Belenna Mesa Lauto, photographer
There are certain objects that, for whatever reason, we respond to more than others. Clotheslines have always captured my attention. Whether it’s their form, variety, or simply that they contain things that “belong” to someone – the sense of human presence they imbue continues to fascinate me. These hold things that we wear. They are about a process that is often forgotten, especially in cities where laundromats and machines have taken over the human hand. They are also for me a metaphor for time. Time past, time present; and when I look at clotheslines, I like to imagine that I am like one piece of clothing hanging on the strings and I allow myself to be swept away by the gentle breeze captured in my imagination. A paradox of emotions, I suppose…as they are in fact objects being held captive.
I started this series many years ago and continue to “collect” these images through my camera wherever I travel. For their title, I decided to approach the clotheslines as found objects that might be identified with the specific towns they occupy. Once photographed, I often desaturate part of the image and create out-of-focus areas, whether through the actual lens and camera choices, or later through digital manipulation, in order to provoke a sense of contemplation and nostalgia. I want the images to remain somewhat ambiguous, and for the viewer to relate to their anonymity. Though they are titled by the town they occupy, the images could really be of anywhere – a place that exists in our subconscious – perhaps a place of nostalgic memories.