Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Rejoice! (The Dressmaker's Daughters 16)

PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL: Enough to say that images exist to fill in the intermediate posts in the Daughters series, though I'll leave it to those who care to imagine what they might contain to lead us to this happy moment.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Headstrong (The Dressmaker's Daughters 10)

PHOTOGRAPHER’S JOURNAL: Twenty-two mannequins and an opera house with large windows letting in filtered side light! 

How fluid the forms! How little it seems to require for these mannequins to spring to life with attitude and intent! How subtle the faceless cues of movement from which we intuit significance! Is it only the central figure whose presence is felt, or do all three come with distinct mental posture?

This is from a subset of the images that especially relies on the form and texture of the mannequins’ surfaces and that light. These images are extremely detailed. Even in these jpg reductions one can see most of the fabric’s weave and the stitching. However, on originals viewed 100% you will see beyond that to the wrapping of the fibers of the woven cloth. Such tiny details frequently cause moire patterns to appear when they fall in or out of phase with native screen dpi. They also seem to react strangely to various tools I use to control certain kinds of contrast adjustments, and there will probably be issues when I begin to print them. All of that only makes the more interesting to me.

Next time I go back, I want to get the camera even closer. How close can I get and still make them live?

Friday, August 15, 2014



No Electricity

Headbanger pumps
and enough gasoline
to empty hydraulic wells
and fluid basins
of a century of progress
half a century gone.

Silence and space
when they pause.
No heavy sounds,
sole-felt sounds,
bone-rap sounds, 
moving mass,
Immovable abutment.
No iron clank,
No clunk-
of unbundled tube.
No forlorn, whining
extrusion solo, soul-felt and whole.
Only headbanger’s return.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Rust Belt Dies

PHOTOGRAPHER’S JOURNAL:  I’m drawn to the mottled, crisp surfaces, the planes of light and leading geometries and shadowed recesses in these piles of dies now lying about the extrusion mill. I’m not sure I can say much more about why, but I react to them as I do to the mannequins at the opera house, as pure form. These are too heavy to move much and too dirty, so I move about trying to fit my rectangle around them. It’s no different than shooting a landscape. Occasionally I’ll mutter, “That’s it!” And most often I won’t know why, but sometimes my eye will. 

Of course there are many excellent photographers with good reasons who will tall me, “No, not there. Here!” …and they will be right.  And my irksome brain will be worrying me, “Isn’t it too fussy in that notch on the top edge, and the top left corner feels weak. Worst of all, the exercise is of no consequence and of little if any importance to anyone but me. However, that quite misses the point.  Looking again later I think I know a bit about why this feels right while many other similar shots don’t work at all.

There are thousands of these dies, and they have been piling up at the old extrusion mill for more than a century. They were everywhere in metal shelves between the benches and in clusters and clearings wherever there was room. Most range in size from a stack of salad plates to a stack of generous platters, though some are as large a car tire, and all are solid steel and heavy. They fit the four draw benches and the expansion bench that formed the basis of the original tube mill that was probably here in the 1890s. Now they have been carefully piled into wire cages to accompany the benches to Mexico, and it’s feeling spacious between the benches.

The dies fit various machines similar to the one shown operating in a recently posted photo: http://rothphotos.blogspot.com/2014/07/bench-23.html

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Watercolors No.6

PHOTOGRAPHER’S JOURNAL:  It is often color that has surprised me in the working factory. Unlike the silk mill where I’m drawn to try images in monochrome, in the active brass mill spots and splashes of color seem to make the best images. Even as it is being taken apart they draw my camera.

My vigil continues, and today it rained most of the time while I was there while men were removing hydraulic pumps from the top of the extruder. The end is getting nearer. 

Now that I’m at home, and the sun is coming out, and I’m “developing” a few of the images I took, I’m regretting not getting a longer lens or my boots from the back of my car to explore close-up possibilities here, but the rain never stopped until after I left, and the car felt a long way off. What will tomorrow bring?

Viewed small this image has the effect of seeming clotted or blurred, but at proper scale details are all clear and it's easy to read the caution sign on the red post, and all of the writing stenciled on the side of the yellow crane at the back of the image.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Dressmaker's Daughters 9



What is scent before a nose smells vanilla?
What is flavor before a tongue tastes ham?
What are light and dark before retinae paint a multicolored picture to sit down in?
What are sound and echo before cochleae hear whistles and waves; songs and words?
And what is touch before skin feels itch, ache, sting and caress?
The world makes our senses and our senses spin a world of sensations in our brains.
From whence comes self that makes brain into mind?
And has taught us there are worlds for which we have no senses.
And what am I without a cosmos of others?
Therefore, We Exist!
Children of Electricity,
Life’s purpose? To thrive.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Wanted (The Dressmaker's Daughters 8)

PHOTOGRAPHER’S JOURNAL: Special thanks to all who sent thoughts for titling yesterday’s daughter. So many things I learned from the titles sent me! I puzzled a long time over, “Segregation,” But I had learned something about my image after I’d thought about ti awhile. Other titles sent were:

"On the Hot Seat"
"Hot Stuff"
"Hotsy Totsy"
"Hot Child in the City"
"Old Fashioned Steam”
"Lady Lashes"
“Ensconced” and

I’ve tentatively titled the new Daughter 8 (above) “Wanted,” because that’s what the sign says, but I’m ready to discover new dimensions of my picture by seeing it through your eyes. Please feel free to send titles. However, unless you can zoom in close, you’re missing much of the fun. I did a horizontal version, but I miss the layers of window glass and the knotting of the shade pull or whatever the cord is for. This is where a tablet that flips sideways has an advantage.