the museum of americana

a literary review

Before the Bulldozer and the Wrecking Ball — Photography by Jeffrey Alfier

 
In my photography, I attempt to capture abandoned, rusted and ruined places and themes of America in a way that resonates with a keen perception of tactile imagery — something important to me as a poet. Many of my photographs end up being poem triggers. I seek angles on the particulars of rustic, worn and decayed realms that exhibit the passing of time in their slow fading from the world. I seek to get there before the bulldozer and the wrecking ball. I thus have little or zero interest in forward-looking mass architecture. Usually my subjects fall within certain artifactual obsessions where images over time form relationships expressive of particular spaces, such as the Mojave Desert, bars in harbor towns, diners, farm buildings and equipment, shuttered factories and mills, pre-1970s cars, forlorn men and women — in sum, a vast array of urban and rural spaces. As for methods, most of my photographs are shot on foot after parking my car. I use a digital camera as well as my cellphone camera. Sometimes, if the area is unsafe, or if I must stop in the middle of a hopefully un-trafficked street, I’ll take a shot through one of my car windows. This especially comes into play if I’m not comfortable stopping for a shot, as when I get a feeling that someone may be wondering why I’m taking a photograph of something they may think no one would be interested in, and thus my interest appears suspicious. If the shot I seek is a human subject who should probably be photographed furtively, I’ll often take the photo at an angle, or pretend I’m trying to make a call if I’m taking the shot with my cellphone. Overall, I want to capture what is static as well as fleeting. By obtaining both on camera, what fades away will stay with the world a little longer.
 

~ Jeffrey Alfier

 
 

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Jeffrey Alfier’s latest works are Anthem for Pacific Avenue: California Poems, Bleak Music — a photo and poetry collaboration with Larry D. Thomas, Southbound Express to Bay Head: New Jersey Poems and The Red Stag at Carrbridge: Scotland Poems. He is founder and co-editor of Blue Horse Press and San Pedro River Review.