Saturday, July 02, 2011


I am a failed art student. While in high school I was told I had an equal aptitude in both science and art, and that I would be successful at either; it all depended on what I really wanted. Since art and artists were looked upon as effeminate by all the cool kids, so I elected to go to Ga Tech and become a EE. After all my dad had graduated from Ga Tech as an AE and was working a cool job at Delta Airlines where he got to fly all over the country.

After two years of struggle, Ga Tech and I came to a mutual parting of the ways. I left thinking that hell would freeze over before I'd ever be an engineer. I had literally gotten off on the wrong foot when, while in a P.T. gymnastics class my first freshman term I broke my right knee on the horse. I broke it on a Friday. Over the weekend it swelled to the just about double its normal size. By Wednesday the Ga Tech infirmary decided my knee was probably more than sprained so they sent me to see an orthopedic surgeon, who took one look at it and had me in a hospital and prepped for surgery the next morning. By the time he was done I had metal pins and an eight inch scar running down the inside of my right knee.

Three days later I was back at home. The next Monday I was back at Tech on crutches, a cast from my crotch to my toes. I hobbled around campus trying to make classes, from organic chemistry in Lyman Hall to physics in the physics department to calculus in the AE building's auditorium (350+ students there) and points in between. I developed a strong hatred for what had happened and what was happening that never went away. In retrospect I'm surprised I lasted as long as I did, but I was (and still am) hard-headed, to put it politely.

When I left engineering I decided to study art. Up to that time I thought I knew what art was all about. My arrogance in that area was sand-blasted away by two art history terms. Two different professors efficiently deconstructed all my preconceptions and re-built my understanding of art. While I remember little, what I came away with from those two terms was a deep appreciation for impressionism and modernism, especially the use of color.

van Gogh (Vase with Twelve Sunflowers, Café Terrace at Night), Delaunay, Degas, Picasso (Boy with a Pipe, Three Musicians), Matisse (The Snail, the Plum Blossums), Hans Hoffman, Mondrian, Newman, Calder (his mobiles)... Before that I though all art was the Lascaux cave paintings leaping to the Renaissance. And then it all stopped. I literally had no clue to what I was missing.

That wonderful exposure. Plus Kodachrome. I was weened on Kodachrome. I used it everywhere I wanted color, and printed from the slides. I used a good half dozen black and white films from ASA 25 to ASA 400, but there was only one color film for me, and it was Kodachrome.

All those influences and experiences have been mixing around in my mind for decades. After four years of studying art and trying to make a go at it as a working photographer, I wound up broke and back in engineering school. Hell had frozen over. I got my degree and went out into the world as an engineer. But the deep impressions of those four years in art school live on and influence everything I photograph, draw, paint, or sculpt. Such is the power of their genius.

So when you look at my photos and wonder why they look so saturated, so dark at times, that's because it's my poor attempts to express what I thought I learned in the mid-1970s during my 'art phase'.

The Red Doors

We drove up to Thomasville Ga again this evening to eat seafood at George and Louie's Seafood Grill. We'd eaten there once before when attending Meg's graduation from FSU. We went there again for another meal.

Across the street from the grill stands the St. Thomas Episcopal Church where the red doors are located. I'd tried to photograph them when I was there back in late April, but wasn't satisfied with the results. I'm still not so sure I like what I see here. I used the Olympus E-P2 with an OM 28mm 1:2.8 lens mounted on the front, closed down to f/5.6. It was the golden hour, and the evening light was hitting the doors full on. Because of rush and forest fires in the area the sky was filled with a smoky haze, softening the late afternoon sun. There was a fair amount of manipulation in Lightroom 3.4.1 to saturate the colors and bring out the details surrounding the red doors. And yes, whoever is maintaining the door used different shades of red paint.


This building I caught sight of on the way back out of Thomasville. You can see it as you cross the railroad tracks on W Jackson Street (319). I was taken with the brick and stone detail in the early evening light.

2049 Monroe2049 Monroe Drive Through
2049 Monroe

And no trip would be complete without an out-of-business business. This small building is back in Tallahassee, at 2049 Monroe Street. I saw this while running around today. I don't know what used to be there, but the gray building, the glass bricks, and the bit of color left on the curbs was enough to convince me to stop and capture a few photographs.


Everything taken with the E-P2. Upper photos taken with the OM 28mm. 2049 Monroe taken with the M.Zuiko 17mm.

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