JOEL MCEACHERN/ PICTURING GRACE, FLORIDA AT FIRST LIGHT
This project began as a search for fresh air and distance from the polysyllables, politics and presumption that was Miami's urban planning trade. My time with the preservation research team whose work would produce Miami Beach's renowned "Art Deco" district reminded, if any were needed, of the harmful effects of growth. Our work described how once-vibrant neighborhoods first withered then simply faded away under the weight of constant change and growth.
The work reminded as well that there are many kinds of neighborhoods; wild and open places like the Everglades no less effected and changed by rapid growth.
The discipline that would became Picturing Grace began as a kind of apprenticeship with the light and place that Marjorie Stoneman Douglas would call the "River of Grass;" each visit a tutorial in the magic of first light and coursework on the natural history of the creatures that called it home.
That apprenticeship continues today in the state's central and northern reaches; places where trees as old and as majestic as California's mighty sequoia once graced the streams and ponds of this land. Remnants of these trees are still being found in the bottoms of area streams where logs were floated to market.
Above all things, Picturing Grace, Florida at First Light is a study in time and place; places where ancient creatures once grazed the wetlands, nomadic indians once watched the landings of wooden ships and big cats still roam the night woods in search of food for their young.
Simply, it is work that always reminds that polysyllables, politics and presumption are just a headline or building permit away.