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questions of place & home

Posts from the ‘Arts’ category

My Seattle: murals in West Seattle

Above/featured: Facing east at The Junction: SW Alaska Street at California Avenue SW. At left (northeast corner) is the red-brick Campbell Building from 1911, oldest in the neighbourhood and a designated City of Seattle historic landmark since 2017.

What: Paintings depicting the history of West Seattle.
Where: In and around West Seattle’s The Junction.
Why: Arts project with community and pride.

Technically, West Seattle is an area consisting of several neighbourhoods within the city of Seattle. Historically, West Seattle feels separate, a peninsula separated from the centre by the flow of water and peoples along the Duwamish river valley. West Seattle had incorporated as its own city in 1902, before agreeing to annexation by Seattle in 1907.

One key to West Seattle is “The Junction”: an intersection of 2 former streetcar lines “West Seattle” and “Fauntleroy”. As expected, commercial activity took root at the intersection and although streetcars have vanished, the nickname has remained as a simple useful designation.

A product of West Seattle, retired businessman Earl Cruzen (1920-2017) launched a local arts and community project in the late-1980s, inspired after visiting other towns in Washington as well as Chemainus on British Columbia’s Vancouver Island. Cruzen promoted the project with support among residents and business owners, generated fundraising efforts, and brought American and Canadian artists into the city to paint wall murals to highlight the history of people along the Duwamish river and the history of West Seattle. A total of 11 murals were painted, dedicated, and unveiled between 1989 and 1993.

Over time, the murals deteriorated and faded without touchup or maintenance. Members of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society engaged the community in 2018 with questions about the murals, and about raising money to support revitalizing the murals. In May 2018, Adah Cruzen honoured her late-husband with a gift of 100-thousand dollars to the West Seattle Junction Association to boost the restoration process.

So, what do the murals mean to the people of West Seattle?


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My Seattle: London Bridge Studio (Pearl Jam, Temple of the Dog)

Pilgrimage is a noun, defined as “a journey to a place of particular interest or significance.”

There are three things you need to know about a personal music pilgrimage.

One, the music that’s stayed with me came about because I was tuned to `70s radio; I learned I liked the sonic combination of guitars and drums.

Two, on a recent visit to Seattle, I decided to spend the morning in a recording studio outside the city.

Three, at the studio’s location, little outside suggests some important music history was made here.

The two-storey building looks like a cross between a warehouse and ordinary office space. The surroundings include a small commercial complex and a storage-unit facility. Within a quarter-mile, there’s a gas station, some fast-food joints, and a shopping mall. This is the modest setting where London Bridge Studio resides in the city of Shoreline, WA, about 14 km north of downtown Seattle.

It’s unassuming and it’s also important to note how out of the way this location is from other popular places to visit. To visit this place of living music history, you’ll have to make a little more effort.

I’m more than curious, but there’s music that’s meant a great deal and stayed with me over the decades. Recorded in this studio are two important albums on personal playlist and timeline: Temple of the Dog’s 1991 self-titled album as tribute to Mother Love Bone’s Andrew Wood; and “Ten”, Pearl Jam’s 1991 debut album. Much of the credit goes to Rakesh “Rick” Parashar: born and raised in Seattle, first owner and co-founder of the studio, and producer for “Ten” and “Temple of the Dog”.


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My Vienna: Klimt, Moser, & Wagner in Hietzing Cemetery

Previously, I provided short biographies for artist Gustav Klimt, artist and designer Koloman Moser, and architect Otto Wagner, and why they are important figures to the arts and culture scene in early 20th-century Vienna. These three figures are buried in Hietzing Cemetery in the 13th district of Hietzing at the city’s western periphery.

Located to the southwest of the former imperial summer residence Schönbrunner Schlosspark, Hietzing Cemetery is modest in size with an area of over 9.7 hectares (24 acres) and containing over 11-thousand graves. With the present site inaugurated in 1787, the cemetery has seen several expansion phases and survived damage from the Second World War.

It’s an easy ride on the city’s U4 subway, formerly Otto Wagner’s municipal railway (Wiener Stadtbahn), to one of its stations at Hietzing. From Hietzing station, it’s a quick hop on a bus to the cemetery’s main gate.


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Karlsplatz, Pavillon Karlsplatz, Wien Museum Otto Wagner Pavillon Karlsplatz, Wien Museum, Otto Wagner, Vienna Modernism, Wiener Moderne, Wien, Vienna, Oesterrich, Austria, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday in Vienna Old Town: Karlsplatz pavilion

The building was designed by famed architect Otto Wagner, and the decorative elements were provided by Joseph Olbrich (who was chief architect of the Secession building nearby). This Karlsplatz pavilion building was part of the celebrated centenary of “Vienna Modernism (Wiener Moderne)” in 2018. The pavilion is typically open April to October. Karlsplatz is located within the city’s Old Town which UNESCO inscribed as World Heritage Site in 2001.

Location: U-Bahn U1, U2, or U4 Karlsplatz.

I made the photo above on 16 May 2018 with a Fujifilm X70 fixed-lens prime and the following settings: 1/500-sec, f/13, ISO500, and 18.5mm focal length (28mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-gnr.

My Seattle: living elements of the city’s black history

Oh Seattle: how is your black history defined?

With the city’s proximity to Vancouver, my time in or any understanding of Seattle was incomplete without an examination of the city’s non-white communities. I had questions about the black community and in particular why the city remains racially segregated. People of color, including black people, were once forbidden from buying houses in specific neighbourhoods because of their skin colour. The Central District (CD) thrived as a black community in the 2nd-half of the 20th-century, but now, citizens struggle with gentrification, displacement, and economic racism. There’s much more I need to ask and learn, but for now, I describe below a selection of landmarks highlighting contributions by and the historical impact of the black community to city and nation.


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