July 25, 2018

At the Camera Shop Café...


... you can develop your thoughts.

I took the photograph at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. The image is a 2011 effort by Rodney Graham at reenacting a 1937 "Small Basement Camera Shop."

And if you like the art that is this blog, think about doing your Amazon shopping through the Althouse Portal.

ADDED: I liked the angled view of this large light box (because of the way it shows the corner of the room), but let me give you the head-on view so you can get a better sense of what it is. This is a still image — a "chromogenic transparency" — lit from the back, and it's a posed scene, set up to look like a place in the past. The man in the picture is the artist:


It's about 5-foot square and made a big impact in person. It was fun to look at. And it's fun to think about. It's a photograph, but so much bigger and brighter than a normal photograph. It's a photograph of an old photo developer place, which would never have processed anything that came out at all big and bright, just those little grimy things people got out of their cameras. And it's a dingy little basement establishment, so grim and small, but so poppingly bright in this image. It's like a meditation on how you can't go back to the past, the images of the past are in your mind, and your mind is so powerful it can believe that YES!!! This was the past! And then you have that angst, that nostalgia, of the past, so lost, so beloved, but, hey, I wasn't even born then. I don't know places like that. And yet, I feel I do. I feel I could step into that world and climb through and out of that basement. It's the way I feel in dreams — the familiarity and the oddness, the real and the unreal.


madAsHell said...

It looks like "Nighthawks" without the night hawks.

walter said...

Rod getting a look at the shaft..

buwaya said...

Camera shops are yet another dying retail type.
I mourned the loss of Adolph Gasser in San Francisco last year.
It was a haunt for generations of celebrated photographers, including Ansel Adams.

stephen cooper said...

Buwaya -

Golden stars and golden moons all must

Like chimney sweepers come to dust.

Ansel Adams dreamed in color every night.

Michael K said...

Camera shops are yet another dying retail type.

The worst was Eastman Kodak that invented the digital camera and then had no plan to cope with the results.

Cash cows tend to produce cow-like thinking.

Maybe like Facebook.

rhhardin said...

Facebook seems to be dropping. A company that doesn't have a single thing that works on my computer.

However they're building a huge server farm a few cornfields away, with a power substation under construction that's sized for a city alongside the enormous buildings I see back there.

If they don't stop building it, I suppose they could have sports events there. Indoor golf or something.

Phil 314 said...

Looks like a monitor. Was the image static?

wildswan said...

I dream of getting a retro-look camera.

Ann Althouse said...

It’s a photographic image, a still, displayed in a large light box.

D 2 said...

Re: "the art that is this blog"
(Hmm. Clip from Travel mag insert, circa 2187)
...and for those dismissive of long teleportation lines this tourist season, there is always the ol timey glamour of the San Andreas Supertrain. Relax and take a 8hr journey along the seabed and come ashore at Google Tent City, and see the Museum of Modern Blogs, a pre-Trumpian form of artwork that was nearly as popular as hip hop music and weird beards. Visit the 2 acre underground data complex with its colourful cement flooring, sit in state of the art uploading booths, and choose to wander among 1000s of blogsites recovered from the mainframe rubble after the chaos of the Huge Tariff War Two.
A favourite for many cultural nostalgists is a site simply known as "Althous" where one can waste fourteen days up-logging your brain through an infinite number of comments made by short wearing Neanderthals who clearly had not yet drunk the Eternal Red Liquid..
So come to Tent City's 4th favourite tourist attraction! Mindlog your way into the incomprehensible past before we were all one in our wellness goop.

Ann Althouse said...

Very striking in person, about 5” square, shown here in the museum space, near a room corner.

Ann Althouse said...

5 feet.

Sorry for the “Spinal Tap” mistake.

Phil 314 said...

“Its a photographic image...”

Seems a little “meta” and ironic.

Here’s a image of the old photo shop demo’d on a large monitor screen demonstrating why photographs went away

Having a text message background/frame would have been perfect.

rhhardin said...

I have a Leica F that I used for several hundred candid photos in the Oberlin 1963 yearbook, belt loops shown

including this one of Stravinsky

It's not exactly completely functional today, scratches the film, and the lens is hard to extend and retract.

Lucien said...

Go to YouTube and watch Katelyn Tuohy run. “Like a tremendous machine”.

National records in the mile, 3200 meters and 5000 meters. And they all look like Secretariat in the Belmont.

D. said...

Does anyone want a Minolta XG-1, XG-7, XG-M reconditioned to factory standards?

Jon Ericson said...

I'm so uncomfortable.

Big Mike said...

Sorry for the “Spinal Tap” mistake.

Just so you don't turn it up to 11.

Gahrie said...

National records in the mile, 3200 meters and 5000 meters.

They'll all be broken next year by a male to female trannie.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

5 feet.

Sorry for the “Spinal Tap” mistake.

I love that scene so much. It makes me laugh until I cry every time I rewatch that movie. I love to bust out my horrible working class English accent: In oinchent toimes, 'undreds of years before the dawn of 'history, an oinchent race....

daskol said...

what a nice angle. somewhere, buried in there, is an apple. this is CNN.

rhhardin said...

(Woman, who turns out later to be 99, jogging, collides with Max on sidewalk)

99: That was my last mile. I have no idea how fast it was.

MAX: You were moving. It's not easy to knock me down. I have a low center of gravity. Pretty solid.

99: I'm just gonna call that one a 4:50.

MAX: Impressive. I once ran a 5:16.

99: Oh, really? That's, uh, slower.

MAX: Not everything's a competition.

99: Well, if it were, I'd win.

Get Smart (2008), a movie about a stressed out feminist agent falls for the rookie Max who actually likes the job

etbass said...

Now Cohen says he paid Daniels?

What is going on?

rehajm said...

Q2 GDP is coming out this morning. As per the previous post Oh, no. Good news. There must be some way that it's actually bad news. They will find it. Goolsbee will find it.

Ann Althouse said...

@ D 2


Mr. Groovington said...

Blogger wildswan said...
I dream of getting a retro-look camera.

I understand, me too.

I take 500+ travel photos a month and a few minutes of video a day. Because I travel very light I need something small but high quality. It must slip into my front jeans pocket, for example walking through a mixed crowd in Johannesburg, as I did this morning.

A small Leica would be fine, for example. It has a nice retro look, but is too flash. I settled on a Sony RX100. A bit bigger than a pack of smokes. I have a very small hardwood grip epoxied it in front of the seam. A full metal case, a Leica lens, a beautiful object. Great reviews.

Mr. Groovington said...

*sorry, Zeiss, not Leica