Wainscott Photographs: Killcare and the Pebble


The view of the ocean from Wainscott and the west end of Georgica is dominated by the iconic home known locally as Killcare. Whether seen up close or from a quarter mile down the beach, it catches the eye and stirs the imagination the way few buildings ever do.  I’ve been watching it for twenty years, in every manner of light – holding its own on the dunes amidst the awesome flux of landscape. I feel lucky to have glimpsed a small part of a creative project that’s lasted for over a century.

On a certain level, the subject of this picture is impermanence because I can’t help but notice that the structure’s isolation within the landscape is made more beautiful by that fact. The picture is also about the curiosity of brushing against it with your own mutable presence. In a sense I was taking a cue from the house – interfacing with the landscape to see if there was any poetry in it.  I’ve sometimes walked my own shadow into a picture and felt the chilly effects of an unannounced visitor. On other occasions I’ve left my footprints where others had left theirs and then faced the empty beach to release the shutter.

This time it was a pebble – the one that got tossed into the temporary trough of flatwater that forms on the beach in between breaking waves.  I’ve been tossing pebbles into spots like these for as long as I can remember.  As always the event began with radiating concentric circles. There was time for a single exposure. The ripples subsided and the water itself began the process of evaporation. This was a scene in no mind to stay in one place. In ten minutes nothing remained  but swash marks. The piece is entitled Killcare –  a landscape and a self portrait.

2 thoughts on “Wainscott Photographs: Killcare and the Pebble

  1. “I picked up a small, brown pebble because I want to experience it. The stone is throbbing to the slow rhythms of geological time, a vibration I can only imagine because it is below the threshold of human perception.”–Esther Warner Dendel
    John, this photo is one of my favorites. While searching for quotes for my website, I came across the one above, which I think resonates in a manner that reveals some of the photo’s allure and mystery.


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