Fotoeins Fotografie

questions of place & home

Posts from the ‘Industrial History’ category

My Mittenwald: mountains, masks, music, Mahlzeit!

Above/featured: From the regional train: facing southwest over Schöttlkarstrasse and the eastern end of the Wettersteinwand at right.

The German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in 1786 described the alpine town of Mittenwald as “lebendes Bilderbuch” or “a living picture-book”. Images and descriptions in print and provided by visitors became draw and lure. Funny thing is I’d set foot and stayed in nearby Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and hadn’t taken the easy 20-minute train hop to Mittenwald.

I took care of that with two visits within a 15-month interval.

Wandering through Mittenwald is a delight because of the abundant fresh mountain air, picturesque surroundings, and the easy compact nature of the town. It’s a very familiar refrain for alpine towns in this part of the world.

Mid-winter is special with the combination of seeing mountains freshly frosted with snow, people of all ages wearing masks and costumes during carnival season, houses painted in colourful “Lüftlmalerei”, and the town’s special place in music history. When clouds break in spring and summer, it seems like an endless vista of blue skies and lakes along with green meadows and mountains to accompany your time outside on walks and hikes in the area.


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My Vienna: Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky, mother of the modern kitchen

Who: Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky.
Key: 1st woman architect in Austria, designer of something we take entirely for granted.
Quote: “I developed the kitchen as an architect, not as a housewife.”
Where: MAK Vienna.

I always liked how cooking had well-defined endpoints: a desirable start, and a satisfying conclusion. I enjoy the process: the contemplation of “what to make,” the gathering of ingredients, the preparation, and naturally, the consumption. There might also be something to say about the duality of creation and annihilation …

That got me to thinking about kitchens as a critical unit of a home. Before the 20th-century, the wealthy could afford to have staffed kitchens; everybody else had access to no kitchen or an unsafe unhygienic kitchen in a building separate to their living quarters. The assumed universality of a kitchen within a home is a 20th-century concept and implementation that sought to overcome social and economic class. The design of a modern kitchen invites repeated patterns of movement and action around where cookware, utensils, condiments, glassware, etc. are stored and where the central focus of cooking activity takes place.

For everyone who spends any time in a kitchen, we have Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky to thank.

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My Kicks on State-68: Classical Gas Museum in Embudo, NM

I’ve always been mesmerized by highway signs and fascinated by the history of big highways. There’s also big nostalgia, because Dad loved highway driving and road trips. He was the sole driver on the Trans-Canada highway between Vancouver and Calgary or on US Interstate-5 to Bellingham and Seattle. How obvious is it then, that a deep yearning for open roads comes directly from my father.

The following is a part of day 8 (of 17) in our drive through the American Southwest.

We set out on a day trip from Santa Fe to Taos and Taos Pueblo, with a scenic drive on New Mexico highway NM-68, the “low road” or “river road” along the Rio Grande river between Española and Taos. With low light in the morning hour, we didn’t see it when we drove north to Taos. But on our mid-afternoon return on the low road, we found the Classical Gas Museum in the small town of Embudo. We pulled into an open sandy rocky patch, marvelling at the collection in front of rusting gas pumps and a wooden building resembling a historic gas station.

The Classical Car Museum is owned and run by Johnnie Meier who is a retired scientist and former employee at the nearby Los Alamos National Laboratory. His interest and collection grew to the point where he needed more space. Reading about the museum is one thing, but it’s no match for seeing in person his extensive collection of memorabilia, including whole and partial gas pumps, highway signage, oil cans, gas company signage, license plates, a model gas station, a working vintage Coca-Cola cooler, a classic car or two, an entire “pre-fab” diner building, and a mascot for a once thriving restaurant-chain. From within the building, it’s the glow which provides further fuel for interest, and once inside, the neon and warm illumination of symbols and signs combine for the inevitable “wow!” Altogether, it’s a broad mix of elements from mid 20th-century American history which is all about highway-driving and open-road nostalgia. There’s a saying about how someone’s junk is somebody else’s treasure, but the entire collection deserves careful cataloguing and a larger permanent building. A new museum would be fitting somewhere along the old US-66 highway. Santa Rosa, NM is a leading candidate, but other cities in the state are also possible.

For now, the museum is located next to highway NM-68 in Embudo; the coordinates are 36.209102 degrees North, 105.951658 degrees West. The museum sits on 0.81 hectare (2 acres) of Meier’s land, and the museum building is 93 square metres (1000 square feet) in size. There is no admission charge, though donations are most welcome, especially for the local animal shelter. You might want to call ahead (505-852-2995) to see if Meier is around in case the building is closed.

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Augsburg: Fugger, Luther, & water in Germany’s 3rd oldest city

Above/featured: Facing north on Maximilianstrasse: Steigenberger Hotel Drei Mohren (left), Fuggerhäuser (orange) – HL, 12 Mar 2017.

Why Augsburg?

  • Fugger family legacy
  • Martin Luther and the Reformation legacy
  • Water supply management, newly inscribed World Heritage Site

I had come to Augsburg to find and understand traces Martin Luther left behind in the city. What I learned was the extent of the lasting legacy provided by the Fugger family, and how the city has for centuries provided safe clean water to her citizens, and how that water management system has become world-renowned as a piece of cultural heritage, forming the basis of an application for recognition as a World Heritage Site.

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Hallstätter See, Lake Halstatt, Hallstatt, Salzkammergut, Upper Austria, Oberoesterreich, Austria, Oesterreich, UNESCO, World Heritage, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: dramatic spring morning over Lake Hallstatt

Overcast skies and intermittent showers have followed me this early morning from the city of and Austrian federal state of Salzburg and into Upper Austria. After disembarking the regional train at Hallstatt Bahnhof, I’m on a separate ferry across Hallstatt Lake into the town proper. It’s 740am, and even though I’m disappointed by the lack of springtime sun, that south-facing view is my first full visual welcome to the area and a sight I’ll savour and remember.

UNESCO inscribed the Hallstatt-Dachstein Salzkammergut region and its salt-making history as World Heritage Site in 1997.

I made the picture above on 25 May 2018 with a Fujifilm X70 fixed-lens prime and the settings: 1/250-sec, f/11, ISO2000, and 18.5mm focal length (28mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-cWW.

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