PATTON AVE—Studio Five imports is among the many Asheville businesses closing their doors. People pass its display in the Leader Building’s alcove, unconcerned. But I’ve taken so many photos of this place that I can’t help but feel the photographer’s familiar urgency, the stress that comes from impermanence: When this place is gone, how will I juxtapose tourists and hand grenades?
You have to shoot quick in this town, because things disappear. Walking into the bank I pass a car intricately decorated with thousands of tiles, a rolling mosaic. Because I’ve been doing this so long, and missed so many photos, I’m certain it will be gone by the time I come out. So I turn around immediately, rummage in my back seat for my camera bag, but as I lifted my camera the car is driving away.
A week later I spot it here in front of the Leader Building.
It’s been a strange winter, full of warm days and beautiful evening light. Everyone walks around in warm-weather clothes. Like most photographers who still shoot film, I have so many undated negatives that I often have to analyze the way people are dressed to determine when the photo was taken. Looking through my archive for pictures of the Leader Building, it’s hard to tell if they were shot in January or June.
Going forward, it will be easier to date the photos by which establishments were still in business rather than the clothes people were wearing. Seasons come and go, sometimes in disguise. But the beginnings and ends of our endeavors are times we won’t forget.
Follow on Twitter: @DarkTopo
Other dispatches from the Asheville Argus:
The Lay of the Land
Merry Christmas from the Asheville Argus
Birds, Part II
Birds, Part I
Eyes on the Street
The Public Space
Collected Street Portraits
The Day it All Started
Fog on the Top Deck
Introducing the Asheville Argus