It came to me why I write these letters, this journal and take the photos that I do. I was thinking about it, and I came to the idea that I photograph junk, and write about the schlock of my life because I am so in love with being alive that I want to transmit it to everybody. I really want to send my love of life to the people whom I love, but I’ve an ego big enough to wish I could tell it on the mountain. I realized this when I saw the instillation in the long island business center a couple of years back, that my love of industrial ruin is just one of many streams of post modern aesthetics, and that I am in no way (or in very few and narrow ways) unique.
My love of the rubble and squalor along the railroad tracks is a strand of the modern aesthetic, just as my meditations of
Zion are as old as humanity itself. Planting people and marking the spot where they’ll never grow again is part of what distinguishes us from the rest of the animal kingdom.
So when I photograph a dog’s bleaching bones sprouting out of Fido’s maggoty remains on the geometry of the ties, or snap a picture coming up a hill in
Calvary that makes the Citicorp building look like the slab it is, I am celebrating the fact that I am alive and the world is for the living. I am so in love with life, with the crass physicality of it all, that everywhere I look I see signs of the majesty of life.
The graffiti that scars the subway widows is a scream from below that will be heard. Not the literal below of the subway and the grave but the metaphorical below of caste, class and power: the everyday nobodies who will be heard. And I look at it and meditate on the soul that feels so alone and underappreciated that it must scribble scrabble on the windows that I want to look out at
New York through. While I am resentful of the obstruction, I comfort myself by thinking of it as being in line behind someone.
They got there first and waited their turn: not to see out the window but to be to exist. I used to soil the walls of
New York. I was “BIKE.” “Worship Bike” was my longer tag and I tried to keep my tag to elevators where I made deliveries, preferably on the elevator inspection certificates. I was competing with two giants. One was the scratched I wanted to be on as many of them as P. J. McNulty, who actually worked for the city. Actually, I wanted people to notice me. I wanted to think that I mattered and I didn’t want the world to pretend that there was no ____________of consequence. I wanted to be validated. I wanted recognition. And I wanted it all without any work. I was young.