Worth a Look: Greg Ruffing’s Cuyahoga River

Old friend Greg Ruffing is starting to post about a new personal project (and pt 2) he is working on about the Cuyahoga River which meanders through northeast Ohio and his own life.

(c) Greg Ruffing

(c) Greg Ruffing

I’ve been exploring the river more as a greater existential symbol of time and experience (both collective and personal) and its symbiosis with the cities and towns through which it flows. The Cuyahoga, as any other river, has historically served many functions for its surrounding lands in terms of ecology, industry, commerce, recreation and more.
My parents and their parents and further generations past grew up in various towns along the river’s meandering path from rural Geauga County south to Akron and back north to Cleveland where it empties into Lake Erie (the word Cuyahoga literally means “crooked river” in the Iroquois language).
The river has been a physical and spatial link between different periods of our lives, so for me it is also as much about certain aspects of personal journey. And I wonder to what extent (if any) this can be extrapolated to parallel larger, more universal, human experiences manifested throughout time in the people and places seen here.


I think they are beautiful photographs and a new take on revisiting one’s own past and tying that in to the integral landscape of one’s own home. That this landscape has ghosts and lives in infamy (the river caught fire forty years ago this week) adds an interesting weight and layering. I can’t wait to see more.

  1. [...] of new projects that are taking his work in a new directions. We’ve previously written about his personal project about the Cuyahoga River, and the final version of the work is on the new website. And its not quite what I expected, but [...]

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