Fotoeins Fotografie

questions of place & home

Posts from the ‘North America’ 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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1-day drive in the US Southwest: Cliff Dwellers to the South Rim

October 2018.

The following takes place entirely on day 10 (of 15) in our drive through the American Southwest. Day 9 was a long one on the road: from Flagstaff, we drove north on US-89 and US-89A next to Echo Cliffs and Vermilion Cliffs, and ending up at North Rim for our first-ever visit to the Grand Canyon. After overnighting at Cliff Dwellers Lodge, day 10 began with a stop at the Rock Houses nearby, then retracing the previous day’s drive back to Cameron, before turning west to spend the rest of the day at the Desert View section of the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. That began our first-time visit to the South Rim, spanning two days (days 10 and 11).


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My Vancouver: summer sport at Stanley Park

Above/featured: Grouse Mountain looms over a cricket match at (Upper) Brockton Oval.

Is Vancouver home to the “most beautiful cricket ground in the world”?

It’s not typical 21st-century sport in North America, but it is Canada’s first summer sport. Many of cricket’s practitioners in Vancouver’s picturesque Stanley Park have roots from India and Pakistan; among them the shouts of “shabash” are heard often during play.

In childhood, I was enamored with baseball. With its similar origins, I discovered cricket with time spent in Australia, New Zealand, the Bahamas, and South Africa. The natural connection is the former British Empire. I began with T20, the shortest format of the game; with curiosity and time, my hunger encompassed the 50-over one-day format (ODI). It’s my start with the short white-ball format that I’ve developed an appreciation for the long format of the game with red-ball Test cricket.

But is the cricket ground at Vancouver’s Stanley Park “the most beautiful cricket ground in the world”?


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Under the desert sun (LAPC)

Above/featured: Ruta 5 (highway 5), a ribbon-like cut through the desert in Región de Atacama, Chile – 24 Nov 2009 (450D).

It’s an interesting question: how does one consider, view, or photograph what’s under the sun? There’s a lot of room for interpretation. Modifying the theme for the desert sun, I examine the “quality of sunlight” within the Atacama Desert in northern and north-central Chile, and within the Sonoran Desert in southwest United States.


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