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I think any household couple probably has a bunch of scarves hanging around in a closet…
Near the small town of Blue Hill, Nebraska. A deserted greenhouse. Someone’s dreams, disintegrating through time, becoming overgrown with vines and weeds. Ironic that the items they sold now own the place.
Inside, the floor is littered with paper, chunks of drywall, a layer of dust half inch thick. There’s a counter where people used to take their irises, or begonias, or violets for purchase to take home and fill their gardens with color. Now there’s only a half empty bottle of Windex, and a couple paper towels. A few feet away stands a rack with some remnants of clothing that had been for sale – probably tee-shirts promoting the greenhouse, or gardening. There’s a feeling of abruptness, as if in mid-stride the owners simply decided that there was no point in continuing the cleanup, the process of leaving, and instead left. “Leave the Windex…who cares anyway?”. (How would the phrase have been spoken? In anger? Defeat? With tears?)
The plants have taken over. A tree limb has broken through the greenhouse window, weeds have overrun the tables where neat little trays of flowers once waited patiently, where people used to congregate and socialize as they meandered through the rows of lilies, fuchsias, roses, primrose, aspen, crabapple, shrubs, groundcover and all manner of thriving plant life, and cool breezes from swamp coolers doused the heat at least for a short time .
They still walk here, the ghosts. As the years continue to accumulate, and the disintegration of a once quaint and friendly greenhouse on the edge of forever progresses, even the ghosts will fade, and into dust once more they’ll return, forgotten.
Struggling to stay relevant in today’s digital world, print newspapers are seeing declining numbers for readership and advertising revenues, along with increasing costs for materials. Can they survive? I hope so, but at the moment, the future’s not looking too positive. We lost the Rocky Mountain News in 2009 and the Denver Post isn’t doing all that well. Still, for the time being, I’ll continue to subscribe and in our house it’ll remain a Common Thing.
I’ll continue Common Things for another three weeks, taking me to number 12. At that time I’ll re-evaluate and deicde if I should continue.
The Graham Gallery exhibition starts in just a few weeks – running May 21 – June 9, 2013. The images are selected and the work of getting them prepared for display is progressing. I think I’ll be ready. The downside of doing a show like this (or any show for that matter), is the fact that the preparation takes time, and you want to make sure you’re ready. This means less time available for actually getting out and making images. And since I’m full-time employed, well, let’s just say it’s difficult. I’m not much of a juggler.
Nevertheless, stuff gets done. Plans are made, if not always implemented. I’m constantly knocking around ideas for new projects. My latest (almost), which I haven’t announced yet, met a little bump in the road the other day, but I believe it’ll come to pass. The question is, do I want to it to? It’s that juggling thing again. Just today, I came up with another project idea which is more appealing to me than my unannounced project. This one will have to wait a bit as well. It’s more of a long-term project that promises to cost more money in preparation and time. Time. It’s always a factor!
Then there are the projects I think of late at night, when sleep eludes me because it’s one of those that’s seems all too frequent these days, when my brain won’t shut up. I’ve probably forgotten more projects than I have written down simply because they’ve popped into my mind on the cusp of sleep and instead of jumping up to make a note so I’ll remember the next day, I convince myself that I will recall. Of course in the morning I’ll know I had an idea, but what it was is long gone.
But, we do what we can and the work of getting ready for a show continues. My path is heading in the direction I need and want it to – I can’t complain (but some times I still do…).
As I mentioned, the selected photos are set. My Toadstool Park series of ten images is my overall theme for the show, but I have an additional twelve images to display. Most of them have been posted on my blog at some time or another, but you can view them in their entirety at this link:
I’ll be displaying on two walls of the Graham Gallery, which is the photo I lead off the post with. The brick wall to the left is longer – I would imagine Donna will position the dozen miscellaneous images along this wall, while the light colored wall opposite the brick will display the Toadstool Park images. The Park images will all be either 10×15 or 11×14, both sizes matted to 16×20, framed in a simple black frame. The other images will be a mix of sizes and frames, including a few that are frameless (i.e., standouts or beveled edges).
I hope if you’re in the area during that time you’ll be able to stop and take a peek. Graham Gallery is a beautiful gallery located on the main street in Hastings, Nebraska. It’s worth a visit!
And don’t forget – most of these prints are available through my Etsy shop, and if you see one that you’d like, but isn’t in the shop, simply let me know and I’ll list it. Take a look at:
Please pass along!
This photo is of a pair of common, everyday ear buds. I use them for my iPhone and iPad, but they aren’t the buds that came with the iPhone. These are from Microsoft’s ill-fated Zune product. Frankly, they sound better than the iPhone ear buds. They fit better.
I had just been using them, and the back story is much more interesting than the photo or subject of the photo itself. I’d been listening and watching a video on Youtube about Vivian Maier, the nanny street photographer who died a few years ago and the subsequent discovery of thousands of her photos by a young man who was putting together a book about Chicago. The discovery has turned his world upside down. He purchased a box of negatives, which represented a single year of Vivian’s shooting. The box contained over 30,000 negatives.
I won’t go into the entire story, but suffice to say, in his own words, he’s standing on a “gold mine”. The video is intriguing and you can see it here:
He’s profiting off a dead person’s past. Is that wrong? History is made up of people making money off of those who have gone before, so, no, I don’t think it is. What would I do if I were in the same position? I suspect I’d do much the same thing, under the altruistic guise of sharing a brilliant, but reclusive photographer’s work with the rest of the world.
And to make a buck.
I should be back next Monday with a more “traditional” post!
I had thought of using this image for my Common Things series, but realized as I prepared to post it that it didn’t qualify since I took it more than a week ago. Nuts. Seven weeks without missing Common Things. Sorry. I’ll resume my Common Things series next Wednesday. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this image – I was really surprised at how beautiful these irises turned out in black & white.
Incidentally, you may have noticed my site tagline: “Featuring Visual Notebook and Visual Monochrome”. I’m thinking of spinning off another blog, dedicated to only black & white and monochrome photography. I make the distinction since technically a toned image like the one here is not black & white. Does it matter? Probably not, except to me. I haven’t decided yet on Visual Monochrome, or perhaps Visual Notebook – Monochrome, but I thought I’d put it out there and let it simmer for a few weeks.
I haven’t posted any small town church photos for a while so I thought I’d do so this evening, while the snow flies and piles up in my driveway.
Last time in Nebraska I took a drive down to Red Cloud, county seat of Webster county in south-central Nebraska. I wanted to grab a shot of the County Courthouse. I have the courthouse image, but since this was the town where Willa Cather grew up, we drove around and I found a couple of old churches that were in use during Cather’s day. Though Cather spent only about thirteen years in Nebraska (1883-1896), they were her younger years and helped form her perspective, giving her much of her material for her most famous books, i.e. “O Pioneers!” and “My Antonia”. She also was the recipient of the Pulitzer for her novel, “One of Ours”.
She could bring the prairie to life.
Thanks for reading,
There’s nothing I can say, other than Lenswork has been my inspiration since I first picked up a copy featuring Mitch Dobrowner’s work.
The birds are chirping, the grass is turning green, flower-beds are beginning to take shape, leaves are sprouting in celebration of the end of winter. What grand days these are!
But wait? What’s that I hear? A winter storm warning? Six to eleven inches of snow, maybe more, by tomorrow night? Even as I write this, the winds are picking up, blowing empty trash containers down the block with a hollow, plastic banging noise. Lids like frisbees flying. It’s coming in hard, looks like. Relentlessly.
Nature is a harsh mistress.
Thanks for reading,
Staying in a guest room in the village where my mom lives, it struck me as interesting that I hadn’t used a key in a traditional hotel in years. While not a hotel by any stretch of the imagination, the idea that keys are “going extinct” still seems true. How long before our house-keys become a magnetic card, or a thumb print, or a set of keyed in numbers? Maybe they are already going that direction in some places.
Thanks for reading,