After being pushed to the back burner for a while to deal with a lot of other things, my American Drive-in Theater book project is back on the front burner. This week I've been listening to my recordings of conversations with theater owners and managers, made during my 17,000 mile road trip in 2012. Dave Scott, current owner of the Graham Drive-in, arranged for Cloys Trout to stop by the theater he owned and operated for about twenty five years, to talk with me. Dave is trying to keep everything exactly as it was in the concession stand to hold on to the nostalgic atmosphere. The theater opened in 1948. My favorite story Cloys had for me was this one:
“I had one old boy come around the back, he paid his way in, and then walked back there [the projection booth] and said, I need to talk to you. And I said what do you want, and he said I used to sneak in this place and one time, I stole some speakers and I want to know how much that speaker was so I can pay you for it. I said when was this? Oh, about fifteen years ago. I said, well, you just paid for that speaker.”
I've had this file on the desktop of a succession of computers. It's the African American Baptist Church in Iron Gate, Virginia, with a simple step tablet appended. You can use it to see how well your monitor is calibrated to deal with the brain dead colorspace of sRBG over the web. It's an almost perfect test image. Plus, it's one of my favorite pictures, that just happens to serve the test example role well. The TOP print offer isn't unique or sui-generis, but it's an unusual mechanism. For my stuff, the offer is a super low price for my pictures printed by me in Pt/Pd. There's a five-day window to order, then it's over. A marketing gimmick. There could be a little bit more to it, though. Near the end of his life, the writer Robert Heinlein released a huge compendium book with a fraction of his work. It began with an introduction, where he discussed his very long career, and why he kept at it, right up into his late eighties. I needed the money, is what he said. So, of course, I do the print offer to pay the bills. But then there is this:
your print arrived save and sound. I'm so happy. It's a real special treat. The church looks like an artifact from outer space, somewhat transparent and almost levitating. Even the perspective seems a little out of joint.
Thanks a lot, I will provide a distinct space on one of our dwellings wall.
The print arrived safely.
It is much more impressive in real life. Beautiful tonality & much sharper than I expected. Of course the Palladium prints I did were from 35mm. equivalent digital files.
The simplicity of the composition has given it a sense of serenity that is appropriate for the subject of the print.
Both of these messages are about the Church picture, but others have written about the Steep Rock one. Getting 120 Pt/Pd prints out into the world for people to have, show to their friends, to enjoy, is quite a kick. But, back to Bob Heinlein's point, the new steam boiler cost $13K.
However, the boiler now supports the darkroom/platinum-lab with ease. So my facility will be open all year-round for workshops. Also, since last weekend's digital/platinum workshop went so well, I'm going to decide how to go about offering platinum/palladium printing service to a, well, selective group of people who'd like to work with me, and whose work I'm interested in printing. Let's talk.