Friday, November 23, 2007

House at Second and Water

Click above for a larger image (you can't see didly if you don't!)

There used to be an unusual structure at the corner of Second and Water, across from the Charlottesville City Market. It was a monolithic combination of a house and two businesses. Since I’ve been in Charlottesville the Barber Shop has been closed, but the tailor shop was open. I’m including a detail shot below, obviously taken around Halloween, of the window of the tailor shop.

As in the shot preceding this one, you can see another example of a towering weed of the same variety. Thanks to Lonnie’s input, I now know it’s a Paulownia Tomentosa.

The building seems to be covered with a concrete layer across the entire front. It resembles adobe.

The image was taken on a 6X9 cm. negative with a Plaubel Makina Proshift.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Really Big Weed

Click on image for a larger view

Really Big Weed

I can’t identify these huge weeds, able to crack concrete and grow in the most inhospitable of places. I come across these in my nightly wanderings. They sometimes grow to an amazing height.

This is a time exposure in an alley adjoining what was a People’s Drug store. The streaks were made by cars passing. The wall was placed there so we would not be troubled by a view.

Friday, November 16, 2007

McGuffey Art Center - Charlottesville

Click above for a larger image.

I snapped this while walking around after a snow storm. It was taken on the Pluabel Pro Shift, hand held. The film is Tri-X 120, 6X9 cm. image.

I ended up liking the image, probably because of the overcast combined with the fresh snow. The naked guy seems to be having some trouble getting his suitcase through security. They must have done some extraordinary rendition on him, since he disappeared entirely a while ago.

I suppose the McGuffey just got bored of the same old statue being there for years. I hope it wasn’t his nakedness.

But seriously, this illustrates the practicality of the “middle path,” meaning film that is scanned. This wasn’t the highest resolution of the film scanner, but the image is 35 megapixels. And if you had the urge to put the negative in an enlarger and print it on your favorite paper, that would also be an option.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Flat Iron Building, Asheville, N.C.

Click above for a larger image

Above is a photo of a square in Asheville, N. C., with the Flat Iron building on the right (6X9 cm, Tri-X). The sculpture, center left, is an upturned Flat Iron. At the time I took the photo, a woman, sitting in the handle of the iron, was singing opera to her child, who is hidden by the Iron. The Flat Iron building was inspired by the same named building in New York City, which is an unusual piece of architecture built to fit a confluence of angular streets.

I really liked Asheville. It was a bit like the Downtown in Charlottesville (in spirit), although without a large common area like the Mall in C-vlle. It has lots of Art Deco buildings, some of which are quite exotic, and surprising for a small city in the mountains of North Carolina. That’s where their unusual history comes in. It was misfortune that preserved the city.

The railroad was first built South, and then West, through the area. That made it the logical first stop for travelers going on the long route. This brought unprecedented capital and expansion. Many of the trademark buildings were built in that era. However, the railroads built other more efficient routes. Then, the Great Depression struck, and Asheville had the highest per-capita debt for a city. It chose to pay that debt, but it took 50 years.

So, these buildings stood, free of the wrecker ball and modernization. They stood long enough to become cherished examples of historic architecture.

I was getting around town by bus, and dragging a tripod and the Plaubel Pro Shift. I took this shot while waiting for the bus.

It was a summer visit, and the city had a outdoor showing of a silent movie, with live piano providing the musical score. I'd love to return and take more night shots.

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Virginia Film Festival and the Klughe-Ruhe Sponsored Films

I usually stick to photographic discussions here, but I’m going to wander in a different direction with this post.

I attended the Virginia Film Festival this year. A great feature of the Festival is the discussion that follows the films. This year, one such discussion brought to light a very important human rights drama unfolding on the other side of the globe.
The speaker for the discussion after the films was Darlene Johnson. Ms. Johnson wrote and directed the first film, called “Crocodile Dreaming,” and is from the Dunghutti tribe.

Perhaps the most important theme of the film (which was a thriller to be sure, with special effects and some fairly frightening scenes) was Aboriginal identity, and how it is defined not only by tribe, but also by “skin,” which is your patrilineal heritage. The main character in Crocodile Dreaming is illegitimate, and had no skin heritage from his father’s side. Consequently, he was a bit lost in his own culture. In the film that is put right, through a ritual experience.

Here’s the connection to human rights; Ms. Johnson mentioned in passing that there was a bill recently passed by the Australian Senate that might have disturbing consequences for Aboriginal Settlements. If anyone reading this remembers the movie “Rabbit Proof Fence,” it was about that an attempt to get Aboriginal people to modernize and move to populated areas. This resulted in what was called “the Stolen Generations,” as children were separated from their parents and moved long distances to resettlement camps. Many were never able to find out who their parents were. Considering the “skin” and “tribe” elements of identity mentioned above, this was an utter loss of identity.

Upon arriving home I searched the Internet and that the new legislation is called the “Northern Territory Emergency Response Act 2007,” and was rushed through Parliament, which has been perceived as an attempt to limit discussion. While I see nothing currently about moving people from the land, there are to be more parts to the initiative released in the coming months. Land has been a point of contention between the government and Aboriginal tribes.

Margo Smith, director and curator of the Kluge-Ruhe Center, was presiding over the event and the discussion. She mentioned that there would be an informational lecture/discussion on the Legislation and its possible effects at some point in the future. I haven’t noticed this on the Center’s Calendar yet.

The lesson I learned in regards to the Virginia Film Festival: Always stay for the discussion after the film is over. If I hadn’t done it in this case I would never have appreciated the meaning of the film I had just seen.