Celebrating America's Scenery


By Judah S. Harris Issue of July 3, 2009 / 11 Tammuz 5769

All photos by Judah S. Harris

The arrival of July 4th tells us that summer is finally here, and there’s no turning back. The sweaters you might have been keeping handy in case daily weather fluctuations failed to acknowledge the calendar can now be pushed back further into the closet or relocated to lower drawers of a bedroom dresser.

But more significantly, America’s birthday, which this year is the 233rd, is a time to celebrate America — with our families, our local communities, and with others who share with us this special place. This is a date we need to circle on the calendar as a time to think about some of the variety of experiences that our great country offers all the people who live here, citizens and visitors alike. Summer, in general, is a time to get out, to travel somewhere different, to meet the neighbors, and to try to avoid the traffic jams and tourist traps while doing so. Over a couple of decades, I’ve traveled to different places in our country. Some for work, recruiting students for Yeshiva University in the mid to late-80s, and lots just for my own need to explore (we all need a change of scenery from time to time, some more than others). There are a handful of people I know, and you probably know similar types, who can put 30 or 40 pushpins into a wall map of the Unites States, and maybe they can do the same with world destinations as well. These adventurers have been there, and they can talk about it, even show you their photos. I’m not so experienced. I’ve traveled, and been to lots of places you probably haven’t, but quantity is not one of my dreams. For sure there are places in this country that I do want to get to, and that I must get to; others I want to return to, and spend more time at, share with family, or just see what I can do differently as an older, more experienced photographer. On these pages are more than a handful of places that I’ve experienced. You might not recognize all of the locations, but you’ll definitely recognize some. Or at the least, the types of moments and places that I have explored and brought back with me in color and black & white, to prove I was actually there, and that I did OK in capturing some sense of the place that was introduced to me. Let pictures be my pushpins.

All photos by Judah S. Harris