Note: the watermark in the lower right does not appear in the final print.
"Petunia" - cottage numbered 17.
Days' Cottages or The Flower Cottages (because each cottage was named after a flower), began as one man’s dream in 1931. Built on a stretch of road along the beach at a time when very little existed in this area of Cape Cod and the idea of leisure travel for the average American working family was just starting to be a thing.
The Days family has rented out their row of 22 white cottages (plus one across the road that is a converted gas station of the same size) for almost 90 years.
All 22 beachfront cottages are 420 square feet, with two bedrooms, a small kitchen, and a living space with windows facing the water. The cottages are numbers 1 - 12 and 14 - 23 along the beach - no unlucky 13 among them.
Fine art photographer Edward M. Fielding has captured these cottage in the spirit of Bernd and Hilla Becher, the husband and wife team famous for documenting blast furnaces and other industrial sites with an unflinching, straight on documentary style. The nearly identical positioning of the camera creates the illusion of sameness at first glance but then as one looks closer they begin to see subtle differences between the structures. Just like each family’s summer vacation and memories are different in their own way even when staying in identical cottages.
In Flower Cottages series, the differences might be as subtle as a loose piece of siding, the addition of a picnic table, a backhoe in the background or perhaps drawn shades.
This series fits in with the themes expressed in the ground-breaking 1975 an exhibition called New Topographics - Man-Altered Landscapes which signaled a radical shift away from traditional depictions of landscape. Pictures of transcendent natural vistas gave way to unromanticized views of stark industrial landscapes, suburban sprawl, and everyday scenes not usually given a second glance. Photography allows one to freeze a moment of time and study it for all of the nuances normally overlooked.
Fine art photography by Edward M. Fielding - www.edwardfielding.com
April 25th, 2018
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