The thing I liked about him was that he let me read my comic book in his chair.
This post is where I figured out that a photo doesn’t have to be technically great to be good memory touchstone.
Click on the links to read the whole story and see more pictures.
Stylerite Barber Shop
In 2011, I got permission to go into the old Stylerite Barber Shop at 312 South Sprigg, Ed’s old shop, and the one where I dropped many a hair on the floor. (I probably should have held onto a few of those.)
I took a self-portrait in the mirror where I had stared back at a much younger, comic-book-holding Ken half a century earlier. I don’t know for a fact that it was the same mirror, but I like to think it was hanging there waiting for my return.
Both posts attracted some good comments.
Sisco’s and Skinner’s
I made some extra money when I came home on Christmas break in 1967 by roaming around taking pictures of buildings for the upcoming Missourian Achievement Edition.
I also snapped Skinner’s Barber shop next to Eggiman’s Authorized Dealer of Maytag and Admiral Appliances on South Plaza Way. The shop must have had a short life, because it didn’t even show up in the 1969 City Directory.
Hi, I’m Ken, and I’ve shot selfies. It has been approximately 3-1/2 months since my last selfie.
I offer up that confession because I’ve made fun of folks who shoot them, most recently at an Ohio University football game I covered last fall. Then, while looking for a photo, I started realizing how many self-portraits I had taken over the years. I have been in serious denial.
One of the earliest I could find was my reflection on the photo print dryer in the Central High School darkroom. The dryer’s shiny metal plates that imparted a glossy surface on the print when it dried served as a great curved mirror..
Not my Budweiser towel
Early on in one of my Ohio University photo classes, we had to take some self-portraits. This was my reflection in a mirror in the Scott Quadrangle dorm room I shared with two freshmen. The Bud towel belonged to one of them. It was what passed for decoration in what was primarily a freshman dorm.
I’m shooting it with a Mamyia C33 twin lens reflex I bought used from Nowell’s Camera Shop. A serviceman coming back from Vietnam sold it and three lenses for $300. I hated the square format, but 2-1/4 x 2-1/4 was required for at least one of my classes. I sold it as quickly as I could.
Always hiding behind camera
There’s a common theme in most of these photos: I’m almost always hiding behind a camera. This was shot March 7, 1968.
Let’s climb on a rooftop
This was taken right after the precvious shot. I figured anybody could take a photo on the ground, so I climbed on top of the Beckley building in uptown Athens to get this portrait with the county courthouse in the background. If you can’t make it good, at least make it unusual. I used that vantage point a lot over the next several years.
The long arm of the photographer
This looks more like today’s selfie. My arm must have been longer in those days because I have trouble shooting them today. I know the lens was wider in 1968 and I’m wider in 2014, so the combination of those things may make it tougher. This was shot in the photo lab at The Athens Messenger.
Note the psychedelic poster on the wall. That, like the Bud towel, wasn’t my decoration. I’ll blame Bob Rogers or Jon Webb for it.
Multiple light assignment
Lots of photo class assignments were finger exercises to teach us technique. Most of them were intended to be shot in a studio, but I was lousy at studio lighting and I thought it was boring, so I’d work outside the box. I’m sure some of the instructors weren’t happy with the way I bent the rules, but they couldn’t kick the image back because I hadn’t exactly broken them.
This shot was taken in Bob Rogers’ basement apartment on November 14, 1968. (That’s Bob in the foreground.) In the pre-digital days, you didn’t know immediately if you got the shot or not, so you shot multiple exposures to hedge your bets. This picture had three or more lights that had to be balanced, so it took lots of exposures with Bob and Wife Lila being very patient. In this shot, I’m going out to assure her that we are almost done.
Trying something new
When you cover as many high school and college ball games as Bob and I did, you start looking for something different. One night we decided to go as far in as different photographic directions as possible: I set up a camera with a wideangle fisheye lens, and he shot with a 500mm telephoto. So far as I know, that was the ONLY time we ever tried that.
John J. Lopinot was the triggerman
This may not technically qualify as a selfie because my finger’s not on the trigger (or self-timer.) Chief photographer John J. Lopinot and I went on a tour of Palm Beach’s Roaring ’20s Biltmore Hotel when it looked like it might be torn down. (It’s been converted into upscale condo apartments, thankfully.)
We spotted a mirror in the hallway and Lopi took the shot. I like the interesting juxtaposition of the man on the right who shows up twice and the woman giving us the strange look.
My shot from the Biltmore
We came upon another mirror later in the walk and I took a solo portrait. I’m shooting with a 24mm wideangle lens and am carrying bodies with 105mm and 200mm lenses.
I loved curved mirrors
I was always a sucker for curved mirrors. I’ve taken some I like better but couldn’t lay my fingers on them at 2 in the morning. This mirror is in the Altenburg Foods grocery store that closed for good shortly after I photographed it.
Since I’m usually leaving Cape by myself, I’ve had to start resorting to selfies to get the departure shot with Mother. This is the last one I took, and the one I mentioned in my confession above. It was taken November 25, 2013. To see some of the others, you’ll have to go to the gallery below. I need longer arms or a wider lens.
Ken’s photo gallery
Here’s a gallery of me getting older and grayer in my self-portraits. Click on any photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move through the gallery. Now that I am out of denial, I’ll refrain from making fun of other folks who take pictures of themselves.
The Cape Girardeau Historic Preservation Commission announced its list of 11 of the city’s most endangered buildings in hopes of raising awareness about the building’s uncertain futures.
One of the buildings is the old Cape Cut Rate Drug Store at 635 Good Hope, the southeast corner of Good Hope and Sprigg. I’ve been shooting the building for at least three or four years, but I kept putting off doing a story until I got the photo I wanted. I guess it’s time to go with what I’ve got.
Going to be teen club
I was on a bike ride a couple of summers ago when I noticed a dumpster in front of the building and some work going on. I stuck my head inside and was told that someone was going to fix it up for use as a teen hangout to give neighborhood kids a place to go. I didn’t have the equipment with me to shoot in the dark, so I said I’d come back. That was the last time I saw any activity in the place.
Roof peeling off
In the few minutes I spent inside the old drug store, I could see that the roof had been leaking for quite some time and that the interior was charred like it had caught fire at some point. I happened by the place on a windy day and say big pieces of roofing material flapping in the wind, so I know where the water came from.
A regular stop
No telling how many times I passed through these doors because we spent a fair amount of time in the Haarig district.
I had pictures of Ed Unger cutting hair as one of my earliest blog posts. I’m not sure which of the shops this was taken in, but the story had some of his background and some good comments from folks who knew him.
Stylerite Barber Shop
After I finished shooting the photos of the Pure Ice Co., I took a cruise by Good Hope. I’ve been meaning to do a spread on the Haarig District, as it’s called, but keep putting if off.
As I walked down the 300 block of South Sprigg looking in the windows of empty shops, I noticed the back door of the old Stylerite Barber shop was open. My feeling is that an open door in an empty building says “Come In” unless there’s a No Trespassing sign next to it.
The 1968 City Directory lists Edwin Unger’s name under the Stylerite, so this must have been his shop in that era.
Stepping back in time
As it turned out, luck was with me. Just as I got behind the building, a guy pulled in with a long ladder and I offered to help him unload it. (Declined, by the way.) We got to talking and it turned out he owns 329 Good Hope and the buildings in the 300 block of Sprigg, including my target at 312.
Even better, he removed a chain that would have kept me out and said to “have at it. Just lock it up when you’re done.”
As I stood in the barber shop taking this self portrait, I wondered if I had looked into that very mirror when I was the age of the kid on the booster seat. Dad had an office upstairs in the old Farmers and Merchants Bank across the street, so Ed was probably our barber of choice for convenience sake.
Recessive art gene comes out
I never had never been out the back door, so I didn’t know there was what appears to be a concrete patio behind the building. The warm colors of the shop, the neat tones of the old tin, the cool textures brought out the art geek in me. It’s a recessive gene, so it doesn’t show often.
Stylerite Barber Shop photo gallery
Here’s a collection of photos taken in and around the Stylerite. We’ll look at the other buildings in Haarig another time. Click on any image to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to move through the gallery.