Personal Projects: WaterSong
How can one live in a desert, even the high desert of the Colorado Plateau and not have a fascination, a respect for, a direct relationship with water?
The idea for this collection is that simple. I have always had a water theme in my life. As a child, I would hear my dad, a non-drinker, ask for wine. He meant a glass of water. "The best drink ever!" As a boy scout I did my mile swim in the cold waters of a lake in the High Uintas. The chill of that experience is engrained into me. As I developed an interest in photography, water, especially water in my new found desert home was a frequent subject. I've taken up rafting with a small cataraft. I've had my share of flips and thrills, but nothing compared to a Cataract trip in October of 2006. Remember that? Hanksville made the national news because it was under water. I was on Cat with two dear and two new friends. It rained our second night out for 18 hours. I call it the Cormac McCarthy evening. Read Blood Meridian to understand the feel of dark and rainy nights. By the next day what we thought would be a casual 7000cfs trip turned into a 35,000cfs churning nightmare of raging water. I think only adrenalin and yelling to myself, "this is NOT a good day to die!" got me through. I survived my Colorado River baptism.
A month later I happened on a website featuring Czechoslovakian last names. Hucko was shortened from Huczhko when my grandparents emigrated to the US in 1918. There I read the following, "The probable origin of the name is in Slovakia, or in the border region between Slovakia and Poland. (The original pronunciation is something like "hooch-caw" or "hooch-koh".) The meaning of the word is not exact but the word (hoo-chee) means in the Slovak language the sound made by running water or waterfall. I guess it would be best translated into English as "rumble." So then the meaning of hooch-caw is best translated as "He Who Rumbles". I don't know about that part. Ask anyone who knows me. I gravitate to the running waterfall. This caused me to think of key water spots in my life history and to think more deeply about what the sound of running water meant to me.
I like that the form of flowing water is determined by the rock that holds it, which, in turn, is altered through the process of erosion by the very water that flows through it. One form, constantly changing, altering, creating another while being changed by what is changing it. Is this marriage? Is the sound anything but joy?
On a humid mid-August afternoon in 2007, I visited a local stream to produce photos for an extended exhibit of water photos. Wandering upstream I found myself photographing extensively. I returned for days in a row. I realized what this exhibit should be. Variations on a Stream. The forms of water over slickrock in MillCreek are as fine as they are anywhere else. I have been working the water ever since. Most of these images were made in a short section of MillCreek. Short, as in 800 steps from the closest to furthest images. This is my place. Moab is home. This is the water I drink. It is the song I live by.
WaterSong is availabe in book form at blurb.com. You can see it here.
On the first row the left image is where WaterSong starts and the right image is where it ends.