Intersection of County Roads 50 and 51, Collin County, Celina, Texas. Winter, 2017.
If you travel far enough up the Dallas North Tollway into Collin County, you will reach the end. It reverts back into Dallas Parkway, and stops at a “T” intersection at FM428 in Celina, Texas. It seems an abrupt end to the tollroad that began in the late 60′s. In various phases since, it has carved its way south, nearly to downtown Dallas, and north through the suburbs of Collin County. Malls, shopping centers, corporate headquarters, and entertainment centers dot the real estate along its edges wherever the roadway expands. But at its northern-most end, for now, there are still fields with rows of crops, cattle, hay bales, and some gravel county roads that criss-cross it at stop sign intersections.
I’d driven up this far north for work a few times and hadn’t noticed the muddy, gravel paths that these county roads really are until this day when the crops had been trimmed down to ground level. I could see clearly to the horizon, and curiosity had me turning off Dallas Parkway to check out this lonely street sign sprouting up from the edge of a ditch. I raised my tripod as high as it would go, composed the shot while standing on the rear bumper of my car and got this portrait.
I see that beautiful spirit Floating there with the darkness
Unique in all the Universe
Not appeared accidentally Not created deliberately It… simply… just… happened
I made this picture in 1994 as a student at OIP&T (The Ohio Institute of Photography & Technology) in Dayton, OH. It was my first attempt at using a view camera, 4x5. This was before the digital revolution really took hold. I was 18 years old, full of ambition, optimism and eager to learn photography very well. Finally getting my hands on a view camera really did fill me with joy. I sort of knew what I was doing but not from experience, only from reading about large format photography on my own and ruminating on the principles. This image wasn’t even the product of an assignment. The moment I was granted lab privileges, I marched my little ass into that studio and made this image.
I still love this picture so much. I didn’t consider myself an animist at the time, that word hadn’t even entered my purview. But I was an animist. I still am. Seeing light. Working with darkness. Photographing Spirit. I didn’t know it in 1994 but this image would become my own personal emblem for my worldview.