Painting in Window of Abandoned House

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The image in the window looks like a painting to me. I hope that in calling it a painting that I’m not making myself look foolish. I’m so out of touch with mainstream traditional media like TV or magazines that I could well have missed that this painting was a brand image or part of an album cover that millions of people recognize. Then again, I think we are past the era when an image created by human hands would be published so extensively. If it can’t be reduced to vectors and easily scaled through digital illustration, it’s not used to sell anything in mass production.

It seems that posters have become passé, too. Back in the stone age of my youth, hanging a poster reproduction of a painting was a cool thing to do. I had a copy of Marc Chagall’s I and the Village on my bedroom wall when I was a teenager. I’ve yet to see a poster of a painting for sale when I’ve went mall shopping with my teenage daughter.

I spotted the painting in the photo above when I rode past an abandoned, boarded-up house over the weekend. I only had my kit lens (18-55 mm), so I couldn’t zoom in on the details. Did the last resident of this house leave it as a parting statement? Or has some refreshing trend arose of leaving paintings in unexpected settings?

Update: Downtown Lima Church Demolition

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South view of the church in March 2019

Back in March, I wrote a post about an imminent downtown church demolition. Today I revisited this site and took some more pictures. I’m not sure why the rubble is still there. While I cannot confirm this rumor, I heard that the debris was meant to linger for a while to give people a chance to retrieve mementos from the site. The building was in such a precarious state when it was slated for demolition that no one could go inside to rescue anything valuable that remained in the building. According to a local news story, the building had not hosted a congregation since July of 2017.

At the demolition site today, there was a cryptic, hand-painted sign which read “Thank You” and listed a mobile telephone number. Thanks for what? I blurred out some of the digits of that phone number because it is likely someone’s personal number.

I’m tempted to call that number and discover the reason behind the sign, but I’m the shy sort who lets some things remain a mystery. Years ago, there was a local business whose marquee sign proclaimed, “I will never understand such hate.” I was very curious why a business would devote their prime advertising space to such a message, but I did not find out what incident inspired it. To this day, when I see news stories about hate, I think of that marquee sign.

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The Huddle, 2007

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This sign belonged to a diner that I didn’t get around to visiting before it closed. It was wildly popular in its mid-20th century heyday. At its peak I imagine it was full of women with salon-set hair and bejeweled cat glasses and men who’d take off their fedora hats as they sat at the counter for a cup of a coffee and a slice of pie.

 

Lima, Ohio in the Year 2000

I have bittersweet feelings in looking at these photos. I was 27 to 28 years old and lived in a fantasy land that made me bold enough to take the sort of pictures that no one else was taking at that time. My aesthetic for urban photography was born then, and the heart of it hasn’t changed much over the years. I don’t do enough of it now.

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My photo archiving project continues. I decided to make albums of some of the photos on my Facebook page. The images for this blog posts are screen shots of an album that features photos I took in Lima in the year 2000. Back then I used one of the Sony Mavica cameras that recorded images onto floppy discs. I could fit just 10 images per disc, so I had to carry a baggy full of a dozen discs to make it through a photo walk.

Alas, I don’t have the originals files of these photos. All I have now are online copies, and the website where I uploaded them 19 years ago only has 500×375 or smaller versions of the images. I know that some of the photos had an original resolution of 1024×768 (if I felt bold enough to just take five pics per disc!). Lesson learned: back up photos in multiple ways. Burn them on discs or put them on a portable hard drive. Then back the most important ones up online, in more than one place.

I have bittersweet feelings in looking at these photos. I was 27 to 28 years old and lived in a fantasy land that made me bold enough to take the sort of pictures that no one else was taking at that time. My aesthetic for urban photography was born then, and the heart of it hasn’t changed much over the years. I don’t do enough of it now.

By the way, I’d be delighted if you followed me on Facebook. It has unlimited bandwidth for photos, and who knows what photo albums I may make from my archives.

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Wild Honey

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As I’ve been backing up my online photo archives, I’ve been stumbling upon many images that deserve longer lingering than I can offer right here and right now. This week I’ve been doing and thinking of too many different things. The result has been the least sleep I’ve gotten in a while. The photos pull me into moments from the past yet in the present I am torn over where to focus my efforts.

It’s like I’ve fallen into an alternate reality that’s akin to grocery shopping with a bare list that I’ve forgotten to fish out of my pocket until I get home and find that I have nothing to show for the trip but junk food, pop, three pounds of meat and taco fixings (which, unfortunately, happens to be exactly what I bought at the store today). Should I focus more on photography or blogging? Should I start a new blog on my spirituality or continue to incorporate that content here? Are these hobbies worth my time or do they just put distance between me and more immediate concerns, like my family and my job?

I used to live in this scattered mental state all the time. I’ve stress myself out to the point I felt unable to start any of the dozen things I’d thought of doing that day, and then I’d stay up late into the night. Then I’d try to calm myself by listening to loud music on headphones and chain smoking until the birds would start singing outside.

I think the photo archive project collided with PMS to revive a mood I’d rather never returned. That’s one of the unpleasant surprises of perimenopause. Every cycle has the potential for dark variants of PMS. Maybe next month I’ll have a more benign cycle and just become briefly preoccupied with learning more about the rise and fall of avocado-colored appliances.

Anyway, the above picture hails from a more pleasant day, an afternoon in June of 2008 when I met up with my now-husband for a photo walk at a local park. I used a Fuji Finepix S5700 back then. It was a point-and-shoot camera but a real workhouse. I wish I still had it. I think I dropped it and broke the display screen not long after that day.

When I think of that hot June day and the newness of my relationship with my husband, the song “Wild Honey” by U2 comes to mind. From the beginning, he seemed to be someone I’d known for a very long time. On that day in the park, I mentioned for the first time where my family lived during the 80s, and he said to me, “You lived there for a long time, didn’t you?”

I hadn’t yet mentioned to him how long we lived there.

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How to manage all the digital photos?

Does anyone have any tips for archiving digital photos? My back catalog of digital photos stretches back to the year 2000. Over those 19 years, I’ve taken around 38,000 photos. I have almost all of them backed up online on Flickr, but that company was recently bought out by another one. In the aftermath of that merger, the price of unlimited storage there rose steeply. It’s not that I can’t afford their prices, but it has made me mindful that I do need to download all the photos worth keeping and think of a long term storage strategy.

As I’ve been going through the oldest of these photos, I’m stunned at the tiny resolution of the first digital camera I used, one of the Sony Mavica cameras that stored pictures on floppy discs! I so wish the photo below was available in a larger format, but 500×375 pixels was its full resolution:

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Kendrick Woods, June 9

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I had the opportunity for another photo walk this weekend. My sister and I went to Kendrick Woods, located about 10 miles west of Lima. The skies were overcast and the ground was saturated with recent rain. Despite the conditions, I am beginning to enjoy the challenge of photography on cloudy days. I still favor the rich saturation and dramatic shadows of full sunlight, but I think I learned how to adapt a bit when ideal situations don’t materialize.

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