Poppets and Blocking
The boats I photograph are not in the water; they live on poppets and blocks, in driveways and backyards — such a familiar part of the New England landscape that I’ve only recently started giving them any notice at all. Many of these boats are in disrepair, on the edge of ruin, and at risk of never returning to the water.
I believe these boats at one time represented hope, the idea that their restoration would bring close bonding to a family, become the vessel in which to wander and see the world, or function as an essential tool for providing income. Somehow, something got in the way of these intentions. Surely there must be stories behind these boats, where they came from and why they were left to slowly waste away. In my photographs I do my best to present these boats in a dignified fashion, to record them with respect, regardless of their stage of decomposition. To me, each of these boats is a visible remnant of loss: a loss of direction, the end of a productive career, the loss of someone’s life.. of an abandoned dream.
Growing up, Joe became immersed in photography and the developing process while working in his father’s Boston area photo labs. The ability to experiment and learn film photography in a cost free, trial and error fashion was an obvious privilege, but one far too easy for a teenager to take for granted. Sadly, Joe did just that until, with the digital revolution looming dark, his dad closed the doors to his photo labs and retired early. For years, Joe held a bitter grudge against digital photography because it signaled the end of his freedom with film and the loss of his dad’s business.
For twenty five years, Joe has been a professional tattooer, running a
business while raising a family. During that timespan Joe began to suffer artistic burnout, and, looking for a new creative outlet, he slowly began to make photographs again. Benefiting from his early experiences with film photography, this time around, he fell deeply in love with the magic of this amazing medium, even embracing digital technology. Joe finally came to realize and appreciate this gift that his dad gave him so long ago.
Joe’s photographs have been included in group and juried exhibitions in Boston and New York including the Griffin Museum of Photography, the Bromfield Gallery, and the Javits Center in NYC.
Joe is on the board of directors at the Griffin Museum of Photography.
Contact Joe Staska