Friday, February 3, 2023

COLD, QUIET


A quiet, cold weekday at our wonderful botanical garden. There had been just a bit of snow. There were few visitors but at least half of them had cameras. The Japanese garden is perhaps the most peaceful area. More of this to come.           

Thursday, February 2, 2023

SIMPLE AND CLEAR


Looks to me like they do good quality work. I'd hire them. I'm surprised by how many signs I see, particularly advertising, that communicate poorly: weak color contrast between lettering and background, too many words to absorb quickly, lack of explanation of the subject, etc.

Locust Street, midtown.           

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

CITY DAILY PHOTO FEBRUARY THEME DAY - VIRTUE

Okay, this was a tough one. My responsibility since I picked it. It's a concept that is hard to reduce to a single image. I looked through years of archives and decided to use this since it expresses the virtue of compassion. It is one of the most important virtues (just ask Jesus or the Buddha), but one often sadly lacking in this world. The lettering is on the side of an improv club here in town.

Take a look at how other City Daily Photo members aspire to a better life at https://citydailyphoto.org/category/theme-days/ .            

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

SACRIFICE

Soldiers Memorial, downtown St. Louis. Is the muscle-bound horse protecting the mother and child or leaving them behind as it goes off to war? Probably the latter. I'm not sure if I think it's sincere, melodramatic or creepy. Our feelings about wars--and wars themselves--aren't the same as 85 years ago when this was built. 

Monday, January 30, 2023

CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON

As intellectually arid as it gets: sculpture in Citygarden called 2 Arcs x 4, 1999-2000, 162″ x 162″ x 29″, 230.5 Degree Arc x 5, 1999, Steel, 162″ x 162″ x 36″ by Bernar Venet. The description on the garden's website says that he "creates works based on mathematical graphs and formulas. In mathematics, Venet discovered a language of symbols that satisfied his desire to create an art that is non-expressive and not subject to personal interpretation." I think I have broad tastes in art but this is beyond what I can appreciate.

        

Sunday, January 29, 2023

THERAPY ON THE CHEAP


A clothing and accessories store in midtown St. Louis. Odd statement. Dear? Is the recommended therapy to treat yourself and buy something?                     

Saturday, January 28, 2023

NO LONGER SACRED

Another abandoned building in downtown St. Louis. It has an interesting history. It was a social club, then another social club, then a couple of different hotels, then a Catholic seniors' residence and chapel. https://builtstlouis.net/opos/alverne.htm

Friday, January 27, 2023

SIC TRANSIT GLORIA

This modern building in downtown St. Louis is in an approximate tie for the tallest in town and has by far the greatest amount of floor space of any in Missouri. It was once the world headquarters of AT&T. It has been completely vacant since 2014.

The anti-trust break-up of the original AT&T years ago led to the creation of regional "Baby Bells" (as in Bell Telephone). St. Louis was headquarters of Southwestern Bell. The Baby Bells started to merge with and acquire one another, with Southwestern Bell in the lead. It then bought the rights to the AT&T name and eventually moved the headquarters to San Antonio.

The building sold in 2006 for $205 million with a leaseback to the phone company. I have read that it is hard to redevelop because it was built for a single tenant. It resold last spring for $4.1 million to an ambitious but much smaller developer. There is a proposed plan to turn it into a "vertical city" with apartments, office space and a hotel. I haven't heard anything further.

As I say here from time to time, we used to be somebody.               

Thursday, January 26, 2023

BENEFICIAL PHOTOBOMBING

Those of us who shoot on the street have had it happen: you get everything framed, set your exposure and someone jumps into the photo, waving or making a face. Usually it is a minor annoyance from juvenile behavior. Once in a while, though,  you may like what turns out. I was about to take a dull picture in Citygarden when this young man rode through. He made the snap a keeper.              

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

HOLLOW EYES

I'm not usually big on photographing other people's artwork, but then, say, how many times have I taken pictures of the Winged Victory of Samothrace at the Louvre? Or, for that matter, our Arch? There are lots of different ways to see and interpret. This is a detail of Igor Mitoraj's Eros Bendato, or Eros Bound, in Citygarden. This section is taller than I am, hollow and open at the base of the neck. Kids crawl around inside.           

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

ARCS AND CURVES

More squiggles: Ju Ming's Tai Chi Singlewhip in Citygarden. It's easier to photograph the artwork in winter. Everything isn't obstructed by leaves but you can still get some nice frames among the plantings.            

Monday, January 23, 2023

SUN SALUTE

There is a lot to take in in our town's Citygarden. It comprises two blocks of complex plantings that reflect the region's environmental zones and a remarkable collection of modern sculpture. Jim Dine's take on Pinocchio does face generally east toward the sunrise, which is why the title seems appropriate. Otherwise, I know zip about yoga. I am one of the least (physically) flexible people you are likely to meet. Only been dragged to a yoga class once in my life (by you, Jessie) and couldn't make it past corpse pose.         

Sunday, January 22, 2023

NOTHING TO SEE HERE

Referring to a potential viewer or the object of vision? STL DPB dips into philosophy when encountering Erwin Wurm's Big Suit in Citygarden downtown. So who wears pink suits? We can see that.              

Saturday, January 21, 2023

AIR QUALITY

Time to move on to a new location. I worked in downtown St. Louis for 47 years. There hasn't been much reason to go back since I retired except for special events. Like  so many American city centers, it has not done well since the pandemic. One business that has stayed is Peabody Energy, formerly known as Peabody Coal. It is the largest privately held coal mining company in the world and obviously controversial.

It ain't all bad. The greatest monumental sculpture in the world still stands by the Mississippi.           

Friday, January 20, 2023

IT'S NOBODY'S BUSINESS BUT THE TURKS

One more of the picnic sites in Tower Grove Park. It's a big one, known for some reason as the Turkish Pavilion. Looks like a big piece of peppermint candy to me but then what do I know. More to the point (for me), it makes me think of a certain song.   

That's the last of the Tower Grove pix. I got some good stuff downtown a few days ago. There are also some interesting street events this Saturday and Sunday so I'll be re-stocked for a while.            

Thursday, January 19, 2023

WINTER TREES

I'm squeezing every drop I can from this series in Tower Grove Park. The view here is west entrance, a broad field flanked by old, bare trees. At least one more of these tomorrow.            

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

AROUND THE BEND

I didn't think this was my best photo but it got some favorable attention when I put it on Flickr. Photographers like S curves. Tower Grove Park again.                 

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

CHINOISERIE

I mentioned recently that there are a wide variety of so-called pavilions in Tower Grove Park that are really elaborate picnic shelters. They are very different in size and design, but all are beautifully maintained by the foundation that supports the park. This is simply called the Chinese Pavilion and covers just three picnic tables. Whether the design is culturally accurate is for others to say.                  

Monday, January 16, 2023

VANISHING POINT

The central east-west axis on Tower Grove Park. I don't like how Blogger reduces resolution and richness. The original image is more intense.           

Sunday, January 15, 2023

LIFE IN THE SLOW LANE

While wandering around Tower Grove Looking for things to photograph, I was sitting in my car and saw this coming by. All by itself, no parade, no event. It was puzzling because there aren't any stables in the park but I bet there was a day when this was a common sight.                         

Saturday, January 14, 2023

BETTER THAN YOUR AVERAGE PICNIC SHELTER

 

Tower Grove Park has a fair number of what it calls pavilions, of many different sizes but all in over-the-top 19th Century styles. They are in beautiful condition. Although it is technically a city park, it is so precious that there is a not-for-profit foundation that maintains and improves it. You have to rent the pavilions but it doesn't cost much. They are often overflowing with people in the warm months.               

Friday, January 13, 2023

GUARDIAN


Looking just up and over from the view in yesterday's post, a pair of copper griffins guard the main east entrance to Tower Grove Park. They must have some useful power because what's inside is pristine.              

Thursday, January 12, 2023

FAMILY HISTORY

 

A view through one of the gates of Tower Grove Park. The church across Grand Boulevard is where Mrs. C and I were married plus or minus 49 years ago. We put it on ourselves and didn't ask our parents for help so it was small. My brother and I wore absurd yellow and black tuxes that made us look like bumblebees. She shared a bit of her Valium prescription, for which I was grateful. I found a keyboard transcription of the first movement of Bach's Third Brandenburg Concerto that I wanted to use as a recessional. The organist butchered it. But after that things worked out pretty well.           

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

MUSIC, SWEET MUSIC

The bandstand in Tower Grove Park, flanked by the busts of Beethoven and Wagner seen here recently. I've never been to a performance but there must be concerts sometimes since there are rows of benches to its left. Not likely that you would hear German heavyweights. Maybe more John Phillip Sousa or the style of The Music Man but definitely not Martha and the Vandellas.           

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

PEDIMENT

Tower Grove Park may look simple at first view, but there are many interesting and unusual details. The small building is at one of the automobile entrances. The official park map describes it only as Well House with no further explanation. A page on the website of the excellent local photo-historian, Chris Naffziger, calls it the South Entrance Lodge. https://stlouispatina.com/37889-2/ . He has a bit to say about the architecture but mentions that little else is known about the building. It is quite small but has a certain elegance.               

Monday, January 9, 2023

VISION

Next around the circle of busts is Richard Wagner, who seems to be contemplating the destruction of the cycle of major and minor keys, and perhaps tonality itself. The story is that he was not a nice person, egotistical and sometimes bullying. Not to everyone's taste, but, still, some of the most moving nights I have had in the musical theater, were at performances of his work: the Flying Dutchman at the Metropolitan Opera, Jon Vickers singing Parsifal in Chicago and the big iconoclast, Tristan und Isolde, when I was in Los Angeles on business. (I was alone at that last one and happened to walk out to the parking lot with a member of the orchestra who looked at me and asked, "did you actually like that?" I did.)            

Sunday, January 8, 2023

OLD SOURPUSS

A few steps from the pond and fake ruins in the picture I posted yesterday is an ornate octagonal bandstand. It is surrounded by six marble columns topped by busts of composers popular with the people who laid out the park: Wagner, Mozart, Rossini, Gounod, Tchaikovsky and this chap. The busts are a bit crude, possibly made of cement. 

While Beethoven had much hardship in his life, by no means was he always gloomy. Listen to the 7th Symphony, Op 92, the triumphant finale of the 5th Symphony, Op. 67, the "Spring" Sonata for violin and piano, Op. 24 or the ecstatic reunion duet of Floristan and Leonora in his only opera, Fidelio.            

Saturday, January 7, 2023

FAKE

I was totally out of material. Yesterday was mild and there was lovely winter light. I headed for Tower Grove Park, my favorite in our area. Not flashy, just quietly beautiful. There is a pond bordered with self-consciously fake ruins, a 19th Century romantic fantasy. You do see lots of wedding photography here in the warmer months.           

Friday, January 6, 2023

FOUR BASIC FOOD GROUPS

What's not to like? It may not be endorsed by your doctor but maybe you will die happy. Or senseless. Seen at Union Station.            

Thursday, January 5, 2023

DEEP BLUE

Continuing with the fishy theme since my camera and I haven't gotten back out on the street. I don't know what the species are here but the small ones form a remarkable group. Like some flocks of birds, they move en masse with amazing coordination. I know nothing of the biology of the behavior.            

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

BITE ME

Not in the best of moods so I thought I'd post a picture of a piranha at the aquarium. They've got a bunch of them but they are. shall we say, segregated.           

Monday, January 2, 2023

MADELEINE MONDAY

I took this picture of my granddaughter at the St. Louis Aquarium a couple of days ago. She's 9, but somehow this gives me an idea of what she may look like as a young woman.              

Sunday, January 1, 2023

CITY DAILY PHOTO JANUARY THEME - PHOTO OF THE YEAR

Happy New Year to all our friends and colleagues. On the first of January City Daily Photo members share their best image of the previous twelve months. This is my favorite from 2022. It's not St. Louis but it appeals to me: a view of coastal mountains in Southern California, taken from an airplane approaching Los Angeles.  

See the masterworks of other City Daily Photo members at https://citydailyphoto.org/2022/12/27/january-gallery-photo-of-the-year-2/.