Yesterday I went to see the Nationals play the Giants at AT&T Park in San Francisco. It was an interesting game. Very few hits and not much scoring. The Nationals won in 10, 2 to 1. As you can see it was a beautiful day, perfect for baseball. I was at the mercy of the guy selling the tickets, and just asked for a very cheap seat. Ended up in section 302, which by my estimation is the nicest place to sit in the whole park. The only problem was that for the first time in all my years of going to baseball games, it was difficult to concentrate on the action with this amazing view of the bay always pulling me away from the game. Even if you HATE baseball, it is totally worth $24.00 to sit up here for an afternoon drinking a few beers and being part of a crowd of very friendly people. / After the game I blasted over to the offices of Collector’s Weekly and met with Hunter Oatman-Stanford who wrote this article about the suitcases that really opened a lot of doors for me. We were joined by two other editors and had a great chat about this and that. I was totally blown away when they told me that the story had generated roughly 600,000 views on their site. I really owe a lot to Hunter for his great interview and interest in the project. / Made it out to the airport in time to catch the redeye back to Boston. Got home at about 9.30 this morning and was happy to see the Pearl, who after a bit of a scare this weekend seems to be back on her feet.
I have never given much thought to whether or not I am an artist. And the whole idea of whether or not photography is an art is a whole ball of wax that I try to avoid. So when Pam Winfrey (whose idea it was to have the Exploratorium host the “Normal” exhibit) invited me to be part of an artist’s night, I said yes without giving it much thought. So it was a bit weird for me to be introduced to people as one of the artists whose work was on display. I’ll accept it for the time being but I doubt it will go to my head. The event was pretty cool. Since I was basically alone, I wandered around looking lost for a while before I ran into my refound friend Katie Hahren and her daughter Annie. That loosened things up a bit. Eventually Karen Miller and I ended up signing catalogues and chatting with guests. / One thing about San Francisco that I really like is that dogs seem to be accepted in most public places. When I was at the Exploratorium in February I met a 4 month old black lab who was on his way to work for only the second day. I can not imagine bringing the Pearl to an office job even now when she is 12 and mostly calm.
This is the new Exploratorium on the Embarcadero at Pier 15. It is amazing. Go check it out if you ever get the chance.
One of the projects I did back in the 80s was a documentation of late 19th and early 20th century New York State prison architecture (funded by the New York State Council on the Arts). I shot it all with my 4 x 5 Wista and it is nice to look at the photographs from time to time. This shot at the Elmira Correctional Facility is the only one I took with evidence of a prisoner (note the guy’s hands on the lower left holding the mirror as he is checking me out). The corrections people were super nice to me, although I am pretty sure they could not really grasp what I was up to. If I remember correctly, this is one of the few NY State prisons with this traditional set up….just like in the movies!
I’ll be heading back out to San Francisco on Sunday for an Exploratorium event Monday evening. Thinking about trying to get together with any of you who are interested. Any ideas about a pub somewhere near the Embarcadero where we could hang out at the end of the day on Tuesday? Shoot me an email if you have any ideas.
The current issue of the Old House Journal (June/July 2013) has a story that I shot a few months ago. Kerry Baldridge is restoring a house in Exeter, NH and the shoot was lots of fun. Here’s a link to the online version. Her blog is great and for those of you who live in old houses it is worth checking out. Scroll down to the bottom of the Old House online page for the link.
We will be heading back East early tomorrow. I had hoped to have a long post about the Exploratorium exhibit ready to go, but I am still processing my feelings. I will have something up by Thursday. What can be said now though is that by mounting “The Changing Face of What is Normal” in what was basically a museum dedicated to science related issues, they have done something incredibly daring. It is not what many people familiar with the Exploratorium expect to see, and for that I give them a ton of credit. It is a very interesting experience and for those of you who get the chance to be in the area, well worth the effort.
I have been fortunate as a photographer to get into a number amazing buildings. Not many quite as incredible as the Stahl House in LA. Cristine’s sister Lynne and her husband John are docents there, and on Sunday evening we had the privilege to be in one of the most iconic mid-century homes in the world.
The story of the house is well documented so I will not go into it, but it is well worth reading about. Click on the Stahl House link above and you can read a bit more about it here.
The most amazing aspect of the house now is that it is still family owned, and they have graciously made it open to the public. For what is a very reasonable fee, small groups can have guided tours (possibly by Lynne and John) that allow visitors to experience something so rare that it is almost inconceivable. (Cristine looks quite at home in this shot.)
This is a stitched photograph (2 images) that is not perfect (one funky area that I noticed right away), but it shows the house pretty well at twilight. / Big thanks to the Stahl family, and especially to Lynne and John who have become experts in mid-century architecture and artifacts. They also docent at the Eames House, which is open to the public on a limited basis. / Go to the Stahl House website to poke around and set up a tour. If you are in LA it is easily one of the top 5 things to do.
I am going to break a few of my self-imposed rules in this post. I have always assumed that the reason people come to this site was to see interesting aspects of the world that they might not otherwise notice. I have never wanted it to be about me. But this post is mostly personal.
Peter Carroll and I have been working on a project on Tilghman Island for the past several years. In conjunction with the Tilghman Island Waterman’s Museum, we have been documenting the life of the watermen for two films that Peter has been shooting. The second of those films had its premier on Saturday evening at the elementary school. The auditorium was full and everyone loved it.
Then on Sunday Cristine and I flew to New Orleans where she was to receive an award from the Commission on Adult Basic Education. We walked around the city most of the day yesterday and it was as amazing to me as everyone said it would be.
Cris got the Kenneth J. Mattran Award for “Promoting Literacy Nationally and Internationally”. I was so proud and it was great to see people come up to her and thank her for being so inspirational.
After the luncheon we bugged out and walked back to the French Quarter. I would love to have seen this neon sign lit up, but The Pearl was closed today. Next stop was Cafe´du Monde for beignets and coffee. Later as we were walking down an almost totally deserted RiverWalk, we saw a video crew doing a stand up shot of a guy with the river in the background. It turned out to be Jim Cantore from the Weather Channel.
So here’s where I really break my self-imposed rule (don’t ever have a picture of me in this blog). My great friend Tania Werbizky has at various times in her life been totally obsessed with the Weather Channel. After Jim was done with his work, I approached him and asked if I could take a photograph. He was so nice and immediately suggested that he and I be in the shot. So Tania, I mentioned you to Jim effing Cantore. How’s about that?
Our hotel is just next to the Superdome and this is the view from the 17th floor hallway. / It is impossible to walk around this city and not think of hurricane Katrina and the devastation it caused. And looking at this building that housed so many people in such great need is more than a bit unsettling. This is an amazing part of America and I feel fortunate to have finally made it down here.
I am sitting in the San Francisco airport waiting for my redeye flight home. This morning’s quick meeting with the team ended well. I know know pretty much what I need to do in the next few weeks as far as printing goes.
I had yesterday pretty much to myself. Around noon I met with an old friend from Ithaca, Katie Harhen and we ate a couple of dozen oysters in the Ferry Terminal and had a great time catching up. She is a really wonderful person and has created a great life out here in the Bay Area.
I had been hearing about the Sutro Baths from the Exploratorium folks and Stephanie Bailey said it was her favorite place in the area. I hopped on the Geary bus and after a long ride out to the western-most part of SF got to a cliff above the ocean.
I especially like the fact that except for a few spots one is totally free to roam around the ruins without having to be warned of imminent danger. It is part of a National Park, and for now the only areas that are closed off are to do with a river otter that has taken up residence. (He wasn’t there when I showed up.)
There was a little tunnel through the rocks that was kind of eerie. You could hear the waves crashing and in a few spots could actually see the water.
The ocean was a steely gray for most of the time I was there.
It was foggy and quite cold when I arrived and just as I was leaving at about 5.00, the sun came out.
The flora reminded me a lot of what you would see on the Cornwall coast.
It is a very special place. And the gift shop at the top of the hill is way cool. I got a great mug and a bunch of vintage postcard reproductions. It is always completely baffling to me how something as cool and popular as the baths can virtually disappear. Check out some other links to the history of the place and be sure to visit if you are in the area.
My flight to San Francisco went smoothly. I am staying at the same part of town where Claire Larkin, Peter Carroll, and I stayed when we were working on a project for the Smithsonian American Art Museum. We came to Golden Coffee for breakfast most mornings. It is fabulous. They were still closed this morning when I went out to get tea, but I’ll head over there in a bit to have breakfast and then off to the Exploratorium.