On his 80th birthday, photographic artist Brett Weston fed sixty years worth of his negatives into the large fireplace in his home in Hawaii. Some of the negatives didn't burn immediately. So Weston doused them with kerosene.
Surrealist author Franz Kafka requested his writings be destroyed upon his death. Were it not for Kafka's close friend and editor Max Brod, no one would know anything about Kafka's writings, which have come to symbolize modern man's anxiety-ridden and grotesque alienation in an unintelligible, hostile, or indifferent world. That would be a shame to have missed. I digress.
These artists are among the many whose self accomplishment is attained through the act of creating... producing... building... filming. Weston proved his strong belief that photographic prints should only be made by the hands of the person who created the negative. He was disgusted at his brother's greed in regards to his famous father's negative collection, as his brother would reprint works of the late Edward Weston and sell them for thousands of dollars each.
So when does the need to create get superseded by the need to destroy? There's many situations, one which I sadly witnessed last week in North Caldwell, NJ. The greed to build. My creative working space includes a large window that, at times, shows imagery better than anything available on television. It's a view to 300 acres of woodland open space. Well, as of last week, there's now maybe 280. The other morning I wondered what 2 men with medium sized chain saws could possibly do to my view. Four hours later I knew they could completely alter it. Trees were killed. Rabbits ran scared. Fox and groundhog holes got sealed by trucks with four foot wheels. Birds nests came crashing down. Cicadas flew off in fear. The deer do not understand where their grazing land went. The elegant, long-winged hawk no longer glides above it all.
But I'll soon get to gaze out upon 27 luxury estates. And within a few years, beyond that I can walk my dog up to a group of 140 age restricted town homes. I won't have to worry about deer ticks. I'll just have a few more cars at each new stoplight to help all the new traffic, which may help slow down the cars which kill the deer crossing the roads looking for a new home.
In his mind, the builder will have created an awesome masterpiece. And he'll keep going as long as he finds more hawks soaring in slow motion.
Bye bye fireflies...
orig posted 10/4/2006 4:44:44 PM