Saturday, October 4

Just Before It Came

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Went to Hyde Park, New York this week. It's just east of the Catskills. You probably know it as the Vatican of the Democrat party in America. It's where FDR and Eleanor lived and got buried. The American taxpayers have preserved both of their homes (they didn't live together, but that's another story). Pilgrims to Hyde Park are just this side of death. They have memories of these people and their dog. Look, I'm not a young puppy myself, but among the tour groups trembling their way through these MUSTY buildings... well, I'm The Kid!

Hyde Park, like a lot of Appalachian Pennsylvania and New York towns, seems encased in amber. You peer through a golden shell to see things that were everywhere at a time just a tiny tad before the memory of sixty percent of most Americans. It's a clean, Stephan-Spielberg-sort-of-place where the buildings look like sets for pictures of restored vintage cars.

Hyde Park feels like grandmother's living room – outside. You can barely smell the moth balls.

It wasn't clear how best to show The Eveready Diner. Above I teased out a romantic pano but then there's a grittier way, this one taken at 1600 ISO to make the noise explode along with the blare and glare of the morning sun careening around inside of my lens to zap up the contrast. Dunno which evokes the essence of this place. Above I feel the 1940s-50s floating into view, and here the place is clad in a harsher light of the moment. Where's the truth lie? Perhaps somewhere between stark and warm? You call it, K?

NOTE: I am an economist. It's what I do all day long. Some weeks ago it was apparent that the world's financial institutions were at ghastly risk. As you all know now, that risk is upon us. In that period between recognition of potential disaster and its first encroachments... I have been seeing commonplace things as potentially temporary. Existing in borrowed time as the storm built.... Standing here, innocently unaware and doing business as usual... Just before IT came. This is not a happy picture. I am not happy just now. I am developing a nostalgia about... not the past... but the present which seems so fragile as I look around. A storm is coming, and people go about their days, unwarned and unprepared. On top of it we have a bitter election in America. Its shape frightens me even more.


Barry Armer said...

Great shot Ted! I love the composition! I don't know if you were tempted to crop down to just the diner but I'm glad you didn't. The red car, distant fall colors, cloud patterns, and great light on the pavement all add a lot of overall interest and balance to the photo IMO!


Ted said...

Thanks Barry. I'm after a distinct sense of place in both of these images, but particularly the one on the top. It's my feeling that a diner in America is defined as much by its parking lot as its chrome and neon. They are fed by the cars that they feed. They are creatures of highways and macadam lots. A diner without vehicles is like Marilyn Monroe without blonde.

Bill Birtch said...

The first one does it for me. Took me back to the 50's and early 60's as soon as I saw it. I'm certain they don't make that shade of blue any more. The only thing that would make it even more effective is a '57 chevy in the foreground.
Nice one Ted.

John Roberts said...

I prefer the top one because I like the contrast between the modern vehicles and the building design of an earlier era. I like that you kept it in color too. Too often photographers (including me) go B&W or sepia on a subject like this as if the world only existed in B&W until relatively recently. There's been a series on TV that shows rare color film footage from WWII. It's really an eye-opener to discover that color existed before 1950!

studiophototrope said...

I'll give you the ultimate compliment; the top diner image is Edward Hopper'esq. Well done.