Shipwreck, Flowing Sand

Near Astoria, OR (Artist Statement)

Shipwreck, Flowing Sand: Near Astoria, OR, USA (2015) - Fine art black and white photograph of the metal skeleton of an old wrecked ship, surrounded by pale, ocean-worn sand.

This wrecked ship was an icon of this West Coast beach, protruding suddenly from the sand like some bony metal prison. By low water, passers-by would explore and mingle under its rusted iron archways, feeling its aged skin, smelling the scent of the old sea. By high water, the tracks would be washed and only the ghosts of the old sailors would stay to haunt.

My family and I explored the ship on a white morning in the fall, a day when the spray from the waves might give way to whipping, windy rain. The beach was vast and flat, groomed by smooth waves that could pull with surprising power and undermine the feet. The water felt alive. I found myself wondering about the stories the ship could tell if its cold bones had flesh.

Through my lens, I positioned the bars against a foggy ocean that gave no hint of a horizon. I imagined a hapless captain searching through the cruel thick air for some imagined landmark, the ship swaying, the men tense. The lights ahead had gone dark, the wind was too strong from the West, the water beneath was wild and swirling but deceptively shallow.

— Shipwreck, Flowing Sand: Near Astoria, OR, USA (2015)

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© Mark Raymond Mason

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