Inside Featherstone's story; Writer delivers other's words with a punch:
The celebrated writer Steve Featherstone is also a photographer. He wrote in walrusmagazine.com/articles/2008.04-ephemera-latrine-graffiti/1/3:
I began photographing the graffiti because I realized that it would soon be erased by the cleaning crews who regularly swabbed the stalls. I made a point of visiting every latrine trailer on base, squeezing into more than 100 stalls and shooting in the dead of night to avoid suspicion. The air conditioning in some of the trailers had broken down and the oppressive heat and stench made me dizzy.
Featherstone created a side project while traveling with soldiers in Afghanistan - capturing Latrine Graffiti. Seems innocuous, writers are often drawn to harnessing words. So, a writer who is also a photographer is often drawn to photograph words as well.
But also, let me share this, I asked Featherstone for contact information to fact check my reporting of his writing workshop at Le Moyne. He gave me his printed business card. What I did not notice was that it had some of this latrine graffiti printed on the back. The next day a friend of mine found the card and became enraged that someone would threaten me in this manner. I was confused, on the back of the card it said, I got you good you F##ckers - God.
Hmm, I thought, then I realized it was printed on the card, not written (unusual to print on both sides of a business card) and there were other words and it looked like graffiti - something I capture weekly on the streets in Syracuse and will often print in the City Eagle on page 6 under the standard head: Words on the Street. I remember being scolded by two fellow editors for printing a slightly trampled receipt of the West End grocer NoJaimes that I saw lying in its parking lot after shopping one day. The editors felt I was trying to put this great neighborhood market down by printing a picture of this litter. Instead, I was just capturing words I saw on the street. I told them that I had photographed P&C receipts scattered in the parking lot of that grocery store in Skaneateles and did not get the same reaction even though the P&C there really does have a dubious reputation with some of its shoppers.