Historic waters are everywhere but are frequently overlooked when we see a location on a map. Although it seems the land is the most important feature, often it is the water. Water is essential to our existence and human history revolves around water. Settlements, battles, and major events in history are centered around water, with time all waters become historic.
We cross waters on bridges and ferries, insert them into paintings and photographs, fly over them in airplanes, and admire sunsets over these waters. But mostly we glance in their direction and without a second thought, ignore their role in our history. These waters do little other than exist and flow, and except for carving rock, they are timeless in their presence. Before portable devices took over our curiosity and made us look down rather than out, we took more notice of the world and the historic waters around us.
One Sunday afternoon, Faul was working alongside the Southampton Water and when he drove through an area around the docks, the street opened up onto the Mayflower Company. The Mayflower, which first sailed to America with colonists in 1620, landed in what became Massachusetts. The ship embarked from Southampton, which has been a focal point for British seaborne travel for more than a thousand years. William the Conqueror, who ruled England from 1066-87, made these waters the principal point of embarkation for Normandy. Almost 1000 years later these waters hosted the sailing of the Titanic and thousands of vessels for the World War II D-Day invasion of France in 1944. Today the port of Southampton is home to great ocean liners and all sots of commercial ships plying the seas of the world.
As Faul moved around the estuary, he had an epiphany about his slowly evolving project on historic waters. It was that historic waters are everywhere.
Explorers Lewis & Clark followed Jefferson’s order to find “the most direct & practicable water communication across this continent, for the purposes of commerce.” They set off to explore and follow the Missouri River westward across the Continental Divide to the Columbia River and eventually to the Pacific Ocean. Water played a pivotal role in the exploration of the United States and many other countries as well.
At Gettysburg’s Devil’s Den, a small historic water is a rainwater collection pool in a rock called The Devil’s Bath. Not all historic waters have to do with war, but as Faul discovered, many such East Coast historic waters came to fame with conflict.
Faul’s collection of historic waters took shape during visits to the American West, as well as to Civil War and other battlefields. Faul’s interest in waters came as he traveled around the US and Europe for more than 40 years photographing land and waterscapes. Mr. Faul documents water because of its fluidity, ever-changing shape, and its ability to carve valleys and cut through rock.
In a desert, water is frequently temporary and is related to rainfall. As an example, Faul would use the dry lakes of the Mojave Desert or the Nevada Test Site. Mr. Faul’s historic waters are mostly flowing as opposed to stagnant waters. It is the events which transpired there is which makes them historic. Even though long after the events are forgotten, the waters remain, flowing unimpeded to the sea as they have done through millennia.
The set of images is 205 rivers, lakes, basins, ponds, bays, seas, oceans, collection pools, and ‘runs’. They are in 27 states stretching from Maine to the Pacific Northwest, England, Scotland, France, Denmark and Sweden. They are redacted here for review.
Publishing: This could become a history, travel, or guide book with the addition of a travel writer or historian. Quotes by participants or combatants in historical actions can provide local interest, with the images providing the basis for a travel or history book. With the addition of a fishing writer and images of fishermen, the series can be “Fly Fishing Historic Waters”.
Art: With curating, this is ready to become a collection for an art collector. Museum prints are available for all images in a range of sizes, with larger prints by special order.