Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Rainbow In Curved Air

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The Arch sometimes reminds me of Terry Riley's seminal work of contemporary music with the name in the caption. Space is curved anyway. You have to think of the colors of this rainbow in a different way. It's not hard when you stand beneath it. No question but that it's an alien presence.

I may have a post tomorrow from tonight's Kansas City Royal's baseball game or maybe another from this Arch series. It depends on time. Doesn't it always?          

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Few Days At The Arch

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I have not published any photos of the Arch in some time. It is an overwhelming object, but just an object. At times I've thought the possibilities were exhausted but I went there Sunday with my little Olympus E M5 to see what there was to see.

These pictures are not new ideas. Back in 2005, when my photography addiction was starting, I made a series about the Arch with a Canon 20D. They were shot on cloudless days with spot exposure set for the streaks of sunlight that ran across the metal, making the background go dark. Same idea here.

There will be two, maybe three days of this. Going to Kansas City tomorrow, taking in a Royals baseball game at beautiful Kauffman Stadium. Then out to Marshall County, Kansas, where Mrs. C grew up and her mother still lives. Pure prairie league.                       

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

X ≠ X

Flawed Logic

Some bridge material, found in the basement men's room of a local church. Someone needs an introductory logic course. Well, I know what they meant, but . . .                          

Monday, July 28, 2014


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A bridge for Triangle Man? This is Dan Graham's Triangle Bridge Over Water at Laumeier. Click the link or look at the placard below. I like this one a lot but it was too tight to shoot from inside.

These last few days' posts teach a lesson. You can't look at serious art and just say to yourself that's cool or what a pile of junk.  You have to stop, maybe sit for awhile, and think. What associations does the object bring to you? Why does it look like this, in this particular setting? What could it possibly mean? It takes a bit of creativity and an open mind to appreciate what's going on. Repeated exposure helps.

Low on material again. I shot at the Arch yesterday for the first time in ages. Maybe I'll run a few days' worth. Then over to Kansas City Thursday and out into the prairies of Kansas to see Mrs. C's family. It has a lot to offer visually.   

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Madeleine Monday

Andy and Claire's Wedding Saturday 50

I'm trying to finish the family photos from Andy and Claire's wedding so I can get the album done. Edited this one over the weekend.                       

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Ghost Town

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There are trails through the hilly woods at Laumeier with surprises around many turns. This one stopped me for a while. Where is everyone? Why are so many windows and doors missing? Was there a sudden environmental disaster? 

Contemporary sculpture raises lots of problems of interpretation. According to the sculptor, Tea Mäkipää (yeah, me neither), The Dogs of USA from Not Without My Dog isn't about human spaces and habitations. It's about dogs, sort of. See the placard in the last picture. You would never guess if you hadn't read it. If nothing else, it is an argument for complete subjectivity.     

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Saturday, July 26, 2014


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There is no information on Laumeier's website about this enormous tire, partly buried in the earth. The standing cutout of what looks like a businessman is Jonathan Borofsky's  Man with Briefcase at #2968443 (some explanation here). It looks like the tire would like to rise up and roll over the figure, which reminds me of R. Crumb's Whiteman and, for some reason, an iconic photo of James Joyce (I think it's the hat). These could be interpreted innumerable ways. Have at it.                 

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Friday, July 25, 2014

The Way

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One of the most popular sculptures at Laumeier and my personal favorite is Alexander Liberman's The Way. The monumental work was designed for the site. Everyone has different interpretations. To me, it looks like an enormous, ruined gateway from a lost civilization, possibly ancient, possibly alien, placed in St. Louis for safekeeping. The park's website refers to the guns of a giant battleship. Either way, it conveys disarray and power. Maybe it is a metaphor for inevitable decay.          

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Vision Thing

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The phrase was coined by someone else, but here it is, in your face, a mote in your eye bigger than your whole body. Tony Tasset's Eye is the must-have-a-snap sculpture for visitors to Laumeier Sculpture Park. However, it's something you need to think about for a while. The description on the park's website (click the link) is a bit of art babble. Better if you can sit by it and consider the associations that come from this disembodied organ, 12 feet / 3 2/3 meters in diameter. I think it's terribly creepy.                   

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Dark Jurisprudence

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Dred Scott v. John F. A. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857).  Homer Plessy v. John Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896). Two of the worst decisions in the history of the United States Supreme Court. (There are those of us who think they are not through trying.) The first one ruled that people of African descent, whether slave or free, could not be citizens and therefore could not file suit in federal court. The second established the notorious "separate but equal" principle, legalizing institutional discrimination against black people, until it was repudiated by the Court in 1954. The details are too complex for this blog but you can read an excellent summary of the Scott case here and Plessy here. Together, they mark the worst of legalized racism in this country.

At Laumeier Sculpture Park, Scott and Plessy, depicted by identical style busts and pedestals, gaze at one another. Canadian (!) sculptor Ken Lum created The Space Between Scott and Plessy. Click the link to see for yourself.                     

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Ernest Trova

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I finally made it out to Laumeier Sculpture Park on Sunday afternoon. In 1968, a rich woman left her large suburban estate to St. Louis County for the benefit of the public. In the following years, it became one of the most important outdoor sculpture spaces in the United States. I didn't get through all of it but I shot a nice sample. 

We start with St. Louis' most famous sculptor, the late Ernest Trova. This is an example of his iconic image, Falling Man, with his pot belly and slight hunchback, armless, lurching through space to an uncertain future. Most versions are sleek with completely smooth surfaces. This one has an unusual variation, appearing to be wrapped in bandages or even mummified. And yet it continues to stride across the park. 

TOMORROW: can you make art about some of the worst decisions in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court?                            

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Thou Shalt Not Pass

On Guard (South St Louis)

Guard cat. Bad kitty. Found on Connecticut Avenue just east of Grand on our way to dinner Saturday night.                        


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A member of the group didn't order Moroccan food but she seems very pleased with what she got.             

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Perfumed Rice

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Yesterday's planned shoot did not take place due to a variety of the usual factors, ranging from flat light to baby's nap times. Maybe another try today.

So Carolyn, Emily, Madeleine and I decided to go out to dinner at a new-ish Moroccan restaurant we've been wanting to try, Baida. (Capsule review: people - very nice. Decor - okay but rather spare. Food - eh. Go back - not soon.) It's on the strip of South Grand Boulevard lined with international eateries, leaning toward East Asian, Middle Eastern and North African, with a favorite old Italian place thrown in.

A fixture of the street is Jay International Foods, shown here with some shots through the front window. May your rice emit sweeter perfume than the Grand Boulevard bus.                        

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

If You Want To Put It That Way

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Back to the Pridefest Parade for a day: le monde des femmes. And some guy who wants to hide his face.

There are plans for gathering new material today.


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Pridefest Parade 2014-06-29 13

Friday, July 18, 2014


Chicago 2014-07-13

Free to pass this way, $2.25 to get back in. A few cities have no barriers on the transit system but passengers are subject to spot checks of their tickets. St. Louis and Berlin are examples. Most, however, are not so trusting, as shown here in Chicago.

Still scraping for material and probably won't get out to shoot new stuff until Saturday. I think this one is okay, though. It's got some urban rhythm.                                        

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Red And Gold Underground

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Colors aglow beneath the streets of Chicago at the Logan Square station. Not at all emblematic of the Blue Line but still vibrant.

Scraping the hard drive for material. Gotta get back out on the streets this weekend.                   

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Carpe Diem

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A sign found at the bottom of the stairs to the street from the California Avenue el station on the Blue Line. Do you, um, use it? Every day?

Below, an ominous sign on the platform railing, there for the edification of those who know nothing about electric train systems.                              

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Meanwhile, In Chicago . . .

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On the way back to Andy and Claire's after dinner Sunday night. Photo taken on the California Avenue station on the Blue Line. 

Good meeting up here. Home tonight. I may bounce back and forth between Chicago and the Pridefest parade until I can shoot some new material this weekend.                

Monday, July 14, 2014

Josh Routh And Circus Kaput

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Circus Kaput. What a wonderful name. There are days I think my law firm should adopt it.

Josh Routh, seen in these pages many times before, mounted stilts and led their delegation in the Pridefest Parade.

Got a couple of good shots in Chicago last night. Some of it will come around.                      

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

No Lack Of Color

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The skies were dull during the Pridefest parade. The participants were anything but.

Up to Chicago this afternoon for a conference Monday and Tuesday. And it's Mrs. C's birthday. We'll go out to dinner with Andy and Claire, the newlyweds, somewhere in the Logan Square neighborhood.

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Oops, I Forgot Something

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No material? Um, I seem to have forgotten the Pridefest Parade I shot a couple of weeks ago. It wasn't as out there as some years and I got distracted by the Fourth of July stuff. Still, some good images.

Federal courts have overturned state laws prohibiting same sex marriage in a number of jurisdictions. Not here in Missouri, or not yet. Still, STL permitted a few gay couples to be married in City Hall last month although not yet legally sanctioned. That's Mayor Slay in the purple shirt in the top picture. He didn't get married then. He's already got someone. Maybe it was the men on either side of him.

By the way, about this "Show Me" stuff: each of our states has an official nickname, for some unknowable reason. California is the Golden State. Texas is the Lone Star State. Missouri is the Show Me State. The reason is a story, possibly apocryphal, that over a century ago some old fart senator from here was given a proposal in Congress. He is said to have been skeptical and replied, "I'm from Missouri. You'll have to show me." Or so they say.                              

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Along The Midway

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Another late post and stretching the July 4 material a bit. Too much on my plate. I got nothing new so I'll see what I can scrounge up over the weekend.                

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Pared Down

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One thing that people love about fireworks is the brilliant color. But strip that away and you get designs with abstract beauty, still carrying graphic power.

Unfortunately, no photograph can convey the boom, the concussion that hits you in the chest and shakes your body. Maybe we'll get that four or five versions of Photoshop down the line.                      

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