The past two months have held some interesting moments; this is one of them.
Some of the images I took during my visit with Bill Coperthwaite will be reprinted in a book this spring, put out by Gestalten Press in Berlin. After a rather drawn out dialogue on what should be included, we settled on a few images- and I began the search through my boxes of negatives to re-scan the selections.
It was the day before Thanksgiving. A very quiet morning, with low-hanging clouds arranged in lines strung out over the ocean. The phone rang, my brother. Some news he thought he should share.
Bill Coperthwaite had died in a car accident. A brief blizzard the day prior had made the roads dangerously slick, and Bill's old van had spun out of control. The driver's side door folded around a tree. This was just before noon, the snow still falling. He had been traveling south alone, to spend Thanksgiving with a friend.
That afternoon, only a few hours later, the sun would come out, clearing and thawing the roadway.
Days went by. I almost scrapped the idea of doing anything with those photographs. Somehow, it just didn't feel right. But I searched for the negatives anyway. I wanted to know that they were still there in one of those boxes, with Bill's tiny inverted likeness still on them. To know that some small piece of my time with Bill still existed. I felt if I just found the negatives, I would know whether or not to continue forward with that book.
When I finally found the film rolls, it was a bright morning, and when I held the negatives up to the light from a big picture window in the studio to reference what was on the rolls, these images appeared. These brilliant, shimmering reflections were thrown up on the wall by the negatives in their protective wrapping, flickering and morphing like odd phantoms.
I smiled, and cried. I thought you all might like them too.