Sunday, December 21, 2008

Eye of the Beholder

Stand close to a mirror and look yourself in the eye. You're looking out through the pupil of your eye. This is a basic assumption. The eye in the mirror's pupil is a black hole. I suggest staying with this meditation for some time.

The photo above was taken by double exposing an eye (Mary Jane's, a frequent victim of my photos) with the image of rain on a car window. It was done by running a role of Tri-X film through a camera twice. Of the 20 or so exposures, only this one was usable.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bank of America, Cash Window

Click on the image above to inflate it

This is the Bank of America cash window on the Charlottesville Downtown Mall. It motors on, a reminder of the institutions we trusted.
The decimated little tree, which was a feature of this part of the Mall for many years, has been co-opted by a new display window.
I think that the “tree,” might have existed there for 5 years or more. I’m not sure what was happening to it overnight, but it wasn’t helping. I guess what’s miraculous was its staying power. It was in this shape or worse the whole time.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Broken Hearts and Bicycle Parts

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I spent seven years in a fairly strict Catholic school in New York. As a result, I’m hard wired for church imagery. Out-turned palms with wounds, hearts pierced with thorns, it’s all burnt into the neurons.
So, when I came across this image wired on the back of a bike, it caught my eye. It was while I was walking around Atlanta’s suburbs, and evidently “Broken Hearts and Bicycle Parts” is an informal bike club there. It’s a subtle use of the Sacred Heart image, forming the center of a chain ring.

Just a box sitting in the sun

I turned around from the computer and saw this box, sitting in the sun filtered through the blinds. I can’t say that I know why, but I took a photograph.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Photo above by Billy Hunt

If you live in or near Charlottesville and are interested in photography, you should try to catch Charlottesville Photo Night. To find out more about it, and when the next event is, check their web site at .

This last Wednesday was a show and talk by Billy Hunt. It was his photographs of CLAW, which stands for the Charlottesville Lady Arm Wrestlers. However, CLAW events are designed to raise money for various causes. Look here; .

Billy Hunt gave a very animated talk on his experience as photographer for these events. Covering the event involved not only photography, but also “changing hats” to provide the music with a band. Between the photos and Billy’s story it was easy to get a feel for the wildness of a CLAW event.

Monday, November 17, 2008

West Main Doorway, Charlottesville

Click the above image for a larger view

Photo of a doorway on West Main. The leaves build up every year, the light burns on constantly, people pass to and fro to restaurants, night spots, sort of blowing up and down the street. The ivy had once grown in a pattern above the door, the work of some past business. Lots of businesses have popped up in the cracks, faded, disappeared.

I began the exposure, and a man rides up on his bike and stops. He hands me a worn notebook with a page of beautiful script, each swirl and flourish precisely the same on the page. It gives his name, says that he has been deaf since birth, so he can’t speak, and that his family could use some help. I give him some bucks, we shake hands, and he rides off. He has a good vibe about him.
I like West Main. It always has been something in between something else.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

U.Va. Heating Plant, Click for larger image

These surreal structures are just a short walk from the "Corner" in Charlottesville, and also a short sprint from the Rotunda at U.Va. People who drive or walk through these areas are likely to never see them, as they are tucked carefully behind one of the larger buildings in the U.Va. Hospital complex. These are the heating plant towers for the Hospital. They are called the UVA Coal Towers. Some are newly constructed. UVA Hospital uses coal for most of its heating needs.

Generally I shoot black and white film for night photography, but I have been experimenting with color negative (Fuji NPS 160 - 120 roll film). This was taken with a shift lens architectural camera called a Plaubel Makina Proshift.
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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Body and Soul Salon - Charlottesville

Click above for a larger image

Using the “wayback” machine, this is the same beauty salon as in the prior post, but before the restoration of the Paramount. I remember initially being interested in taking this because of the contrast of the beauty parlor with the standard pistol target pasted on the brick wall in the background. These targets showed up in a number of walls in the area, and on the pillars of the Belmont Bridge. They were evidently very difficult to remove, and were painted over in addition to scraping.
This was taken on a 6X7 cm. Rapid Omega 100 camera, with a 58 mm lens (about the same as a 28mm wide angle on 35 mm as far as perspective goes), on Tri-X film.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Stranger Than Science

Click above for a larger image

What are these people doing. Any guesses?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Saigon Cafe Still Life

Click the image to Supersize your order

We've been eating at the Saigon Cafe since the beginning of time. Vietnamese dishes, Chinese also, all the "hot tea" you can drink.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Night Photograph - Behind the Paramount Theatre

click above for a larger image (recommended) . . .

I made some images recently using the Rapid 100 6X7 Cm camera, a Detail view of barber's signvintage item from the 1950’s. It has some wonderful features. The pressure plate, which keeps the film flat, presses down on the film immediately before the exposure. As you press the shutter button, you are also moving the pressure plate against the film. This gives one of the flattest film planes available on a film camera. The lenses (These pictures were taken with the 58mm Koni-Omegaron, equivalent roughly to a 28mm lens on a 35 millimeter camera) are still highly regarded. It’s one of my favorite cameras. It’s a range finder, which is combined with the view Detail view of barber's sign finder, and the focus is a very quick knob on the right side of the camera. You don’t have to reach around to the front to focus.
The photograph is of the building right behind the Paramount on the Charlottesville pedestrian mall. It had an old barber pole “light” on the right side. The old striped interior has fallen to the bottom of the tube. It is the “Jackson II Body and Soul Salon” and has been for many years. Shot on color negative (Fuji NPS 160), 90 second exposure (tripod mounted) at F-16.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Art Police

Click above for a larger image

Once again, who knows what this is, or why someone took the photo. It is another mystery, even though I committed the crime.

I was challenged by an art critic “on scene,” as a matter of fact. Evidently they are dispatched somehow. This one was cleverly disguised as a “drifter” or something. I had the 4X5 graphic on a tripod in the back of the Foods of All Nations parking lot. That’s the old sports center dome in the background, and the dumpster is there to serve the Market. It was way past closing, so it was just me and the mole from the art police. He asked me what I was taking a picture of. He was slurring a little bit, another clever cover maneuver.

Unfortunately, for me, that’s a button that gets pushed. I can’t figure out what I’m doing either, so I’d rather people don’t bring it up, especially when I’m caught red-handed, doing it. So, I prattled on about the lighting and the dumpster, and some nonsense about unintended architecture. He said, “Oh, Ok.”

He shuffled off slowly, and I saw him head back around “Foods.” That’s the Foods with the fool in the parking lot taking a picture of the dumpster.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Election Excitement Runs High (Not)

Taken on an early morning on the Charlottesville Downtown Mall.
Well, it looks like the “mall” CVS is also not able to summon much excitement in regards to politics, either. This was their window display on a recent Saturday.

I’ve voted in every election I could for many years now. Whoever I vote for doesn’t win, with the exception of very local elections.

As I mentioned in the sidebar, I don’t have a TV anymore. Nonetheless, I was at a friend’s house and saw a discussion between two news clones recently. Essentially, it was a discussion about how well each candidate would “sell” in various states. There was not a trace of any interest in either candidate’s agenda. It was a marketing analysis.

Well, one of them is going to be voted “off the island.”

Jill Bolte Taylor and "My Stroke of Insight"

I had my first session in a university class entitled “consciousness” recently. I figured I needed some help in this area.

A classmate mentioned the experience of Jill Bolte Taylor. She is a neuroanatomist. She experienced a stroke in the left hemisphere of her brain, and it radically changed her perspective on consciousness.

There is a video of her presentation made at T.E.D. She’s a very effective presenter and I recommend the short video for anyone interested in the theory of consciousness, and the evident bias of our evolution toward the left hemisphere.

Forgive me for dragging out my own brain, which appears above. The image is a fanciful spin on an MRI I had.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fitzgerald Tire - Downtown Belmont - Charlottesville

Click above for an image large enough to see. please?

Fitzgerald Tire, Belmont

Do I love Fitzgerald Tire? Well, I’ve never had my tires changed there, but I like the building. It’s at the crossroads of beautiful downtown Belmont, which may have no uptown. What was the Fitzgerald building when it was built? Does anyone have some truly old photographs of the Belmont downtown? So many questions.

In any event, here is one of several shots of the building, taken from the thin traffic island that runs from the intersection of Rialto and Hinton.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Hell is Real

A few weeks back we were working our way upstream on a typical Friday at the Charlottesville Downtown Mall. Upstream is toward the Pavilion, at least when the beer concessions shut down.

We came upon a hellfire and damnation event in front of Zocalo. These kids were on something. The person pictured was sort of yelling directly at the rather confused looking person standing in front of him. Maybe half of the statements were actually questions, although not a moment was left open for a reply. It was like an enactment of some stereotype of fire and brimstone preaching. We continued on upstream.

I went to Catholic School in New York through the eighth grade. The nuns also tried to impress the notion of suffering for eternity on us. Some of the technical details; suffering in hell is not possible to become accustomed to. The nuns also had some nifty ways of allowing us to visualize damnation as eternal.

While reading a James Joyce story, many years later, it became evident these ideas might have even been taken from his writings. The quote below from “Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man” used the same metaphor (specifically, the bird) as I heard, to explain the notion of eternity. It was used in the same manner also: to impress on a young mind just how horrible eternal damnation is.

“Now imagine a mountain of that sand, a million miles high, reaching from the earth to the farthest heavens, and a million miles broad, extending to remotest space, and a million miles in thickness; and imagine such an enormous mass of countless particles of sand multiplied as often as there are leaves in the forest, drops of water in the mighty ocean, feathers on birds, scales on fish, hairs on animals, atoms in the vast expanse of the air: and imagine that at the end of every million years a little bird came to that mountain and carried away in its beak a tiny grain of that sand. How many millions upon millions of centuries would pass before that bird had carried away even a square foot of that mountain, how many eons upon eons of ages before it had carried away all?”

If you want the entire chapter, including the description of hell also, it’s shared here; .

So, just putting “everlasting punishment” on a sign doesn’t impress me.

In fairness to the current Church, I doubt very much they talk about hell is this manner anymore.

It should be possible to update this for “modern times.” How about, you have to go to DMV to convince them that a speeding ticket added to your record was actually an error. . . .

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Shed, Lightning, 1113 E. Jefferson, Charlottesville

Click above for a larger view

This was a time exposure during a lightning storm. It was taken through the rear window of my apartment on East Jefferson Street, Charlottesville. There was a very strong lightning storm going on during the exposure. This was taken 4X5 inch Tri-X film.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Drive by Movie

I’ve been taking time exposures from a moving car for some time. Many can be found somewhere or other in this blog’s history. The more recent additions to what I’ve tended to call “The Car Series,” (just because it makes it sound important or something) have been in color. The way all those signs reach out for our attention is with vibrant color.
Or, what’s left of our attention : ) . The retailers are trying to bedevil us with all their blinky little do-dads.
Anyway, I began to think of stringing together some of those into a movie. They are all tripod mounted time exposures, so the framing of the car windows provides continuity between shots. Strung together they are really a time-lapse study of smeared moments. These particular sets of moments were from driving through Barracks Road Shopping Center, here in Charlottesville, although I’m sure it looks a lot like the mall in your town.
Unfortunately, It plays small in I. E., and some code leaks out in Firefox. Nerd Credentials = codebase 0. You can try this link; It does require the Flash Player.

NAME="DriveBy" ALIGN="" TYPE="application/x-shockwave-flash"

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Click on the image for a larger view


Ever notice how some of the really big concepts have short words assigned to them; life, death, love, sex, cash, fun, God, tax. And so there’s work. This is my work photograph.

Well, it was just a lamp at a party, in Chestertown Md. I happened to look over at the table to my right in one of the lulls in the conversation. A thoroughly incorrect lamp.

A guy with his hands full, and his view obscured. Essentially, I suggest that as a
definition of work.
I could go on; Kabuki theatre with masks tightened around faces. But, I should cool out, there have been good times and good people encountered there.

So many generations of workers have gone by. There has to be, by now, a thoroughly genetic component. We were born to work.

There were people I knew from my school years that did not have to work when they graduated. They all ended up working anyway. A few took a good idea and that grew into an opportunity for a parcel of other people who did need to work. One of them grew so concerned about his responsibilities to his employees that he got thoroughly stressed (and an ulcer). An interesting case.
A piece of work. We all end up a piece of work, for better or for worse.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Man Outstanding in His Woods

Click for larger image . . .

Ok, so it is another self portrait . . .

And it is also a perfect example of what happens when you tilt the lens on a 4X5 view camera, while leaving the back alone.

I was aiming on obscuring myself, so I tilted the lens forward, which makes the plane of focus be close to the camera at the bottom, and far from the camera at the top. It also was a short time exposure, and I did some head wagging.

This was, like so many of the others, taken in the archetypal woods behind “Shack One.” I am not a man outstanding in his field, but I do OK in the woods.

The expression on the face was an intentional lampoon on my tendency for self-seriousness.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Further Musings from the Woods

Click on image, if you want to be able to read it : }

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’d escape into the woods behind our rental just south of Charlottesville, where I would read, play guitar, or just sit there. That explains the chair-in-woods photo, with the book sitting on the chair seat.
That was a favorite book of mine. At the same time I took the photos of the chair, and the chair with the guitar, I also took a close up of the book. I found a cicada shell, which I propped up on the book to cast a shadow. You can kind of read the text, if you click for the larger image. It’s a memorable section on consciousness, from “Joyful Wisdom.”

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Outer Banks, Time Exposure of Shells

Click the image above to get a larger view

OBX Shells

The cottage we stay at Avon, on the North Carolina Outer Banks, is obviously a popular rental for parents of young children. We found these shells and other found items from the beach carefully arranged between two panels of boardwalk leading from the house. The pink plastic bracelet probably wasn’t from the beach.

This was shot at night, on Fuji NPX-160 film, using a Rapid-Omega 100 camera with Koni-Omega 60 mm lens. The 6X7 cm negative was scanned. This was a time exposure, determined by the amount of time it took to paint the subject with light from a small flashlight. As you can tell from the shadows, the flashlight was mostly used from the right side, although the boardwalk was lit with it from above.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Robert Frank, Ruth Orkin, Young Photographers Award - Life Magazine

I’m a bit of a “collector” of old Life Magazines. Collector is in quotes because I don’t collect them in the usual sense. I buy ones covering interesting time periods, or ones that have unusual photographs. The way in which events are described and photographed are often as telling as the stories and images themselves. The biases and culture of the time are revealed. Oddly enough, sometimes the advertising can reveal how different people were.

Recently I picked up one from November 26th, 1951, which had the results of the “Young Photographers Contest.” The second and third prize winners were none other than Robert Frank and Ruth Orkin.
A bit surprising to find them in Life, but they certainly were both among the most interesting photographers of the era. One of the frequently quoted quotes of Frank appeared in this Life Magazine; "When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice." Robert Frank, LIFE (26 November 1951).

It was Ruth Orkin that I was most familiar with, since my Daughter and Son-in-Law had a wall size poster of “An American Girl in Italy.”

In this photograph, a pretty woman is walking through a group of men in Italy on a street corner. Her face is contorted in disgust as two of the men clutch their pants suggestively, while the others appear to be calling out to her. I read later that this was a friend of Orkin’s who she asked to walk down the sidewalk so she could get a photograph. The expressions really convey everything immediately.
The other photograph of hers that intrigued me was “Comic Book Readers.” In this case it’s the rapt attention of the children who have obviously been transported into another world.

Robert Frank is better known, and his book The Americans is perhaps what he is best known for. The photo I linked to is one of my favorites. I won’t attempt to interpret this photo, but I do like how the figure on the right loses identity to the waving flag.

I bought the magazine just based on the cover, and had no idea these two photographer were amongst the winners until I started paging through it.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Board Walk, The Outer Banks of North Carolina

Click above for a larger image

This is another photograph in which the image was formed during a time exposure by “painting” light with a flashlight. It was taken on wooden walks constructed as a path through the dunes, in the Outer Banks.

This is the side of the dunes facing away from the ocean, where the growth can get dense.

In this case, the flashlight, taped over with black tape with the exception of the front, was used within the frame to add very directional light to the boards. As long the front of the light is kept pointing away from the lens, and the light is kept moving, its image will not show on the film. I also used it sparingly to keep a darker, shaded look to the image.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Active Memorial Displays - Grave in Avon North Carolina

You really need to see the detail in the image to understand it. Please click on the image above to see it larger.

There seems to be some signs of a change in the way we are inclined to memorialize the departed. The word “shrine” seems appropriate. Perhaps the beginning of this possible trend was the roadside memorial. We’ve all seen them, and there has been at least one photo project to document roadside memorials. I don’t now if it was in Camera Arts or another of the black and white photo magazines.

Contrasted with most graveyards (I’m reminded of my youth, driving by miles and miles of the Forest Lawn graveyard, stretching as far as the eye could see, on the Long Island Expressway) this is a far more vital and active way of memorializing. It also gives the living a means of expression in the present, rather than obsessing just on the past. Generally these memorials have some of the cherished possessions of the departed.

I’ve been following some these memorials in Avon, N.C. for a while, an old fishing community now driven by the Cottage industry : >. Avon lost its share of Watermen to the sea and to the Sound.

The town of Avon, on the Sound side, has an old church (now closed and moved somewhere else) that has a boardwalk to a ship launching pier. Each year a ceremony is held, and an empty skiff is launched to memorialize those who lost lives on the water. That same church has a graveyard that has some active memorial displays. The above image is a recently changed small memorial. The photograph above is a black and white image to which muted color has been added to a few elements. I found this the best way to deal with the somber nature of the subject.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Mary Ellen Mark, Paramount Theatre, Charlottesville

Last night I attended Mary Ellen Mark’s presentation. Martin Bell Alex Chadwick served as interviewer and commentator and work was shown that spanned her earliest to her latest work. The images were projected on the Paramount’s projection system, and the results were good. As with any projected image, the range isn’t quite as good as when viewing a well lit print. However, I don’t think that impacted the enjoyment of the images.
The audience was extraordinarily silent during the presentation of the images she took in Iceland. This was the “Extraordinary Child” series, and the series was presented without comment. I felt myself completely absorbed by what I saw, drawn into the faces in each image. It was one of the most powerful series of photographs I have ever seen.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Hat in Sand - The Outer Banks, North Carolina

Click on the image for a larger view

I’ve been visiting the Outer Banks, and I notice as soon as I start walking down the beach, I end up looking at the sand passing below my feet. I’m not the only one either, as I see other souls floating along with their eyes on the sand.

I’m not shell collector, but it is interesting to see what the sea will come up with. Some of the oddness comes from the shear amount of man-made flotsam available.

This photo is the remnants of a hat mixed in with sand and shrimp skeletons, and some other unidentified items that one would probably not want to know about. It’s sort of an overhead view of a head, except the cranial area is a turbulent mass of detritus. It kind of suggests the way I “think.” I felt some kinship, as though I had recognized myself flattened and washed up in the sand.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Portrait of MJ

Click above for a larger image

This is a portrait of Mary Jane taken using a flashlight and the 4X5 camera with a sheet of Tri-X Pan film. The neighbor’s cat had followed MJ in and snoozed out on her lap.

The flashlight/time exposure technique was used. The room is almost dark and the shutter is opened. A flashlight is used to carefully add light to the areas desired. The flashlight is completely covered with black tape. As long as it’s kept moving, it won’t show even when within the frame area of the image.
Being able to use the light on an oblique angle showed the folds and details of her coat, and set a highlight on the brim of her hat. On the other hand, her face is fully lit without the shadows that would have been formed by side lighting. It is not a “soft” light, and won’t create the soft shadows that wrap around an object’s edges as a soft box does. The end result looks more like the 1940’s era photos of film stars, which was typically lit with film style lights. MJ’s pose was her own addition to the mix, and fits the style. A 25 year old refrigerator is lurking behind her, but thankfully it caught no light.

All it takes is a tripod, flashlight and camera.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Shack One Still Life

Click above for a larger, better, image

I’ve spoken before about photographs taken in a few rentals that I’ve called Shack One and Shack Two. Shack One was located on Route 29 South of Charlottesville. These other Shack Photos include the Marimba, the Chair in the Woods, Gibson J-50 (which is the dense woods around Shack One), and Mary Jane’s Living Room, which would actually be a version 2.2 of Shack Two.

To these I will add the still life above. This was John’s lamp in the living room, and possibly his beer. I came down the stairs and just saw how rich the light was on the flower, and then got the old 4X5 and tripod out.

John was on orderly person while I tended to exude chaos and dark matter uncontrollably. He also had his own style sense which Shack One benefited from. MJ was often the person who dropped off antique store bargains, although I’m not sure where the lamp came from. It’s a classic.

I shot this on the usual Tri-x and I don’t seem to have a record of the exposure, although it was surely shot at the aperture of F-16. That was the sweet spot with that lens.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Appalachian Trail Marker

Click above for a larger image

The National Park Service had a photography contest a few years ago. I decided to enter using a black and white image that was taken at night. I thought of the traditional Appalachian Trail “blaze” as a universally understood symbol for the Trail. It is also standardized and the specifications published by the Park System. Here’s a fairly complete explanation; . I figured I could take something like a still life and include some of the characteristic “Flora,” in this case ferns. Carting the Crown Graphic and tripod up to the marker was good exercise, and I made sure to feed some of the mosquitoes on the way through.

There being almost no ambient light, I just opened the shutter and took my time painting light with a small, two cell flashlight with the lens taped down to about a 1/8 inch slit. You can create light coming from various directions. You do need to be careful to keep the light out of the image area.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Charlottesville Mall Demonstration

Click above for a larger image

There was a demonstration during Fridays at Five this last week, on the Charlottesville Downtown Mall. It was to bring attention to the number of people dieing in the Arizona desert while attempting to get into the U. S. The demonstrators had signs and stood in a line across the Mall. Pedestrians moving up and down the Mall had to pass by the signs. I thought it was an effective way to get the message across without being too intrusive. The demonstrators were silent. They then moved down the mall and repeated the presentation, eventually leaving the signs at the Freedom of Speech Wall.

When I returned home I googled the topic and found that the number of deaths since the 1990’s was more than 4,000.

I spent a summer in a small town in the Sonoran Desert. My Aunt owned a trailer park about 15 miles from Sierra Vista, Arizona. It could be brutal in the summer. My Aunt warned me about hiking in the desert because distances can be easily misjudged.

Many of these border crossers pay people to bring them across the border. These are usually unscrupulous people that often strand their clients where they are unlikely to be found.

I think this is a humanitarian issue, regardless of the illegality of the immigration. Drones are being used in the area ( ). Let’s hope they can be used to find these folks before the desert claims them.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Gibson J-50, Photograph and Story

Click on the image above for a larger view

A life study of a poorly treated guitar

What this guitar was forced to endure, and how it failed to escape me, is quite a story.

That it was trying to escape seems a certainty.

This was the guitar that I got in high school, and brought to college with me. By then I was stringing it with electric guitar gauged strings, and using a sound hole pickup to play it amplified. Both during and after undergraduate school, I played with a band on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Story #1. We played a fairly rough bar on Route 301 near Kent Island. We did almost all original tunes, which is crazy when playing for a group that doesn’t know who you are anyway. These folks wanted something recognizable, played LOUD.

I was playing through an amp head (in fact, an old P.A. amplifier) that wasn’t properly grounded. At the end of a set, I started to put the guitar against the metal amp cabinet, and got a raw 110 volt shock, which immediately dislocated my shoulder. I had a bad shoulder until it was eventually surgically fixed.

The guitar skittered across the stage, still at full volume. My right arm always dislocated radically so I was screaming in pain. Suddenly the audience was standing, and applauding, the first and last time they did that evening.

I went out to the car to wait to be driven to the hospital, and the shoulder popped back into joint. I finished the night playing my Fender Mustang, which was thin enough to fit under the shoulder without causing much pain.

Old Guitar Stories 2

I had the J-50, in the original low quality case, on an added luggage rack on the top of my VW. At that point I was leaving the Eastern Shore for a stint doing mostly digging on a farm in West Virginia.

When I got to a stopping point, I noticed that the guitar case had pulled out from the ropes and was nowhere to be seen. Backtracking all way back to Chestertown did not reveal where it had blown off.

The VW was a very noisy vehicle. That’s the only thing I can say in my defense.

After ending up in West Virginia, I arranged to have a note in the classifieds of the weekly paper that came out on the Eastern Shore. About three months later a letter arrived from a farmer who had found it, still in its case, by the side of the road. I retrieved it on a trip back to the Shore. The case had taken the bulk of the road rash, and I just bought another case.

Story 3

After returning to live on the Eastern Shore after my stint in West Virginia, I had parked the VW in the parking lot of “Newts,” a local bar whilst I was in playing pool and drinking some beer. I had forgotten to lock the car, and the guitar was in it. I returned to the car and found it missing.

I was heart broken. I was down to the Fender Mustang for some time. About a year passed, and I had stopped thinking about the missing guitar. Upon coming back to the house I shared one day, the guitar was sitting in a chair in the living room of the house. I thought I had slipped a cog.

It turned out that one of my roommates was working as a teacher’s aide in the local high school, and had seen a group of students with the guitar in the parking lot. It was easy to identify as it was uniquely trashed by yours truly. He confronted the parties and offered not to turn them in if they turned it over.

So, that’s why I sometimes think the guitar was actively trying to escape my clutches. And it couldn’t escape.

Here's a very short sample of the sort of thing I play these days . . .(although I tripped over my fingers toward the end ;)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Mary Jane in her living room

Click on the image for a larger view

Mary Jane has always been an excellent “guerilla” interior decorator. She knew the location of almost every “antique” (junk?) store in Central Virginia, she also had a talent for finding 40’s and 50’s art deco, and other styles yet unnamed. She had a house in Ivy that she eventually moved from. I documented all the rooms before she packed them away for the move. This is a time exposure of her living room, with some intentional motion to make her image more mysterious. The back lighting is provided by a ceiling light outside the window, with light added selectively with a flashlight.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Big Camera

Click above for a larger image

I had worked in this space for some time when the picture was taken. One of my jobs was copying absurdly large originals (drawings, paintings, architectural renderings, etc.), which were hung on a moving glass copy board. So, I’d see myself in the reflections while I was setting up. I began to realize the glass and reflections could make for an interesting self portrait. I had a Kowa Six camera in my hand (a camera using 120 film), but it is invisible due to the reflection of the copy camera’s lens. It ended up not being a self portrait really, but something else; perhaps a picture of “picture-taking?”

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Chair Series - Lawn Chair

Click above for a larger image

The is another image from the Chair Series, this time a lawn chair.
It was summer on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, not far from Chestertown. This spot was surrounded by miles of feed corn. Feed corn is the main cash crop in the area, and large agri-businesses will buy up farms to maximize the profit.

During the summer it can get dripping hot on the Shore. I lived in numerous houses there, and if they were outside of town they were surrounded by the corn fields. It always seemed like the fields trapped the humidity, and added their own. In the early morning a blue-ish haze would hang over them.

I had to un-stick myself from the plastic chair in order to set up the camera to get this shot.

I forgot to mention the local mosquitoes. Able to carry off small children! Large enough so their distinctive “whine” could be heard from a few feet away.

I attended college there, and lived and worked there, off an on, for some time after. From what I’ve said it might seem like I despised living there, but that was far from the truth. In fact, “me and the shore” went through the whole “nine yards”; luck and its opposite, plus, joy, desire, despair, and many revelations.
Photo: Tri-X, Taken with an old Speed Graphic on 4X5” sheet film.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Folding Steel Office Chair

Photograph – Folding Steel Office Chair

The uncomfortable folding chair, circa mid-80’s, pictured above, is a wonderful symbol for what work can be. It is functional, you can sit in it, but if you did eight hours a day, you’d end up at the doctor’s office.

If work isn’t at least marginally satisfying, you might end up at the psychiatrists.

A major portion of your time on this Earth will be spent at work. This is really something to consider. However, I didn’t. I studied philosophy in college. The job market for abstract thinkers that debate the existence of ashtrays and chairs is surprisingly shallow. Although, forgive me, for Philosophy is actually not only interesting, but strikingly absent in these times.

I stumbled/danced into photography, and then a few other related things. There were some tough times in transition. However, it worked out.

That not-so-inviting chair above is asking you to sit in it, and then you’ll be employed. Or “Careful where you put that ‘Thang’ down, ‘cause it may be there a while. . . “

Many more people worked on weekdays than on weekend days. About 83 percent of employed persons worked on an average weekday, compared with 33 percent on an average weekend day. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Office Chair

An empty chair defines a negative space that should be occupied by a person. You could sit there. This is an office chair. You could end up sitting in one of these for a long time. It happened to me. This was the view from my office door until our “team” was relocated. I understand we are to get cubicles. Viewed from above, cubicles look like a maze.

And so it goes. I’ve taken quite a few pictures of empty chairs over the years. Why? I sometimes wonder myself. Perhaps it’s the feel of the space left behind, when a person isn’t in it. My favorite, a chair of mine located in a dense woods, is already on this blog here.

I’ll post a few more of the chair series over the next few weeks. . .
Photo details: Taken with an old Speed Graphic and a 90 mm Angulon Lens, on Tri-X 4”X5” sheet film.

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Friday, February 8, 2008

A Heater Epiphany

Click on the image for a larger view . . .

I was looking through some envelopes that contained prints from my days of working as a news photographer, when out popped a 4”X5” Transparency, the one shown above.

Those were times characterized by “no furniture,” and other strictly defined boundaries. They were good times. As in this image, there was a lot of warmth.

I recalled an epiphany (sorry for the reference, I was raised Catholic) that involved a heater. The brand was called “Warm Morning.” One of our heaters was a city gas run “Warm Morning,” in Pittsfield, N. H. There was a large glass front with a long line of firebrick that became red with the flame from the gas. It was always worth a bit of unintentional meditation with coffee in hand.

Times can crossover in a thoroughly non-linear manner. Much later, I was sitting in the Charlottesville Bus Station on West Main Street, staring at the wall, waiting for the Bus that comes from Dulles Airport. There is an inset wall heater, and I found myself staring at the metal logo, “Warm Morning.” The heater itself seemed to separate itself from the background environment, and suddenly I was aware of myself, and I remembered basking in the light and heat of the Warm Morning in New Hampshire.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Shack One Marimba

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Shack One Wall

The Shack network was purely conceptual; it consisted of Johnny V’s place and MJ’s place, Shack One and Shack Two. I photographed some rooms and walls in both. Both were decorated from “antique” stores and both were funky in the best sense of the word.

This photo was a wall with John’s Father’s marimba. John would worry about the marimba during parties. People tended to lean on it after a few beers. It did get bent one night but John was able to bend it back so no damage was detectable. Whew.

This was a short time exposure, Tri-X Pan 4X5, Graphic Press camera, Schneider Angulon 90 mm lens, F-16.

The lens was shifted to slightly distort the items on the left side of the photo.

No one at Shack One could really play this thing. I’m always in awe when I see a vibe player with multiple mallets in each hand, playing chords.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Shop Window (Lost her head)

Click on the photo for a larger image . . .

I happened across this window being worked on when walking home from the Charlottesville City Market . The colors and the fate of the little be-headed lady caught my eye. Nauseating would be one way to describe the color set.

One of the nifty features of larger film formats is limited depth-of-field, allowing you to isolate an element from background, and foreground.