Here We are at the Vanishing Point

Throughout my travels, I have collected images of alleyways. I never really knew, “the why” of this process until I came across the poem *Vanishing Point by Billy Collins. He describes the vanishing point as an omniscient presence. Even though the line vanishes on the horizon, it goes towards the great unknown, the spiritual, and our future selves. I chose alleyways to represent this idea because they are places where the vanishing point can be acutely observed.  I also see them as “portals” that are discovered by meandering away from the fixed grid of the city and encourage us to embrace the unexpected. 

The second half of this series is, Heading out of the Dimensional, which is also a line from the poem. I was interested in the way Collins describes the vanishing point as a place where we begin to head out of the dimensional. The first part of this series, Here We Are at the Vanishing Point, are my interpretations of moving closer to the vanishing point where as the second half of the series are my depictions of what comes after we reach the horizon.

- Billy Collins, 1988

"With an apple I want to astonish Paris."
- Paul Cezanne

You thought it was just a pencil dot
art students made in the middle of the canvas
before they started painting the barn, cows, haystacks, 

or just a point where railroad tracks fuse, 
a spot engineers stare at from the cabs of trains
as they clack through the heat of prairies
heading out of the dimensional. 

But here I am at the vanishing point
looking back at everything as it zooms toward me, 
barns, cows, tracks, haystacks, farmers, the works, 
shrinking, then disappearing into this iota
as if pulled by a gravity that is horizontal

I am a catcher behind the home plate of the world, 
a scientist observing a little leak in reality

I watch the history of architecture narrow down
to nothing, all straight lines rushing away from
like men who have caught on fire. 
Every monument since Phidias converges on this speck. 
Imagine a period that could swallow all the sentences
in an encyclopedia. 

I have reached the heaven of geometry
where every line in every theorem aspires to go. 
Even the vanishing points in drawings vanish here. 
And if you do not believe me, look at where
the tangents of your garage are aimed. 

You have heard of the apple that astonished Paris? 
This is the nostril of the ant that inhaled the universe.