Teeksa Photography

Photography of
Skip Schiel

An Online Photographic Exhibit

In central Massachusetts, often called the Accidental Wilderness, the primary water supply of the entire Boston region, now threatened by the prospect of attack. Closed recently, now partially open, but for how long?

  All images and text copyright Skip Schiel, 2002

Rebecca's Story

By Skip Schiel

I (Rebecca) was with a friend near Quabbin last December (2001). He was in an astronomy class and wished to make some photographs of the night sky. We drove out to a remote area near Quabbin, parked near a gate, stayed on the main road outside the fenced area, brought out our equipment, were setting it up when we were stopped by two fierce soldiers. They drove up in a Humvi, one of those squat, armored, intimidating military vehicles. They carried automatic weapons, wore camouflage, and harshly told us, "Can’t be here, get out!"

(from the Internet)

I was petrified, thought they might kill us, pleaded, "Sorry officer, didn’t know, we’re only photographing the sky, we’re leaving. Later, a second incident, this one by a police officer who was gentler, kinder, explained simply that we couldn’t be doing what we were doing."

I (Skip) asked Rebecca, "Do you realize that you had a right to be where you were, do what you were doing?"

"Yes, but we were frightened, we didn’t want to inflame them, we didn’t know what they’d do."

"Have you considered telling your story more widely, perhaps writing it?"

"I do tell my friends, but, honestly, I hadn’t thought of writing it."

Meanwhile, her dad, Steve, a brilliant tenant organizer, and his (I think) former wife sat with Rebecca, finished their sumptuous Caribbean and Latin American meal at the 3rd annual Vida Urbana party and fundraiser. How could Rebecca say no when I asked her if she’d write something for my Quabbin website?

She agreed, but months after her promise—no story in her words from her. Thus, this version.

To depict an absence, a loss—as with my Boston harbor project, what is no longer in the harbor because of pollution—is an immense undertaking. In the Quabbin case my task is to show what we no longer have, access to a public site. Little by little, without an outcry, our basic human rights vanish. Our access to a site of profound healing is denied to us because of this supposed threat to our well-being.

L asked me, "What do you suggest? Doesn’t the water supply have to be protected?"

Return to Quabbin online exhibit

Have you been denied access to Quabbin,
or kept yourself from visiting forbidden zones?

What is your story?
Would you like to publish it on my site?

Please contact me.

Quabbin information (official version)

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Other exhibits by Skip Schiel

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To contact Skip Schiel

(added May 2002)

Teeksa Photography—Skip Schiel

9 Sacramento Street
Cambridge Massachusetts 02138-1819