In showing Ernie's, I have been trying to capture both the public and the private. I want to show the sides that we see that the general public does not, in addition to showing the more public sides as well.
From external shots of the backdoor, to the square of stainless steel in front of the grill where I can most often be found standing, there are many aspects of the restaurant that people don't usually see. These unknown scenes are as much a part of what makes this whole little world what it is as the public side of things. Each, however, could not exist without the other.
The balance that is created is important to me. Whether the space is full of people on a busy Saturday morning, or empty and quite late that same night, it is all pertinent to understanding what Ernie's really is. Places like this are much less common than they once were, and may very well be on there way toward extinction. In that sense, I feel that there is an immediacy in this work that exists in even the most silent of images.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
I am still exploring multiple facets of what makes Ernie's all that it is. The individual stories that go along with many of the people are fascinating, but but much more so when framed within the context of the restaurant as a whole.
There are not very many places left like this one, where people actually know your name and see you on a daily basis. The connections that exist here are pretty unique, and we often times see groups of people interacting that most likely would not do so otherwise.
Everything is important to this project, and the images need to reflect that. I want to treat the portraits of our customers with the same magnitude importance as a still life of a bucket and mop forgotten in the basement. In truth, Ernie's could not exist without every person and object playing their own individual part, and each has a story to tell.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
So for anyone who may have been wondering where I have been or what I've been up to, get ready for some answers. Early this semester I met with my mentor, Tim Davis, and things changed.
I realized that the project I had been working on was not going to pan out the way I wanted, and that circumstances in my life were not going to allow me to pursue it with the dedication that it would require to complete it to satisfaction. As a result, I was burned out on it. When meeting with Tim, he looked through some of my older images (Group 1 stuff people), and found an interesting spark. In a few random images I had already begun to get at something I hadn't even realized was there.
So I shifted gears. Big Time.
I have subsequently spent this semester essentially scrapping what I had done last semester and beginning a new project to follow through into my thesis. I have a dedicated blog for just Tim and I (and recently a few other select individuals) and have been working feverishly there.
I won't lie, I've been very stressed all semester, but I have no doubt that I have done the right thing.
WITHOUT FURTHER ADIEU -
I Present to you my new body of work. It revolves around the Breakfast and Lunch place in which I have worked for the last Ten years - Ernie's Lunch (many refer to it as a diner, though technically it is not). It is a small family owned establishment in my hometown of Melrose, and is a place unlike any other I have found.
Places like Ernie's have fallen off in recent years, with many small business folding and unable to survive. Only through tireless work and unyielding commitment can something like Ernie's exist in this current world.
This work is a document of the world that is Ernie's lunch. The people, the spaces, the feelings and interactions. I am currently photographing any and everything that makes Ernie's what it is, and seeing what will emerge as the strongest vein.
I decided to keep this project largely to myself until I knew it was going to turn into something, and I now have no doubt that my choice to change my work completely was the right choice to make. Thanks to the few who knew what I was up to - Trusty Sully Evan and Ian.
(And yes, if you are wondering, this is all 35mm B&W film).