Given its identity as the “Capital of Silicon Valley,” it’s little wonder that San Jose is betting big on the future. The city’s general plan for 2011-2020 proudly touts the tagline, “Focus on the Future.” But what does this mean for San Jose’s past? If city officials and planners are all focused on the next big thing coming around the bend, is there still room for history?
These are the kinds of questions that loom large in the photography of Josh Marcotte. Many may already be familiar with his work through his Instagram account, “Lost San Jose,” but a new photo show opening at KALEID Gallery on Oct. 7 offers a chance to see his work in a more structured and narrative form.
“‘Love is Transitory’ is an exploration of landscapes and the things that I see every day,” Marcotte says of his new exhibit—”those fleeting moments, these things that I see and photograph and then they’re gone.”
Marcotte has become an expert in capturing fleeting moments. For a previous project he spent two years walking Monterey Highway, photographing that stretch of road that runs from San Jose to Gilroy, capturing the changes that took place over that time. “I’m still continuing to go out there every few months and just revisit,” he says. “There are some things that continue to be a constant as I’m out there, but then there is so much that is just gone … within a day.”
In addition to featuring photos of San Jose, “Love is Transitory” traces a diaspora of former San Jose residents, seeing where people end up after housing becomes too expensive here, and what those places look like. Or, in the photographer’s words: “Exploring what becomes home when you leave San Jose.”
There is a melancholic quality to Marcotte’s photography. Two photos in particular speak to his eye for loss and heartbreak. In one, the papered-over windows of the former Babyland store on Bascom Avenue stand out against a cracked-up stretch of sidewalk.
In the other, a scratcher ticket is held by two trembling hands, caked in dirt. Both of these images tell the story of earlier focuses on the future, before they became lost to time.
While we are all hopeful for the future, Marcotte’s work, like Walter Benjamin’s, is an excellent reminder that we never really leave the past behind, but carry it with us wherever we go.
Love Is Transitory
Oct 7, Free
KALEID Gallery, San Jose