Inner Spectrum: Hope in the light.

February 08, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

Inner SpectrumInner SpectrumLa Mola, Fortress of Isabel II, Mao', Menorca
Purchasing options: Signed and matted, museum quality archival prints are available from the Inner Spectrum exhibit. The 16 x 20 sizes (either vertical or horizontal) are $150 and the 20 x 20 are $200. Prices are plus taxes. To Purchase: Contact me directly at 904-814-6975 or email [email protected]. Custom framings and loose prints rolled in a tube for shipping options are available.

There are three times in an artist life when something special happens;  1. When they realize they have created something of meaning and are proud of their accomplishment, 2. When they have the opportunity to share those accomplishments on a broad scale and 3. When a viewer is so moved by the artist work that they commit to a purchase.  I am fortunate to say, I have experienced all three.

Inner Spectrum has been a story in the making for almost 5 years.  A vision formed from a loose collection of travel photos came together in a near instant, but in reality, a story that took time to fully understand and appreciate.

Back in 2018 my wife and I traveled to Menorca, Spain (the homeland of my fathers family).  During that trip we had the opportunity to explore the Fortress of Isabel II on the Isle of LaMola.  To call this a Castle from the modern since is a gross understatement.  This military installation encompasses the entire island, both above and below.  It contains numerous fortress-like structures, underground bunkers, defensive walls, batteries, barracks and a subterranean labyrinth.

Spectrum HallSpectrum HallLa Mola, Fortress of Isabel II, Mao', Menorca
After my trip, a review of the travel photos revealed an astonishing fact.  The ballistraria, or windows (typically used as gun ports), along with other ventilation portals created a unique pattern of both reflected and refracted light.  As I evaluated this revelation, I began to wonder; Did the soldiers from 300 years ago experience the same phenomenon? And if so, how did it affect them?  Remember, there was no electricity, no flash-lights, no emergency cell phone lights.  At best, they probably had oil lamps or torches.  Have you ever sat around a camp fire? Sure it can be pleasant, but I wouldn't want to perform any tiny or intricate task.  Flickering light can be difficult on the eyes, and I believe that if I were in their shoes, the spectral array of colors would have been comforting.  After a long watch in the dark of night, within the tunnel, this light would have given them much needed relief from eye strain and the hope of another day.

(As a side note: One of the images demonstrates an ironic human disposition.  While the balistraria were useful for lighting and military gun ports, to shoot meant one had to gaze out through the window at a target.  This dilates the pupiles, making the individual blind when turning to the interior.  And conversely, living in the dark and having to quickly shoot into the bright white light was problematic.  Thus the aptly named "Blinding Balistraria".

 

Blinding BalistrarBlinding BalistrarLa Mola, Fortress of Isabel II, Mao', Menorca

 

Jumping back to the present, I knew this was the start of a story worth telling.  Unfortunately, Menorca isn' t exactly around the corner.  Thus I would have to wait 5 years to return.  But by then I was prepared and knew exactly what I wanted to capture.

During the wait, I also considered the same paradox with a subject more familiar to most of my audience.  Our very own Castillo de San Marcos.  

Again we jump back in time; 256 years in fact.  My 7th great grandparents "Big Juan" Capo and Maria Sintes (newly married) arrived in St. Augustine after months at sea before heading to the New Smyrna Colony to perform 10 years of servitude on an indigo plantation.  It is hard to put into words, but imagine you just left a homeland where things were not going so good.  Months went by on a very cramped ship and with very little knowledge of what they would encounter (hot/humid summers, cold winter, Swamps, natives, snakes, alligators, diseases) all while working under harsh treatment and deplorable conditions.  The first shipboard sight of the Castillo must have given them a sense of hope, safety and civilization.  After nine years of these harsh treatments, once again the Castillo, even under British rule, gave them hope as a permanent and safe place to call home.

Even prior to my families arrival, the Castillo became a refuge for the entire town during two separate, months long sieges.  Can you imagine huddled in one of the small rooms with hundreds of other civilians, soldiers, live stock and your town being burnt down around you.  Even though the Castillo protected them, their emotions must have been shattered.  But once again, a beacon of hope would be the light of another day entering through one of the ventanas or puertas casting its reflection upon the arched ceilings and plastered walls. Faded PaintFaded PaintCastillo de San Marcos, St. Augustine, FL

So when people ask me what the Castillo means to me.  It means everything, because there is a very good chance that even though my ancestors made the trip, if it were not for the fort, I probably would not be here.

As an architectural photographer I am purposed with the need to capture correct angles, vertical walls, volume and even lighting.  However, the aspects of geometric structures play less of a role in this story as the light or absence of it become my subject.  The goal was to look beyond the present day and see what those before me felt when they gazed upon their inner surroundings. 

So the light that enters these chambers is more than just a means to see by, it is a source of reflection upon ones past.  It was their hope. It is my Inner Spectrum.

Click here to preview the online gallery.

The "In-Person" gallery is located at The St. Johns County Administration Rotunda Gallery at 500 San Sebastián Way, St. Augustine, Florida and can be viewed M-F from 8-5.


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