Big Brutus


I took this photo several years ago while on a road trip with two of my girls. I’d always wanted to see this monster but not something you do with the wife and kids in the car. Big Brutus. Once a force of nature clawing coal from the south-eastern Kansas land, until 1974 when we learned even something as mighty as this machine can come to an end. I understand that there was another earth mover even bigger called “Big Muskie” in Ohio but it’s gone now. Another piece of our history blown away with the dust and dead leaves.

You know the road trips I use to take with my kids are some of the most precious memories I have. I have eight children so to spend three or four days with just one or two was a wonderful way to connect. We’d listen to old-time radio programs (Superman/Shadow) while driving and eat at McDonald’s a lot. The great thing about little kids is their main attraction is the swimming pool and a movie. Easy to please they put up with all my wandering to places no one would ever really just plan to go to. We’ve seen everything from Amelia Earhart’s childhood home to the Seneca Spooklight also known as the Hornet Spooklight. A place I wanted to go to since I heard kids talking about it at lunch while in the sixth grade.

I recently came across this photograph and for the first time saw the elements of the what and why that brought me to that place. I took the originally ordinary travel photo and attempted to use it as the foundation to create a feeling of nostalgia mixed with faded uselessness and times passed. Maybe better. Maybe not. This machine seems out-of-place in a world filled with Facebook, Twitter and texting. That was part of what impressed me when I saw the negative.  When I shot this picture Twitter wasn’t born yet.

Assignment for the week: locate machinery not in use (of any kind) and create a piece that gives off the “feeling” of the machine in space and time. Post them here. I’ll comment.

Remember – Not all who wander are lost.

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