LOST SOULS knock once then enter

I'm not a person with ties to organized religion so there is no church that is of special importance to me. I have to admit I like lighthouses better which I consider to be churches for lost souls. That said, I am fascinated by these two lost churches. They remind me a bit of lighthouses standing and waiting to be called upon when needed.

These are both real photo postcards, unused. As you can see the one on the bottom is in pretty tattered condition with some of the emulsion removed in the shape of a bird. 

RPPC churches_tatteredandlost
Click on image to see it larger.

I have no idea where these churches might have been or maybe still are. My favorite is the first with the monument on the left and a gazebo on the right. One side remembering the dead, the other side for gatherings of the living. I wish the trees had had foliage. Both churches just look cold and empty. Were the ministers kind hearted or fire and brimstone? I hope the former. The latter is so tedious.

If anyone ever finds this post and has information on either church please post a comment.


CONTENTMENT with your shoes

"To be content with the universe, grasshopper, you must first be content with self. It is not whether the brown shoe is better than the black shoe. It is whether you can wear both at once and hold your head high. Then and only then will you know you have reached a state of bliss." 


I really like this fellow. The photo dates from March 1963. The reality is he was probably sitting around chatting with friends in the late afternoon when someone said, "Uncle Mike. I want to take your picture." So Uncle Mike sat up straight and smiled, then went back to slouching like most of us do. I have no idea what his name was, nor do I know for sure he was wearing one brown and one black shoe. It's probably just the lighting, but they do look different. He's different and proud of it.


Queen for a DAY

When Edna won Queen for a Day she didn't realize it was literally only for ONE DAY. The contestants for the coming week were heard stampeding out the door.

queen for a day_tatteredandlost
Click on image to see it larger .

And for those too young to believe there ever was a Queen for a Day I give you example one from the golden age of television. 



We never learn. We keep making the same mistakes over and over again. We send the bright shiny faces to face the darkness for us.

And so today, as I do once a year, I remember the boy who sat in front of me in school with the silly cowlick who died during the Tet Offensive. He was a boy and will forever remain a boy, and he's missed several more wars since he died.

World War I doughboys_tatteredandlost
From my grandmother's photo album. World War I doughboys.


The FULLER TUGS GIRLS or Grin and BEER IT redux

On April 24 I wrote a post about a group of people who seemed to have formed some sort of club with the theme of drinking. Imagine my surprise today when I found photos of the women in an antique store. Same women, same crazy homemade shirts. 

I present to you the Fuller Tugs Girls Cheerleading Squad!

          Give me an F!
          Give me a U!
          Give me an  L L E R!
          FULLER TUGS!
          FULLER TUGS 
          RAH! RAH!...

          Oh wait, I've got something in my eye.

Fuller Tugs Girls_1_tatteredandlost
Fuller Tugs Girls_tatteredandlost
As we bid a fond farewell to the Memorial Day Weekend picnic, two of the effervescent happy Fuller Tugs Girls, each wearing a paper plate with "goal" written on it, wave goodbye and remind us to never drink and drive. Stay safe out there. Buhhhbye.

Fuller Tugs Girls goodbye_tatteredandlost
Click on any image to see it larger.


RURAL LIFE and hitting the bandwidth wall

Ever have one of those days when you hit the bandwidth wall and then it turns into the next day and the next? No? Then you don't live in a rural area where you're lucky to get bandwidth and if you do you have to constantly keep watching it because if you go over the 75 percentile you realize if a client sends a big file you're pretty much screwed. Not wanting to go sit at the coffee house with my laptop for a few hours waiting for a large file to download I've kept myself in a net Siberia. Minimal access and only to collect email. This has proven to be somewhat successful in that I'm now down to 73%, but I'm sure I have another week before it drops to a place where I feel comfortable, especially since I have large jobs to send in the coming week.

It's been good and bad. The good is that you really can live without blogs and there are other places to get news than online. It's been a bit like camping except I'm in my house each day and the view out my window is the same each day and...okay, it's nothing like camping. A person can easily live without the net. 

The bad...I'm rolling my eyes and thinking...I miss the self-absorption. Yeah, that's it. I missed "hearing" my own voice in front of me on the screen and seeing what others were doing on their screens. Hmmmmm...I guess that wouldn't really qualify as bad, would it? A break from self-absorption is good, right? Oh bother...

I needed to post this photo which was bought at an estate sale. It somehow seems fitting for this post. I always wondered in what context I would use this shot. A lovely woman who was actually a model from what I've been able to determine from the scraps of her life I bought. Let her thumbing her nose at a friend in a good natured way be me thumbing my nose at technology and the hold it has on my life. It is my last and only word for the night. And now I must go check the blasted bandwidth again.



ROSA by no other name

"A rose by any other name..."

I think this woman is stunning. Her sultry smokey eyes have the look of a silent screen star. My best friend gave me this real photo postcard of a woman named Rosa. We don't know her story so we've made up our own. You will most likely do the same.

The photo was taken at a studio in France, "L. Courbet" is the signature. The name of the street is unfortunately cropped from the bottom trim.

There are other photos of Rosa, but none as striking as this. Perhaps in real life she was very ordinary in appearance to the casual observer, but this photographer saw something more. Did he choose the backdrop or did she? It's perfect. Rosa in a garden.

Was she alone when she came to the portrait studio? Was it a rainy or sunny day? The photo sets a mood and I'm drawn in and want to know more. Ahhhh well...vernacular photography. The details of her life will be forever unknown, but now by my posting her image she will be known by many.

Click on image to see it larger.

Every time I look at this photo I hear Edith Piaf singing "La Vie En Rose" so I had to include a video. Though decades apart, I can imagine Rosa listening to Piaf on an old scratchy recording. Rosa sitting in a cafe smiling over a glass of wine as her lover tells her of his day beneath a tree of spring blossoms.

I hope Rosa had a good life.


LICE TWICE is not so nice

And here is another find from the trip to Angel's Camp. Now wouldn't that have been a nice title for this shot? The angels from Angel's Camp. Of course my mind went in other directions when I first saw this vintage photo. 

First reaction was "Oh dear, one of those mothers who dressed their little boy as a girl. Oh dear, oh dear." I stuck with that for awhile until I whacked myself upside the left side of my brain and said, "LICE!" I'm convinced that is what we see here. Two poor youngins who've had their heads shaved because of lice. I mean the collars on both of them are unfortunate enough, but add lice to the mix and it just gets therapeutic. The collars look like an extra barrier to keep the small creepers from creeping below the neckline, a bit like toilet seat covers at the Chevron station (not that I'm all that familiar with my local Chevron stations bathroom). And the extra bonus for me is the whole backdrop. A dark cloth hung up outside behind rocks and ferns. This is no studio shot. This is a traveling photographer who set up wherever it was needed. And just his or her luck they got two kids with lice. The little boy looks like he's just a dyin' to scratch somethin'. 

Though the lice are not catching I do have the urge to scratch. Excuse me while I distract myself from imaginary bugs running through my hair.

Click on image to see it larger.


HAUNTED and away

I've been away. Up in the Gold Country. Unless you live near Northern California I'm not sure what Gold Country would mean to you. To me it's a series of small towns along Route 49 and part of the grand history of this state. Wonderful little towns that right now are having a tough time. They could definitely use an infusion of gold about now.

I stayed on the outskirts of Angel's Camp, home of the frog jumping contest made famous in Mark Twain's "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County." It was there that I found this, and a few other photos, in an antique store. I have no idea where this was taken. All of the other photos I purchased had photographer inscriptions, but this...nada.

Click on image to see it larger.

My first reaction to the photo was that she looked like an actress from a silent movie. The poor woman about to be thrown out of her home by a "Snidely Whiplash" character. If you don't know who Snidely is think dastardly melodrama villain who would gladly throw a poor woman out in the cold in order to collect his rent money. Sort of like banks doing foreclosures today, except the banker would be wearing a top hat and black cape while twirling his handlebar mustache.

My second, and more lasting reaction, is how haunted she looks. That's what has passed down through time for me. I have been reading the beautifully written "The Outlander" by Gil Adamson and this woman reminds me of the main character in the book, a widow haunted by her past. For now I can't look at this photo without tying it to the book.

Then again, for some unknown reason, I'm fascinated by the screen door and that step with the nearly identical one in the background. I'd like to know where this was taken and to get a glimpse of what is behind the screen door. I'm fascinated with this moment and can almost hear the photographer telling her to stand perfectly still. In the next moment did she flash a smile before returning to the rooms behind the door? Her stare haunts me.



I will say nothing. I will leave this open to your interpretation. I will not give you hints as to what I am thinking. My best friend knows. We have already laughed and discussed this. If you can guess what I suspect then drop me a comment. I am probably wrong, but both shots were bought at the same estate sale. That's all you're getting out of me. 

This is what happens when photos end up in the hands of people you don't know. Just a warning.

my name is sue_tatteredandlost
Click on image to see it larger.



I really don't know what to say about this one. I think the front and back say it all. Okay, I do have one thing to say...is it wise to give a two year old a gun that's bigger than him? Especially when he seems to be channeling Travis Bickel? I'm just sayin'. The gloves aren't the first thing my attention is drawn to.

Click on either image to see it larger.
you lookin at me_tatteredandlost
you lookin at me_back_tatteredandlost



Several times this month IFC is showing the 2005 Academy Award winning documentary Born into Brothels. The film chronicles the world of a small group of children of prostitutes in the red light district of Calcutta. Children with bleak futures, though surrounded by vibrant color and life. Photographer and filmmaker Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman enter this world, giving the children cameras, teaching them how to take photos of their world, opening their eyes to possibilities. Fortunately Briski and Kauffman are not just there to make a film and leave. They make every attempt possible to better the children's lives. The ending is bittersweet.

The reason I post this is that while watching the children learn to use their cameras, making snapshots, I couldn't help but think of vernacular photography. Though their photos end up in books and galleries, ultimately it all starts out as snapshots. Snapshots that, in some cases, will be all the memories these children have of these moments. One of the children, Avijit, who shows great promise as an artist says:
"When a camera is in my hands I can take a picture of someone who has gone away, died, or been lost. And have something that I'll be able to look at for the rest of my life"
That simple concise thought is the reason that vernacular photography is so interesting. At some point people long ago saw moments they wanted to capture, a chance to make a memory more tangible. The memories are now lost but the moment captured now takes on a new life. You'll be moved by this film and the photos the children take.

Born Into Brothels will be shown on the following dates in the month of May: 2nd, 12th, 13th, and 29th. Check IFC for times.

And for more information about the film and to support the group "Kids with Cameras" click KIDS WITH CAMERAS.