JOHN HESSELBARTH

This is a collection of the life I have worked to experience over the past few years. I've chosen to illustrate fragments of stories in the form of photographs and narratives. Paired this way I attempt to give them new life. Each portrait and landscape was earned by the persistence of listening and relating.

                    Henry Wood, owner of Clingstone    Clingstone is an imposing house perched on an outcropping of rocks in Jamestown RI. Henry bought the neglected house in 1961 for the back taxes owed on it. A few weekends a year he invites family, friends and willing workers to slap a new coat of paint on, tighten some screws and tend to anything else that needs attention in order to keep the house above water. Even though he's getting on in years Henry still has the passion and determination to work on this house that he brought back from the dead.

                  Henry Wood, owner of Clingstone

Clingstone is an imposing house perched on an outcropping of rocks in Jamestown RI. Henry bought the neglected house in 1961 for the back taxes owed on it. A few weekends a year he invites family, friends and willing workers to slap a new coat of paint on, tighten some screws and tend to anything else that needs attention in order to keep the house above water. Even though he's getting on in years Henry still has the passion and determination to work on this house that he brought back from the dead.

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                       Schnig, Prop master/ Art Director   I met Schnig while working on Clingstone. He fell in love with the house while scouting for locations for "Moonrise Kingdom". Never quite sure of how to get a job done, he was confident he would figure it out in the end. That was enough for me to hang out of a third floor window above the Atlantic Ocean while I replaced shingles. "If you fall try not to hit the rocks", was his recommendation.

                     Schnig, Prop master/ Art Director

I met Schnig while working on Clingstone. He fell in love with the house while scouting for locations for "Moonrise Kingdom". Never quite sure of how to get a job done, he was confident he would figure it out in the end. That was enough for me to hang out of a third floor window above the Atlantic Ocean while I replaced shingles. "If you fall try not to hit the rocks", was his recommendation.

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    Drago, organic farmer/ Cecina Italy

Everyday Drago would go out into the fields and listen to american pop music. He never drank water, only wine, and refused to eat the skin of any vegetable. He was a man of few words unless it was to tell me I was doing something wrong. Drago and his wife Marina, who was studying law before they married, had no kids or any other help running their large farm. Their work was long and arduous. After a week and half of working with them i decided it was time to leave and also to ask if i could photograph them. This was perhaps the most difficult portrait I've made, but also one of my favorites. Drago made no effort to smile or portray a person he is not. I didn't enjoy his company and i doubt he enjoyed mine. I however respected his work and way of life and in that moment i feel he respected my work as well.    

 

                         Silvana, baker/ Prignano Italy   Silvana has a tiny farm amongst the rolling hills in a small town outside of Modena. She lives in a rambling house that one time housed five families. Centuries have passed and the house is slowly crumbling around her. The house is adorned with dried flowers and found feathers. Shrines to her loved ones can be found hidden all over the property. A baker by trade, Silvanas hands are worn from harvests and brick ovens. Her dedication to preserving natural beauty is inspiring. 

                       Silvana, baker/ Prignano Italy

Silvana has a tiny farm amongst the rolling hills in a small town outside of Modena. She lives in a rambling house that one time housed five families. Centuries have passed and the house is slowly crumbling around her. The house is adorned with dried flowers and found feathers. Shrines to her loved ones can be found hidden all over the property. A baker by trade, Silvanas hands are worn from harvests and brick ovens. Her dedication to preserving natural beauty is inspiring. 

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                     Race Across America, Oceanside CA - Annapolis MD   A 3,000 mile coast to coast cycling race that leaves most people in shambles, myself included. The four person Cycling team I worked with required a support crew of ten. In a whirlwind of CB radios, minivans, bicycle parts and 1 hour motel rooms we all made it to Annapolis with a new found hatred for each other and the open road. Witnessing America going by at 15 MPH is an exercise in insanity and frustration. I participated in several more of these races in the years that followed. 

                   Race Across America, Oceanside CA - Annapolis MD

A 3,000 mile coast to coast cycling race that leaves most people in shambles, myself included. The four person Cycling team I worked with required a support crew of ten. In a whirlwind of CB radios, minivans, bicycle parts and 1 hour motel rooms we all made it to Annapolis with a new found hatred for each other and the open road. Witnessing America going by at 15 MPH is an exercise in insanity and frustration. I participated in several more of these races in the years that followed. 

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                        Patty, Castleblayney Ireland   I knocked on the door of my family's homestead north of Dublin and a round faced woman with red cheeks opened the door. She gave me a good look then called for Patty. Upon his arrival he proclaimed,"would you look at those eyebrows! He's a McGeough!" The house itself was made of cement with corrugated metal for the roof. Ivy climbed the walls until there was nothing but sky and the cows lay about the barn awaiting direction from Patty. He was a quiet man with a big smile who only broke the silence to crack a joke. Hands and face chapped from working in the unpredictable Irish weather, he had achieved a lifetime of satisfaction of working the land he grew up on. Perhaps this is what it would have been like to meet my grandfather.

                      Patty, Castleblayney Ireland

I knocked on the door of my family's homestead north of Dublin and a round faced woman with red cheeks opened the door. She gave me a good look then called for Patty. Upon his arrival he proclaimed,"would you look at those eyebrows! He's a McGeough!" The house itself was made of cement with corrugated metal for the roof. Ivy climbed the walls until there was nothing but sky and the cows lay about the barn awaiting direction from Patty. He was a quiet man with a big smile who only broke the silence to crack a joke. Hands and face chapped from working in the unpredictable Irish weather, he had achieved a lifetime of satisfaction of working the land he grew up on. Perhaps this is what it would have been like to meet my grandfather.

                        Janine and Nicola, Asheville NC   Janine and Nicola's partnership was founded on a mutual collection of unusual objects. Their relationship was further solidified while working in collaboration on a conceptual art installation. Janine is from a small town in Germany and Nicola is originally from Georgia. They moved to Asheville from New England with the dream to open their own coffee shop. Since their move, they have come to embraced the mountains and streams that flow through this area. Their passion and curiosity welcomes everything and everyone with open arms. Whether in Germany, Georgia or some far flung spot on the map these two make the best of any situation.

                      Janine and Nicola, Asheville NC

Janine and Nicola's partnership was founded on a mutual collection of unusual objects. Their relationship was further solidified while working in collaboration on a conceptual art installation. Janine is from a small town in Germany and Nicola is originally from Georgia. They moved to Asheville from New England with the dream to open their own coffee shop. Since their move, they have come to embraced the mountains and streams that flow through this area. Their passion and curiosity welcomes everything and everyone with open arms. Whether in Germany, Georgia or some far flung spot on the map these two make the best of any situation.

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                      Justin, Black Point RI   As the tides come in and out the old wall is shifted like boats in a bathtub. Justin visited this piece of coastline many times before the blocks were laying just right. While waiting for breaks in the wind he paced up and down the narrow wall. The rough, weather battered blocks offered no solitude. As Justin rode away the tides began their journey back in.

                    Justin, Black Point RI

As the tides come in and out the old wall is shifted like boats in a bathtub. Justin visited this piece of coastline many times before the blocks were laying just right. While waiting for breaks in the wind he paced up and down the narrow wall. The rough, weather battered blocks offered no solitude. As Justin rode away the tides began their journey back in.

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                          Katherine Jensen Foster   I met Kate when I came home one day to find her baking in my kitchen, she had been invited by my roommate. Noticing my collection of artifacts and junk displayed throughout the house she quickly related. Over the next couple years we would go on adventures together; Night swimming at the beach, climbing abandoned buildings around the city and treks up to the mountains of Vermont to visit her cabin. She has a beautiful way of looking at nature, on every walk filling her pockets with sticks and flowers to save for a shrine later on. Her willowy frame darts through the landscape with the astonishment of a child. Kate has been my adventure counterpart for the better part of a decade, we'll be celebrating two years of marriage this summer.

                        Katherine Jensen Foster

I met Kate when I came home one day to find her baking in my kitchen, she had been invited by my roommate. Noticing my collection of artifacts and junk displayed throughout the house she quickly related. Over the next couple years we would go on adventures together; Night swimming at the beach, climbing abandoned buildings around the city and treks up to the mountains of Vermont to visit her cabin. She has a beautiful way of looking at nature, on every walk filling her pockets with sticks and flowers to save for a shrine later on. Her willowy frame darts through the landscape with the astonishment of a child. Kate has been my adventure counterpart for the better part of a decade, we'll be celebrating two years of marriage this summer.

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