My favorite soap is Pears. I have used it for the last 25 or so years. Some time ago the company was bought by Unilever and the original formula was changed. I noticed a difference as did most other users. (Here’s a link to an amusing piece in the Guardian.) I was bummed, but have gotten used to the new smell and feel. Yesterday I was cleaning out my bathroom cabinets and came across this soap dish way in the back on a shelf. When I opened it I was happy to find a bar of the original Pears that had been abandoned well before the change. / It’s the little things, I guess, that sometimes can make life a bit brighter.
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 always try to be positive when I post here, so I will not say much on the death of Margaret Thatcher. But here is a link to a great song. This photograph was taken on 11 November, 1980 on Remembrance Day. It used to be possible to get pretty close to Number 10.
As I was going through my contact sheets I came across a couple of other shots I have been meaning to post here.
I think this is the English footballer Kevin Keegan outside of Buckingham Palace on 9 November,1982, the day he received his OBE from the Queen. Anyone out there who can correct me?
And finally, this shot.
This photographed has always gotten to me. I have a framed copy above my desk here in my studio. I was walking through Victoria Station in November of 1983 and saw this child, with an adult who I assume is his father. A month later the IRA set off a bomb outside of Harrods that killed six and injured 90. I am not sure why I put the two events together, but the connection of toy guns and real violence seems reasonable to me.
Cris and I are in South Carolina for a bit. My brother and sister-in-law generously invite us to stay in their place down here and it is amazing. We usually come in January, but since Cris is on sabbatical this semester we decided to come down in March. We were walking on the beach the other day and talking about flotsam and jetsam. I was spouting off about the distinction between the two. A few minutes later Cris looked down and saw this. It was clear that it wasn’t just dropped on the beach; it had been in the water a long time and was quite near the water line having just been washed up. It is completely dead, but we couldn’t help wondering about the life of the owner. 21st Century jetsam (or is it flotsam?)
I am getting a new battery in the Element and having the snows put on. I should really be doing some work answering email or going through the to-do list in my notebook. The dealership has great WiFi and it is a good excuse to do a quick post and avoid actual work. / The Bluebonnet diner on King Street in Northampton is pretty classic. An original Worcester Diner with an attached restaurant. I like pictures that show prices. Maybe someday someone will look at this and say “Liverwurst sandwich for only $4.29. Amazing”. My mom used to love liverwurst with a slice of sweet onion on rye bread.
On Monday I shot the last of the Willard suitcases for a while. I hope to use the rest of this month to begin editing the images for the Exploratorium exhibit, and knowing how my brain works I knew I couldn’t attempt to edit while I was still shooting. I was surprisingly emotional about the whole thing; an important part of the project ended and I am not sure when it might resume. It is also significant to me that it marks the end of the Kickstarter phase of this work. So some thank you’s are in order. I could NEVER have gotten this far without Kickstarter and the incredible support of the almost 700 people who backed me. Thanks to Alex Ross for the long term “loan” of his lights and soft boxes. He is a true friend. Craig Williams and the New York State Museum gave me access to the cases and Craig’s support was instrumental in keeping it all moving along. And Peggy Ross kept me organized. Without her help in unwrapping, setting up the shots, helping me see things I would have missed, and putting the objects back where they belong I would never have made it through as many of the cases as I did.
I will work on a post later today showing the last case in the queue, as it were. It was a great one to end on.
This is a bit of an experiment. When I was out at Willard recently, I shot the bowling alley in Hadley Hall and then went upstairs to the projection room. The lighting was the weirdest I have come across. I shoot most of this stuff in RAW, so that I have tons of latitude when it comes to editing the photos. I messed around with these images for a long time and I could NOT get the color to look good. The walls were yellowish and there were mixed fluorescents. Rather than get discouraged and stuff the whole idea of a post I decided to convert to black and white and see how they look online. Funny, since in the days of film I used to shoot this sort of thing in black and white much of the time.
The tradition for the projectionists was to write the name of the film and the date it was shown on the walls.
Lots of interesting films here. For example, “All Fall Down” was shown on 13 January, 1963, and Apache Rifles got a (Good) rating.
And here “The Glass Slipper” was shown on 14 April, 1956. And these were all 35mm prints!
What really interests me about the asylum having shown first run movies is that the residents of the institution were able to attend, as were the people who lived in the surrounding towns. From what I have been told, the townsfolk sat in the balcony and the asylum residents sat downstairs.
I like these notes for the projectionist. There must have been someone downstairs who could send some sort of signal in case of a problem.
The projection room seemed to me to be almost totally intact. The sheet of paper here might be hard to read online, but at the top of the list is “Back To The Future”.
Here’s another of the projection lenses. A beautifully made optic.
There was still quite a bit of paperwork lying around.
I was just blown away by this room and its contents.
It is really hard to put into words just how fortunate I am to get into places like this, and how important it is to me to be able to preserve images of something that very few people can see for themselves.
So, thank you all for checking in and encouraging me to do this kind of work. I am off to Rotterdam tomorrow to shoot more suitcases and will post an update to that project very soon.