Fotoeins Fotografie

questions of place & home

Posts tagged ‘Emerald City’

My Seattle: Chris Cornell

Above/featured: Customers’ contributions on the walls of Beth’s Cafe (Phinney Ridge) – 7 Mar 2020.

Where: Seattle, WA, USA.
Who: Chris Cornell.
Why: A search for traces he left behind in his birth city.

On 21 April 1991, an album of music both memorial and celebratory in nature was released, and changed not only the nature of rock at the time, but also the lives of many, both inside and outside the music industry. In the days and weeks after Andrew Wood’s death in March 1990, a group of people gathered to mourn and remember; they wrote new compositions and sang their songs. Temple of the Dog was born: the release of their self-titled album on that early-spring day in 1991 would be the only full-length album to the band’s name.

Decades later, the album’s 3rd track “Hunger Strike” is as compelling now as the first time the music video dropped in 1992 to grab my eyeballs and the harmony-melody-guitar-crunch latched onto my ears and brain. For lead singer Chris Cornell, intervening years included critical acclaim and success with Soundgarden and Audioslave, among solo efforts and other collaborations. Hours after performing on tour with Soundgarden, Cornell was found dead in his Detroit hotel room on 18 May 2017, shocking the community within Seattle and the community inside music at large; he was a young 52. Wherever they may be, that jam session with Cornell, Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley, and Andrew Wood has got to be one for the ages.

21 April 2021 is the 30th anniversary of the release of Temple of the Dog’s eponymous album.


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Macy's, Bon Marche building, The Bon, Thanksgiving, holiday star, Seattle, Washington, USA, fotoeins.com

Seattle: Thanksgiving holiday star & fireworks

As a wae lad, I was fascinated by comparative branding and marketing, and that’s how I got to thinking about the differences and similarities between Canada’s Hudson’s Bay Company in greater Vancouver and the American Bon Marché in Bellingham and Seattle. But I don’t ever recall a tradition of lighting a star for October/Canadian Thanksgiving.

In downtown Seattle, a grand building opened in 1929 for the locally-owned Bon Marché department store, operating for over 7 decades until “The Bon” became Macy’s in 2005. A holiday star designed by Bob James in 1957 would become a fixture for the city and her residents. In September 2019, Macy’s declared the downtown Seattle location would be closing at the end of February 2020. At the time, the announcement included no plans for lighting the holiday star.

However, the star looks to be coming back for one more (final?) illumination, as a local lighting company agreed to refurbish and reassemble the star in time for the 2019 Thanksgiving season. Festivities occur Friday November 29, beginning with the annual Thanksgiving parade followed by the star’s lighting and fireworks.

•   MyNorthwest, 27 Nov 2019.

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My Seattle: that tower again

“That Tower Again,” a three-word online phrase for the early 21st-century.

It’s a phrase I associate with Berlin and her TV Tower (Fernsehturm), and that comes with multiple stays and many months in the German capita, a city I feel very much at home (winters notwithstanding). With my return to the Canadian Southwest and near-proximity to Seattle, I reconsider my fondness for the city’s iconic landmark: the Space Needle observation tower. Sight of the tower hasn’t lost its allure since our first family visit in the late 1970s.

For the Seattle World Fair in 1962, construction of the Space Needle occurred over a mere 400 days in time for the “Century 21 Exposition”. The 605-foot (184 metre) tower stood for the spirit of innovation and the might of technology. The city of Seattle designated the tower as an official city landmark in 1999. Fast forward now into the 21st century, it’s unfathomable for resident and visitor alike to think about the Emerald City without its leading spire.


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Central Library, Seattle Public Library, Seattle, WA, USA, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: Library Green, Seattle SPL

The central branch of the Seattle Public Library is a dazzling architectural addition to the city’s downtown district. From the upper floors, it feels like a vast cathedral of space and light. I forget about their collection of books, and marvel instead at the building’s design. Even the escalators are noteworthy: clean lines, bright colours, and clear signage to direct the flow of visitor traffic. Opened to the public on 23 May 2004, the building was designed by the Dutch company OMA with the support of Seattle’s LMN Architects.

I made the picture above on 6 January 2015 with the Canon 6D, 24-105 glass, and the following settings: 1/320-sec, f/8, ISO10000, and 28mm focal length. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-byJ.

International District, Seattle, WA, USA, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: King and Maynard (Seattle CID)

I’ve been fascinated by the origins and appearance of words and characters since I learned how to write in both Chinese and English languages. Thanks to a variety of websites (particularly one about Berlin), my eye has recently been tuned to typography.

In front of the Fortune Garden restaurant in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District (CID) are bilingual street signs which have been widespread throughout the area since 2013. North of Jackson Street, street signs switch from Chinese-English to Japanese-English; east of I-5 and 10th Avenue, street signs switch from Chinese-English to Vietnamese-English.

In the picture, the combination of Chinese characters have little meaning. But where transliteration to Cantonese is concerned, each Chinese character is an individual “vocalization” representing a syllable in English. South King Street becomes “南景街” which is pronounced “naam4 ging2 gaai1” and in literal terms is “south – view/situation – street”. Maynard Avenue South becomes “南美拿大道” which is pronounced “naam4 mei5 naa4 daai6 dou6” and in literal terms is “south – good/pretty – take/use/capture – big – road”. (See the note below* for more.)

I made the picture above on 11 May 2016 with the Canon 6D, 24-105 glass, and the following settings: 1/800-sec, f/11, ISO1000, and 47mm focal length. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-byk.

* Arriving primarily from Guangdong province in southern China, people began building Chinatown settlements in North America in the 19th-century; most of the new immigrants spoke Cantonese. With my own intermediate proficiency in Cantonese, I’ve used CantoDict for the transliterations above. The numbers associated with Anglicized pronunciation of Chinese words correspond to six tones in the Cantonese dialect. A summary of the six Cantonese tones is provided in this video.

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