A Season in Point Russe is a #photograficnovel. I made up the word. For several years I have been trying to tell stories using both text and images. I could say that I like exploring different ways we connect information dots (In a line, like dominoes?). How we understand a narrative. But really, I’m trying to pull you into another world.
You cannot buy a ticket to Point Russe. It’s an imaginary community. Seasonal resorts on attractive stretches of shoreline are ubiquitous in the Northeast, where I was raised, although interval ownership means the once stately pace and deeply personal backbiting of their social scenes are fading. The sense remains, though, of a special place. One that can be claimed by temporary as well as full time residents, sometimes to the consternation of each. C. whose diary and bureau drawers provide much of the information we have about the Point is a renter who knows the right people. An observer with access.
Like all fantasies, Point Russe. is attached to the so-called real world in a number of places. Somewhat haphazardly. For example: Any French postcard visible in the work is a vintage French postcard. The same cannot be said of the rest.
(Since publication some of the Point Russe cards have left the page and taken on limited tangible form.)
Many other items – matchbooks, say— are not exactly real, but realish. Photoshop is a delightful enabler of such distinctions. For that matter, so are dreams. And our memories.
Knives, needles, scissors, cocktail napkins—these are part of my inheritance. Scanners are a downsizers best friend. I once lived in a house that through a fluke was scanned—attic to basement and every beam and piece of furniture between—by a team of Scandinavian specialists. As a result my dirty laundry is now odorlessly preserved in an archive. History is haphazard, too.
We carry the past with us, but how? I’m interested in the nature of attachment. What’s more evocative: The name on a recently unearthed invitation? Its color and weight? The particular typeface? (I’m easily moved by a typeface.) What are we preserving when we preserve a key to a door that no longer exists?
You don’t have to have visited New England to have vacationed in Point Russe. From elementary school on we understand that summer is a time out of time with its own mythic arc. Beloved recurring traditions vye with tantalizing new prospects. This year I’m going to—Win the cup! Shoot the moon! Make Aphrodite notice me!
Well into adulthood and beyond we keep believing there will be another chance. Another summer. All we need is a boat - or a book - to take us there.