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 made a run down to DC yesterday to deliver more household stuff for Peter’s apartment. Today we went to see the Nats and were delighted to discover that it was “Pups in the Park” day. And as is obvious, there was sniffing.
This picture shows Gio Gonzalez’s first pitch, which B.J. Upton promptly put into left field for a double. It went downhill for the Nationals from there. The final was 9-0 Braves, but it was a fun game to watch. Peter was especially excited about being able to walk up to the box office and get $20.00 seats an hour before first pitch. Something that hasn’t happened at Fenway for a very long time.
This is my second trip to the park, and the fact that you can see the Capitol as you are exiting from the upper levels is way cool.
Pete also told me that these cherry trees were an important part of the planning of the park. So nice to see them in bloom. It was beautiful here in the District today and a perfect day for baseball.
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.
Here’s a bunch of random stuff.
On our last day in New Orleans we took the trolley out to the Garden District. I was very happy to walk under The Pearl neon sign and see that it was turned on this time.
I have always liked wandering around graveyards and the Lafayette Cemetery was near to the trolley.
There is a great bookstore nearby and I was finally able to find a copy of Maira Kalman’s “And The Pursuit of Happiness”. I have been looking for a while now, and was so happy to find it. She sent me the nicest email about the Willard Suitcases and I was eager to see this book, as I really like her work. I especially like that she mentions the numbered graves at Gettysburg since they are so much like the ones at the Willard cemetery.
We flew back very late into BWI and this is what I saw out the window as we flew over DC.
I had a great shoot on Wednesday with another amazing writer. Poets & Writers asked me to photograph Neil Gaiman and he is the nicest guy. I can not post any shots until the story runs sometime this summer, but I will as soon as I can.
And finally, we drive Peter to DC tomorrow to help him find a place to live and get him settled. The usual melancholy has been creeping in and so I have been listening to a lot of Percy Grainger. I have always been so taken with his music. I seem to recall as a boy listening to a CBC program with my dad that used this piece as a theme. Here’s another that I especially like. The thing for me about Grainger is that there is an element of sadness in his music in spite of the light-hearted feeling of the tunes. He was a pretty out there fellow and the one quote of his that I think of often is him talking about his work. When speaking of his use of harmony, he said “My efforts even in those young days, were to wrench the listener’s heart with my chords. It is the contrast between the sweet and the harsh…that is heart-rending…And the worth of my music will never be guessed, or its value to mankind felt, until the approach to my music is consciously undertaken as a ‘pilgrimage to sorrows.’”
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.
Cris and I celebrated our 25th anniversary yesterday with a very long walk on the beach. It was a beautiful day and the light was perfect for me. And as you can see, it was mostly deserted.
When we walk, I am constantly stopping to take photos. She usually just keeps moving but I eventually catch up.
Some of these guys are really tiny. The shell on top with the red bit was no more than an inch across. The guy above was probably 3 inches.
I have only occasionally seen the above type of shell. Reminds me of an exotic African cat.
This shell was very small, but so beautiful.
There is usually quite a bit of plant matter laying about. We saw what was left of a huge palm tree at the high tide line. I am not sure if the plant above is a water or land based plant.
Sand dollars are somewhat rarer this year. We didn’t see any until yesterday.
I say it to people all the time when I am complimented about my photographs, because it is important for me to give credit where it is due. I absolutely could not do what I do without the constant support and encouragement from Cristine. Not just emotionally, but in practical terms as well. She works very hard at a demanding job to provide us with all the things that a photographer with a spotty income could never provide. For that and the last 25 years I am more grateful than I can say.
On the first of January bells were rung around Massachusetts at 2 pm to commemorate the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. I had heard that Pelham was going to join in and we went up to the historical society to have a look. This building used to be a church. It was built in 1839 when the government made the town move the worship area out of the town hall due to separation of church and state. The town hall (built 1743) is right next door and is interesting in that it is the oldest town hall in continuous use in the United States. The October town meeting is convened in it and then moved down to the school to be able to hold everyone. Pelham is also interesting in that it is the home of Daniel Shays. It is worth reading about him if you are interested in American history. His story is amazing.
Anyway, we arrived at the historical society and a few folks had shown up to participate. The single bell in the belfry was cast in England in the 1830s and has been out of service for a long time. Somehow enough money was found to conduct an engineering assessment of the structure to make sure that if it were rung the whole thing wouldn’t just collapse. It checked out OK (as they say); a new pull rope was attached and it was ready to go. We all took our turns and it was a surprisingly moving experience.
Cris and I have had a long running joke about these candies. I put these into her Christmas stocking this year and yesterday she placed them on my nightstand before leaving for a couple of weeks in Dhaka. They will probably be there when she gets back. Neither of us seem to like them that much. Chocolate on the other hand, wouldn’t last nearly that long.
A bit of “karma congestion” lately. So as a default I feel like doing a Pearl post. We never let her up on the furniture until about a year ago, but now she seems to have claimed the center section of this sofa. It is really nice to have the wood stove going with her asleep next to you.
Cris was putting some wrapped presents under the tree yesterday, and Pearl went right to this “Mega P’nut” dog treat. She got an early gift.
Peter is home from DC and he and I took her for a walk today. I know I have posted a similar photo, but for some reason this still gets to me. She wants to carry her leash everywhere.
This past year has been monumental in many ways, and next year could be equally interesting. My very best wishes to all of you who follow this blog. I’ll get back to some serious stuff soon, but in the meantime, ’tis the season to be thinking about friends and family and have lots of love in your hearts.
Cris thought this was a clematis, but upon looking at pictures that are online, I am quite sure it is something else. In any event, it was outside all summer and appeared to be totally dead. I moved it into the shade and watered it regularly and it came back. / It is an appropriate flower, as earlier this morning I went to the doctor and was informed that I had “pink eye”. I almost laughed when he told me, as I don’t think I have heard those words since elementary school. It is still kind of fun to say….pink eye. It is a total drag though; certainly not a good condition for a photographer. He gave me some drops and I hope it starts clearing up soon. / The picture in the background is my mom and was taken in 1956 in Lermoos, Austria. Here’s a link to a previous post about that trip.