Monday, March 31, 2014

best ebay experience ever

imogen cunningham, "triangles," 1928 (copyright the imogen cunningham trust)

in continuing with the theme of "this has been the crappiest return to reality imaginable," i decided, after coming back from stockholm, that as my life had become sad and miserable there was no better time than the present to finally part with my darkroom.  years ago i spent many, many hours in the darkroom and became an accomplished silver gelatin printer--i'm still very proud of the work i created at that time (the best of which i think was "bed pictures," done while i was pregnant with gus).  all of my paper and chemistry have been extinct for 15 years at this point with no equivalent replacements, and with the prospect of moving all of that equipment yet again and probably not setting it up yet again, i decided to give away what i wanted to give away and just sell the rest.

those in the give-away category went to my sweet friend, chloe.  chloe is also a photographer without a darkroom, however she has space for one (but lacked a massive sink, trays, measuring devices and other random accoutrements that one just acquires over the years).  actually, she probably does have a lot of it somewhere in storage, but you really can't have too much...she does own four enlargers, so she had me beat there.

those in the to-sell category went to two places: a local camera store for the really heavy stuff like the medium-format enlarger and the cold light (still unsold, damnit), and ebay for the rest.  the stuff i put on ebay was the cream of the crop--my zone vi archival print washer, my saunders v-track easels, my schneider componon-s lenses...stuff like that.  again, things that took years to acquire to make my print production flow exactly right.

after listing on ebay, i received lots of emails about the items--most people wanted to negotiate a lower price and cheaper combined shipping; the usual ebay messages.  one person, however, really wanted the washer and the easels (these are expensive, heavy, technical items), and clearly knew what she was talking about.  i agreed to sell her everything and we embarked onto a lengthy process of negotiating a price for the objects and trying to figure out how to ship 100 pounds of photographic equipment to her.

in the beginning, i had no idea who she was or who she represented...but when i received an email from the IMOGEN CUNNINGHAM TRUST i just about fell off of my chair.  i had been negotiating with meg, imogen's granddaughter, for articles for the trust's darkroom.  i could not have ever even envisioned a better home for my remaining equipment if i tried.  once i caught a clue we scrapped all negotiations for money and worked out a trade where i would pay for all shipping and just send my stuff to them.  in return, friday in fact, i received the most beautiful copy of "triangles" i have ever seen, printed by meg's dad, rondal.

and thus ends my tale of the best ebay experience ever, complete with art and a new pen-pal.  big, big smile.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

hella fantastic people watching at the walgreen's tonight

and i'm terribly sorry this is out of focus, because i'd love to see what she's trying to print

soooo many things to say about what was going down at the walgreen's tonight.

we have a large amish community about 10ish miles south of here in kalona, and they're quite conservative even for the amish.  that they were even out of kalona, at night, is weird enough, but that they were at a walgreen's trying to print out photos at the self-service kiosk was just bizarre (they don't allow photos of themselves because of that graven image thing in the all you out there shooting selfies have much for which to atone).   since they were acting as a group (there were six of them) and they were fairly young, i'm guessing they're on rumspringa, but who knows.

i am absolutely KICKING myself for not standing behind the bigger group and shooting a better picture of their heads crowded around the photo kiosk screen...but i thought i might be pushing my luck as it was.  this is why i find this whole sociological event aberrant and fascinating:

1. if you didn't already know, these young people are kalona amish, an old-order amish sect.

2. the amish are extremely conservative in that they do not believe in using zippers or wearing jewelry or neckties or patterns or women wearing pants or cars or electricity...and they definitely don't believe in using the photo kiosk at walgreen's.  their view is that the world peaked in like 1820, so anything that came after that is heathen and wrong.

3. ironically, they do believe in modern healthcare.  you see them at the hospital all the time.

4. they speak this very harsh-sounding, bastardized version of dutch and american english, which sounds like someone is gargling roofing nails and vodka...whilst smoking all i could hear was this chatter of guttural noises and "oh yeah" or "just do this" and "try again" or something like that thrown it.

5. there was no horse and buggy in the parking lot (that is their method of conveyance), so someone's driving a car illegally (unethically?) as well...

6. for just doing what they are doing in these photos, these kids could be permanently shunned out of their church...but if it is their rumspringa, which i think it must be, then they could be forgiven once they "grow up."   they could even be forgiven for doing much worse than this, assuming they ultimately return to the church.  but i find it somehow sad and pitiful that their expression of youthful rebellion takes the form of using the self-service printer at walgreen's.

it is such a foreign world just in my backyard.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

into the abyss, again

this is our lovely home, and it has a brand spankin' new, bright blue "for sale" sign stuck in the snow in front of it.  we are moving...AGAIN.  despite what its name implies, life in the allen family bermuda triangle ensures a surprising amount of instability.

i feel a bit like we're jumping off a cliff in that i have zero idea where we will be living after it sells (and i think it will sell--please god let's not have a repeat of our last selling experience).  but i can say that i doubt we'll be in another house--i am not going to commit myself to improving another property in the upper midwest ever again.  and, living together as we did in stockholm in an 800 sq ft apartment has shown us the benefits of smaller living.  there is no shortage of architecturally-uninspired, cookie-cutter townhomes to rent here, so i'm sure we'll find something manageable. seriously, developers: have some pride and take more care with your designs, as people have to live in them.

our house is a true work of art--it was designed by the same architect who designed the university of iowa dental sciences building--and it is an excellent example of 1970s brutalist architecture.  it completely kicks ass and we have loved living here.  i've worked like a dog to preserve and develop our acre; i feel good about leaving this place in much better shape than i found it.

i wouldn't, however, feel good about not giving thanks where thanks is due, so i need to add a ginormous FUCK YOU (whoops--typo) THANK YOU to: the members of the iowa city community school district school board and their fearless leader, The Superintendent, the narcissistic city high promoters who will see city high "beat" west high regardless of logic and expense, and last but not least to that nice lady at the ICCSD offices that i *begged* to let gus transfer to the high school that better suits his needs...the same nice lady who gleefully refused because they know what is best for us.  y'all have done a smashing job of doing what's right for our family and plenty of others in our neighborhood.  don't break your arm patting yourself on the back.

i'm sure at some point i won't be quite so pissed about being made to list my house less than six weeks since returning from stockholm, but today is not that day. bring on tomorrow.