Friday, December 30, 2011

Pentax Auto 110

 County Road 1, Ostrander, Minnesota, October 2011

You can't find 110 pocket camera film anymore, but I caught this photo - on a negative smaller than a thumbnail - on the versatile Pentax Auto 110 with 18mm prime lens, on Kodak Verichrome Pan 125 ASA film.  Lovely stuff.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Concrete Cathedrals

Off Interstate 37, Corpus Christi, Texas, May 2000

Rescanned the original negative at extremely fine resolution, and found beautiful nuances in Photoshop I never knew were there before.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Concrete Cathedrals

U.S. Route 150, Fithian, Illinois, August 2011


I was so overwhelmed by the beauty of this grain elevator in Illinois that I previously only shot with my Polaroid Colorpack in June, that I returned in August to get a "proper" photograph with my Rolleiflex SL-66 on the now long-gone Agfapan 25.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Pictures!!!


Evan and Sarah wish you a blessed holiday season!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Painting With Light

Portrait of Emily Tomlin, Rochester, Minnesota, November 2011

Or, this could be called film from the freezer, as I shot this photograph on a roll of Kodak Panatomic-X, 32 ASA film that expired in 1969.  It held up well.  I took this photograph with a tripod-mounted Rolleiflex SL-66, loaded with the great old stuff.  Zeiss Planar 80mm lens/f2.8, f5.6 at 1-1/2 minutes.

I only used two sources of light:  A 25-watt desk lamp behind the armchair, and a diffused flashlight.

Thanks to Emily Tomlin, especially, for being extremely patient and still during the shoot. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Garish - Retooling

Dairy Queen, U.S. Route 63, Stewartville, Minnesota, November 2011

It has been quite a long while since a film emulsion has excited me.  It used to be a quarterly -- sometimes even monthly -- event.  But with the ascendancy of digital and the waning of film, it's become somewhat akin to listening to a favorite band's long-awaited release on vinyl.

The last time I got this excited was the summer of 2010, when I returned from Barcelona with a number of exposed rolls of Kodak Ektar 100, and found that not only was the color superior to Agfa's old Ultra 100 emulsion, but that its grain was even finer than Agfa Ultra 50.  It was as though Eastman Kodak had retooled Ektar 25, but made it jump two stops without any loss in resolution.

Well, with the demise of Polaroid, I am starting to run out of their wonderful 669 and 690 Polacolor pack films I use in the Polaroid Colorpack cameras. So, preparing for the inevitable, I purchased a few packs of Fuji's FP-100C Professional pack film, which replaces Polaroid 690.

Now, while I shoot Polacolor for its obviously "off" colors (who doesn't love their loam green and cyan skies of 669 film?), I found the color way truer than even the 690 film, which was a vast improvement in color accuracy over 669.  In fact, the above photo recalls Fuji's marvelous E-6  emulsions, and instantly reminded me of many transparencies I have made on their Astia and Sensia films.  (The above has not been tweaked for color balance, nor for saturation).

Even more astounding was the exposure latitude on this stuff!  Whereas Polacolor (in either 669 or 690) would have had lost detail and murky shadowing in the darker areas, the Fuji maintained detail in both the shaded and shadow areas.
This is an astounding find!  Although this film has been around for a while, I was a Polacolor diehard.  I still prefer to use it (I honestly don't shoot it for reasons of color and tonal fidelity - I use it because of -- not despite -- its flaws).

Still, I have a new snapshot stalwart awaiting me when I run out of the great old stuff, and I am looking forward to new ways of seeing the things I shoot.

 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Garish - The Next Generation

 Trans-Canada Highway, near Lytton, British Columbia, Canada,
July 2011


I am not, by training nor inclination, a nature photographer. When God was passing out the Ansel Adams and Galen Rowell genes, I was in line for the Walker Evans and Pete Turner DNA.  Still, if nature has been altered, trimmed, and adapted by the hand of man, then I am attuned to this mutation, and it piques my interest and captures my eye.

Case in point: These young growth conifers in the mountains of British Columbia. They fascinate me as to how mankind can harmonize with nature, in a Grandma Moses sort of way

I'll leave the Muir Woods to those who can do it way better than I.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Stairways to Heaven

U.S. Route 87, Colfax County, New Mexico, February 2002

There is a story behind this memorial.  To be shared soon.... 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Film From the Freezer

 U.S. Route 63, Rochester, Minnesota, October 2011

A fun thing to do as a photographer, especially when I am bored, is to test film I've never used before.  In this case, the film is Kodak Vericolor Reproducing Slide Film 5072, which expired in July 1992.  I inherited it about eleven years ago when the folks at the Randolph Air Force Base photo hobby shop were getting rid of old and expired film, and it has been in my freezer ever since.

This Vericolor stock was never meant to be run through a camera, but rather was manufactured as a lab film for making 1:1 slides in C-41 process from E-6 and Kodachrome originals.

Apparently, time has also rendered it totally devoid of yellow and green hues.  The posts in the foreground are a blazing amber, but all that remains is the magenta. 

But, for blue and red objects, this seems to be just the film I was looking for!


Friday, September 30, 2011

Ali Sifuentes


Painting of Kentucky Fried Chicken on U.S. Route 14, Rochester, Minnesota
by artist Ali Sifuentes

Often when I eat at a fast food restaurant, I walk by and glance at the "art" many of them hang on their walls, from the annoying "inspiration" posters, to faded advertisements from the 1990s, all ensconced in those annoying metallic-gold lacquer plastic frames.

But, while stopping by the Kentucky Fried Chicken in Rochester, a picture actually did catch my eye. I thought, "who dreamt up the advertising ploy to paint a KFC restaurant a la Edward Hopper, all full of alarming hues and chiaroscuro? Someone on Madison Avenue knows what they're doing!"

But, on closer inspection, I saw that the painting was an original, and not some high-quality reproduction. I inquired about the artist. It turns out the artist is one Ali Sifuentes, a 20 year-old painter who works the fryers and the drive-thru at this particular restaurant. The painting is a gift he made to the restaurant.

Although my Motorola Z6C cheap camera phone can't do justice to the tonal balance, and the brush and putty-knife strokes, here is a somewhat acceptable photograph of the painting. Ali hails from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, which is a border city across the Rio Grande from Texas.  When I mentioned the painting had a cinematic perspective and Edward Hopper feel, he smiled, and told me that was precisely the effect he was going for. Along with Hopper, he is a follower of Dali.  He has only been painting for two years, so until he was 18, Sifuentes must have had all this latent talent building up. Soft-spoken, and of diminutive stature, Sifuentes seems to be one of those artists who pays a lot of attention to the dull surroundings the rest of us take for granted, transforming them into something magical and arresting.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Road Less Traveled

 U.S. Route 12, Oakdale, Wisconsin, September 2011

Not to sound like Andy Rooney, but Have You Ever Noticed that whereas the old independent strip motels that dot our byways off the Interstate have character, that you would not want to actually stay there?

That's because they're are often run down, unhygienic, and you certainly wouldn't want to take a shower in Cabin 1 on some lonely, rainy night.  

I would much rather stay someplace luxurious and civilized, such as the DoubleTree Suites, in Minneapolis (/sarcasm).

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Daniel Raven Valdes, 1945-2011

Portrait of Daniel Raven Valdes, Santa Fe, New Mexico, March 2005
Copyright © 2005, Lori V. M. Montoya

Bad news travels fast, but the saddest news takes its time.  I learned last night that the acclaimed American Indian artist Daniel Raven Valdes, died of a brain aneurysm. He was 65.

I first met Daniel in 2005 when fellow photographer Lori Montoya interviewed and photographed him for an article I was writing on how the American Indian and native Spanish populations were being systematically pushed out of Santa Fe's old city through gentrification.

What most struck me about Daniel was that he exuded an inner confidence and graciousness one seldom encounters amongst artists--particularly Santa Fe artists.  But Daniel was a real Santa Fe artist, not just a transplant who moved into the local art scene and pushed out the local artists.  Father Sun-Mother Earth, his gallery, planted its roots way back in 1976, and for over thirty years, Daniel was adamant about remaining the "last man standing."  He wasn't a bitter individual, just someone who knew his worth.  He was a fixture of the downtown scene for friends of his, like Lori, and another fellow artist, Cruz Eagleheart, and with his characteristic modesty, likened his gallery to the Woolworth's lunch counter, always making his art accessible to anyone who admired it, whether well-heeled, or on a student budget.

Daniel's work was gorgeous, but his best work--painstakingly done on scratchboard--had to be experienced in person, to appreciate its intricacy and texture.  He possessed an eye for color that was in keeping with the tradition of so many great New Mexican painters, not of the Georgia O'Keefe school, but in comradeship with the airbrush wielding artisans, waxing poetic over lowriding '63 Impalas in Española body shops.

Mother Wolf, Copyright © 1990 by Daniel Raven Valdes

In honor of Daniel's memory, there will be a gathering at Embudo Station at 1 p.m.,  Sunday, September 18th, in Santa Fe.

Daniel Raven Valdes at his gallery at 124 Galisteo
Santa Fe, New Mexico, March 2005
Photograph by Robert Jones
 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Madhi Choudhury, Graphic Artist

Mahdi Choudhury's reimagining of a poster for
Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece, Vertigo

Sometimes, a graphic so totally bowls me over, I have to share it on my blog.  Case in point: Toronto artist Mahdi Choudhury, who has taken Kim Novak's silhouette from a key scene in Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece, Vertigo, and transformed it into an arresting stand-alone graphic.

While I do not think Choudhury captured the thematic essence of the movie, he brilliantly distilled its emotional impactCompare that with Kate Whelan's design (see below), which captures the movie's theme splendidly, but totally lacks Choudhury's emotional connection.

I am certain the world will soon know Choudhury's work the way it does Saul Bass's or Paul Rand's -- the quite accomplished graphic designer is but 14 years old, though his soul is much older.

(Hat tip: Dan Auiler).   



Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Happy Accident

Trans-Canada Highway, outside Parkbeg, Saskatchewan
August 2011
Shooting with my Polaroid Super Colorpack, I had left the focus ring set at 5 feet from the previous photograph I took, a portrait.  I retook the shot, but actually prefer the heavily-diffused look (called "soft focus" nowadays, a euphemism for "out of focus").

I can't pull a Pee Wee on ya, and say "I meant to do that."  I didn't, but so what?  The results are just the same.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tomatoes!

 Tomatoes on conveyor belt to washer
Ingomar Packing Facility, Los Banos, California, July 2011


It slices, it dices, look at that tomato! You could cut a tin can with it, but you wouldn't want to!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

You Can't Go Back Sometimes

Cedarhof Restaurant
Trans-Canada Highway, Wawa Ontario, Canada, August 2011
The first time I traveled the Trans-Canada Highway, in October 2002, I pulled off at this charming restaurant and had an expertly-cooked German meal that still makes my mouth water, just remembering it: Hungarian goulash soup, buttered rye bread, and a Wienerschnitzel, lightly breaded, that just melted in my mouth.  

Every time thenceforth I traveled the Trans-Canada, I would pass through Wawa too late at night for it to be open. So, this time I set out early enough to make it there in time for dinner. 
No matter: I found that the Cedarhof had been closed down eight years ago, which means on my five subsequent journeys -- beginning in 2004 -- it had been out-of-business all along; I just didn't know it yet.

I assumed it was still opened, as it is still listed on Wawa's tourist website promoting its businesses.

You just never know.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Pixley Tire Shop Revisited

Pixley Tire Shop, off State Highway 99
Pixley, California, July 2011

I always like to revisit places I've photographed before, particularly during different times of day, and even seasons, when the light is different.  In this case, I was able to photograph the south face of the tire shop in Pixley, California, which I had previously visited in November of 2009.   Using my Nikon this time instead of a camera phone, and some rather flat Kodak Gold 400, I got an interesting look for this shot I took around 9:00 am.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tomato Harvest In the San Joaquin Valley

Tomatoes and Vista of California's Coastal Mountains
Huron, California, July 2011

Dear readers, my apologies for being "gone" most of the summer.  If this were any normal blog, I'd be updating it via my Blackberry, Droid, or iPhone.  But, being the low-tech Luddite I am, I still do things the old-fashioned way -- on film.

I spent two weeks in the San Joaquin Valley of central California this summer, capturing the majestic vistas found there, farmers and farm laborers doing the backbreaking -- yet highly efficient -- work of putting food on America's and the world's dinner tables.  The panoramic vistas I snapped on the Hasselblad X-Pan, and the grit, grime, and guts of the people bringing the harvest to market I shot on my trusty Nikon FM-3A.  Instead of cards and memory sticks, I captured these images on Agfa's brilliant Optima II 100 film (see above) and Kodak Tri-X black and white 400 ASA.

It was worth the wait.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Mission San Juan Bautista, California

U.S. Route 101, South of San Juan Bautista, California, July 2011

California's Mission San Juan Bautista was founded by Spanish fathers as the fifteenth of twenty-one Roman Catholic missions in 1797.  Named for St. John the Baptist, the mission represents redemption through the cleansing of sin, and acceptance of Jesus Christ as one's savior.

  Mission San Juan Bautista, San Juan Bautista, California, July 2011

But for the avid moviegoer, the mission is immortalized as the place where a torn Kim Novak and an obsessive James Stewart brought themselves to a point well beyond redemption in Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece, Vertigo, filmed here in 1957, and released the next year.

The mission has changed little since Hitchcock and Robert Burks, director of photography, filmed Vertigo more than 50 years ago, with one exception: The tower where the movie's climatic scene takes place was a figment of set designer Henry Bumstead's imagination, and inserted into the film by way of matte painting.

San Juan Bautista's fictitious tower, Henry Bumstead, designer, 1958
Image copyright 1958, Universal Studios


  The mission church as it exists in reality, with a smaller, external bell tower to right;
The missions original bell tower was destroyed in a fire in the 1800s
Photo taken July 2011

 I was able to capture these images with the amazing Hasselblad Xpan camera, which captures its images on a focal plane 65mm wide by 24 mm high, the exact same in-camera dimensions as Paramount's VistaVision camera, on which Vertigo was shot in Technicolor.  The second of these  photographs was taken on Kodak's Vericolor III film, which has not been available since the 1990s.  But the rest were photographed on CVS drugstore 200 ASA color film, which is really rebranded Fuji Superia.  It is amazing how the drugstore film of today has truer colors and better accutance than the pro film of yesteryear.


 Detail of Plaza Livery Stable, July 2011

Standing outside the mission, I can hear Bernard Herrmann's mesmerizing soundtrack in my mind.

Dissolve of Livery Stable and Courtyard, July 2011

Courtyard, Plaza Hall, and Livery Stable, as seen from Convent arch, July 2011

Plaza Hotel, July 2011

Mission San Juan Bautista and courtyard, July 2011 
 

In addition to the mission at San Juan Bautista is the lovely small town of the same name, where you can dine in very civilized fashion at Joan and Peter's German Restaurant, which makes one of the best Sauerbratens I've had in the United States, and a Westfalischen Schnitzel the California way, with melted Monterrey Jack cheese.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Garish: The Next Generation

State Highway 13, Morgan County, West Virginia, June 2011

When driving to your destination this summer on vacation, remember to look out for the little ones!  

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Crazy Horse in Black and White

Crazy Horse Memorial
Crazy Horse, South Dakota, April 2011 

I finally got around to developing the film I took of the majestic Crazy Horse mountain, near Custer, South Dakota.  It is simply powerful beyond words!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Going To California

Fallow land, outside Mendota, California, aerial shot, June 2010

Next week, I'll be continuing work on my pictorial essay on the San Joaquin Valley in California.

Click on this image.  What you see is not land that has gone fallow because of the prudent agricultural practice of crop rotation, but land that has been fallow for years -- and perhaps, for evermore -- because of misguided, so-called "environmentalists" in the Federal government who are sacrificing the nation's most fertile farmland to the ravages of soil erosion, in the name of allegedly saving a tiny fish called the "Delta Smelt."  

Never mind that the Delta Smelt is in more danger from urban users upstream near Sacramento, who overwhelm Northern California's waterways with millions of gallons of untreated sewage every single day, what is more important is that the Beautiful People -- the upscale yuppies who need only "care" for the environment -- have more numbers than "Those People," the farmers and Mexican laborers downstream who are among this nation's best stewards of farming land (in all my travels through the Central Valley, I've maybe seen ten or twelve tanks of anhydrous ammonia in total, versus a dozen -- to scores -- in every farming town in Minnesota, where I currently reside).  

Who cares that there is 40% unemployment in the heart of America's farming paradise?  Not the important people.  Important people think that food grows in the produce section of their local Whole Foods or Safeway.  The "important" people upstream could care less whether food comes from their own home state, or China, or South America.  They don't have to live with the people who are watching the American Dream going down the sewer: People who came to this country out of the hope of making better lives for themselves and their children, and now are watching that hope slip away from them as their numbers become casualties to the scourge or drugs, alcohol, dropping out of school, and crime.

The Left turns their backs on the people who do the real work in this country, because they're just a bunch of gauche hicks after all, clinging to their guns and religion, while the Right turns their backs on their fellow American farmers because they hired workers of somewhat darker complexion who committed the unpardonable sin of wanting to bust their humps for a pittance of a wage.



Monday, June 20, 2011

Out of the Box: Rediscovered Photographs

Barber Shop, Hyde Park
Boston, Massachusetts, September 2000


So, I ask the two barbers if I can snap a photograph of them in their shop.  No problem. 

The client has a problem.  "Well, you can cover your face if you don't want anyone to recognize you," I offer.

Problem solved!

Friday, June 17, 2011

One Lonely Night

U.S. Route 522, Fulton County, Pennsylvania, October 1989

I found this photograph, eerily reminiscent of Hitchcock's Psycho on many levels, in a box while unpacking. (As prior military, I still haven't unpacked everything yet; there are about thirty boxes yet to open).  Ah, to be 24 again, armed with a Ricoh KR-5 and Agfapan 100.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Concrete Cathedrals

Grain Elevator
U.S. Route 150, Fithian, Illinois, June 2011

I saw this beautiful example of an early-20th century granary in rural Illinois, when I felt the pang of regret that I hadn't brought my Rolleiflex SL-66 medium format camera, my traditional tool for capturing these specimens of what photographer Chris Faust calls "commercial archaeology."

But then I remembered:  I had a medium format camera with me, a Polaroid Super Colorpack 108-format instant camera, loaded with color 669 film.  Thanks to Photoshop, I was able to tweak this into something silver halide.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Garish: The Next Generation

Unger Store, State Highway 13, Unger, West Virginia, May 2011

Some times, as a photographer, I luck out:  Unger's General Store closed down about four years ago, and I missed the opportunity to photograph this old country store, which had played such a crucial part of my teenaged years: I would often ride my old Team Raleigh ten-speed from my house outside of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, to rural Frederick County, Virginia.  Sitting atop the ridgeline after a steep climb of many miles, Unger's store was just about the point when my bike bottle went dry.  Though there was no air conditioning in the store, just dunking my hand into the pop cooler to grab a glass bottle of Coca-Cola immediately reinvigorated me.  They made Coke with real sugar back then.  Today, you have to find a place that carries Mexican Coca-Cola to experience Coke as it ought to taste.  


My bicycle journeys took place some thirty years ago, but driving up Route 13 and finding the place still intact made it seem like yesterday.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Garish: The Next Generation

Mid-1970s Sebring Vanguard Citi Car SV-48
U.S. Route 136, near Brownsburg, Indiana, June 2011

Who killed the electric car?  Just stabbing in the dark here, but my guess is it was the guy who designed this "unsafe at any speed" micro econobox.  This loser was dead on arrival.  

I don't know what the industrial designer's previous resume items were, but I'm thinking set designer or propmaster for Woody Allen's 1973 futuristic comedy, Sleeper.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Garish: The Next Generation

Waffle House Restaurant, Arlington Road, Brookville, Ohio
June 2011

This is not a "Poladroid."  This is not something I tweaked in Photoshop or Lightroom, to make it look like a Polaroid print.  No, this is a Polaroid print, taken on 669 film with my Super Colorpack camera (which I bought on eBay for $3.50; may the Colorpack III rest in peace) just this week.

And, this beautifully stylized Waffle House restaurant -- which appears right out of the 1950s, with its lush landscaping -- looks simply stunning on real Polaroid film, a nice stash of which I keep stored in my Frigidaire.  You see, while Polaroid film will most often render washed-out looking skies (as it does in this print), it was engineered to also produce heavily-saturated colors (also evident here), something the techno-geeks at Poladroid didn't exactly factor into their bit crunching.  Like Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell sang, when music was also made in the analog format by artists who could read music and play instruments, "Ain't nothing like the real thing."

Baby.

Summer is here!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ronnie James Dio: One Year Later


Ronnie James Dio passed into the afterlife one year ago, today.  This self-portrait is dedicated to his memory, replete with flashing horns to ward off the devils and daemons that may await him on his ascension from Purgatory, whilst he is breaking into Heaven.

Friday, April 29, 2011

New Book Launch: Los Colores de Coahuila

Guitarist, Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico, March 2001

As Garish: Roadside Polaroids goes through its final tweaks and polishing, as it goes to press in the Fall, I am pleased to announce work has begun on my next volume, Los Colores de Coahuila, my excursion through the cities and villages of the Mexican frontier state of Coahuila, along the Texas border.

Juan Torrescano, in his essay for the book, comments, 
Robert Jones declares he does not want to use his images as a "deep" philosophical vehicle, nor does he want to concentrate on historical subject matters, but his images speak precisely to these topics (but without the verbiage to get in the way of his imagery): The aged troubadour, who dexterously strums his lira to please his improvised clients, the popsicle vendor who tirelessly runs through the broken pavements and alleyways with the desire to exhaust his goods, the proud rancher who places his hopes in the next season's harvest -- not to mention the spotted furious cock ready to enter into battle. The colorful juggling street clown in full attire, the snapshot of the smiling family, and what about the fortezza vecchia of the National Emblem, the effigy of the Patron Virgin of Mexicans? The flower vendors who avidly conquer their lady with a beautiful bouquet, as well as the figures of San Martin De Porres, the elderly woman, the barber, and the emerging mysterious gardener, the fresh fruit vendor, the roses in the church atrium, as well as the tower, and the stained glass windows. Or the scenes of  dogs and felines lounging in the sun, and the wide range of multicolored, stripped and weathered facades, doors, and windows. All this -- for the people of the border -- is a standing ovation. It gives integrity to a bland environment of brick walls  without decoration, or older houses that speak only of their abandonment. 
The tentative launch date for Los Colores de Coahuila is Spring 2012.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Camera Phone Heresies: Crazy Horse Memorial


Crazy Horse Mountain Memorial, scultpted from an original model by Korczak Ziolkowski
Crazy Horse, South Dakota, April 2011

Of course, no camera phone could ever do justice to Korczak's immense mountain, which has since 1948 been transformed into a man and his horse.  But then, no camera could do full justice to this larger-than-life labor of love. This amazing rendition of the Lakota warrior Crazy Horse is a work in progress, still approximately five decades away from completion.

Located just miles from the famed Mount Rushmore, which Korczak was apprentice to Gutzon Borglum on in the late 1930s, Crazy Horse Mountain dwarfs the Presidential busts.  Indeed, all flour faces could fit inside of Crazy Horse's head. To understand the height and breadth of Crazy Horse Mountain, consider that it is taller than the Washington Monument and broader than the Great Pyramids and Giza.

What most impresses me about Korczak Ziolkowski was that ever since Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear invited him in 1939 to carve Crazy Horse's likeness, not one penny of government money has gone to support its construction.  On principle, Ziolkowski refused a $10 million offer from the Federal Government to "help" him sculpt his mountain.  The Boston native was a rugged New England individualist, in the mold of Emerson, and didn't believe in sticking his hand out.  He knew that there's nothing "free" about government money, and that it always comes with strings attached.  He probably also knew that in the case of his sacred mission, it would be blood money he was accepting.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Camera Phone Heresies: Wisconsin Trailer Park

U.S. Route 12, near New Lisbon, Wisconsin, April 2011

The simple eloquence of these hand-painted signs is disappearing in a rapidly standardized world. Before long, we'll all be forced to use kilometers, and to purchase the signs from government-approved manufacturers.    

Monday, March 14, 2011

Back From the Dead

State Route 9, Paw Paw, West Virginia
July 2004

In the hazy, lazy days of summer, this sign beckons the motorist to its cooling charms.  But here in Minnesota, ice is the nectar of the damned.  Whoever said "When Hell freezes over" has never had to spend his winter in Minnesota.  If he did, he'd use the present - not the future - tense.

Yet, the Earth here is thawing, the days are longer, and spring is around the corner.  I shall take up my camera, wind in a spool of film, and shake of this pneumonia-induced funk I've been in for months on end.