January 16, 2018
I have been reading this book because I am fascinated by medieval art, and I see a lot of reliquaries. The book is sort of rambling, and it jumps around thematically, but it has focused my attention on these objects lately, so I took another trip to The Cloisters to see a few. I drove in, and decided to park and walk around Washington Heights with my camera a bit before going to the museum.
First off, again, the Port Authority Bus Terminal with that fantastic reinforced concrete roof by Pier Luigi Nervi. I was struck by this view from my car, and walked back to capture it. It conveys, for me, the creepily attractive monumental and oppressive nature of some modernist architecture. The tower in the background, one of four known to traffic alert listeners simply as “The Towers,” gives the view a Futurist look.
Once in the museum, I went to see the three little ladies, reliquaries purportedly containing the skulls of martyred women, three of the 11,000 killed with Saint Ursula.
Perhaps a bit of a stretch, but it made me think of this final scene from Mystery of the Organism.
January 8, 2018
On my Lower Manhattan jaunt I took two pinhole cameras: a coffee can model; and a rectangular box type. My photo journey began uptown, of course, at the 178th Street Port Authority Bus Terminal. The building’s roof was designed by Nervi was designed in the early 1960s, and I just love the trapezoidal-shaped columns resting on a massive steel rocker. This was shot with a rectangular box pinhole.
As usual with my interior pinhole shots, I had trouble getting the exposure right. Actually, getting the exposure right is always a problem, but it’s harder indoors. Considering the overcast skies, this one came out pretty well, but I have been finding that my low-light outdoor shots are often over exposed because I have been relying on an iPad light meter app. According to the reciprocity law rigmarole, long exposures calculated “by hand” are too low and need to be increased. I don’t know what the “rule” is for light meters that include very large f-stops, or maybe there isn’t one. I should probably rely on rule of thumb and experience and dump the meter!
This coffee can shot of the plaza outside of the $4 billion luxury shopping mall otherwise known at The Oculus or Transit Hub by Calatrava shows the exposure problems. It is also a roughed up image, showing the effects of my clumsy field handling of the cameras in my darkroom bag. Haven’t gotten the hang of it yet.
This interior shot of the structure was also taken with a coffee can pinhole, and it turned out pretty well. The building is more impressive in this image that it is in fact, but I could go on about this for a long time…
I found relief from the contemplation of the Port Authority’s pharaonic waste at The Rubin Museum on 17th Street which contains fantastic collections of Tibetan art.
After my visit, on my way to the subway to get back to Nervi’s place, I captured this little scene, so typical of Manhattan, with my coffee can pinhole.
January 7, 2018
I revisited one of my favorite buildings in Manhattan; the multi-storey sub-basement of an old apartment building in Washington Heights, amidst the Columbia Presbyterian Hospital Complex.
It really does seem like a dungeon to me.
It’s barely visible from this perspective amidst the hospital behemoths that recall to my mind the fantasies of Saint Elia.
Manhattan Schist, so it’s called, is prominent up here, and from such soil, great structures grow.
Growing up in the San Fernando Valley, we had barely two seasons: I love the winter!
After all this gawking at icy splendor, I retreated to The Cloisters.
Son of Clovis?
Saint Lawrence Being Roasted: The story goes that after grilling for a while, he declared, “I’m well-done, turn me over!” Thus, he is the patron saint of cooks.
January 5, 2018
…but the coffee merits special mention.
Limpid it was, scented and wondrous hot; but above all, it was served, not in those degenerate vessels which they dare, on the banks of the Seine to call cups, but in fair, deep bowls wherein the worthy fathers plunged their thick lips with a will, and sucked up the life-giving liquid with a noise that would have done credit to two sperm whales fleeing before a storm.
from The Physiology of Taste by Brillat-Savarin
December 30, 2017
Painted by the artist known as Duccio about seven hundred years ago, this could be considered the “Ur image” of Renaissance art: Vasari recognized it as such centuries later. I always visit it when I go to the Met.
I rather like this snap of the picture; very meta 🤓. Picture of a picture that initiated the Western preoccupation with illusionary pictorial space. The parapet at the bottom edge is key, nicely heightened here, strangely, by the photograph’s flattening of the whole image. Other pictures intrude into the picture of the picture.
The original frame is burned along the bottom by generations of devotional candles.
December 29, 2017
What goes up must come down. Full image here.
December 23, 2017
Low, raking winter light in a local cemetery with a variety of pinhole cameras, from coffee can to small circular tin, giving a rondel image. The name on the tomb below is Rathbone, but I don’t know if it has any connection to Basil. Englewood, NJ was home to many actors when it was at the center of the silent film industry in the USA in the early 20th century.