Upon entering Blanco in our homemade campervan we were in the company of luxury motor-coaches. Surrounded by a retired generation nicely dressed and very social within their peer group. Gradually as they began to realize “The hippie kids” would not bite we shared travel stories; we had been to many of the same places, yet always in different seasons. There was something comfortable in being surrounded by grandparents in a sleepy little park with no sense of time.
Adding to the atmosphere of timelessness most of Blanco’s infrastructure was built in the 1930’s by the C.C.C , a recovery and reclamation program which created and improved parks while offering work to young men during the Great Depression. My grandfather worked in the C.C.C. They built roads, cleared caves, constructed pavilions, and blazed trails, often with little more than pick axes and shovels. Structures built by these young men stand as iconic symbols in many of our national and state parks. You have likely driven on a road, bridge, or past a scenic overlook built by the C.C.C. Their quality of work represents a craftsmanship which stands to this day. As such I feel a sense of pride as I photograph the stone work of one grandfather with the camera of the other. Through the apps of smart phones and upon the screen of tablets my generation seems to be content with its work. My little known, tiny blog would have no voice if not for such work, but perhaps we are missing something. Perhaps in our pursuit of lighter, faster, cheaper, we have forgotten quality and craftsmanship. Faceless corporations with faceless accountants evaluate the cost of every action. It becomes about cheap quantity with more spent on packaging and marketing then product development. Our cars can talk, self park, provide navigation, but will a future auto enthusiast spend countless hours restoring a 2015 anything? Will your grown children navigate the trail with your compass? Will our craft ever be admired by our grandchildren as they take a picture through the lens of your “restored vintage” smartphone?
As I stood in the early morning company of a few elderly shutterbugs, we quietly set up tripods in the shifting hues of twilight. After removing my restored 35mm from a vintage messenger bag I tried to imagine how silly they must think I am. A child among men who had fought in great horrible wars, seen the first moon landing, experienced the assassination of a president, and constructed so much which I take for granted. I could not escape the imposing feeling that I could be weighed and measured against these men and be found lacking.