Picturing the Past Workshop

720 Fay Powders Library posterI had to take my eye off Cape this evening to produce some promotional material for a Picturing the Past workshop I’m doing in Athens, Ohio, at the end of the month. Regular readers have seen most of these pictures, but I’ll be working with a fresh crop of viewers.

The workshop, something dreamed up by Curator Jessica at the Athens County Historical Society and Museum, is going to work with photographers to get them to see how pictures they shoot today may have historical significance in the future.

It’s a challenge for me

720 Poster with Frank RicheyI have to admit that I’m a little nervous about this event. I’m used to taking photos, and I’m used to talking about MY photos, and I’ve gotten more comfortable about thinking how my news photos have grown enough whiskers they have become history, but I’m facing a big unknown here. I have no idea how many people are going to sign up (we capped the class at about two dozen), I don’t know what kind of equipment they are going to be using nor how experienced they are going to be.

It’s not a nuts ‘n’ bolts photo class where we’re going to talk about f/stops and shutter speeds, but it will be more about “seeing” a good story-telling photograph. Jessica will explain how the best photograph from an aesthetic standpoint may not be the most useful to a historian trying to ferret out little factoids about a community.

I’m sure you’ll hear more about this as I mull over different approaches during the next week.

Take a giant step backward

720 Ordinary People bio PosterI used to tell reporters, amateurs and bureau folks that the best way to take a good photograph was to compose it until it looked perfect in the viewfinder, then take one giant step forward. In this workshop, I’m going to ask folks to take one giant step backward so they can capture the world around the subject in at least a few frames.

“And,” I’m going to say, “if you feel compelled to shoot 500 duck-face selfies, PLEASE turn the camera around at least once.”

Jessica said I had to provide at least minimal biographical information, so here it is. You can click on the photos to make them larger if you want to read the copy.

Thanks to Jessica for convincing the Ohio Humanities Council to give us a grant that will cover part of my travel and lodging expenses, and to the Athens Public Library for providing a space for the programs.

Iconic Images for Sale

Round Barn on S Sprigg 1966I had a bunch of 12×18 prints made for exhibit consideration. It dawned on me that the extras aren’t doing any good sitting in a rubber bin in Mother’s basement, so I took a few over to Annie Laurie’s Antique Shop on Broadway to see if they would generate any interest (and income). We picked shots that we thought brought back memories of Cape or that were generic enough that it didn’t matter where they were taken.

They sell for $10 each. Similar prints of the same images have been exhibited in museums and galleries, so I can say they are suitable for framing, even though they aren’t printed on photographic paper. You aren’t going to get unique images like this any cheaper.

Folks who have been around for awhile will recognize the round barn that used to be on South Sprigg Street below the cement plant.

Friends on Robinson Road

Friends on Robinson Road exhibit catalog for 07-28-2013 showThe top portrait is the one that’s available. Bill and Jesse are from Ohio, but you could find their counterparts in Southeast Missouri if you poked around.

Give this to your best buddy so he can see what you guys will look like when you get old.

Toilet Paper Wars

Toilet paperIf you know Steve Robert or Mary Wright, this would be a good print to squirrel away for a special gift. A reader sent me a long account of the toilet paper wars in Cape. If you haven’t read it, it’s worth a chuckle.

SEMO Fair

SEMO Fair Round UpThere are several photos from the days when the district fair was still in black and white. I’ve always liked this shot. Years later, I saw that Robert Frank had a similar photo in his classic 1958 book, The Americans.

This would look good in the kitchen

SEMO Fair Food and drink standHere’s another fair photo. Look at those prices. I can remember scrounging soda bottles for the deposits so I could stay at the fair “just a little bit longer” after my money ran out.

Shop Class

1960s high school shop class2I suspect that OSHA would have problems with this Central High School shop class photo. If you know the guy, though, wouldn’t it be a great birthday present for him or his kids?

If your friends jumped off a bridge …

Castor River 07-31-1964I was a little confused about where I took this photo, but my readers set me straight. If you are in this photo, you might want to snatch it up before giving your grandkids the old “if all your friends jumped off a bridge” speech.

Grosvenor Crossing

Grosvenor Crossing OH during rail strikeThis has always been one of my favorite news shots. The railroads had gone on strike, and I was trying to figure out a different way to tell the story. I went out early on a cold, foggy morning and shot unbroken frost on the tracks at Grosvenor Crossing near Athens, Ohio. To me, that was a better way to show that the trains weren’t running than a bunch of guys holding picket signs.

Closer to Cape, I found that train crews still wave to you around here.

Dancing in the bank parking lot

Teen dance in bank lot 8-21-64I see several familiar faces from the night the TAC club floor was bouncing so much that city officials closed the joint down and the dance moved to the First National Bank parking lot at Broadway and Main. My old debate partner Pat Sommers is in the middle of the shot. Joan Amlingmeyer is to the right of him.

Nellie Vess

Nellie Vess 08-13-1968Nellie Vess and Peggy Sue sit on a porch near Trimble in Southern Ohio. She was one of my favorite people and her story has an interesting twist.

He’s waiting for you

Ohio GravediggerThis gravedigger from Letart Falls, Ohio, could dig a square hole. I’ve used his photo several times, most recently when discussing the skeleton that hung around Central.

This would be good to hang by your alarm clock as a reminder that there are worse things than going to work in the morning.

This isn’t the full selection, and I have more in the rubber bin. Holler if you don’t see one you want and I’ll see if there’s a print already made up. If you are interested in a photo shown here, better grab it before someone else snatches it up.

 

 

Friends on Robinson Road Exhibit

Friends on Robinson Road exhibit catalog for 07-28-2013 showI’ll be doing a presentation at the Athens County Historical Society and Museum on July 28. The topic is Friends on Robinson Road, an Athens Messenger picture story I shot in 1969. I mentioned them in a post for Valentine’s Day 2012.

I’ll admit that I’m slacking off tonight. I’m still putting together the slide show and I have to leave town Wednesday afternoon. (Not that I’m cutting it close or anything.)

Here’s the show catalog

Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the sides to move through the gallery. If you are anywhere in the Athens, Ohio, area, I have another presentation in Shawnee, Ohio, on July 26, and I’ll be hanging around town until July 29. The folks at the museum should be able to track me down.

 

Opportunity and Overalls

Jesse King and Bill Robinson, "Friends on Robinson Road, 02-26-1969I was trying to figure out what I was going to put up today when a friend posted an old Thomas Edison quote on her Facebook page.

Edison said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

I don’t know if Bill Robinson made the most of all his opportunities, but he DID have overalls and I’m pretty sure he has stared work in the eye. I photographed Bill on Robinson Road in Athens County in 1969. I’ve written about Bill and his buddy Jesse King before.