Monday, June 25, 2012

Too hot in Denver

Yesterday I got up at 5 am to photograph some sites that needed to be done again. I took the 6 am bus down to Denver, did the photographing in an hour, and then had a Bruegger's bagel (first time). The light was diffused by the smoke from our numerous fires, so the shadows weren't so deep. I re-did the one "corner" which is not a corner: looking straight down Wynkoop St. from 16th toward Cherry Creek. There was a viaduct there once, but it's been taken down, of course. Tattered Cover on the left side, and EPA on the right side. Also, re-did the spot where Constitution Hall once stood: the burned building of 1978. Now it's a parking lot. Poignant.

I have engaged a photographic printer in Boulder who will be matching the exhibition prints of '37 and '78. He is excellent, and I'll be excited to see how they turn out. 

Over 100 degrees yesterday, probably today as well. It was a good incentive to get up really early and do the work in Denver. The whole week is mid to high 90's. Eight fires currently burning in the state, and we're waiting for Boulder to erupt (and praying it won't happen again). At the very least the heat is really enervating and there's no way I would venture out to photograph in downtown during the harsh light and shadows of mid-day. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Oral history plans

I am putting the finishing touches on a deed of gift to use for the oral history interviews. The interviews will mostly be conducted in audio (that's the current plan), but some will be in video. I hope to talk with some 90-plus year-olds who live or lived downtown, a businessman, and a structural engineer. These will be the first interviews.

Blurb, and Berenice Abbott

On another note, I found all my old prints last night. There were many more views of the railroad yards that I've forgotten about. Most date to 1977, a few from 1976, and a very few from 1978. (By 1978, I was moving forward with the rephotographic project.) It will be a difficult decision to choose for the book. Many of these newly-discovered photos are rather illustrative of the yards, showing warehouses, trucks, the "Q," and other features of a diverse industrial area.

I also purchased "New York Changing," a play on the title of a book from the late 30's, "Changing New York," by Berenice Abbott, one of my favorite photographers. She photographed the city in about 1938, including the outer boroughs, and a contemporary photographer rephotographed many of her sites in the late 90's and early 2000's. He was fortunate enough to be able to use one of her 8x10 view cameras! Lovely, wonderful prints with great descriptions. Here's what stood out: building are tilted (!), he worked over a period of time, instead of just one year (as we are--2009-2012), and his affection for the city is obvious. That's the most important thing. I still feel great affection for Denver. Despite the parking lots of 1978.


I am going to look into some fundraising opportunities through Kickstarter. It's a grassroots opportunity to get support from people who believe in your project. I believe we will use it for printing costs, possibly usage costs, and other activities. As we approach the end of the photographic phase, it's time to look into bringing the project to the attention of the public. More details to come.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Solution to the zigzag structure

After consulting with three engineers, I can now safely assume that the zigzag structure on or behind Windsor Dairy in the 1937 photograph is a cooling unit of some kind. The 1929 Sanborn map for that part of Blake Street noted that there was an ice cream manufacturing unit in that part of the building and the word "condenser" is seen on the map as well for that site. Someone recently sold an image of the Windsor Dairy, c. 1947, on eBay. I missed the sale by a few days.

Sam and I are still conducting research at Denver Public Library, Western History Department. Librarian Bruce Hanson has provided us with incredible amounts of information, which we're still sifting through. Yesterday, I photocopied the pages of the 1937 Denver city directory that pertain to each of the streets we're working on. Now we know the names and addresses of all the businesses located on the streets, which will be extremely helpful in identification. I'm also entering a lot of that data into the spreadsheet that describes the project.

Sam and I dropped in to the new Historical Society/History Colorado library, and met one of the librarians there. I explained the project--its scope and progress--and received information about their use policies and how to obtain images of the old negatives. At this point, I'm not sure if we want scans of only some or all of the old images. For sure, Windsor Dairy will be one of them!!

On another front, I've decided to create a small personalized book of my railroad yard photographs, to be published by My photography teacher from Metro, Barbara Houghton, created a beautiful book using blurb, and I am inspired to do one of my own. The book will be entitled "Love Letter to the Railroad Yards," and will feature 23 images plus text. This is riffing on my "love letter to Denver" idea; that's how I think of the Rephotographic Project. More on that when things move along.

I'm not sure I'll be posting many more photographs on this blog site. Apparently Google bought blogspot and is sweeping up images and information for their search pages from that site, among many others. I have mixed feelings about it.