POTD: French Broad

French Broad
Asheville, North Carolina
2010

Although it sounds like an exotically crude reference to the young woman gazing intently in the window, the French Broad Chocolate Lounge took its name from the French Broad river that flows through Asheville.

POTD: Dead End

Dead End
Oskosh, Wisconsin
2010

This photo is from Wisconsin but seems to fit well with the series of street scenes from North Carolina I’ve been posting so I’m including it here. If there ever was a good time to apply the overused “j” word in describing a photo, this might be it. But instead I’ll just say these are about the two most compatible unrelated signs I’ve ever seen (at least since the photo of the thirsty monk and 7-up signs the other day).

POTD: What Would Duchamp Think?

What Would Duchamp Think?
Chimney Rock State Park, North Carolina
2010

Marcel Duchamp is said to have practically invented conceptual art with his entry of a urinal as a sculpture titled Fountain into an art show in 1917. I wonder if the painters of the restrooms in Chimney Rock State Park knew they were in a sense following in Duchamp’s footsteps?

Duchamp’s original Fountain sculpture was destroyed, but he eventually authorized a limited number of reproductions, one of which I saw at the Tate Modern museum in London some years back. I was not impressed, but then it’s my understanding that with conceptual art you aren’t supposed to be impressed so much by the physical art itself but the ideas behind it. Or something like that.

For my money, Duchamp’s best work was his cubist painting Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2, which I’d have to say is on my top ten list of all-time favorite paintings. Interestingly, Duchamp’s painting was influenced by the early stop motion photography of Eadweard Muybridge, in particular an image titled Woman Walking Downstairs.

Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2
Marcel Duchamp
1912

POTD: Sorry I Smothered You

Sorry I Smothered You
Asheville, North Carolina
2010

There is a whole body of literature of very short stories referred to by names such as flash fiction or micro fiction. The most famous example is attributed to Ernest Hemingway who, according to legend, responded to a challenge to write a short story in ten words or less with this gem: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” I don’t know if the writer of this note in a window “shrine” in Asheville was intentionally writing a flash fiction piece, but it certainly qualifies. (Unless it’s actually true, then it would be flash nonfiction, or a flash memoir.)

Below is a photo of the entire window. The eclectic collection of trinkets reminds me of some of the religious shrines I’ve seen in Europe, Ireland most recently–I’ve posted some photos of these before. This shrine in Asheville seems not to have a particular religious basis, but if it does, attending one of their services could be quite interesting.

Window Shrine
Asheville, North Carolina
2010

POTD: Mating Season

Mating Season
Asheville, North Carolina
2010

Through the process of evolution, males of many bird species have developed brightly colored feathers to attract mates. A similar process may be occurring in the newspaper business. The colors may be good at attracting attention, but only the strong survive.

POTD: Adorn


Adorn
Asheville, North Carolina
2010

I like this image because, besides the bright colors, it has some interesting lighting effects. Sunlight is reflecting off some windows across the street, spotlighting the fire hydrant and the purple sign which would otherwise be lost in the shadow of the building. The reflected light also creates a shadow from the fire hydrant that lies at a right angle to the rest of the shadows in the photo. Why is that cool? It breaks the mold of the normal patterns in the way things work, or the way we think they ought to work.