When Thomas Edison first visited Fort Myers Florida it must have looked vastly different than today. No nondescript urban sprawl, no budget motels and no 2 for 1 T-shirt shops. In fact little existed in the area aside from the abandoned fort of the city’s namesake. So it’s pretty remarkable that someone of Mr. Edison and Mr. Ford’s celebrity decided to develop their winter estate there and lovingly groom and maintain it for more than half a century. By the time Mina Edison deeded the property to the city in 1947 there’s little doubt that the landscape had independently evolved outside the estate.
All of this is, of course, fortunate for us as there’s now a definitive “there’s nothing like this” space in an otherwise unremarkable city that’s squeezed between Gulf, river and swamp. Not only is the estate a perfect slice of solitude for an afternoon stroll it is more importantly a historical time-capsule. Historians and environmentalists will revel in the ability to view the natural landscape along the banks of the Caloosahatchee River manicured as it was more than a century ago and science and technology buffs will geek-out on seeing the museum quality preservation of one of the world’s greatest scientists and inventors’ workshops and personal living space.
As we approached Capitol Hill the early morning sun was now blocked by the massive US Capitol Building and its facade was taking shape. For the twenty five minutes we walked along Pennsylvania Avenue, the building was prominent on the horizon at the end of the avenue yet hidden in a wash of light. I felt relieved to finally look directly at the structure, now high overhead, free from a direct view of the sun. Back-lit, the white marble dome obstructed the rays of light now casting a perfect yellow dome-shaped silhouette against the deep blue sky. I first admired the immense scale of the structure. But it was the color that soon consumed my thoughts. Where do they get such white marble? And how do they keep it so bright? Other structures, similar in style and age, that I’ve seen in Europe, seem in constant need of deep cleansing. Their surfaces are stained black from centuries of bombardment from soot and pollutants.
I had thought I had been on a tour of the Capitol Building on a school trip. Though once I entered the remarkable rotunda I was sure I had not. The coffered dome floats high overhead, higher than I anticipated. Lifted like the lid of a jar, it is separated from its rotunda by a ring of light-flooding windows. In the bath of morning light diffused from above, the detailed textures of the white marble and brush strokes of the artwork were now visible when they were not outside. The wedding cake-like layers tell the surprisingly comprehensive history of the nation.
Down below it would never be apparent how early in the morning it was. The floor of the rotunda buzzed with tourists. They huddled, snapped photos and darted about like perfectly synchronized schools of fish. All of this was quite dangerous and the risk of collisions seemed inevitable as all had their heads tilted back and their eyes intently affixed to the lofty dome. I was surprised to not find the hoards of field-tripping children that I expected. Adults, some with children, were in their stead. They were from all walks of life and impressively quiet in the cacophonous space. In the absence of rambunctious screams I heard the murmur of some half-a-dozen languages whispered in restrained respect. The air of the womb over our heads was still and warm. And all in attendance stretched to breath it.
That event marked the beginning of my documentation practice – one that I now feel sick for not starting a year sooner. Leather-bound moleskins accompanied me most everywhere from then on. Added to the scrawled-on pages after a trip to Honduras and Peru were scores of photos shot with my first non-point-and-shoot digital camera. Until that point, the photos I loved to take found themselves scattered at the bottom of basement tubs as no physical photo albums ever seemed to do the cumbersome prints justice. Soon, under the new medium, photography would become an ever-consuming passion.
Again recognizing the vulnerability and limitations of such a valuable document, especially when lending to others to enjoy, I turned to technology for help. That’s when I discovered print on demand publishing. If only I had a graphic designer to make magic of my vision. Oh, wait . . . I’m a graphic designer!
My first self-published books were faithful and meticulous recreations of the original journals right down to the development of my own handwriting font to fill the pages. There is a degree of tedium in creating the same document twice but the success of the results were motivation enough to see them through to completion. My travel journals could now be handed out to friends and family to enjoy or distribute at will and I could keep the precious originals out of the reach of destructive hands.
Of course, I found that I had a lot to say even after the journals were published. That’s when the Travel Companion Blog became the next logical development. In addition to new travel experiences, the posts acted as supplements to the published journals. Blogging as a single, self-contained entry was something that really appealed to me. I guess it’s similar to my preference of strong, fast-hitting short stories over lengthy novels.
As my great interest in photography grew, the form of the blog had taken full shape. One story, one photo, each sharing an equal and independent importance to the overall experience. As all of the elements mixed and evolved, new and ever-expanding ideas flooded my skull. My next project was an homage to Gardner’s Photographic Sketch Book of the Civil War. One photograph, one story.
The Travel Companion from the Realm of the Maya is the latest addition to the collection of journals. It is grander than anything that has come before it in depth and quality. It’s been truly exciting to record and distribute life’s experiences with such full and unbridled creative control. We should expect no less justice to be done for the splendors of life.
- Ohio State UniversityEnglish
- KMi IncLead Designer, 2001 - present
- BFH Studios - Photgraphic, Interactive, Animation, Branding, Graphic, Print, Webpresent
Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom - The Royal Fairy Picnic
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Peppa Pig Bedtime Story - Latest Episodes 2013 (English)
Peppa pig video. Peppa Pig New Latest ENglish episodes. Peppa pig episode. Peppa Pig Englsih episode. Peppa pig cartoon.Peppa Pig Englsih ep
Cinemagraph: Watch Crystal Renn Dance on the F Train
Click here to see Crystal Renn come to life.
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