ca. 1888. A handwritten note on the back of the photo says, “Aunt Velma, she never married.” Everything about this image taps into my fear of female pattern baldness. Courtesy of my friend Kay who delights in all things odd. She found the image here. As an aside, when I was in grade school and high school we used to compete against Bucksport, Maine in certain sporting events. And, while I know this is a generalization, I remember those girls as not always being so nice. That said, I bet Aunt Velma is a peach.
Wow, I stopped dead in my tracks when I rounded the corner at 2nd Avenue and 72nd Street. Construction on the 2nd Avenue Subway is going full bore, and these ducts overwhelm anything and everything else around. They are huge and imposing and just a wee bit scary. The “blasting” sign showing a stick of exploding dynamite helped with the fright factor. I am fascinated by pipes and ducts and wires and any visible indication of our underlying infrastructure. Note to self: bring real camera because the iPhone can only do so much.
The other day I caught my husband looking through the photos on his phone. Peering over his shoulder, I saw these two. They were taken upstate a couple of weekends ago. It was very very hot that Saturday, but then the clouds and storms rolled in to cool things off.
When I was young (3-6 yrs. old) and living in the suburbs of Philadelphia, there was an abandoned house next door to ours. Actually, I think it was a garage with an apartment upstairs. But because I was little, it seemed huge. And scary. In part because Mrs. O’Brien, an ogre of a woman who lived in the main house, was meaner than mean. I believe she once hit my father with a rolled up newspaper, or an umbrella, because she was angry about our barking dog. She may have had a point. Anyway, my parents, heeding the laws and perhaps some hidden dangers, forbid us to go inside. But try squelching the curiosity of two small children eager to defy the rules. When we did finally sneak our way in, we found boxes and letters and lots of broken glass (the danger part!) scattered among three-legged chairs and the mustiest air imaginable. Sorry, I digress. I just found a few photos from a little jaunt my husband and I made over to Governors Island a year or so ago. The city decided to open up some of the buildings — the fancy officers houses and the red brick dormitories — to the public. It was truly amazing. Peeling paint, everything fallen into decrepitude, and many many closed doors. It brought back that crazy childhood impulse to trespass in a big way. The photographs don’t even begin to do it justice. So, this summer, if you have a chance, hop on one of the ferries, take the seven minute ride, and go! Read about the history of the island here.
This isn’t my typical post, but I saw this photograph by Max Rossi in the NYT this morning and could not get it out of my head. Something about the scale of the ship (the Costa Concordia that ran aground off the coast of Italy on January 13th, 2012 ) in relation to the sunbathers just flips me out. In part because of their actual proximity to the vessel itself. If you must see more, go here.
Barry Rosenthal is a precise photographer and a scavenger. Of the very best kind. This series of images portrays found objects, for the most part culled from the mass of detritus in and around the waterways and beaches of New York and New Jersey. I hate to think that garbage is beautiful, but here it is, in all its glory. It’s a sad commentary that there is this much waste that it can be organized by kind and hue. It should come as no surprise that I first stumbled across Mr. Rosenthal’s work on Things Organized Neatly.
The good folks over at Flavorwire put up a post today about Fulton Ryder’s tumblr collection of unusual and intriguing photographs consisting mostly of book covers, with additional images of cultural ephemera. This Robert Frank volume, whose genesis was an ad campaign in 1959 for the New York Times, brought back memories of art school photography class. Back then, The Americans, Frank’s most famous body of work, made a big impression on me.