1211: Storage

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I’ve been putting off a major chore for too long. I’m referring to rental storage spaces – the 21st Century version of attics. Out of sight, out of mind. The rental charge slides into your monthly bills without much thought. And there your stuff sits… and sits… and sits. The latest snowfall somehow seemed to get me moving and so I began the process of tossing all but what’s most important. After all, if something had sat long enough for me to forget about it, then I probably don’t need it anymore.

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That said, I ran across many things worth keeping, from grade school report cards and my baby pictures et al (Thanks Mom!). to things like these four images from days past. I found this diverse mix in one box. On top is a shot of me working with Robert Frank, one of the most important photographers of the 20th Century. I was printing some exhibition work for Mr. Frank – some of his earliest forays into the digital world. It was an honor and pleasure working with him.

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Next are a couple of polaroids I found at the bottom of the box. The first was from a weeklong shoot on Ellis Island – shortly before renovations began. This scene, eerily enough, was from the old mortuary on the island.

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And this one, for anyone old enough to remember, is none other than Buffalo Bob Smith of Howdy Doody fame. I remember keeping this one because I was always fascinated by that outfit! The belt buckle, the fringe! I watched that show religiously as a kid. So what a surprise when I was asked to shoot all the advertising promos for an anniversary show years later.

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And last, my stacks of pulp sci-fi covers from the Fifties. Tom Swift was my real hero. And so visualizations of astronaut adventures (way before Star Wars) sparked my imagination.

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All this looking back got me in the mood to revisit early fossil images. So I decided to comb through my earliest library and pick out images worthy of a second look. And here they are for the first time.

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I’ll leave you this week with another winter landscape.

Thanks for the visit.

032013 – Reviewing the Past

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My usual schedule was interrupted last week – more on that at the end of this post. This is a bit different from my usual posts. I was asked to give a lecture in a few weeks, one that would reflect on the arc of my career. So I’ve been spending time looking over images that I haven’t given thought to for a long, long time. I’ve decided to present a random handful, the results of my first round of digging and exploring (hey – isn’t that the way I describe my fossil finds – “digging and exploring”!).

For those who might think I’m a bit “obsessed” with the world of fossils let me share some of these earlier (non-fossil) works. Starting with the opening image, this was a Brooklyn street scene, a festival in fact, viewed from atop the monument in Grand Army Plaza. (kids and chalk!)

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This next handful deal with old sites, each with their own character.

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Two from Ellis Island before restoration. The haunting imprint of the millions who passed through these rooms was palpable.

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A long abandoned farmhouse on the high plains of Montana.

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Even longer ago (1250 A.D.), the abandoned community of Chaco Canyon, one of the oldest known sites in North America.

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An altar at the Metropolitan Museum’s Cloisters, an incorporation of five medieval European cloisters.

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And, lastly, more recent ruins – an abandoned and cannibalized rocket gantry from Cape Canaveral.

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I also photographed many people, some famous, some not, all very interesting, nonetheless.

A New Mexico rancher during a wind elk roundup.

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A few American treasures:

Pete Seeger

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Bill Cosby

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Al Hirschfeld

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Martin Sheen

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And finally, one more American treasure, a deeply personal one.

IN MEMORIAM

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ARTHUR A. MURPHY, SR.

In the predawn hour of March 10, my Dad passed away, quietly and peacefully in his sleep after a period of debilitating illness. He was eighty-five years old. All he ever wanted in his lifetime was to be a good husband and father. He cared for us selflessly and, happily, he achieved his goal. He was a fine and decent man and I will miss him greatly.