I’m pretty sure anyone that saw me thought I was batty: take a picture; glance at the screen; retake the picture; glance at the screen; pull out a sheet of paper; scribble something on it; count out loud; shake his head; continue down the street.
Diligence, if a little unfocused, might be a good description of me for this one. It took me two years to put together this set of images. I’d go out and take twenty or so images and come back and decide only fifty percent were reasonable and then go out a month later and take the same numbers again. I’m not even sure what I would call the task now. Photo journey? Documentary? Photo challenge? Never-ending-go-nowhere job? I finally figured out that creating a grid of the numbers in a spreadsheet and scribbling out those that were done was a good idea.
While the images started out to be about numbers, they ended up being more about the residential fabric and the individual themes running through it: clapboard; peeling paint; vinyl siding; close spacing; electrical meters; mailboxes; lace curtains; cats; curbs; sidewalks; incidental plant life. It is as much about where St. John’s has been as where it’s going. I’m not happy with a few images, but every design problem is never really finished, it just reaches a point where you’ve got less to say and need to stop touching it.
I learned a lot about St. John’s’ numbering scheme. I know that this project would probably have been impossible in the other cities I’ve lived. Those cities where every block starts at the next set of one hundred. I was confounded by how some numbers were just difficult to find. I expected some tricky ones, but it wasn’t ones like the number ninety-seven or the number ninety-nine, but the number fourteen. Then there were the numbers that were always interesting to my eye like sixteen and those that always seemed dull like four. I didn’t scribble number four off the list until almost the end.
Check out the skyscraperpage.com thread which gives a nice countdown grid of the images with links. There’s also some rumors that something might be appearing in The Scope on this endeavor at some point, but I wouldn’t believe those rumors.
I should redo a few of the numbers at some point. Maybe I will get to them and maybe I won’t. It might be nice to get the extraneous cars out of the images as well. Then again, would it be an accurate depiction of St. John’s without some parking problems?