I’ve never dined at The Checkerboard Café, but I always liked the sign. Billed on its website as “Tucson’s Friendliest Diner,” I suppose I will make this my first destination upon my return. Of course, the home page possesses a few typos, including listing at as “Located a Grand and Oracle Road,” when I’m pretty sure they meant Grant Avenue, I supposed I’ll give ’em a pass. Seeing as how the website also lists its copyright as 2012, I suppose I’d have to dig a little deeper just to confirm that it’s even still there.
The Rillito River no longer runs twelve months a year, although it is credited with Tucson’s early growth. During a brief period of time, I lived along the wash and rode my bike along the hiking path whenever I could. During the monsoon season, the stretch of the river wash near my apartment would erupt with the sound of chirping frogs, and sometimes at night I would hear packs of coyotes howling.
Beneath the Swan Road bridge, I made several studies of the steel beams. It’s a simplistic composition, but I always thought it looked interesting through the viewfinder of my Fujica Half vintage camera. This is one of the many pictures I made during that time.
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This is my meditation spot, and this is certainly not the only photograph I’ve made of it. Up on the hill overlooking the San Xavier Mission outside of Tucson is a shrine to the Guadalupe Virgin and a large white cross. You can hear the faint whisper of the highway off in the distance, and you can see a cluster of Downtown Tucson buildings on the horizon.
This is the place to watch the sunset. This is the place to find one’s center. Just thinking about it, looking on the pictures I’ve made there with my Yashica TLR camera, I feel a calm washing over me. I look forward to going out there again. Soon.
“Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction. As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.”
~Henry David Thoreau
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“Pictures, abstract symbols, materials, and colors are among the ingredients with which a designer or engineer works. To design is to discover relationships and to make arrangements and rearrangements among these ingredients.”
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No flowery words today. Film February marches on with this very basic composition, taken with my first real camera, the Nikon N80 that my parents got me. Up until that point, I was using an old Canon with a broken manual rewind lever – it would take about five minutes to wind the film after finishing a roll.
This picture was made using my favorite film stock, a color-reversal stock from Fujifilm called Velvia. It was pretty expensive film, so I never used it much, but it produced these rich colors that always seemed to take the most basic, common, mundane, and forgettable subject matter leap up at you.
A faded practice, film photography, for the faded paint lettering on an old building.
Seems appropriate enough.