Hours of Idleness-A Photographer's Journey in St. Louis

Tooth Decay, the Rust Belt and the Remnants of a Lost Tribe…

Posted in Uncategorized by Jason Gray on June 13, 2009

For the last two days, my wife and I have been in Springfield, Illinois, visiting with my mother in law. Coincidently, my lower, far-right molar, which has been agonizing me for some time now, reached its crescendo. I should point out that I don’t believe that visiting Mandi’s mom had anything to do with it; I actually am very close with my mother in law, and I enjoy spending time with her. However, there is a certain harmony about being in a rust belt capital, with excruciating tooth pain, and going to see an exhibit of a decimated people. It was like the figurative pain of the past and present (financial, emotional, physical) culminated in the back of my mouth by some invisible act of superstring knot-tying. So what else was there to do, but have that fucker pulled out, and bring a sense of calm back to mankind? And then write a poem about it?

Trashing the Temple


I am one tooth more toothless,

Having had the rotten one



Today, I am to be visited by its spektor

Shrouded in codeine fog,

And laughing madly

At the indiscretion of my


Ok, on to the pics. All were taken with the Nikon D300 and either the Tokina AT-x 80-200mm f/2.8 or Nikon 50mm f/1.8E manual focus lenses. Enjoy!

Rosemary’s Garden:




The rusted belt:


Oolong Lunch:


Illinois State Capitol Building (interesting facts- 1. it is about 360 feet tall, a little more than half as tall as the St. Louis Arch, and the tallest non-skyscraper capitol building in America, including the U.S. Capitol; 2. it’s dome is approx. 90 feet in diameter):



Gustav Fuchs, “George Rogers Clark Negotiating with Native Americans”, 1886, Oil on Panel, 20′ x 40′, Illinois State Capitol:


Illinois State Museum:







Still more



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  1. […] Over the Christmas holiday, my family and I visited my mother-in-law in Springfield, Illinois. This state capital never ceases to disappointment me visually, as for whatever reason, I am extremely attracted to the landscape of this area. The architecture here is a mixture of early 20th century grandiosity (and eventual decay), suburban sprawl, and rural utilitarianism. I find this conjunction of forms fascinating, and I have slowly been building up a body of work on this place. Earlier visits can be found here. […]

  2. […] 3. Tooth Decay, the Rust Belt and the Remnants of a Lost Tribe […]

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