nostalgia

Last Green Leaves Before Autumn 2019

Last Green Leaves Before Autumn 2019

Wandering makes photos

If anyone asks me how did I learn photography, I tell them, by walking the streets of Tokyo for hundreds of hours with my very first DSLR camera, a Nikon D80. What is great about living in a city with wide spread public transportation is you can take a train to one area, walk randomly to where your eyes take you, then just hop on another train and get back home without having to worry about returning to where your car is parked. This is how I went about finding one of my more famous photos, at least in Japan, which I titled, “Last Green Leaves Before Autumn.” I submitted it to Metropolis Magazine (the largest weekly English magazine in Japan) and they featured it in the Photo of the Week section. Picking up a copy of the magazine the Friday afternoon it came out and seeing my photo featured inside, I was stunned and even stopped strangers passing by to say (in English), “that’s my photo!” It was a moment of exhileration I have rarely ever felt again.

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East Jesus Art in Slab City California

East Jesus Art in Slab City California

Slab City no longer like Easy Rider era

Slab City. It was a mysterious place floating in my mind for decades, ever since seeing Easy Rider. In my memory the movie showed Slab City as a place in California you can just setup and live, on empty slabs of concrete out in the desert. In preparing to go to Slab City recently, I read up some about it. It was supposedly still a lawless place where the police did not go, and were not wanted. I was actually concerned about safety issues trying to just drive through Slab City. I expected to be met with very unwelcome looks, as an outsider. Slab City, I thought, is not a place for casual visitors.

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Johnnie Meier Classical Gas Pump Museum New Mexico True

Johnnie Meier Classical Gas Pump Museum New Mexico True

When was gas 32¢ a gallon?

Driving back to Albuquerque after a weekend of rural land real estate photographer in Angel Fire along the very scenic Route 66, one can find amongst an unbroken stretch of canyon, trees and river a place that very much stands out, the Johnnie Meier Classical Gas Pump Museum. Thanks to Atlas Obscura, a great website for finding strange and odd things, we knew to be on the lookout for it. There are not just old gas pumps, but any number of things from a past that is slowly being forgotten. For me seeing the old coin operated animal rides that I used to take in the 1970s and 1980s, it was a strong shot of nostalgia. Even the old cigarette machine jogged my memory to when you used to see them in every restaurant waiting room. And when was gas only 32¢ cents a gallon last?

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Philosophy of Antiques in the Park Gulfport Florida

Lots of glass items at Antiques in the Park. It seems Cs were in short supply in 1945.

I recently put on Facebook this statement that popped into my mind, "Only things that are old have any value."  One person commented, a 40+ year old guy, "tell that to my wife."  I meant it to be a serious statement though on the extremely disposable and commodified nature of all items, goods and personalities being created in 2010.  In 40 years will anyone admire a 2010 Toyota Camry the way they would a 40-year old Shelby Cobra today?  

All wonder over air travel has now been replaced by fear and routine, making a trunk like this one all the more valuable.

How is this for you?  iTunes DJ has just selected a classic song from the Amelie soundtrack to play.  The most modern form of playing music choosing a classic tune from before computers even existed while I write about the past on a wireless keyboard in front of two digital screens.  Perhaps this is the way of the future . . . using modern technology to help preserve the value of the past.

Hard to imagine a world only as big as the distance a wagon wheel could take you.

And by no means do I believe technology is advanced at all right now.  Computers and the Internet are still very much in their infancy.  How rough is it to use a computer still?  Not even my Mac "just works."  

This collection of old circus tumblers fascinated me. If I had $39 cash on me I just might have purchased them.

While browsing the tables of Antiques in the Park in Gulfport I came across the very green glass goblets my mother used to fill with pudding and jello when I was a child.  I had a very strong reaction to seeing them.  So strong I did not even thing to photograph them.  I was probably going to purchase them as I passed back by the entrance/exit on the way out.  I did not even have the chance as someone else, perhaps wanting to eat pudding from them once again, had already bought them and carried them cheerfully home as I would have done.

Nothing made now will rust like this oxidized tractor.

This was the first antiques show I went to in the south and I was surprised to see the legacy of slavery and racism in explicit messages on several antique decorative plates and even old 8x10 advertisements.  One recurring theme I saw was black people being pursued or victimized by alligators, suggesting I guess that white people would never be attacked by these apparently discriminating creatures.  It was a bit surreal and uncomfortable to see these items.  

I plan to visit a few more antique shows in the near future and I hope to find perhaps another set of those pudding goblets and maybe an old camera or two for decorating my desk with some photography history.