POTD: Patriot’s Dream #3

Patriot’s Dream #3
Bozeman, Montana
2010

This junkyard scene reminded me of a line from an old comedy skit from the 70s, I think by the Firesign Theater. In the skit some immigrants from Europe coming over on a boat to the U.S. are chatting about their hopes and dreams for their new lives in America. One says something about working hard and putting his kids through college; another says his dream was to start his own business and make it grow. The third replies “…and I can’t wait to put a ’54 Chevy up on blocks in my front yard.” Or at least that’s how I remember the skit several decades later. Anyway, there are obviously a lot of dimensions to the American Dream.

POTD: Patriot’s Dream #2

Patriot’s Dream #2
Bozeman, Montana
2010

A number of years ago I took a photo of an old American flag hanging in a cabin window in the ghost town of Cherry Creek Nevada (you can see it here). I called it Patriot’s Dream, a title which has generated a number of interpretations. Since then I’ve gradually been collecting other photos of real and painted American flags, generally derelict looking and/or in unusual locations. So, I’m starting a series using the Patriot’s Dream title and will post some of the more recent ones as POTDs over the next few days. Most if not all of the recent photos of flags I’ve converted to black and white images, although I’m not sure that’s the best way to present them since the colors of the flag are so important. Any comments on the pros and cons or the relative impact of black and white vs. color American flag photos are welcome.

POTD: Gridworm

Gridworm
Oshkosh, Wisconsin
2010

This was suppose to be just another shot in my Gridlock series, but then this guy walked by on the lower roof hauling sheets of insulation, so I decided to go with the more dynamic shot with him in it.

POTD: Skyscrapers

Skyscrapers
Oshkosh, Wisconsin
2010

I thought these ladders leaning against the wall of a hardware store had the look of a big-city skyline.

Now that POTD is obviously back, I want to thank everyone who sent condolences on my father’s death a week ago. I think the incredible amount of paperwork and decision making required to deal with the death of a parent, along with the additional effort required to make sure the surviving spouse is well-situated (in this case involving my mother’s move to a new house and readying the old place for sale) is nature’s way of easing the grieving process by not allowing you to dwell on your lose for any sustained length of time on any particular day. Being forced to deal with other pressing issues at the same time keeps the loss from being too overwhelming. All-in-all I’d rather be out photographing, but other than that I am doing well. Thanks again everyone for the expressions of support.

POTD: Wallace Blackwood 1921-2010

Wallace Blackwood 1921-2010
Wichita, Kansas

My father, Wallace Blackwood, passed away early this morning. I don’t know why I’m even bothering posting a POTD at a time like this except that he always enjoyed them, so this is a fitting tribute in a way. As such, it is totally inadequate as a means of expressing what this man meant to me and how wonderfully he shaped my life, but it’s the best I can do. I took this photo just the day before yesterday when I was in Wichita to help my parents get ready to move to assisted living. Like most photos, this one does not tell the whole story of his situation at the time, but those who knew him will not be surprised to see that in spite of his pain and discomfort the last photograph of him was with his nose buried in a book, in this case a book of Sudoku puzzles that he couldn’t seem to put down.

POTD is going to be on hiatus for a few days. It will return when acting normal seems to be the best medicine for me.

POTD: Neenah Paper Plant

Neenah Paper Plant
Neenah, Wisconsin
2010

This is one of the processing plants belonging to the Neenah Paper Company, but that’s beside the point as I took the photo because I like the graphical arrangement and lighting of the shapes of the building’s various components, independent of its owner or function.

POTD: Black Mesh

Black Mesh
Asheville, North Carolina
2010

I think this is the last image of Asheville I’m going to post. This series is kind of going out with a whimper rather than a bang, but I kind of like the repeating pattern of the black mesh table tops. On a nice day, these tables would be filled with people enjoying the street scenes of downtown Asheville, but on this day it was rather blustery and cold and people were more likely to be found doing what we had just finished doing–enjoying a warm cup of tea in a cozy coffee house. In fact the only people we saw sitting outside anywhere were those pariahs of modern American society, cigarette smokers.

POTD: Big City Wannabe

Big City Wannabe
Asheville, North Carolina
2010

This building takes both the shape and the name of the much more famous Flatiron Building in New York City. The big city envy is even more obvious when you realize that the building sits on Wall Street in Asheville. I’ll add my own envy to the situation by admitting I wish my Asheville Flatiron photo was as good as Edward Steichen’s rendering of the New York City namesake. Below is a poor reproduction of Steichen’s image (all that seems to be available on the web); I have a photogravure print of it taken from the original negative and it is stunning.

The Flatiron (Evening)
Edward Steichen
1906

POTD: The Crown of Asheville

The Crown of Asheville
Asheville, North Carolina
2010

At last, a sample of the art deco architecture Asheville is famous for. This is the centerpiece of that architecture, the Asheville City Hall.

POTD: Basilica of St. Lawrence

Basilica of St. Lawrence
Asheville, North Carolina
2010

I guess I’m giving a biased view of Asheville architecture, avoiding all the art deco buildings for some reason. This cathedral is said to be of the Spanish Baroque Revival style and was built entirely without wood or steel, using only masonry and tiles for the floors, ceilings, and pillars. As cathedrals go, it’s not really a huge building, but leaving the “keystone” effect (the apparent angling in of the top of the building) in the photograph helps make it look more imposing.