Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Mannequin Dreaming in Black and White

I was wandering in Baltimore, waiting between buses (to Boston via New York) with an old 120 film camera (Rolliecord). I took a photo of a store window with the street reflection mixing with the mannequin. It was 120 Tri-X film.
The way her head is in the beginning of the out-of-focus area with the blurred lights makes me think of her as “dreaming.”
So, this is a traditional twin lens (one for viewing, and one that exposes the film) camera like the Rollie, such as the Rollieflex, which was a slightly higher quality model. They were easy to carry and relatively simple. There wasn’t much to break, although the film transport (it had to manage the spacing of the images on the film) sometimes could get troublesome.
    What I never understood: how to compose something in the square format finder. You generally took a photo planning a rectangular crop that was either vertical or horizontal. Thinking about cropping it from the square took some planning if you wanted to make a rectangular crop later.
An interesting place for discussions about the format, and film cameras, is Flickr.

Irving Penn, Diane Arbus, and lots of others used square format.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Wall - Avon, North Carolina

Click above for a larger image . . .

Frankly, the subject of this photo is a bit of a mystery.
This is a set of walls in a sandy lot next to the Food Lion market in Avon N.C. These walls were in place one summer when we came down to spend the typical week in a beach cottage. The summer before the lot had been just sand. I took a 6X9 cm. negative photo on “chromogenic” film which I remember being a two or three minute time exposure.

The walls were notched on the sides at about the same height, but they weren’t arranged in a way that suggested that they could all come together as a structure. They were up the next summer too, but the next year they were gone.

About four years beyond that the entire shopping center got expanded and re-designed. Only then did I think to ask the manager of the Food Lion about the walls. Unfortunately, that was only his second year in the store. I had no luck asking at the cottage rental agency either, as no one remembered them.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Waiting for the Human

This photo was taken Saturday in the vendor parking area at the Charlottesville City Market. The dog was snoozing while waiting for its “person” to return from their sales booth at the market.

This shot brings to mind a few thoughts about “domesticity."   A relationship with a pet is unencumbered by some of the complexities that humans can add to relationship.   Thought, roles, misunderstanding;  all terms that we are familiar with. It can get complicated.

I’ve had two cats for more than ten years now.  They are self possesed, aware, and affectionate. We have disagreements, but they recover more quickly than I do. I could and should learn from them, but, being human, I have my limits.

When I had my dislocating shoulder fixed surgically, the cat of that era (we have a cat history here) hung next to me for most of the period I was recovering, even though he was more of an outside than inside cat. After I became mobile again (headed to six months of physical therapy) he went back on bird patrol.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Daniel Webster's Fish Sculptures, Show at Runk Dining Hall (UVA) 10/16

A friend of mine, Danny Webster, is having a show of his sculptures at Runk Dining Hall, which is at the University of Virginia Campus, in the Hereford Campus area. The opening reception is this Sunday, October 16th, 4:30-6:00pm .
I took photos of the sculptures, which are large "fishes" made from a variety of unusual materials. You can get the idea of the scale of the sculpture above from the dinner ware and U. S. Quarters its made from. The rest of the fish sculptures are made from equally diverse materials, like circuit boards, shells gathered in the Outer Banks, guitar picks and buttons. To read more about the show itself, and view a video, you can got to this link. The article is written by Kate Colwell, and the page was published by UVA public affairs.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

An Unusual Day (Severed Squirrel Head)

An unusual day:
When I woke this morning and came down the stairs, I saw that the cat food bags in the kitchen closet had been torn open and the food bowls were totally cleaned out. This usually means that an animal, usually a raccoon, has gotten through the cat door, which has a magnetic lock. Both cats wear magnets on their collars and the magnets unlatch the cat door so they can push it open. The door will not open inward without the magnetic latch being activated. Raccoons are smart and also have claws that enable them to hook the door and pull it outward to get in.

But usually the raccoons tear up the entire kitchen closet, dumping food out. In this case, the bowls were empty, and some of the treat bags were torn, but the bins hadn’t been opened. So I cleaned up the food and figured I’d have to put it away at night again.
I went back to the computer to work (telecommute, two days a week). Later, while walking through the living room I noticed something on the floor. It was the body of a squirrel, with just a bloody mess where the head had been. I cleaned up the carcass, bagged it, and threw it in the outside trash. Both cats were staring at me with innocent looks.

Back to telecommuting, clicking, uploading and so on. Somehow I had forgotten about the head. Cats don’t eat heads. I went looking for it. Under the pillow, nah, the cats aren’t Mafia. I looked everywhere, except where the head is, of course. No head, anywhere. Two heads are not better the one, especially when mine is one of them and the other one is rotting under furniture somewhere. Just a pleasant surprise I can look forward to, probably requiring a little biologic time to pass?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ivy in the Wall, Charlottesville

This is a parking lot wall not far from the Charlottesville Downtown area. It’s on a path I follow from a parking spot to my favorite coffee brewer. I had noticed the hole in the wall earlier; apparently it had been mistaken as a trash container. All sorts of odd items had been stuffed in it.
Nature, and especially ivy, has a way of making the best of a situation. This is about 5 feet above the ground, and I couldn’t find any evident soil nearby. It’s all concrete or asphalt for as far as you can see.
The downtown area of Charlottesville has history built into the walls of most buildings. The Mudhouse coffee shop, where I generally buy my coffee, has been renovating the interior of their place on the downtown mall. There was layer after layer of wallpaper, newspaper scraps, stenciled messages, as they stripped the wall. I stopped by more often just to see what new layers came up.The renovation is finished now, and they left the cleaned, but unfinished, wall between buildings open to the room. The whole shop interior is now a rearranged space, and the it looks great.