photography

Photography by Maxwell Heckman

Maxwell Heckman’s photography show juxtaposes two of his series: M.A.D: Mutually Assured Destruction, a black and white series which opposes nuclear war and weapons, and Morning in Joplin, a color landscape series.

In his application to show artwork in the library, Maxwell Heckman described himself as “a young, somewhat inexperienced photographer.” He went on to say his philosophy is artists must enjoy their work, be proud of their failures, and, above all, keep going.

In his practice, he wakes at 5am and walks about with his camera, taking photos, whether it’s 5 degrees or 106, rain or shine, good or poor lighting, etc. He keeps going, shooting as many frames as he can, enjoying the process.

Rather than viewing his artwork as good or bad – “peeks or valleys” – he sees it as a vehicle for improvement, as “always having the opportunity to get better.” That, he says, is why he’s an artist.

When working with Maxwell to determine which of his work to show in the library, I became intrigued with juxtaposing his gas mask series and landscapes. The stark contrast between the black and white gas mask photographs and the saturated color landscapes demonstrates Maxwell’s aptitude for exploring his medium while eliciting an indescribable connection between the two series.

Indeed, he might be young and somewhat inexperienced, but his work is experimental and promising.

Heckman’s photography is on display in the Genealogy, Local History, and Post Reading Room wing inside Joplin Public Library now through November 30th.

Historic Missouri Roadsides by Bill Hart

In his recent title Historic Missouri Roadsides, author Bill Hart takes readers on a journey of Missouri’s two-lane roads and highways. This wonderfully illustrated book is for both the figurative and literal traveler. In addition to beautiful photography, Hart offers facts about each destination, directions, and information about where to eat, stay, visit, and what to do, as well as a few travel tips. Perhaps unique to Hart’s adventure advice is that he does not manage your time, but encourages you “to take your time at every juncture of your trip” so that you may explore and enjoy Missouri’s heritage.  What’s more, all of his listings for food & drink, accommodations, and such are venues that are truly local to the area in which they are found.

The book proper is divided into six tours: Missouri Highway 79 / The River Road; El Camino Real; Route 100 / Gottfried Duden & the Lewis and Clark Trail; Osage Hills and Prairies; Mostly Route 24; and The Platte Purchase. Throughout each tour, Hart expertly covers historic, small-town Missouri. He engages with intriguing histories of towns traveled and captivates with photographic landscapes and streetscapes, ranging from beautiful buildings and homes in current use to structures that have either fallen into serious disrepair or stand vacant.

Although Joplin is not featured in this title, the Osage Hills and Prairies tour winds through Jasper County, beginning in Avilla and passing through Carthage and Jasper before moving on to nearby towns. Carthage’s Boots Motel, a decorative parapet made of “Carthage marble” that crowns a downtown building, and “A Victorian lady of a building” on Maple Street are among the sites photographed in Jasper County. Hart touches on the rich history of Carthage, including the infamous Belle Starr, the lawful Annie Baxter, the Civil War, and more.

Not only is Hart’s Historic Missouri Roadsides an entertainingly educational read for those interested in history and preservation, but its a fantastically fun resource for those who are interested in taking the drive through Missouri’s roadside heritage. To learn more about Missouri author Bill Hart or his recent publication, then visit his website or visit him during his book signing in the Post Art Library, 300 S Main St, Joplin, MO, on Saturday, September 19, 2015, from 4pm-6pm.

Carthage 13 Boots Edited

The photograph above shows the Boots Motel in Carthage, Missouri. It’s but one of numerous buildings depicted in Historic Missouri Roadsides. (Photograph courtesy of the author, Bill Hart.)

About the Author:
Bill Hart grew up in Perry County in southeast Missouri. His interest in small town and roadside Missouri was fostered by his work for the past several years with the Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation (Missouri Preservation), where he currently serves as executive director. He holds a degree in Historic Preservation from Southeast Missouri State University and did his graduate coursework in Architectural History at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia. Bill is particularly interested in vanishing Missouri building types, including roadside and countryside. He was one of the founders of the Missouri Barn Alliance and Rural Network (Mo BARN), advocating for documentation and preservation of Missouri’s historic farmsteads.