Todd Atteberry: Fine Art Prints and Stock Photography - Wytchery Art

Todd Atteberry ... A gothic curiosity and history trekker

I was 13 years old when I first heard of the World Trade Center, when a Frenchman by the name of Philippe Petit walked a tightrope which him and a group of confederates had managed to string between the two towers. There are far too few unbelievable and unreal feats in the world, but the sight of a man dancing atop a tightrope a quarter of a mile in the air captured the imagination.<br />
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The next time it entered my consciousness was one morning when I got a call that one of the towers had been struck by an airplane and I should turn on the tv. Living in a small midwestern town, I didn't even have cable at the time, and the local PBS station, the only station we could receive was showing children's programming. So for the next few hours I followed the unfolding of the story on the radio, which was a surreal experience of itself, like listening to the broadcasts of the Hindenburgh exploding.<br />
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By this time I already knew I was moving, and moving east. In the days that followed I heard a few disturbing statements, some more than others. "Thank god it was only New York City, it might actually be an improvement" was a popular one.<br />
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A little known fact ... people in the rest of the country hate New York as much as New York hates the rest of the country.<br />
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New York is probably the most egotistical town I've ever known. It's the only place I know that its citizens actually call the center of the world. There's a lot wrong with New York, and perhaps it did need cut down to size, but it didn't deserve that.<br />
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And between those comments, and those that we should just nuke every muslim in the world, I soon realized there was only one place I could live, which was of course New York. Now I can't afford to live in New York City, I can't really afford to visit the place and I can barely afford to live on Long Island. But I figured if the place gets hit again, at least some of the cold hearted bastards that didn't mind seeing the place get hit once might think twice if someone they knew lived there.<br />
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Sinatra sang "If I can make it there I can make it anywhere." But this isn't Sinatra's New York. Most of us are just trying to hold on. When I was interviewing for jobs here, one fellow asked "How come you're trying to come here when everyone else is trying to leave?" When I told him my reasons he had a simple answer ... "masochist."<br />
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Broadway sucks, though I'm not sure if New Yorkers know that yet, as they seem to be in so many cases ignorant of their own history. The center of the world when it comes to music is anywhere but New York. Is there even a center of the art world any longer? And the world champion New York Giants are for the most part a team of players from all over the country who play ball in New Jersey.<br />
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The word hero was tossed around a lot in the days after the tragedy. To be a hero just meant being unfortunate enough to show up for work on time that fateful day. And that rubbed me the wrong way. I doubt that given the choice, many of those people would have shown up to work knowing they were going to die. Undoubtedly there were heroes in the midst, an unknown number. But the rank and file casualty wasn't a hero, they were a victim. To be a hero requires intent, not dumb luck.<br />
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And it's important to keep reality in mind when thinking of the World Trade Centers. Tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of people have died in the name of that tragedy, most of which for no other reason than they happen to be born under a ruthless dictator that the powers that be decided needed to come down. <br />
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Today the World Trade Center is hole in the ground, the subject of more bickering and debate than went on in planning for the wars which followed. I don't think it takes a stretch of the imagination to see that it was a target because it was a symbol of the greed of America, it's desire to stretch it's arm of commerce into whatever areas of the world it can exploit. If the scene had been any small town in the United states, or a stretch of isolated countryside in Pennsylvania like where the last jet went down that day, the grounds would become sacred. But this is New York, and that's a valuable piece of real estate. <br />
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The Trade Center was like Icarus, it reached for the sky and was destroyed by fire from the sky. It was temple built to serve ambition and greed, and those two things tend to lead to hard times. I may be just an ignorant hick from the country, but isn't there a message to be learned here? If you want to see the Trade Centers, turn your face towards the morning sun and close your eyes, and see that little figure high above, walking the tightrope into destiny.

Todd’s work is about time travel. It happens when you look around you and find the angle where the present is obscured and the past comes to the forefront. When he travels he waits for the moment when the tourists disappear, finding the angle where the power lines are hidden, to find the past hidden in plain sight of the present. He long ago traded in his pencils and brushes for a camera, but keeps the sensibilities that those instruments bring - light, texture and composition.

With an unhealthy attraction to things dark and mysterious, Todd travels to places where something ghastly has occurred, “which results at times in the sudden realization that I’m sleeping in a bed where a hundred years ago, the former occupant shot himself and has been seen periodically since.” He’s stood on the spot where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake and stood in the basement of the Salem Village parsonage where the witch hysteria began. 

His travel photography and writing is documented in A Gothic Curiosity Cabinet, a catalog of his excursions, gothic Ghost stories collected over the years, history, paganism and of course, witches.

“The word witch triggers strong emotions in people. For some it’s abhorrence, but to others it elicits a feeling of magic and mystery which too often we lose as we get older. This is for those who hear the word and finds the feeling romantic.”

"I grew up in a haunted house and had my own ghost following me around when I was younger, so there was never a question of did I believe. I may not know what these things are, but I know they’re there.”

In addition to a number of book covers, his work has also been featured in, The New York Times, The Boston Herald, BBC, The Guardian, CNN, MSNBC, Broadway World, Indianapolis Post, NY Daily News, Fodors, Country Living Magazine, House Beautiful, Good Housekeeping and AMC. He’s also worked with The Daughters of the American Revolution, The Civil War Trust, Plimoth Plantation, History Press, Algonquin Press, Black Cat Press, Historic Hudson Valley, Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow, Philipsburg Manor, Horseman’s Hollow, Sunnyside, SmugMug, Willard Library and The Stony Brook Environmental Conservancy.


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