One day a few years ago, I decided to cook sweet potatoes for the first time. I needed to clean them, and found myself asking “What would Grandma do?” Yes, my Mom cooked potatoes, but for some reason I always got left out of that and was assigned carrot peeling duty instead, so I referenced my Grandma memories. Grandma scrubbed her potatoes with a scrubber she kept in her ceramic sponge-holding frog, a common mid-century kitchen item currently enjoying a bit of a comeback. Lacking such scrubber or a frog to put it in, I had to improvise a bit, but I got the job done.
The desire struck. I wanted a sponge frog. Yes, I could buy a modern one at several stores, but they just weren’t the same. I considered a few on e-bay, but again, Grandma solved the problem. For my birthday that year, she gave me a spare sponge frog she had stored away back in the day. It’s the best. I love it.
As you may have guessed, I haven’t been in much of a photographic mood this year. Nevertheless, my father convinced me to bring my camera on a family trip a couple of months ago. I didn’t think I’d have time for any real photography on the trip, but Dad was bringing his 4″x5″ view camera, which is a very serious camera. This meant photography would be a priority on the trip. The subject? Well, that was undetermined.
Near supper time on day one of our trip, we were driving through the countryside when I spotted an old, abandon schoolhouse out the window. I only caught a glance, but it was enough to flag the building as anything but your typical plain Jane schoolhouse. I noted the road we were on for future reference, then informed my father of the discovery. The next day, we retraced our steps and found it, but the solar angle was bad. Early on the morning of day three, we finally got out to photograph it.
The weather was cloudy at first. Not bad for the subject. It gave it a bit of an eerie mood, standing isolated in the country.
Later, the sun started to come out. By then, I liked the angle on the front better. Since the schoolhouse was right on top of the road, it was a little more tricky. I don’t have a view camera, so I had to tweak perspective in Photoshop.
Even a short vacation can lift you from a rut, even if just for a few days. Be prepared and keep your eyes open. Thanks Dad.
I finally finished it. Getting back to still life with as little as I’ve shot since last summer (and such a small percentage of that planned table top) means I’m rusty right now. I have to make myself do this. The joy and fluency will return as I keep at it. But enough of my inner frustrated artist.
When I hear or read the word dictionary, this is what comes to mind:
The big, red dictionary was once my Uncle’s. I don’t know how it got to us, but whenever my Mom told me to look something up in the dictionary, this was the book I picked up. We had other dictionaries, but this was The Dictionary. Mom let me take it with me when I moved out.
I’m not language crazy by any stretch of the imagination, but an old dictionary just has some kind of venerable aura about it. When I find one, I want it. This one from the 1950s was thrift-store find last fall. With its pinkish cover, letter tabs, and gold-edged pages, it almost looks like a Bible.
Not all dictionaries are venerable tomes though. I found this pocket dictionary at a library book sale a few years back. The writing in the front cover tells me a teen girl owned it back in the 1940s.
Next Time: Observatory
Speaking of old and venerable, I spent yesterday at an observatory constructed in 1895. In the early 1920s, it was such a big deal in astronomy and astrophysics that Albert Einstein himself visited it.
A few weeks ago, I was at my grandma’s house for a family party. Looking for something to photograph, I happened to glance up at her roof and see the lightning rods. I had forgotten they survived the great re-roofing of 97 and were still standing proudly on the tall old house.
Next Time: Fall Nature or Fall Objects
The season is here. No more denying it.
In a previous post, I mentioned I’d become obsessed with keys and was thinking of purchasing some old furniture or skeleton keys off eBay. It turns out I didn’t have to buy any. My mother and sister were going through some old things when they found these old furniture keys a relative had given my sister and I when we were young. Apparently, my mother decided we were too young for them and packed them away. Not anymore. Finding them made my day.
This is the smallest and most ornate of the keys. I think all the curves at the top look romantic, so I went with a love theme for this one. (As a side note, the keys is small enough and pretty enough that I’d like to buy some similar colored chain and make a necklace out of it.)
The modern squared off look on this key is in stark contrast to its well-worn and scratched finish. I went for a simple approach, but I did black and white with an old book as the background to accent the key’s age.
This is the most elegant of the three keys.
I wanted to make it look like it actually went with something, like jewelry box.
Next Time: Nature or Old Phone
Spring is slow in coming this year, but there are always some prospects out in the big wide world. If I don’t go out and find them, I promise you the phone is cool. It’s old as in has a dial, and a fancy shaped receiver.
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.
Last week, my father kindly agreed to let me photograph his Hasselblad 500 C. Hasselblads have an illustrious history. They’ve always been phenomenal cameras, and the line has kept its reputation into the digital age. The 500 C was manufactured as early as 1959. My father purchased this particular camera previously enjoyed sometime in the 70s or 80s.
They’re medium format cameras that have interchangeable backs for the film. Photographers indicate the film speed in a back using this dial.
Historically, Hasselblads were made in Sweden, and some of them have gone very far from home. NASA had Hasselblad create special cameras to take to the moon. (http://www.clubhasselblad.com/new-book-hasselblad-and-moon). It’s a shame they had to leave the cameras. As far as I know, my father’s spent most of its life quietly in the midwestern United States.
Dad’s Hasselblad doesn’t get used much anymore, but it’s still a valued member of the camera collection and a fine piece of equipment. Who knows, bringing it out may encourage him to use it again.
Next Week: Fall Nature
Weather permitting, of course.