John Lewis at the Martin Luther King Funeral April 9th 1968

After a private memorial service for Martin Luther King at Ebeneezer Baptist church there was a march to Morehouse College (King’s Alma Mater) for a public service honoring the man.  Attending Emory University at the time I attempted documentation of the march.  I found among the six rolls of film two views of John Lewis in the March.  If anyone walks the walk it has got to be this wonderful man.

 

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Clouds over the Mississippi river in New Orleans

Got down to New Orleans for two days right after Christmas.  A good time to visit, weather very mild almost 80 degrees by mid-day.  In the morning a heavy fog was lifting off the Mississippi near Rainbow park.  This image expresses my mix of optimism and pessimism over the up coming year.  Is there a silver lining in that cloud?

 

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Alone worth a trip across the pond

The Millau viaduct designed by the British architect Richard Norman Foster captures the Gallic spirit of gothic lightness as much as any modernist structure you will see.  Just as the Golden Gate bridge enhances and frames the waterway entering San Francisco Bay the Millau viaduct dances across the valley of the Tarn creating its own frame.  The structure was built to address the bottle neck created by the large amount of North South traffic between northern France and the Mediterranean coast when it dipped down into the valley of the Tarn going through the town of Millau.  The slots in the towers must have been designed in to reduce wind forces on the high towers, but they also suggest  stitching needles for the making of leather gloves for which the region is famous.

Below:  Tower detail.  Other views can be seen in my “Bridges” gallery.  I might also mention that nearby is the town of Roquefort offering fascinating tours of the caves where the cheese is grown.

 

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The perfect (ice) storm

Lately I have been trying to photograph places and things close by, like even in my own neighborhood.  It is a challenge to make images from the familiar.  An early December ice storm here in Baltimore made this much easier encasing the local plant life in glistening ice.  Although shot in color I could not resist converting to black and white since the subject matter was rather monochromatic to begin with.

 

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Back in Bayonne, France

The south of France is known more for its great examples of Romanesque churches but the Cathedral Sainte-Marie in Bayonne survives as a fine example of the Gothic influence.  Lining up the “pictures within pictures” framed by the window elements proved quite a challenge in this image.  This site is also on the pilgrim way to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

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Giotto’s Tower

On the same night I was photographing the Duomo I encountered another photographer  paying  homage to these magnificent structures.  Neither of us spoke to each other.   From this camera position we are looking at the back side of the Baptisery of St John (1059-1128), part of the Duomo and the Campanille of Giotto.  It is easy to discern the style cues that Brunelleschi and later Alberti would take from the Baptisery which is one of the oldest surviving buildings in Florence.  Dante and many of the Medici family were baptised here.

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Santa Maria del Fiore at night

The doorway in the center of this picture is the position Brunelleschi would have  put himself for his perspective experiments performed in the early fifteenth century.  The facade as we see it here was not finished until the nineteenth century.  Florence Italy is pretty crowded in the spring time so I chose to do this shot at midnight using the quite ample floodlights the city uses to light the facade.  Even at midnight there is still quite a throng of folks hanging out on the steps enjoying their spring break.

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The history of photography and perspective start here

Perhaps not with this photograph, but  this building marks the rebirth of pictorial perspective in the west through the visual experiments of Brunelleschi.  The only remaining evidence of Brunelleschi’s experiments is the building. Most of the visual evidence of Fillipo’s brilliance we get through drawings by Leonardo da Vinci and others of his machines and devices used for construction of the Duomo, behind which this picture was taken.  The significance of being able to represent three dimensional objects on a two dimensional surface resonates to this day.  The golden east doors seen here at the center of the facade were dubbed by Michelangelo as the “Gates of Paradise”.

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A Haitian chapel

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50 years and counting

I owe my career to the magical country of Haiti.  In my first year of college I went there for a one month academic project.  A professor generously loaned me his Pentax h3v camera with a 50mm lens.  I rolled my own 20 rolls of black and white tri-x film and set out exploring,  learning as much about the country, practicing my fractured French, finding myself in unusual places.   This was  in  April 1966 at the height of the Francois Duvalier regime.   Some of the images I will be posting and placing in a gallery soon.  Here is the first image taken at the Sans Souci palace of King Christophe near Cap Haitian.

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