The photographic explorations of a former film student.

Posts tagged “age

Old Controls

I thought about doing all sorts of controls and switches, but then I thought most people know what those look like. There’s little novelty about the common place. So I went for old controls. Most of these are located in my father’s side of the basement. He was quite the audio nerd back in the day, so the first thing I found was an old stereo.

 

Next was this old dehumidifier, which I made slightly greenish for a 70’s look. The device itself still worked up through at least last year, but I think it gave up the ghost recently.

 

Next Week: Archive or Seasonal

Hopefully, I’ll have time to shoot a new post. This one will be on Christmas decorations. If not, be prepared for a round of random archive photos.

 

 

 


Jewelry: What is it to You?

Sometimes, jewelry is symbolic of a belief, a hobby, a birth month, or a relationship. It is also given to commemorate special occasions. Here are a few pieces and the stories they tell and bring to mind.

This old ring came to rest in my sister’s jewelry box after my mother found it in an older jewelry box she purchased at a thrift store. It is quite aged and makes me think of the passage of time and the marks it can leave. However, the ring remains decorative and pleasing. From a normal distance, you would never notice how scarred it is. I wonder who owned it before, how she got it, and what it ment to her.

My Aunt sent me this dragonfly necklace for my birthday during my sophomore year of college. I thought it was darling and proceeded to wear it the very next day – to my splicing test. Ah, filmschool rites of passage.

This last one may be the first piece of jewelry I ever owned, or at least I’ve had it as long as I can remember. I believe it was given to me for my baby dedication. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the idea, baby dedication is common in many evangelical Christian churches. Essentially, the parents bring their baby up to the front of the church and promise to do their best raising him/her. The pastor usually reminds the church they are to support the family and prays that God will bless the child. Pretty simple and short. Usually, this happens one baby at a time when the baby is a few weeks old. I recently found a piece of paper that informed me mine was not so. Apparently, I was dedicated on Easter with several other babies. I guess that explains the pretty flower in the center of my necklace?

Do you have any special jewelry that reminds you of an important event, concept, or time in your life?

Next Week: Shoes

Yes, I did just randomly decide on that. I want to do something different, and shoes have been on my mind for other reasons.


Time

I remember the way I thought about time as a child. OK, vaguely, and I’m not that old, but it was different. When I was eight or younger, five minutes was a long time, not to mention an hour. And a year? Are we talking an eternity? I was aware of time: when I had to go to bed, when my father came home, and that kind of thing. However, I was much more free from time. I didn’t have responsibility and obligations. I didn’t have to make a schedule, nor did I have much of one to keep. My first watch did more to make me feel “grown up” than anything else.

 

 

 

But I grew up. Slowly, the hours and years got shorter. I had things to do and often felt like I didn’t have enough time to do them in, especially in college.

 

 

 

I think for most people, getting up on Monday morning becomes more difficult the highschool years. Unless you are a morning person, this is your friend:

 

 

The snooze button is actually the enemy.

 

Right now, time is both fast and slow for me. The minutes, hours, and days go by, but I’m still waiting on things to happen in my life. Waiting, and plotting to speed up the process.

 

Next Week: most likely, more fireworks

 

 


Exploring a State Park

Last week, I went out to explore a nearby state park. It’s much larger than the forest preserve I normally go to, so I wasn’t able to cover all of it. On the bright side, there’s more for another day. For the most part, it was your typical midwestern trees with the occasional flower, bug, or fungus. There is an unusually large piece of fungus decorated with tree leaves and seeds.

This dead tree had a particularly curvy shape. It was irresistible. It also had to be a black and white.

A river runs the length of the park and provides a nice scenic view, as well as a habitat for birds and other animals. Other animals like the mosquitos that had me for a late breakfast. I left my repellent at home thinking mosquito season hadn’t started yet. Bad idea.

Walking along one of the trails, I suddenly came upon this enclave of pine trees. A small group of conifers is surrounded by their deciduous cousins, making the spot out-of-place. If you look closely enough at the top of the cut off tree, you can see people’s names written on it. Such unnatural graffiti broke the otherworldly spell otherwise surrounding me.

Bark is also missing on some of the intact pines.

Likewise, the bottom of this tree is bare. Something is afoot.

Sometimes, one of the most interesting things about a preserve is how things just come down. How they sit and weather and age unmoved by humanity.

It was supposed to rain all afternoon, and it looked like it was going to haul off and drop several inches, so I began my trek back to the car. On the way back, I saw signs saying “No alcohol allowed in the park” and evidence that the signs were ignored. Naughty, naughty. But the bottle cap was pretty, and I have this weird artist thing about taking pictures of metal objects against pavement surrounded by natural objects. I try not to do it too often, mostly because it doesn’t make sense to me.

I plan to revisit the park someday when the weather is better and I have more time. I also plan to bring my bug spray. However, this wasn’t a bad first expedition. It’s always good for me to get out in the woods for a good long walk, even if it is mosquito season.

Next Week: Fireworks or Small Town Festival

Since the fireworks are part of the festival, I might post a little bit of both. We’ll see how it goes.


Polo: Another Small Town

I spent Memorial Day with my relatives in the small town of Polo. Since it was such a nice day, I decided to go downtown and shoot. I wanted to reaquaint myself with the place I’d often visited as a child and look at it through new eyes. Downtown Polo is, oh say, about a two block area of old stores all connected to each other. Some were kept up over the ages, others were not. My relatives don’t see anything particularly interesting about the town or all that old stuff, but I do. So I left the house, weirdo with a camera, and went exploring.

Sadly, a good chunk of the buildings on one side of the street is hanging in rags. It was difficult to discern if this one spot in particular even had a back wall. I felt somewhat crushed seeing it more dilapidated than I remembered.

At one corner stood the considerably more intact old bank. I only know it was the bank because it is labeled as such. Otherwise, I would assume that the handsome grey building across the street had always been the bank.

I had to admire the detail in the buildings. The way people built things back in the day was so much more ornate. Not at all like many of the plain square structures put up today.

On the other side of the street, I found this amazing doorknob. Seriously, have you ever seen such a beautiful exterior doorknob?

Buildings on the other side of the street seemed to be better kept up as a whole. This one is particularly nicely kept up or restored. I’m not sure which.

Unfortunately, a large and beautiful old school building just outside the downtown is not. I’m told the building was designed by a noted architect. My relatives can remember going to school here and can still point out their classrooms. They convey a great sense of sorrow about the state of this building. I’ve often wondered what could be done with it. The town has more modern and efficient school buildings, so they don’t need it for that purpose. Economically, a business big enough for the building wouldn’t survive in a small town. I’ve wondered if it could be turned into some sort of housing like they do with old factories in the Southeast, but the area around Polo probably wouldn’t support that economically either. It’s just not big enough. It’s amazing what’s hidden away in some corners of the state, and sad that those things aren’t living up to their potential.

Just how big is Polo? My father once speculated it would be impossible to get lost in Polo because it’s so small. In many ways, that’s comforting. I’ve always felt safe in that town. Surprisingly, there are even smaller towns. One of my college friends came from such a town not so far from Polo. I asked how she knew Polo was bigger. She responded that Polo had a restaurant that wasn’t a bar. Strange qualification, but as far as I can find, it’s still true.

 

For me, Polo is a very American sort of small town. It’s a familiar yet different place where I come to be with my relatives. I hope to be seeing more of it this summer.

 

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Next Week: Time or The Woods

I’ll tweet when I have a better idea of what I’m doing.

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Not Your Teenager’s Camera

In fact, almost no one would use a camera like any of these today. There old. Really old. The newest of the bunch is this 1950s Kodak Brownie Hawkeye with optional flash. It’s a fairly common relic of its day, made of bakelite, the plastic of the time. Also a cute “little” camera.

Even older is this Kodak box camera. I’m not sure of the exact age, but I know this basic style of camera was manufactured from around 1900 through at least the 1920s. It features the same basic controls and elements as the above camera, but it’s made of earlier materials and is much more primitive.

Starting around 1910 (judging by the patent date on the camera) and through at least the 1920s, Kodak also made these elegant folding cameras. Such cameras are less common than their boxy brethren. This one has a few marks on her, but she’s still in decent shape. Folding cameras are a testament to the ingenuity of their time. This one opens with the press of a button concealed under the casing and only vaguely hinted at by a small circle in the decoration. Very clever. (Now that I mention it, you can probably see it, but trust me, the uninformed can spend hours trying to figure out how to open it.)

Cameras like these maybe outdated, but they still have a place in history, as well as a place in the hearts of many camera lovers.

Next Week: Outdoors or Color Study

Spring is progressing in my area, so I may photograph that. On the other hand, I had this idea of doing a color study of sorts. I’d pick a color and only photograph items of that color. This should provide practice using texture and form and seeing how they interact with the emotional impact of color.


Window Light and Age

Last week, I shot some still life photographs using window light, a small mirror, and some white poster board. It worked pretty well, but I’d like some more control over the light. Maybe with practice, I’ll learn to get the control I want with what I have.

In the first photograph, the window was like a giant softbox for me. I used the mirror to throw a little more light on the necklace. The idea for the photograph started with the books. They have such texture and age, but on their own, they lack a single focal point. Since the books are about something I love (photography), I chose a heart necklace as the focal point. This particular necklace was a good size and also had a feeling of age to it.

The second photo was illuminated mainly by  window light reflected from white poster board surrounding the pin. My only motivation for taking this photo was that I love this pin. The jewelry box seemed to be about the right age and I liked the colors together. I considered putting lace under the pin, but that proved too distracting. Thanks to Photoshop, you don’t notice the pin is actually missing a crystal. Any guesses as to which one? Let me know if you can tell, because that means I have work to do.

Next Project: Vases

Some time ago, I posted pictures of various parts of vases. I’ve been thinking I should show the entire vase and some more vases. I collected them at one point, so I still have quite a few hanging around. Check back next week (hopefully Monday) to see how it went.