i broke and entered (well really just entered) to get these pics of one of the many abandoned homes we passed in monterey. my mom thinks it’s an original worker’s house from the city’s cannery row days but the appliances look newer to me. i don’t doubt that the building is that old though.
monterey a sad city
the two men were actually in loleta, not close to monterey at all, but they fit better with this album than the humboldt one, which i’m going to post in a few days and which is mostly pics of trees
galle: just the signs
^ i was trying to take pictures of the stupas in the distance and this kid started dancing when he saw i had a camera. finally i took a picture to oblige him. the dad was completely oblivious the whole time. (also yes, those guys on the beach are bathing.)
^ this is a horse with an erection the size of my forearm
with the possible exception of certain didion essays, this is my favorite piece of writing of all time about my hometown:
"Daniel stood at Century Boulevard just before the turn to the San Diego Freeway. He stood with his bag between his feet and his thumb out. His chest hurt. Finally a VW camper pulled up. The driver was a blond kid with long mustaches and no shirt. The kid had a bed in the camper, a mattress with a sleeping bag on top of it, curtains on the windows, books in a bookshelf.
“‘Where you goin’?’
"Daniel looked at his map. The wagon sped down the Freeway whining its way in the grey sun past oil refineries, billboards, power plants, industrial parks, furnaces, trailer parks, junkyards, storage tanks, ramps, cloverleafs, shopping centers, tract housing pennants flying, and on south into the country.
"I don’t know what to write to convey the temperature change of the book. Take your coat off, it’s warm here. A headache passes through the eyes. It has to do with the atmosphere, the light. The light burns you. The sun warms you tans you but doesn’t burn you. The light burns you, chars the back edges of the vision. The sun has to be out in this part of the book. It is a chemical sun. It shines through a grey haze. It shines through a balmy stillness of air which lacks all natural smells. And to think all this was once only orange groves.
"It was all together so much of itself, so completely what it was I reveled in it. I was exhilarated, I took deep breaths of the balmy air. Power lines were strung through the sky. Sulfurous smoke rose over the flatland. Steel cities vibrated the earth. It was a country of strontium children.
"LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT
"Daniel realized that though he’d come three thousand miles to a place he’d never seen before he felt right at home. That is the way it is. Everyone who lives there has just arrived. It’s a place you recognize immediately. On the Freeway we pass a convoy of army trucks. Helicopters cross the highway overhead. Gnatty jets loop in the sun high over the ocean. Electronic plants nestle in their landscaping. A highly visible military-industrial complex. Everything in the open in the wide spaces and bright light of California."
–E.L. Doctorow, The Book of Daniel, 1971
was house-sitting for my parents and decided to pick through my old books. found this rattlesnake skin in the first carton i opened. at first i thought bro put it there but he says he didn’t
more from asia. i might finish uploading this stuff by the one-year anniversary of my departure.
^ vegetarian rice and curry in galle, sri lanka. best meal of the whole trip.
^ street corn on the cob in ella. also sri lanka.
^ fresh jackfruit in ella
^ one thing i love about hk is you can go 20 feet off the main drag and end up in an empty courtyard like this one. also, fresh apple-and-celery juice for less than a dollar.
^ sweet and sour tofu on lantau
^ i went to a very local chinese diner in hk – hidden away, no english on the menus. i ask what the soup of the day is and it’s minestrone.
with paul, who is a great host and always will be more photogenic than me. october 2012.
^ they were renovating this church but actually designed the scaffolding to look like a building. germany is great.
^ thanks for bearing with me on this one paul
^ from the tv tower. sorry about the poor image quality but i had to include it
I was perusing my grandparents’ belongings and found this photo of my (awesome) grandmother when she was three months old in 1924. I was super-excited when I found it because I think it’s a hidden-mother portrait.
For those who don’t know, hidden-mother portraits were really popular in the Victorian era. Then as now, people loved baby portraits, but exposure times were so long that kids tended to squirm. So, the mother would hold the child still and hide herself with a blanket or something. (Why they couldn’t just have the mom in the photo is beyond me, though I think it had something to do with the size of the image.)
Anyway, this looks for all the world like a hidden-mother portrait. (If the thing behind her isn’t my great-grandmother, what is it?) One problem: it was taken in 1924, decades after the heyday of hidden-mother photography. By the 1920s, exposure times should have been fast enough that a hidden mother would be unnecessary. I have a few theories about this pic but would be really interested in input from others:
1) The picture was taken in 1924, but using an old camera with a long exposure time. According to family tradition, my grandma’s family was so poor that she had to sleep in a dresser drawer because they couldn’t afford a crib. It makes sense that they would use the cheapest studio they could find to take their baby pictures, and such a studio might well use a 40- or 50-year-old camera. You can actually see a blur where her left foot was moving, which reinforces the old-camera hypothesis. I think this is the most likely theory.
2) The thing she’s sitting on is not a person. Some studios had highchair-like stands that held the baby still. Though I’m not sure how to explain the lumpiness behind her if it’s just a weirdly-shaped chair.
3) The baby is not my grandma. The identification on the back is written in my grandma’s handwriting with a ballpoint pen, which dates it to the ‘50s at the earliest. It might be an older relative she misidentified as herself.
4) They were imitating the hidden-mother style by choice rather than necessity. This strikes me as weird and unlikely. That said, my great-grandparents might have been trying to mimic the composition of their own baby photos.
Anyway, if this is indeed a hidden-mother pic from 1924, it’s the latest one I’ve ever seen, in life or online. A great find if I may say so.