Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thursday Arch Series

Arch 2010-09-29

This picture was taken from my office window about 8:15 yesterday morning with a point-and-shoot. A heavy blanket of fog lay over the Mississippi while the rest of the city was clear. And to make the morning even better, while I was driving to work the satellite radio opera channel was playing Tosca, one of my favorites, with Luciano Pavarotti, my favorite tenor of all time. The big man had just finished singing Recondita Armonia as I pulled into the garage. I'd say the day got off to a good start.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Something's Missing

Icarus 2

Not long ago I had a post with a detail from Igor Mitoraj's Icarus, a sculpture in the Old Post Office Plaza. It is a brother to the same artist's Eros Bendato in Citygarden.

Here's another detail of the same work. You can guess about the meaning if you know the Greek myth of Icarus (or click this link). Classic legend or not, do you ever have a day when you feel like this? I do.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Still In Chicago: Critical Mass

Critical Mass Riders 1

I thought the term critical mass has something to do with the minimum amount of fissionable material necessary to cause an atomic blast. Well, maybe, but in hundreds of cities around the world it refers to a swarm of cyclists who take over the streets on a mass ride. It takes place in Chicago on the last Friday of every month, leaving from Daley Plaza in the Loop, the place with the giant Picasso statue.

There were lots of good images. Above, the riders fly through the Logan Square neighborhood where U "R" Us resides.

Below: U "R" Us and special friend Claire prepare to ride.

Wrapped in the flag - of the City of Chicago.

Student photographers - with a Hasselblad!

A well-helmeted little boy finds that the base of the Picasso makes a great slide.

There is a series of Chicago pictures on Flickr here. And check out U "R" Us' post on the event, including some video.

Critical Mass - Andy and Claire

Critical Mass - Wrapped In The Flag

Photographers At Critical Mass

Critical Mass - Boy On The Picasso

Monday, September 27, 2010

Between Chicago and St. Louis

Boy In Crown Fountain

Back home now, but I need something between Chicago and fresh material from The Lou. So, how about some gratuitous cuteness? This kid is marching through the half inch of water between the two video slabs of Crown Fountain in Millennium Park.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

STL DPB In Chicago: Cloud Gate

Cloud Gate 2 BW

Cloud Gate (often known as The Bean) in Chicago's Millennium Park must be one of the most photographed objects in the United States. So, naturally, I felt compelled to add to the pile. Check the first link to get a better sense of the scale and shape.

Home this afternoon but we'll have a bit more from Chicago until I get some fresh local stuff.

Cloud Gate 3

Saturday, September 25, 2010

STL DPB In Chicago: Quiet Moments In The Museum of Contemporary Art

Spaceman 1

One of my favorite places in Chicago is the Museum of Contemporary Art. It's rarely crowded, unlike the crush at MoMA in New York. The next major show was being installed when we visited yesterday so the place was particularly quiet. Among many pictures I took were interactions with spacemen, the grand staircase and the admissions desk.

So many other good pictures on Friday I don't know when I will get them all sorted and edited. Two more are on my Flickr pages now - link below and to the right.

Spaceman 2

MCA Stairwell


Friday, September 24, 2010

STL DPB On The Road: Chicago

Crown Fountain

Wandering around the city center between sessions of the conference. Above, the Crown Fountain in Millennium Park. Below, first, the iconic Marina City apartments, a/k/a The Corncobs; and second, a quiet passage off busy Wacker Drive.

Really busy but Mrs. C and I did hit the Cartier-Bresson show at the Art Institute of Chicago. OH WOW. Cartier-Bresson is the god of street photography. The show is only around for about two more weeks. Any photographer who finds him or herself in the Chicago area must go.

I did not know he did a good deal of portrait work. He preferred to shoot in his subjects' homes. One client asked how long the session would last. Longer than dentistry and shorter than psychoanalysis, the artist replied.

Marina City

Passage Off Wacker Drive

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thursday Arch Series

Arch 2010-09-05 3

Detail of the north leg at night, lit only by streetlamps and city light. The skin is anything but smooth.

Hope to have something from Chicago soon.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Flagship

St. Louis In The Air

Here's the local entry in the Great Balloon Race. I'm told that Mayor Francis Slay was riding in it. I wish all the local government and business leaders would set their sights so high and far. Sometimes it feels like this place lacks what George Bush the first called "the vision thing."

Today is a travel day but not very far. Posts may be brief and comments limited while I go to a professional conference in Chicago and hang out with one of the heirs to the St. Louis Daily Photo Blog fortune, U "R" Us. By the way, I highly recommend his post last Sunday on Chicago Flair about his recent experiences at Burning Man.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Balloon Abstraction

Balloon Abstraction

Not everything at The Great Forest Park Balloon Race was light and fanciful. This makes me think of a Suprematist construction.

There is a growing set of balloon race pictures on Flickr here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Great Forest Park Balloon Race: The Bunny

Energizer Bunny 1

The Great Forest Park Balloon Race took place last weekend. Friday's night's balloon glow was featured here two days ago. The race itself was Saturday afternoon. The setup is "hare and hounds." One balloon takes off several minutes before the rest and lands wherever. The hounds - all the other balloons - give chase. The winner is the balloon crew that drops a bag of birdseed (why birdseed?) closet to the hare (so why not rabbit food?).

The great pun is that the hare balloon is the Energizer Bunny. The battery company's HQ is here. They claim it is by far the biggest hot air balloon in the US, taller that the Statue of Liberty. The sky held only a breath of wind at launch time. The newspaper said that the breeze was so light that the race did not leave the boundaries of Forest Park.

That's no fun, but there are lots more good balloon pictures for the rest of the week.

Rabbit Ears

Bunny Rising 1

Bunny Rising 2

Sunday, September 19, 2010

STL DPB Meets A TV Personality

Jake Sassville

Marketing is going viral. From time to time I get an email inviting me, as a local photoblogger, to shoot an event on a deal I'm happy to make. They get some local publicity, I get material for the blog. Plus, I get to meet some pretty interesting people.

There's a comedy-reality show called Late Night Republic hosted by Jake Sassville. Jake and crew are traveling around the country doing a promo they call The Great [your city] TV Race. It came through The Lou yesterday. People raced around the Old Post Office Plaza on televisions strapped tightly to small dollies. Fun!

TOMORROW: The Great Forest Park Balloon Race

Take Jake's Advice

At The Starting Line

Race Action

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Balloon Glow

Balloon Glow 1
Don't let anybody tell you there's nothing to do in this town. This weekend's event is The Great Forest Park Balloon Race. The "hare and hounds" race is today. Actually, it's not a race at all. The hare balloon (that looks like the Energizer battery bunny, har har) takes off 15 minutes before the others. The winner is the chase balloon that lands nearest to the hare, all to the surprise of the neighborhood.

Last night was the traditional balloon glow. These are some of the better shots.

Balloon Glow 4

Balloon Glow 3

Balloon Glow 2

Friday, September 17, 2010


Icarus 1

The Greek legend of Icarus tells of an ambitious man. He was full of self-confidence, convincing himself that he could fly on bird's wings made of wax. He got off the ground, all right, but flew too close to the sun. The wax melted and he plunged into the sea to his doom.

This is a detail from Igor Mitoraj's Icarus, on display in the Old Post Office Plaza downtown. Readers may remember Mitoraj as the creator of Eros Bendato in Citygarden, seen several times on this blog. Icarus' face reminds me of Mr. Bill on Saturday Night Live years ago: oooh nooooo! What does the rest of the sculpture look like? All in good time.

Lots to shoot this weekend. The Great Forest Park Balloon Race is on Saturday with the walk-through balloon glow tonight. The PR people for some late night cable TV comedy show I never heard of invited me to shoot a publicity stunt they are staging tomorrow. Teams of two or more people in pajamas (late night TV, get it?) will race around downtown on wheeled televisions. It's not any crazier than the Tea Party rally.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thursday Arch Series

Tea Party Rally 32

We need an Arch picture since it's Thursday. The Tea Party rally was under the Arch. There is a stage right on the river facing the monument. Lots of events are held there and the audience sits on the grand staircase. As you can see, it was busy last Sunday but hardly full. That was a surprise.

HEY, THIS COULD BE A LOT OF FUN: I've been offered my first official media pass to cover an event! Verizon Wireless sponsors an annual contest called How Sweet The Sound to select the best church choir in America. They are having a regional competition in St. Louis for the first time on October 5. I was invited to cover it for STL DPB with full credentials, including time backstage with the singers and the oppotunity to photograph the show close up. Could be days and days of material. Woo hoo!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

An Esthetic Point Of View

Best Way To Enjoy Art

Advice in the window of a restaurant across the street from Marlene Rose's booth at the St. Louis Art Fair. From some reviews and articles I've read, I think a number of art critics agree.

I got to stop doing these multi-photo posts with little essays. I mean, when am I going to put my laundry away or possibly even open a book? So tomorrow will be a simple Arch picture, but with some Darjeeling thrown on it.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Buddha Nature

Blue Buddha

Sunday's visit to the Tea Party rally left me unsettled. Fortunately, there was something very positive from Saturday to carry me forward.

The annual St. Louis Art Fair in adjacent Clayton is one of the bigger ones around the U.S. We go every year if we're in town. It's interesting but sometimes a little disappointing. The exhibitors need a high degree of craft to be accepted. However, we often find a sameness to the work, a lack of originality. There were two notable exceptions this year.

Marlene Rose is a glass artist from Florida. The process by which she creates these objects is complex and exacting. The face of Buddha appears over and over. We bought the work shown above, not a foot tall even with the base. It is sending a pacific glow through our home. Pictures of some of her other pieces I photographed are here.

We ran into another artist we admire, Chia Haruta, a Japanese woman who lives in Michigan. She's a bit shy about having here picture taken and doesn't have a web site, so the best I can do is send you to a picture of one of her works on another festival's web site. Her prints are a blend of traditional Japanese and modern elements, all strikingly original. She is a brilliant colorist with a tight graphic sensibility. A couple of here pieces have been our living room for years.

Marlene Rose

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dark Brew

`Come, we shall have some fun now!' thought Alice. `I'm glad they've begun asking riddles.--I believe I can guess that,' she added aloud.

`Do you mean that you think you can find out the answer to it?' said the March Hare.

`Exactly so,' said Alice.

`Then you should say what you mean,' the March Hare went on.

`I do,' Alice hastily replied; `at least--at least I mean what I say--that's the same thing, you know.'

`Not the same thing a bit!' said the Hatter. `You might just as well say that "I see what I eat" is the same thing as "I eat what I see"!'

`You might just as well say,' added the March Hare, `that "I like what I get" is the same thing as "I get what I like"!'

`You might just as well say,' added the Dormouse, who seemed to be talking in his sleep, `that "I breathe when I sleep" is the same thing as "I sleep when I breathe"!'

`It IS the same thing with you,' said the Hatter, and here the conversation dropped, and the party sat silent for a minute, while Alice thought over all she could remember about ravens and writing-desks, which wasn't much.

- Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Chapter VII, A Mad Tea Party

Tea Party Rally 6

Let's put it on the table. I'm a liberal. Liberalliberalliberalliberal boogey boogey boogey. So there.

I attended the Tea Party rally under the Arch yesterday, just to see first hand. I wore Tea Party camo, blue jeans, white shirt, red tee. I talked to people - never about politics, just about the beautiful weather and photography - and everyone was unfailingly nice to me. Everyone was happy to let me photograph them. I left saddened but in a contemplative mood.

It's no surprise that I thought what I saw and heard was horrifyingly, dangerously wrong. Those in attendance would think the same about my opinions. Opposition to health care reform boggles me: you have the freedom to be refused coverage, you have the right to be denied treatment, you have the choice to die for lack of insurance. Do Tea Party members burn their Medicare cards? The people I saw (yes, tending toward older and almost entirely white) looked like everyday working folks. A few years ago a book was published called What's The Matter With Kansas?, about the irony of solid middle America often voting for the policies of the Republican Party that benefit the wealthy and powerful at the great expense of the average worker. Honestly, I don't understand.

In The Second Coming, Yeats claimed that "the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity. " The statement might encourage me to dig in and fight for what I believe in. Which, of course, is what the people at the rally were doing. Oliver Cromwell, of all people, said, “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.” Yesterday's experience reminded me how little we listen to those with whom we differ and how small the chance that many will try.

More pictures from the rally are on Flickr here.

Tea Party Rally 12

Tea Party Rally 17

Tea Party Rally 9

Tea Party Rally 21

Tea Party Rally 10

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Para los hispanos de San Luis

Honduran Dancers 1

There is so much going on in town this weekend. This ain't the most sophisticated burgh in the U.S. but we're big enough to have some energetic diversity. The Hispanic Festival, the gigantic Clayton art fair (more about which soon), the opening game of the St. Louis Rams football season (if you care, which lots of people do but I don't) and, today, the big Tea Party rally (I keep getting visions of the Mad Hatter waving the American flag).

The Hispanic Festival, which I visited yesterday, is lots of fun. The dancers in the top picture, doing a Latin tableau of many-armed Shiva, are from Honduras. The young men below are from all over Latin America. And I don't quite know what the bottom picture is about. Other than Spider Man, I got no idea who the characters are. This guy just walked into the shot, which can be delightful or annoying. It turned out to be the former. He gave me his email address and asked me to send him a copy of the photo, which I will.

Male Dancers Hispanic Festival

Hispanic Festival Characters

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Colored Glass

Chihuly at Missouri Botanical Garden 1

The work of American glass artist Dale Chihuly has been seen on these pages several times. A few years ago there was a big show of his work throughout the Missouri Botanical Garden. Several pieces remain. These pieces, called Walla Walla Onions (he's from Washington State) are in the main reflection pool next to the Climatron. I took these pictures while attending the Japanese Festival last weekend.

There were a number of comments about the sumo post a few days ago. I've edited the image of the 400- pounder (more than 180 kg) spreading his legs straight out to the side and touching his chest to the floor. You can see it here.

There's a Tea Party rally under the arch tomorrow! I'm cleaning my lenses.

Chiluly at Missouri Botanical Garden 2

Chihuly at Missouri Botanical Garden 4

Chihuly at Missouri Botanical Garden 3