As seen on Chicago’s west side. I guess even our city’s road crews aren’t above stealing sawhorses from other towns.
We’ve been exploring the ruined buildings of Gary for many years now. I think our first explorations, which were documented almost totally on film, date back to 2008 or so. One becomes deeply familiar with the buildings themselves, which start feel like old comfortable friends who might turn on you at any second just for giggles. So they are psychopathic friends, if you will.
Yet the more transient factors are the objects within the buildings. The chairs, the pianos, desks and curtains. Some times they turn up randomly as people scavenge them from abandoned houses and move them in as props for photo shoots, movies, and other more obscure and possibly sinister purposes. Even then those objects, when they last more than a year or so, become friends of a sort who move about and play hide-n-seek with you every time you visit.
This lounger is a great example of this. It was in the City United Church back in 2008, down on the ground floor and it was one of the first things you’d see upon entry. It also was a little more intact. The following year I walked in and it was gone; I was unsurprised until I got to the second floor and found it in one of the back rooms as you see here.
In 2010 it vanished. I went in looking for it, but it was no where on the property. We did our usual rounds of the city and went on our way. 2011 and 2012 came and went with many new to us buildings explored, yet we would stop in every year to the main attractions just to see how the buildings were faring. In all this time we never saw the lounger again and I assumed it had finally found the way to freedom.
Then this year we went back to the post office which we hadn’t visited for a year and a half. As I was checking the rooms you’d think the first I would have noticed walking in here would be the giant message on the wall. It wasn’t.
It is dirtier, more beat up and and rickety, but it is indeed the same lounger. Where it has been hiding for the past 3 years, I don’t know. It is just kind of nice to see it is still kicking around Gary and hanging in there.
What may be most remarkable about this feat of Roman architecture to American eyes might be just how accessible the walls are. We are fussy about our history, perhaps we haven’t as much of it as others. In Istanbul today, the Theodosian walls are as much part of the city as surrounding roads and homes. It’s not uncommon to see an alcove or former garrison quarters being used as a garage or storefront. In one case, a newer residence has been built right into a section of the wall.
Finally, we’re coming up to my favorite holiday of all. Ok fine, the only one I even remotely like if I’m going to be honest about it. Really I’ll just take any excuse to celebrate in the autumn, and Halloween it a great excuse for it. The days are getting shorter, the nights cooler, the trees are decked out in red, yellow, orange and brown. My love of cheesy horror movies is granted a temporary pass by society (not that I care one bit, just ask Tabula Rasa who has, on more than one occasion, questioned my movie viewing choices.)
I love the idea of playing at someone or something else for a day. I love the pagan roots of the holiday, the celebration of a good harvest hopefully), a preparing for the coming winter, a remembrance of those who have passed away before us. The imagination is allowed free rein at Halloween, more so than any other holiday out there. I can pretty much skip the commercial aspects of it without a bit of care. Also, as an apartment dweller I get no trick or treaters and can just view them from afar.
That all said, some of my house dwelling neighbors who do entertain the trick or treaters still love the holiday as much as I do. Even the dogs get in on the show.
The photography equivalent of finding a twenty in the pocket of a pair of jeans you’ve not worn since May. I’ve recently found a batch of photos from a trip to Istanbul a few years back on a little-used laptop. I’m not sure if there’s anything great, but it’s all raw material I’ve not gone through and edited yet. Here’s a shot from St. Savior in Chora, built in Byzantine times when it was outside the city walls, and as such called St. Savior in the Fields. Subsequently it was turned into a mosque by the conquering Ottomans, and more recently into a museum (an arc that many ancient churches in Istanbul have followed). This mosaic was perfectly lit by the morning sun coming through the doorway.
Things have been a little quiet around here, haven’t they? The project is almost done, so you guys will have that to look forward to some time soon. This weekend was a bit of a bust as it rained all day Sunday. I was stuck in a conference for work (well stuck makes it sound unpleasant, I actually had a good time and learned a lot.) Tabula Rasa, Bent Bottle and The Spaniard were supposed to scout a couple of new locations, but I’ve heard no word yet.
I did get a little camera time on Sunday night after the rain finally quit. I found that dead cicada on my back porch among other things. I also met up with a very surly dumpster bandit while walking the dog.