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Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Summertime growing up in Villas, NJ lots of my friends’ families were Catholic, Irish or Italian, some German or Polish. Almost all were blue collar, factory & shipyard workers. Or they got by otherwise. Some stayed with grandparents. The blessed Virgin was ubiquitous: on dashboards, front lawns, jewelry, framed next to her Son in every dining room where the mother fed the neighbor kids as well as her own. Some kids went to St Raymond’s school on Bayshore Road, but most went back to Philly, where their real homes were; the Villas was for summer vacation, fresh air for the kids, breathing room for mom and the Villas Fishing Club on the bay for men- only. The boardwalk over in Wildwood for everybody with a car or bus fare.

Labor Day Weekend marked the end of summer firmly as a door closing. The following Monday morning the streets were silent, window blinds pulled down, driveways- twelve hours earlier festooned with wading pools, kids, grills, beer bottles & fishing gear, empty. A vacuous quiet descended. Left behind we were all watchers in this new found emptiness, watchful for artifacts of the prior occupants, for signs that summer had existed at all. Mary would stare dolefully back at us from within her blue robes at various locations throughout the neighborhood, daring our trespass.

And then there was St Francis, keeper of beasts & of nature, benevolent & compassionate. Guardian of the wildness inside us all and protector of the earth, he would keep watch along the bay all winter long, and ever after.

Three Visions of St Francis Guarding the Delaware Bay

Three Visions of St Francis Guarding the Delaware Bay

Three Visions of St Francis Guarding the Delaware

Three Visions of St Francis Guarding the Delaware

Three Visions of St Francis Guarding the Delaware

Three Visions of St Francis Guarding the Delaware Bay

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Taking the time to sit down and edit again after a long and busy summer away from blogging. Rainy days like the one we’re having at the moment don’t induce the kind of “carpe diem” guilt that parking in front of a laptop, editing does on a brilliant blue sky summer afternoon.

Here’s a tumble-down tin roof roadhouse sagging toward earth near Muscoda, WI. Old wood and tin, irresistible!

Wooden roadhouse near railroad siding and highway 133 crossing

Wooden roadhouse near railroad siding and highway 133 crossing

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Driving across Tennessee years ago, had to stop for a cold one and observe a history lesson. Image produced from a digital scan of a 35mm B&W TMax film negative recovered from materials that survived Hurricane Wilma’s flooding of Key West, FL in 2005.No post scan editing. Exact location in Tennessee has been lost. If anyone recognizes this place, I’d appreciate hearing more about it, thanks!

Tennessee Gateway, 1989

Tennessee Gateway, 1989

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We drove over to Muscoda on Hgwy 133 Saturday to go to St Vincent’s Thrift Shop. I knew there were several sites / sights in this small river town that I wanted to frame and to think over. Memorial Day weekend always gets my attention anyway. Makes me mindful of what gets taken for granted in the backgrounds of our daily routines. There are the buildings, commerce, highway, past and present colliding. The road signs to tell us where we’re at. And then there’s the flag(s) speaking louder than anything else this weekend.
Here’s a couple of shots taken downtown at the intersection of Hgwy 133 & SR 80; I was testing smaller f-stops, using a remote release with the camera tripod-mounted and longer exposures, ISO 100. One’s “as shot”, the other’s post processed to adjust contrast and saturation. I need a better monitor for editing; this laptop’s color profile was balanced with a Spyder Pro, but I’m still not convinced that I’m seeing what I need to. Would appreciate knowing what they look like to you. Cheers.

Memorial Day weekend, downtown Muscoda, WI

Memorial Day weekend, downtown Muscoda, WI

Memorial Day weekend cruiser,  Hgwy 80 & 133

Memorial Day Weekend cruiser, Hgwy 80 & 133

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I’ve driven past hundreds of times, in all light and weather, trying to catch what this old roadhouse is mumbling. Yesterday I thought someone, maybe a country workcrew had sprayed the grass in front with fluorescent blue paint. When I stopped later that afternoon and walked up close, the blue revealed itself to be wild violets. Like a chunk of the sky blow down at the feet of this abandoned dream. (Photo is RAW, no post-processing except resize for web and copyright txt.)

Abandoned roadhouse, trailers out back, April 2014 SW Wisconsin

Abandoned roadhouse, trailers out back, April 2014 SW Wisconsin

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Madison WI’s Overture Center reminds me of a smaller scale version of NYC’s Guggenheim Museum. The shell-like spiral staircase and open atrium are irresistible to the lens. Quick post this morning, additional images to come:

Overture Center Staircase

From the third floor of the Overture Center, looking down the main staircase.

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The Driftless World photo exhibit at Timberlane Coffeehouse in Boscobel, Wisconsin’s finally up on the wall. 50+ images including some old silver prints from 1989. New respect to everyone who’s ever prepped and matted work for a show. Delicious anticipation, but a lot to do to do it right, hopefully!

Opening reception’s from 1 – 5 pm today, April 5th. If you happen to be in the area, stop by! Would love to meet blog friends in person.

Driftless World photography now on display at Timberlane Coffee

Driftless World photography now on display at Timberlane Coffee

 

Driftless Photos on Display

 

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Caroline Street at Night, Key West FL 1989

Caroline Street at Night, Key West FL 1989

Back in the late 80’s after spending time in a graphic arts wet darkroom shooting artwork color separations for screenprinting, I became interested in black and white 35mm photography. A class with Lawson Little at Fla. Keys Community College and hundreds of shots later I had my own darkroom and binders full of negatives, contact prints and enlarged prints.

Green Parrot Bar

Green Parrot Bar in the old days, Corner Caroline and Whitehead Streets, Key West

Fast forward to the digital age, past Hurricane Wilma and Key West’s inundation that went little noticed in the wake of the more horrendous landfall Katrina made in New Orleans. I’d already left Cayo Hueso to make a landfall of my own in Chicago, but not my heavier possessions: record albums, books, notebooks and negatives.

 Fru Sale, Clermont, Florida

After a fire, the water tower, steps and a gourd vine’s all that’s left of this abandoned hilltop citrus emporium. And of course a realtor’s for sale sign.

Salt water does a lot of damage. But silver negatives in protective sleeves turn out to be much tougher than anyone who hasn’t salvaged them might guess. Wiped and dried out, the binders hibernated for years in my office while I considered what sense there might be in a digital age, to again invest in an redlight darkroom. Then at the local library where I work,  like being hit between the eyes by a fast flying Junebug, i realized the workhorse public scanner had a 35mm negative reader tucked into the lid. Presto Chango.

Can't Step Back Clermont Florida, 1989

Can’t Step Back Clermont Florida, 1989. From the 20s through the late 60s it was common to see hilltop, roadside citrus fruit stands dotting highways throughout Florida. Typically they were surrounded by acres of orange trees rolling toward the horizon. Fruit, cold drinks, maybe real estate or a viewing tower and a multitude of souvenir tchotkes greeting travelers who stopped. These steps are what’s left of an abandoned fruit depot that burned down; citrus cropping in Central Florida has all but ceased due to disease and unpredictable winter weather.

A bit of a learning curve ascent plus trial and error mostly overcame a long gone manual and for the first time in 25 years those old negative can step back into the light; of a different wavelength, but illumination nevertheless.  The differences between ink and silver stand out in the new prints, but mashing up the two mediums has released multitudes of opportunities. And a little dance of ecstasy.

Gourd Tower, Clermont Florida

Nature indifferently reclaims what human enterprise abandons. This fruitstand’s ashes and all the work and memories shared within its walls erased except as held within memory, words, images. The hills beyond are crowned with rolling rows of orange trees that, in years to come will be frozen out. And if the pattern running up and down Highway 27 in Central Florida has held true to the course it was following at the turn of the 21st century, these rolling croplands will be sold off to developers, scraped clean and covered by planned communities featuring chic construction themes like Southwestern Adobe complete with concrete cactuses. Artificial Paradise.

And what I remembered about taking these photos, especially the series taken upstate, in the Central and North Central Florida citrus belts, which had undergone vast change even then, is the sense of a requiem. The Old Florida shown in these photos was vanishing when they were taken. It’s slipped away now almost entirely.

Photography is a medium where everything shown is in the past tense, and so the yearning for places, people and for a “sense of place” long extinguished comes built-in. Sally Mann, Stephen Shore and Frank Gohlke, among others  have written about the inherent sense of loss, yearning or exclusion that comes with landscape photography; the places or homes we can never go back to, that resist our attempts to re/connect with their  history and meaning. With their witnesses.

Evinston Florida, Sunlight Styling Salon 1989

Evinston Florida, Sunlight Styling Salon 1989. Florida’s time warps are almost always unexpected and defy cultural expectations. many attempts have been made to sell the states enchantment and mystery, few ever succeed.

Time shifted contexts are by nature disconcerting: same physical location, but everything known about it and assumed to be permanent fractures and dislocates. Frequently deteriorates. Certainly becomes denaturalized. This is one of the first poignant  lessons of mature adulthood: change is the only constant.

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At the Museum

Something that used to be forbidden, now permitted if not actually encouraged: museum photography. In their contemplative or perhaps quizzical states the viewers draw the eye nearly as much as the artwork. In this case a review of contemporary photography.

At the Museum, NYC

Contemporary Photography exhibity, MOMA, NYC 2013

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After reading Rebecca Solnit’s Unfathomable City and Wanderlust these past few weeks my attention’s been re-focused on the history of landscape as cultural narrative and on human modified landscapes a reflection of our cultural values. Or the dis/integration thereof. The 1975 photography exhibition New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape” came to my attention this morning and I’ve since been web diving for information about the individual photographers who participated in this re-en/visioning of the traditional narratives of vast, wild, sublime American landscape. Their post-industrial, post-suburban, interstate sliced still lives of the land made subservient to human whim resonate deeply within my own assessment of what has changed everywhere we live in the past 50 years.

Frank Gohlke’s work should be known by anyone interested in contemporary interpretations of landscape. The following interview and retrospective slide show of the images he considers most significant nicely summarized his vision and intentions:

http://www.terrain.org/interview/28/

here today I’m editing & printing cityscapes and trying to design a promo postcard for the April show. Never was I much good at making choices and there are a lot of them to wade through, which photo, what dimensions, what to say, how much. learning as I go!  Thanks for stopping by the Driftless World.

Image

Hall Street, Brooklyn New York October, 2013

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