The Origin of Wandering
I first came across Stephen Cysewski’s photos of Seattle in the 1970s a few years ago. The instant I saw them I was transported to a city that used to be and which still hovers on the edge of my own memory. On childhood visits from across the mountains, Seattle seemed a rough and tumble place improbably set in a glorious landscape. Later, living in Olympia, my understanding of the big city to the north became more nuanced as I visited more frequently and came to know its sidestreets and the rhythm of its life.
When I moved to Seattle on the first day of 1991, it was a city between. Sometimes it felt like the city of Stephen’s photos, not so far removed from the famous “Will the last person leaving Seattle please turn out the lights?” billboard. Other times it felt new and cosmopolitan and destined for ever greater things.
These days, the Seattle in Stephen’s older photos is almost entirely replaced by the new Seattle. But by marrying the still images with video we hope to be able show lines of community that connect old with new, and let us see both cities at once. As we shot the first videos for PIE, we tried to come up with a title but nothing better described what we were doing than Stephen’s title, so we’ve borrowed it and called the videos “Wandering” as well.
There will be one Wandering segment in each of the first three episodes of PIE. We may do others in the future, possibly based on other photographers’ work or focusing on other Northwest cities. In the meantime, Stephen Cysewski’s website has a treasure trove of photographs you can peruse.
Do you have any photos that show how the Northwest has changed? We’d love to see them. Share them here on tumblr or on Twitter with the #watchPIE hashtag.