Photographer David Sokosh's unique look at the architecture of Provincetown, MA. 64 pages, 9x9" paperback, published by St. James Workshop, $24.95 plus shipping and handling. Click To Order above to place order and receive shipping info. Read more about the book below.


The town of Provincetown is unique. Where else in America can you find so vast a collection of late 18th, 19th and early 20th century structures jammed so close together and pressed right up to such a narrow main street? There are at least three distinct architectural layers that make up the town: whaling village, turn-of-the-century art colony, and tourist destination, each with its own vocabulary and statement to make. Many of the buildings, especially in the middle of town, have been altered at the street level. While the architecture of the tourist destination wants you to look straight ahead as you visit the shops, the whaling village waits to be discovered above eye level. Like The Angel in Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, old Provincetown wants you to “Look Up!” But when I did, all I could see were the wires.

As an architectural photographer, I’m enthralled by the beauty, design and history of the built environment in great European cities and New England villages alike. Power lines rarely pose a problem for me, since most towns have hidden them away from public view, but not Provincetown. The light is phenomenal, and the buildings are great, but you can’t get a clear shot of them, because of all the power lines “in the way”. As a result, I didn’t shoot much architectural work in Provincetown.

In the summer of 2001 I noticed a relationship between the lines and the architecture. This relationship has become the constant in my Provincetown pictures. Sometimes the number of intersecting wires, the patterns they create and the shadows they cast are so over-the-top that they make you laugh. Other times the juxtaposition of a single wire and a roof line is so striking it can make you wonder if someone planned it. The experience of observing Provincetown and creating these images has strengthened my emotional and artistic ties with the town to a level and degree I didn’t expect.

Someday, I suppose these wires will be buried in the ground, or technology will render them obsolete. Although their removal will clear up the sightlines and make for prettier pictures, something will be lost - a quirky wrinkle of old Provincetown smoothed out.

David Sokosh, May 2004