Gertrude Käsebier

Hermine (Käsebier) Turner and her son in a garden in Oceanside, L.I., Gertrude Käsebier, 1905.  Public domain. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

“Hermine (Käsebier) Turner and her son in a garden in Oceanside, L.I.”, Gertrude Käsebier, 1905.
Public domain. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

Last week, the Library Of Congress’ blog ran a brief post about American photographer Gertrude Käsebier (cass-eh-beer—oh, boy, dictionary writers are going to kill me now), who was one of the first female photojournalists. No doubt her place in the history of photography had much to do with this, but reading about her, there’s no doubt her personality did much to gain her success, as well. She seems to have been an extremely determined, almost single-minded woman; thus, even in the late 1800s, she gained renown for her work in an age when most women cared for family and home instead of running a business.

American Horse and wife, American Indian, Gertrude Käsebier.  Public domain, courtesy Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA.

“American Horse and wife, American Indian”, Gertrude Käsebier, 1900. Isn’t this stunning? Don’t you wonder about American Horse, his life before and after this was taken?
Public domain, courtesy Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

More than any of this, though, what drew me to her work was not only the era in which she worked—I suppose we could call it the birth of popular, publicly consumed photography in the States—but her subject matter and her reason for capturing it on camera:

After my babies came I determined to learn to use the brush. I wanted to hold their

The Manger, an experimental negative to show values of white against white, featuring a young woman holding a baby and made in Newport, R.I.  Gertrude Käsebier, 1901.  Public domain photo courtesy Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

“The Manger, an experimental negative to show values of white against white, featuring a young woman holding a baby and made in Newport, R.I.” Gertrude Käsebier, 1901.
Public domain photo courtesy Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

lovely little faces in some way that should be also my expression, so I went to an art school; two or three of them, in fact. But art is long and childhood is fleeting, I soon discovered, and the children were losing their baby faces before I learned to paint portraits, so I chose a quicker medium. – Gertrude Käsebier quoted in “The Camera Has Opened a New Profession for Women–Some of Those Who Have Made Good,” New York Times, April 20, 1913, X12

Her comment about needing a “quicker medium” did make me chuckle, and you may find yourself doing the same! Continue reading

Monday Escape: A Smile Makes Everything Better.

Now That's a Smile. Pinning to this page is okay. Photo copyright Jen Baker/Liberty Images; all rights reserved.

 

This 1960 Thunderbird is one I spent some time with upon seeing her. Of course, one of the downsides of shooting at car shows is the…well, background. This often requires creative framing, because Photoshop can’t fix everything—in this case, a garish food vendor behind the ‘bird and quite a few ugly modern cars surrounding her, ultimately preventing me from getting an acceptable (to me) shot of the entire car (alas!). Continue reading

Miami (Oklahoma’s) Coleman Theatre Beautiful and its Spectacular Restoration

The Coleman

Monday, Ron over at the indispensable Route 66 News posted a delightful (for preservationist types and lovers of architecture alike) mini-documentary about the incredible restoration of Miami’s Coleman Theatre Beautiful. I could post it here, too, The Colemanof course, but he found it first and you might as well pop on over there to enjoy it yourself.

It was a rather miserably drizzly day during our visit, but I was able to get some photos of the stunning interior. As the first commenter on Ron’s blog post notes, it’s a shame if you only take in the Theatre’s exterior without going inside! I must tell you that it’s so grand as to be nearly overwhelming, making its restoration all the more impressive and laudable; this is the sort of gem that shan’t ever be built again (much to our nation’s detriment). The Coleman is absolutely stunning and borderline magnificent…right in friendly Oklahoma! Once you watch the video, you’ll understand why, aside from its history, the Coleman Theatre Beautiful was saved (and why that rather unusual name is not at all overblown).

 

Always Here

This backdrop was used on The Coleman’s opening night in 1929, and was found rolled up with many others. Most were terribly water damaged—but this, the original, survived, and hangs proudly over the stage today!

Free tours are offered daily, and we ourselves benefited from an impromptu one (these are often best, in my view, because your host is often very happy to spend all the time you like wandering about and talking about the theatre). Continue reading

Monday Escape: Something Cool On A Steamy Day

Pinning to this page is okay. "Blue Monday" copyright Jen Baker/Liberty Images. All rights reserved.

Happy Monday! A week spent off just dealing with administrative things was quite well-spent (granted, I’m an organization geek), but returning to my routine is quite soothing.

In addition to my cleaning things up on the hard drive and so forth, we also drove up to Detroit to visit my family, including my grandfather, who had major surgery recently, so of course I wished to check up on him. As everyone knows, the inability to be there for family is the worst part of living far away. He seems to be doing quite well, though, and we had a good time visiting, especially hearing my grandparents’ stories about their trips to Europe years ago. The travel bug really does run in my family!

Pinning to this page. "Blue Monday" copyright Jen Baker/Liberty Images; all rights reserved.

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Columbus’ T&OC, the Toledo and Ohio Central Railroad Station

Toledo & Ohio Central RR Station As part of my continuing effort to photograph Columbus’ architecturally significant buildings, abandoned or otherwise, I today offer you the very handsome Toledo & Ohio Central railroad station, or the T&OC, as it is called by natives. This marvellous place stands on Broad downtown—surely no one could drive by the first time without at least wanting to stop and take a closer look! This is the only remaining Columbus station, the last jewel in a crown that once held three. Toledo & Ohio Central Railroad Station, Columbus Designed by the well-regarded Columbus architecture firm of Yost & Packard (some of their buildings here), the T&OC was built in 1895 for the Toledo & Ohio Railroad. Though I know you are thinking “Asian design!” just as I did, the architects stated that it is actually based upon French and Swiss feudal architecture. Lantern Love at the Toledo & Ohio Central rail station Continue reading

Just go outside!

"Opportunity Grasped", hay in Ohio field. Pinning to this page is okay. Photo copyright Jen Baker/Liberty Images; all rights reserved.

“Opportunity Grasped”

I’ll be honest: I’ve got nothing for you today.

Thus your mission: Go outside. Bring nothing, a book, a cocktail, a radio, your work, your embroidery, whatever, but just…get out there to simply enjoy being enveloped in the gloriousness, the fresh air, the breeze (however warm), the birds, the grass or sand or soil beneath your feet.

Life is brief, too brief. Being able to admire and enjoy creation is one of the things that makes it worthwhile, whether it’s a picnic table at the office, your backyard patio or apartment balcony, the beach, a state park. Continue reading

Monday Escape: Apparently, this is called a “Dagmar”

Pinning to this page is okay. Photo copyright Jen Baker/Liberty Images; all rights reserved.

 

Or so a fellow classic car buff was excited to tell me, and I’ll buy it. A lifetime of loving these rolling beauties and I’d no idea!

Pinning to this page is okay. Photo copyright Jen Baker/Liberty Images; all rights reserved.

A very reflective dagmar on a Packard 400.

Pinning to this page is okay. Photo copyright Jen Baker/Liberty Images; all rights reserved.

“Dazzling”

We actually own a dagmar (though not the car to go with it just yet)—found it at the same tiny antiques shop behind which this (dagmar-less) ’55 Bel Air hid in a garage:

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