Out for one of those terrific DQ Jurassic Blizzards and spied this old sign while eating and reading a book in the parking lot. A bit of HDR look that doesn’t show up much here.
My current book is “The Box Garden: A Novel” by the late Carol Shields. my second book from her. I was talking to a coworker a few days ago about the series Mad Men and we both agreed that age has brought a shift in taste away from plot driven books, movies, and shows and towards character driven stories. Much like the appeal of street photography, you just want to understand the characters and what makes them tick.
It is a contagious pastime, causes one to want to take up the practice of psychology. Though perhaps slower to take off than The Stone Diaries, this book is a winner if you enjoy trying to figure out people and what makes them tick.
I mean, basically, the show is about a study
of behaviors—about what makes somebody
behave the way they do. It’s a people
zoo—the study of these people,”
Lindsey Green, about Mad Men
from an article on The Daily Beast
Sunday was a nice day for a bike ride, not much traffic and nice weather for our town. Some really great ice cream capped off the day, two chocolate variations: chocolate peanut butter cup and chocolate brownie fudge. Can’t beat that, cycling for ice cream rewards!
We took a short coffee, food, and photos road trip to Morehead. The Fuzzy Duck might need to spruce up their storefront but the coffee can always be counted on to be great. This is a combination coffee shop and book store, located in a repurposed downtown theater.
Enjoyed a short walk along the 4C trail at the state park, won’t be long till the colors change.
Out for ice cream at Austin’s, I’m always reminded of a long ago discussion about the evils of taxes and government. One of the participants gave a memorable statement when he said to always remember not everyone on this earth can drive out and get an ice cream cone whenever they want. That has value and meaning far beyond just the enjoyment of the ice cream itself. That’s my 4th of July message. Amen, you are adjourned.
“You mustn’t wish for another life. You mustn’t
want to be somebody else. What you must do is this:
Pray without ceasing.
In everything give thanks.”
I am not all the way capable of so much,
but those are the right instructions.”
― Wendell Berry, Hannah Coulter
Pendleton Art Center
Spent the evening at the Pendleton, the pottery studio is getting an update with new work tables and I helped put things together.
I’ve not written up much of a formal review but I’d have to say that the small Canon Sl1 with the 10-22 Canon lens is just about one of the finest combinations I’ve ever used. I’ve recently been using the live-view “tap and shoot” routine where you frame up your composition on the LCD and then tap a focus point on the screen. The mirror flips for a focus confirmation and then the shutter fires, making it pretty easy to both frame up the composition and fire the shutter with minimal shake. Also works very well when you want to hold at chest level or over the head. A tilt down screen would be just perfect then you could shoot from waist level just like in the old days.
“If I were two faced, would
I be wearing this one?”
I wanted to flip back to an photograph or two from the Wide Angle exhibit at the University of Kentucky Art Museum.
A couple days ago, I had an image showing the display of some well known photographers, however I think one of the important educational points of the Wide Angle show is how it allows you to find new photographers and new styles.
This photograph depicts a picture made by Arthur Tress, a photographer that is known for his staged surrealism. His image shows a street hockey player shot in an enveloping scene of steam rising from the road beneath him, from some sort of vent. It is a striking photograph, sort of creepy but alluring.
Within the show are also photographs by Ralph Eugene Meatyard who also favored such a style, often using his children as subjects in his made up surreal images. Meatyard was a local Kentucky photographer who was a member of the earlier Lexington Camera Club and died in the 70s just prior to the club folding.
For some time, his photography was collected and considered as good as the photographers such as Weston, Adams, and such. Meatyard’s popularity faded but has began a resurgence in recent years and I’ve ran across his photographs several times lately. Meatyard had a tie in with Thomas Merton and also Wendell Berry, both of whom I have often written about. See Meatyard’s Wikipedia entry for more details.
Within our local camera club, we had a photographer in the mid 1980s who leaned toward “staged surrealism” and I remember not liking the images very well at all, but now after 30 years I can still distinctly remember them while I have forgotten most all the others. That is one mark of success.
University of Kentucky Museum of Art
In this scene, the middle photograph is “Fleeing a Dust Storm” by Arthur Rothstein. He was a photographer with the Farm Security Administration (FSA) that photographed the country during the depression era.
This is a well known photograph, critically some have said it isn’t that good of a composition but we thought it was one of the better ones of the show. Supposedly, Rothstein either “tweaked” it at best or else totally staged it, at worst. The subjects are leaning while they walk to communicate their toil with the weather and the composition seems to suggest the building is occupied, though a close look at it shows the door has not been opened in a long while, nor could it ever be without a good bit of shoveling. Still, it is a great photograph to view in person.
The photograph on the right is “Wagons deliver tobacco to barn on Russell Spears farm, near Lexington, Kentucky” by Marion Post Wolcott. Her photographs, taken as a collection, seem to be my most favorite from the FSA project. She photographed in West Virginia during the same time period, as well as spending a month in the Lexington Kentucky area.
I believe the photograph on the left is a Walker Evans shot, though my notes are sort of jumbled at that point.
University of Kentucky Museum of Art
Here is a wide-angle view of the photo exhibit Wide Angle that is presently on display at the UK Art Museum. I’ve learned today that it will travel to the Huntington Museum of Art this fall. It’s a pretty complete exhibition in terms of giving the viewer an education on the different styles of photography as well as a long list of important (and famous) photographers. From the UK museum website:
“From the Art Museum’s extensive collection of more than 1,300 photographs, this exhibition examines the history of American photography through the work of artists like: Ansel Adams, Van Deren Coke, Elliott Erwitt, Robert Frank, Lewis Hine, Helen Levitt, Russell Lee, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Cindy Sherman, Aaron Siskind, Edward Steichen, Paul Strand, Doris Ulmann, Andy Warhol, and Carrie Mae Weems.”
An important and interesting part of the exhibit is the discussion about the old Lexington Camera Club, the tie-in being photographs and money left to the museum by Robert C. May who was a club member and a University of Kentucky employee.
The club existed from at least 1936 until 1972 but had it’s peak sometime in the 1940s with greater than 100 members. When May died, he left the museum about 1,200 photographs and a substantial amount of money (per the Lexington Herald Leader) that has been used to host an annual photography show and to bring noted photographers to the campus for an annual exhibit and lecture.
Huntington Museum of Art
Huntington, West Virginia
This shot is from a visit to the HMOA where I found some folk art on loan from the Kentucky Folk Art Museum that is affiliated with the Morehead State University . I have to confess that it has taken me awhile to start appreciating folk art, but after several visits to the museum in Morehead, I’m finding many examples that I like now.
I watched a good documentary on Netflix about the rise and fall of an inner city housing project in St Louis, called The Pruitt-Igoe Myth.
Though it surely wouldn’t be to the taste of everyone, I found it very interesting from the standpoint of architecture, human interest of our struggles, and vintage black and white photography (and some early video footage) of both of these. It is a captivating story of the life of a project and how so many things come to interact in a way that either can either enhance or destroy the whole concept.
The project and the people are detailed from the beginning to end: from the start with a large vacant field, to the building of a group of high rise structures that in the beginning was called paradise, then all the way up to present day where it is again a vacant field.
The movie contains a lot of on-camera interviews with former residents who are very good speakers, those who can speak from the heart with conviction and without stammer. Some had the most terrible experiences and others still say it was the best time of their life. One of them said it taught him empathy and that struck a cord. I think many of us have not learned empathy, especially concerning the downtrodden of this country.
You just gotta love a restaurant with a name like Hatti Beasly\’s. We spent the morning here recently and had some great coffee and conversation, enjoying the very good service and the nice relaxing environment created within the coffee shop. Unlike a lot of chain coffee shops, Hatti Beasly\’s gives you quite a lot of elbow room and has a good number of tables of different sizes to choose from. On our morning visit, we practically had the place to ourselves for quite a long time as most seemed to be using the drive-thru until the lunch crowd appeared and filled up nearly every table. It\’s only a breakfast and lunch place so I\’ve tucked it onto my to-do-list for a lunch visit sometime soon.
Here is the Urban Spoon page.
Pendleton Art Center
We stopped for awhile at the Pendleton and I enjoyed this interesting art work in the front lobby, entitled The Three Artists by Melanie Osborne.
Never attribute to malice that which
is adequately explained by stupidity.
A co-worker had told me about this old hilltop cemetery overlooking the town (found at this map), so we checked it out on a recent drive "around the world". It was such a serene place with a narrow one way road. I think it might be a good place for some nice environmental shots but on this clear day it was a very nice place to stroll about.
You might find the following link interesting, Thomas Jullien made a crowd-sourced short stop action film from 852 Instagram photos from 852 different users. It\’s an interesting film and shows how often we point our cameras all in the same direction. View the less than 2 minute film at Vimeo.
Charleston, West Virginia
Feeling much better, it was nice to get a text from Mike Adkins suggesting he would drive me up to Charleston for a quick trip to see a gallery show by the photographer Clayton Spangler. The exhibit consisted of a couple dozen black and white images that were printed on metal, which was the first time I\’ve viewed an entire exhibit on this unique medium. With the right viewing angle and lighting, it sure gives nice detail. Afterwards, we took a short sidewalk photowalk where I found a few images to post this week. The above photograph is a keystone above a large window, I\’m again mentally kicking myself to improve my reporting and make notes about the name of the building and exact location. The photo gets mixed reviews in my household, I find it moving and emotional. Others have found it disturbing and not at all enjoyable. But it is Halloween night, after all, so at least I\’ve met one themed date for the year.
I\’ve tried to research the artist since I was surprised to see a clear name inscribed on the art work and came up with the information that Milton Horn was a Russian-American sculptor who (quoting Wikipedia here) demonstrated "the truth that architecture and sculpture are not two separate arts but, in the hands of sympathetic collaborators, one and the same". On my next trip to Charleston, I\’ll be on the lookout for this building and any other building artwork that I can see.
"The function of sculpture is not to decorate
but to integrate, not to entertain but to
orientate man within the context of his universe."
Huntington, West Virginia
This is a shot of a storage building behind a local restaurant, being a very creative use of a mural to add value to the storage building. It bothers my eyes to the point that I had intended to not use it at all but then this hayfever-like problem has kept me inside. If you look at the roof in the shot, you can see it\’s sharp, however the mural does not appear to be focused and this doesn\’t set well with my eyes. Maybe the optical illusion is just me. Well, still moving slowly and staying out of the weather, so updates will continue to be a bit slow for the near future.
I watched a good documentary on the life of J.D. Salinger, the author of Catcher in the Rye. I was surprised to find that my mental image of Salinger was (nearly) completely wrong. For some reason, I had this idea that he wrote the book and then took the money and lived on a New England farm where he never penned another story, living just outside of a town that was very protective of him. Living a Wendell Berry-like life (without the public appearances), where he enjoyed farm life and had friends, neighbors, and townsfolk over for movies in his living room every week. Don\’t know where this came from, but some of the details had bits of accuracy (like watching movies) but largely the image was inaccurate according to the documentary Salinger. I understand the documentary wasn\’t well received in all circles but I found it interesting to watch. The message from the film is that Salinger did continue to write, nearly being an obsession to him. He had a writer\’s building built away from the main house and he created a large amount of unpublished work that was turned over to a literary estate to be published after his death (nothing has been published as of yet). One surprising part is that he was viewed as a recluse but really was not. He just tightly controlled his exposure and was not widely photographed and this enabled him to move about somewhat without easy detection. Considering the number of unstable readers the book seemed to attract, it was no wonder he became as he was.
“You must suffer me to go my own dark way.”
― Robert Louis Stevenson,
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
We took a drive "around the block" and enjoyed the warm afternoon sun in Portsmouth. The light is long and lingering in the fall evenings there, giving nice shadow definitions to the structures. I often wonder if the people who live there notice this effect. There is one area where the power poles are the older T-type that have several cross bars on them for multiple lines (like you see beside railroads) and these tees will case nice cross shadows on many of the buildings, making for some great portraiture backdrops if only in an area without so much traffic. We discovered this building in a quiet area near the historic district, I love how the old building still seems relevant and up-to-date.
"You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear. For example, you have
frequently seen the steps which lead up from the hall to this room."
"Well, some hundreds of times."
"Then how many are there?"
"How many? I don\’t know."
"Quite so! You have not observed. And yet you have seen. That is just my point. Now,
I know that there are seventeen steps, because I have both seen and observed.
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes