We know it exists, the decay of the man-made, left as a ruin to the land that provided the soil for its culture. But often we can’t see it. We see the new, we see the old but the impermanence of that change, that battle that exists between nature and man, we often turn away from or dismiss.
The Pines is a multi-dimensional exploration of place, the place being an abandoned Jewish resort in the Catskill mountains.
Between the 1930’s and 1970’s Jewish families from New York City traveled to the Catskills, to newly built resorts such as The Pines for summer vacations. But with less expensive air travel and more disposable income, descendants of those same families sought vacations further afield, leaving the Borscht Belt almost completely abandoned and in ruin. The Pines lasted longer than many, but ultimately closed its doors for good in 1998.
The project explores the tension between the architecture and the rugged natural environment as it reclaims the abandoned structures just as it reflects on the loss of the cultural journey for many New Yorkers.
It’s also an exploration of how we observe the former resort as blends with nature. The drone, a rapidly improving tool for aerial photography, is the ideal method to document the transformation. Drones can hover hundreds of feet below helicopters or airplanes without disturbing the scene. Landscapes become intimate, the ground more visually accessible.
In turn the act of viewing these images becomes an active questioning of the image. For a moment we are at a loss visually with no sense of perspective, scale or recognition other than the fragmented clues of marks on a landscape. The images challenge the brain and require us to look more carefully. In doing so it prompts us to consider our relationship not only to the unfamiliar landscape, but the process of image making itself.