and recording what I see. I’m sure it’s not going to all be gloom and doom, wailing and gnashing of teeth. There is beauty amid the ruins. But realistically speaking, this is a place on it’s back and bleeding. We can talk about who and what might be responsible but these things seem somehow remote to me, well beyond my control. Sitting around bitching about it isn’t going to help anyway.

My Hometown #3: Fence and Derelict Building (©2012 Richard X. Moore)

Life is a lot like shopping in a outlet mall filled with choices, some good, some destructive, some stupid, some pleasure, some pain. Sometimes these choices are all of these at the same moment. Sometimes you go home without choosing anything at all. Sometimes the choices choose you.

My Hometown #4: I'll Need Another Beer (©2012 Richard X. Moore)

I will spend the year reflecting on what I see around me. I’ve thought a lot about this over the last couple of months. I can make no predictions or promises. This is something, it seems, that’s choosing me.

In the immortal words of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson:

res ipsa loquitur
Let the good times roll!



Sometime today, maybe even as I’m writing these words, this blog will receive it’s 2,000th page view.

I’m not sure how much of a milestone this is, really. I started this project without thinking much about where it was heading. I needed to write simply because I needed to write. I stumbled on subjects without plan or design and sprung them on an unsuspecting world.

Despite the urge for utter self-absorption this blog feeds, what feedback I’ve received from the outside world pleases me. Strangers are finding my words and reading them. Friends are seeing within me things I never could have described to them.

This post, where I finally said farewell to my late mother and to the house where I spent my childhood, remains my favorite. It’s probably among the most powerful things I’ve ever written but I can’t claim much credit for it since it pretty much wrote itself without my help. By last count, it made six people cry. Including me.  Every time I read it.

For this post I earned the praise of one Lisa J. Allen, not merely a former editor but a treasured friend, one of those rare individuals who could be critical without being unkind. It also got the attention of Brian Eggers, an old friend from high school who I haven’t seen in maybe 15 or 20 years. I could go on about the unexpected connections this exercise in vanity has uncovered, but you get the point. It’s just like the ripples in the pond, only bigger.

Most of all, though, thinking about what to say has uncovered threads in my own creative development that I may have overlooked had I not consciously considered them. Today’s example is Charles Demuth, a early 20th Century American painter of some notoriety whose work I like a lot. His health was poor and that, in combination with his lifestyle, ended his life pretty early at age 51. He was born on this day in 1883. While I was reviewing his work this morning, I came upon what was one of his better-known images, My Egypt, which came near the end of his life as he was contemplating the architecture of his home town of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

My Egypt (Charles Demuth - 1927)

In this image I saw a mirror of myself, contemplating my own home, a little older than Demuth was when he painted it and hopefully not so close to the end of the line.

Saginaw, July 2011 #8 (©2011 by Richard X. Moore)

Was I conscious of Demuth’s image when I was shooting this? No.

But it was in there somewhere, buried under layers of memories and fears and hopes and whatever else might make up the recollections of a lifetime. I connected with it and brought it into my own experience. It became a part of one long and memorable weekend that was filled with pain and pleasure, regret and promise, happiness lost and suddenly rediscovered.

If my work can somehow touch someone else this way, then I will have succeeded as an artist in the way that’s most important to me. Call me hopelessly romantic if you want.  I plead guilty.