Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Caloosahatchee Manuscripts

This neoclassical revival building in downtown Fort Myers began life as a United States post office in 1933.  In the 1960s it was converted to a federal courthouse.  When the federal judiciary left, they turned off the power and locked the doors.  The roof leaked. Eventually the neglected deteriorated building became the Sydney & Berne Davis Art Center and a years-long renovation/restoration began.  

In 2001 Florida Power & Light commissioned sculptor Jim Sanborn to create the two bronze cylinders, known as the Caloosahatchee Manuscripts.  The western cylinder lists the Latin binomials of some of the plants Thomas Edison collected locally in his search for a local source of latex, for the making of rubber.  The eastern cylinder recounts, in Native American text, a story from Seminole, Creek, and Miccosukee history.

As an artist, I have qualms about photographing the work of other artists to claim as my own, but as a documentarian I can hardly help myself.  This light sculpture is so compelling I find myself returning to it again and again. 

The earliest of these photographs I made about four years ago.  I had the help of enthusiastic passersby to keep drivers from parking their cars on the street front while I waited for darkness to show the lights.  The most recent was yesterday, in a predawn fog.

© 2014 Buck Ward                           The Photographist