Linda Grashoff's Photography Adventures

Built Environment

A Few Garden Finds


October 21, 2019

Here are a few photographs taken in August at the Olbrich Botanical Garden in Madison, Wisconsin.

1 The red splashes are cardinal flowers, Lobelia cardinalis.

2 Here is a birch—I don’t presume to know which one.

3 Here’s another birch, overlooking two inviting chairs.

4 I’m not sure why I’m drawn to empty chairs. Maybe they represent possibilities . . .

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Garver Feed Mill—Renaissance and Memory


October 6, 2019

Twelve years ago during a walk to find photographs in Madison, Wisconsin, where I was visiting, I passed what looked like an abandoned building. On it was painted the name Garver. I have a friend whose last name is Garver, so of course I took a snapshot to show her. This summer my daughter and daughter-in-law treated me to a return visit to the building—vacant for two decades before renovation began in 2017. They didn’t know I had photographed it in 2007 but thought I would find the Garver Feed Mill interesting. (They are great scouts!) This time I photographed in earnest,  trying hard not to wish I had been witness to many more of the building’s iterations. A plaque outside one of the doors gave information about the building, and putting this post together I learned more. I find it interesting that the Wisconsin State Capitol and the Garver Feed Mill were completed in the same year. And it’s fun to see that remnants of old graffiti add an artistic touch to the cleaned masonry. I like buildings that hold visual evidence of their past; this one also included bricked-in doorways and windows, patched walls, sheared-off I-beams, and what must be gouges from former industrial activity. If you’d like to know more about the Garver Feed Mill, don’t miss the Wisconsin State Journal article that features photographs taken through the years, going back to 1924. Also of interest are an article in the Wisconsin State Farmer and two links on a City of Madison web page: the Garver Final Report and a presentation by the restoration architects.

1 This is the photograph I took in 2007.

2 This is the photograph I took of the same wall this August.

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This is steel (I think) cladding on a newer part of the facade. The next two photographs are from nearby sections of the wall.

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11 I learned from my reading that the white bricks indicate water damage.

12 Were these patches on an interior wall made lately or in older times? My guess is older times.

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20 Even the new women’s room’s concrete floor has artistic appeal.

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The Wisconsin State Capitol, Revisited


September 24, 2019

Last year I posted photographs of the Wisconsin State Capitol building, dividing the photos over two days. Returning to Madison this August, I was again enthralled with the beauty and majesty of this edifice. Some friends say they are made uncomfortable by the richness of this structure and think about how taxpayers were made to fund its original construction as well as its renovation. I see their point, but I’m still seduced. I ease my guilty pleasure with the thought that all this magnificence belongs to the people of Wisconsin. That has to count for something. I am loading this blog post with 21 photographs. Don’t feel you have to look at them all. I will tell you, though, that the last one is pretty cute. For those of you not familiar with such things as official state animals in the U.S., I’ll point out that the creature depicted is a badger.

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The Farmhouse Grounds in 2019


August 25, 2019

While I love photographing inside my friend’s farmhouse, the grounds are likewise appealing. One of the traditions for farmhouse owners and guests is going out after dinner to watch the sun set over the fields and trees. As I was walking to the viewing spot, I turned around and saw where the late-day sun had flung warm patches of light into the darkening woods. While I was at the farm, the sunsets were modest, but the shared experience of anticipating, then viewing them brought joy nonetheless. Photograph #6 is of the threshold to the viewing spot, proving that you don’t need a sunset to appreciate the view, even if it is obscured by trees. The next two photographs prove that you don’t need clear skies and copious sunshine to photograph the outdoors. This grouping ends with my find on the property of some of my favorite things: hoses. You can do a search of this blog on hoses if you like; you’ll get more hits than you might imagine.

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The Farmhouse in 2019—3


August 18, 2019

Could I see anything new in my fourth visit to my friend’s Pennsylvania farmhouse? I won’t say this was a worry, but it was a wonder. Earlier views of the farmhouse interior begin here and here and here. I guess I needn’t have wondered.

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The Farmhouse in 2019—2


July 14, 2019

This potpourri of farmhouse views includes those of cooking necessities, partially made beds-in-waiting, and hand-hewn beams holding up the front porch.

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The Farmhouse in 2019—1


July 7, 2019

Last month for the third year in a row my husband and I were delighted to accept our friends’ invitation to a long weekend at the wife’s ancestral home in rural southwest Pennsylvania. Of course I took my camera. Earlier series of farmhouse photos begin here (2017) and here (2018). This time I took more detail shots. Patches of light have always attracted my attention—probably starting before I was able to even hold a camera. And gazing at and out windows seemed like such a lazy summery thing to do, befitting the ambiance of the weekend. We ate and ate, talked and talked, took walks, and completed two jigsaw puzzles.

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Fish Bins and Miscellaneous Cortezian Treasures


April 8, 2019

In four trips to Cortez this winter I amassed quite a few photographs of fish bins and boat hulls, as well as a few random subjects, as you can see below. The plant growing up the tree is a close relative of the night-blooming cereus. I’ve never seen it bloom, probably partly because it also does so at night. But with stems like these, who needs flowers? (I know, I know.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I prefer the version with the blue color cast, but this is probably closer to how the refrigerated truck looked:

 

 

 


Old Boats Are Best—2


March 31, 2019

Three days before I photographed old boats following the map that Karen Bell drew for me, I was in Cortez photographing old boats in a different location. So for those of you who didn’t see enough of them in the last post, here are more old boats. If you haven’t already, I urge you to read the comments on the last post. (Scroll way way down.) So many of you with so much to say!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Old Boats Are Best—1


Old boats are the best boats—at least to photograph. While we were waiting for latecomers to join the tour that Karen Bell was to give of the A.P Bell fish house, Karen told me she loved the look of old boats. I said (of course) that I did, too. After the tour Karen drew me a map of where I could find nearby old boats to photograph. Below (way below) are the boat photographs I took that day.

The other day I happened upon the work of Richard Alan Cohen, who also photographs old boat hulls. His web site includes a link to a review of his work by Kat Kiernan, editor-in-chief of the photography magazine Don’t Take Pictures. It’s short, and I’ve pasted it here:

“I never want to see another abstract photograph of a distressed surface. Camera lenses pointed close enough to a subject will turn almost anything into an abstract photograph. A camera is unable to produce a true abstraction—it can only record what is in front of it. This forces the conversation to revolve around what the subject matter is. Most photographers making abstract pictures will say that the what doesn’t matter and that their image is only about line, form, texture, and so on. Too often, these types of photographs feel like a cheap way to get the look of an abstract painting without having to actually paint. And too often, they feel flat—lacking the depth and texture needed to pull off the illusion. Richard Alan Cohen takes a different approach.

“In his series Waterlines, Cohen makes no attempts at abstraction for its own sake. His “what” is right there in the series title and is a perfect subject matter for the “why.” He photographs distressed boat hulls not with the intention of reducing them into just lines, shapes, and colors, but instead explores the minimal elements required to form a landscape in the mind’s eye. He is not trying to hide the fact that these photographs are of the undersides of boats. Instead, he uses their waterlines to create an entirely new one—one that only exists through Cohen’s careful framing and our own psychological search for recognition. In Cohen’s photographs, the waterline becomes a coastline, corroded fiberglass becomes weather, and the footprints of barnacles become stars. He embraces the subject matter beautifully by making a strong conceptual connection between the subject—a boat—and the final image—an abstract photograph reminiscent of a seascape.”

Well, ouch.

Kiernan may have based some of what she writes about Cohen’s work on what he says on his website:

“Pausing to study this evidence of where the boat has been, one perceives that the waterline provides an horizon. Above and below that are details of imagined landscapes, perhaps those that could be seen from the boats themselves when they sailed on the water. In developing these images, I share my own imagination and provide the seed for each viewer to form their own remembered landscapes. This project is ultimately an exploration of the minimal elements required to form a landscape in the mind’s eye – the waterline as coastline, the texture as weather, the footprint of barnacles as stars.”

And later:

“The color and forms introduced by the interaction of the pollutants with the boat’s bottom paint provide iconic symbols of man’s disturbance of nature, and are inescapable evidence of the downside of the sailor’s voyage upon the sea.”

I urge you to read more of what Cohen says in his recent Lenscratch interview.

Here are some questions Kiernan’s review has prompted me to consider. I wonder, dear reader, what you think.

  1. How much do we miss out on a larger conversation about photography because we don’t think deeply enough about what we are doing?
  2. How can we learn to think deeply?
  3. Can we even learn to think deeply, or is that an ability we either have or don’t?
  4. How much do we hold back our work from greater exposure because we aren’t willing or don’t know how to talk about it?
  5. I absolutely don’t mean to impugn Cohen’s work, which I admire along with his stated intent, so forgive my cynicism (or not): How much verbiage about art, especially photography, is based on associations discovered or devised after the painting or photograph was made? And would this practice be legitimate?
  6. If we are not deep thinkers or writers, can we nonetheless entertain hopes of making noteworthy photographs?