matt kuhlman

To start this presentation/project off, I should introduce myself.  My name is Matt Kuhlman, and I am an artist, a journalist, a cook, a cycling enthusiast, and many other things.  I hail from Lawrence, Kansas.  Other places I have lived, in time spans ranging from a few months to a few years, are Milwaukee, Albuquerque, New York City, rural Kentucky, and currently, the north shore of Massachusetts.  

This picture shows me on the porch of my house on the first full day I spent in Sebree, Kentucky, where I moved to in August of 2004.  The previous four years I had not cut my hair except for some small trims here and there, and before the move I decided I was tired of having long hair and would begin to shave my head after leaving Kansas.  I had always said as I was growing my hair out that this day would come, and that when it did I would first cut my hair into an enormous mullet and shoot a roll of pictures.  This is one of the resulting images from the roughly one hour that I had a mullet, and there will never be a day that this and the other images from the shoot will cease to be funny.

A shot of the old Lecompton barn from basement level to ceiling.  This thing is/was an architectural marvel considering it was built 150 years ago.  Imagine how majestic this barn would have appeared in the desolation of the plains during the settlement days, much less constructing the thing using purely manual processes.  Hand saws and pulleys, anyone?

For years I worked in a restaurant in downtown Lawrence, Kansas that was in a building made in the late 1800s or early 1900s.  It had been a lot of things in its time.  I’ve heard that it was at one time home to a taxi company, which is why the second floor was supported by gigantic steel beams that were probably added in to support the weight of cars parked up there.  Before being a restaurant it was a bookstore.  And in the 80s both Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs made appearances there. Burroughs may have made more appearances than one, being a Lawrence resident the last 15 years of his life.  

This photo was taken in the basement of the building, which is accessible only through a manhole underneath the stove in the restaurant.  This picture looks at an old set of stairs that would lead up to the back door of the building if it hadn’t been floored over.  I’d heard of the basement several times while working there and was disappointed to find that it was much smaller than I’d imagined.  While I envisioned a room running the whole length and width of the building, it turned out to only be a couple small rooms situated back underneath the kitchen area, with only a couple old toilets and some small piles of rubble in them.  Still, it is interesting to explore a small place that is literally right under your feet yet you seldom see.

Exploring Salem on a very, very windy day in the beginning of 2012.  The Salem area is interesting in how pockets of history remain untouched amid the constant flux of the city.  Some of these pockets date back to the 1600s, and some to the 1950s and 60s.  But altogether it is a patchwork of historical eras preserved in structure, and sometimes in people, that with the right kind of eyes can tell a long and rich story.

I was totally stuck on this scene in downtown Boston.  I have about 20 more shots from this same vantage point.  Something about how grandiose this transparent glass structure is compared to the tiny inhabitants of the city captures my interest, and the fact that everything contained in this scene except for the tiny patch of sky peering through the opening in the building is man-made, although it’s a relatively open view in the outdoors.