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James H. Black, American, b. 1930
Boy Digging At The Beach, 1955-1956
Gelatin silver print on paper
10 in. x 8 in. (25.4 cm x 20.32 cm)

Object Type: Photography
Technique: Photography
Credit Line: Gift of the Artist
Accession Number: 2010.5.4

"A small boy shovels at the shoreline of the Mediterranean Sea near Monaco. Aircraft carriers, a luxury cruise liner, tug boats and fishing boats all can be found in this intriguing image. These vessels along with the rocky shoreline and the sullen sky create a rich canvas brimming with curious details. I reflect further on this particular image. Undeniably the most captivating element is the box to the left of the boy. As a treasure seeker and beachcomber, I first imagined that it was cargo washed overboard, fallen or discarded from one of the vessels. Which one? What was in the box? Why is it still seemingly intact? Then I am struck with the eerie certainty that the brooding skies and sea are ominous clues to this further unfolding mystery. Perhaps the young boy sporting a black pullover is burying his beloved childhood pet, which he ceremonially carried in the box in question to his back. The box still encases his animal companion as this little soldier bravely trudges forward, hollowing out a sacred resting place, forever close to his watchful eye: His own formal 'goodbye.'"
(Sean Black, son of James H. Black)


Gelatin silver print, hand-printed from medium format negatives on photographic paper, selenium toned.

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