Hello, I am Michael A Kearns, a writer and photographer living in Milford Ohio; a small river town about 15 miles outside of Cincinnati
I have several other sites: Flowers For The Void, a sort of visual portfolio; and, Searching For The Soul of America, my effort to recount two years of stop-start travel throughout the United States while attempting to unearth the heart and soul of our conflicted nation.
Both of the above sites are testament to my restlessness and lifelong inability to maintain any real degree of focus, or concentration on any particular topic, for any real period of time.
In this site I wish to continuing exploring both the literal and inchoate world, but in a more open format; meaning that I’m open to exploring damn near any subject (outside of politics); and that I want to keep the style consistent and clean; and that I’ll also permit myself to write and illustrate these essays as briefly or extensively as necessary.
Thus, inside, you’ll find pieces which are sometimes more centered around photography and others which lean more upon the written word.
Additionally, I wish to combine the classic essay form with imagery which mirrors the golden period of photography. In short, I wish to create essays marrying the written word, as created by the likes of John McPhee or Anne Dillard; with the classic photography of say Henri Cartier Bresson or Dorthea Lange .
Such an effort is doomed from the outset as I do not possess a scintilla of the talent of any of these masters.
And yet, so much of life inevitably results in failure. If one is doomed to fail, why not die swinging for the fences?
Please feel free to contribute your thoughts and efforts.
And please do not be put off by the essay format- a form many consider antiquated or obtuse. For, as a fine writer once said, “an essay is basically just an organized version of your thoughts and beliefs.”
“Essays,” Edward Hoagland wrote, “are how we speak to one another in print—caroming thoughts not merely in order to convey a certain packet of information, but with a special edge or bounce of personal character in a kind of public letter.”
Essays are, I believe, how we explain ourselves, our beliefs, during these turbulent times; the background music which accompanies the burning of the Empire. Essays are the literary mix tapes of your youth. Essays are an attempt to make sense of an oft insane world, a chance to express your views without the needing to shoot up a church or movie theater.
I want to work in this format because I believe that photography married to the essay generates a creative entity in which the written word gains a new access and flexibility.
Obviously I’m not the first to have such an idea. In the summer of 1936, writer James Agee and photographer Walker Evans explored the daily lives of sharecroppers in the pre-civil rights South. Their resulting work, in 1941, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men was a powerful collaboration of word and image.
Peter Matthiessen’s The Tree Where Man was Born, as illustrated by the photography of Eliot Porter, is another example of great writing being married to stunning imagery.
It is in this tradition that I wish to create; the difference being that these condensed efforts will represent a personal, rather than joint, collaboration. All writing and all photography will be my own. Through this synthesis I hope to create something seldom seen, if not novel. A digital-multi media project in which any theme or subject is open for exploration in a consistently flexible format.
Let me know if this adventure works for you and how I’m doing.