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Posts Tagged ‘American life’

Chicago Eyebrows

Here’s an informative article in the New York Times about the Smithsonian Photography Initiative.

Of particular interest within the Smithsonian’s project is the series of articles called Click! Photography Changes Everything written by “one hundred experts in their fields to explore the ways photography has changed a broad spectrum of disciplines—from anthropology to astrophysics, from media to medicine, from philosophy to sports.”

Check it out! 

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Lady Walking a Mule

Decades-Old Photograph Helps Solve Mystery of New York Man’s Drowning 15 Years Later

Saturday , February 02, 2008

by STEPHANIE REITZ, Associated Press Writer

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. —

A treasured old photograph, a police investigator’s long-shot appeal to the public and a retiree’s sharp memory have combined to solve a 15-year-old drowning mystery.

State police in Somers, N.Y., tried for years to identify a body found in the Titicus Reservoir on June 13, 1993, carrying 38 pounds of rocks in a backpack. The man left no clues to his name and matched no local missing-persons reports.

The only lead was a black-and-white snapshot found on the body that showed a grandfatherly man holding a small boy in the crook of his arm, both wearing attire from the 1950s or early 1960s.

Police assumed the toddler was the drowning victim, but years of investigation produced only dead ends. Then, with a few remarkable coincidences last month, Andrew Bookless got back his name.

Bookless was eventually identified through dental records — though only after police seeking to identify the little boy wrongly guessed a vintage light fixture in the picture may have been in western Massachusetts.

When they circulated the photo in the Berkshires, retired teacher Terry Yacubich, who had moved to Pittsfield from Bellport, N.Y., recognized a building behind the man and little boy as one she had known from her days on Long Island.

Bookless’ family, it turned out, once lived in the very spot the picture was taken.

“I’m not psychic or anything like that, but I think maybe Andrew worked through me to finally get some closure,” Yacubich said.

Bookless disappeared from his family’s lives years before that June day when police found him dead at 31. The snapshot was intact in a glass frame and close to his heart under layers of winter clothing.

Troopers searched for years to find someone who recognized the older man or features in the photo’s background.

Investigator Joe Fiebich sent the picture to The Berkshire Eagle newspaper in January after learning the vintage street light in the background was similar to those installed throughout western Massachusetts decades ago.

It turned out they were common on Long Island’s south shore, too.

But it wasn’t the light fixture that grabbed Yacubich’s attention when she saw the newspaper last weekend. She spotted the church auditorium in the village where she’d lived for 47 years.

“The moment I saw that picture, I knew exactly where it was,” said Yacubich, 59, who had attended decades’ worth of first Communion parties, church socials and funerals there.

Yacubich contacted friend Donald Mullins, a retired Suffolk County, N.Y., police detective and code enforcement officer in Bellport, a village in the town of Brookhaven. He trekked to the church’s neighborhood and quickly found the spot: the front corner of a now-empty residential lot.

“I stood on that very spot and said, `This is it. This is exactly it,”‘ Mullins said.

He tracked the land’s ownership history in town deeds until he found that the Bookless family had a house there before it was destroyed in a fire.

The Westchester County, N.Y., medical examiner’s office confirmed Bookless’ identity Jan. 25, and it was released this week after his four older siblings were notified.

They told police the man in the picture was Bookless’ grandfather and that his parents, John and Marianna Bookless, had died in 1994 and 2004. Police said Bookless’ family had him declared dead after his mother’s death.

Fiebich traveled Thursday to Long Island to speak to Bookless’ family in hopes of determining whether the death was accidental or suicide. Investigators believe Bookless fell through the ice in the winter of 1992-93, months before his body was found with the rock-laden pack strapped on his back.

New York State Police Senior Investigator Patrick Bosley, one of several troopers who reviewed the case over the years, tried unsuccessfully in the mid-1990s to have it featured on television’s “Unsolved Mysteries.”

“It was obvious to us all along that the picture was the best piece of information we had,” Bosley said. “It was clear that evidently the older gentleman was someone very close to him — his father or grandfather, a favorite uncle, someone he cared a lot about.”

Bookless’ family said he often would disappear for months, part of the reason his mother did not report him missing until 1999 even though she had not heard from him in several years, police said.

They said Bookless’ body was buried in New York as an unidentified person, but that his siblings would be able to move it if they wish.

“For me, the best end of the story would be to see that Andrew rests in peace,” Yacubich said.

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Canada Goose

For Pete’s sake, they’re called Canada Geese, not Canadian Geese.  Branta canadensis Birds don’t have a nationality!

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 Cow Noses

I feel a mixture of amusement, horror and curiosity everytime I read the local Penny Power classified ads newspaper that serves Bucks County and the Lehigh Valley.  A sampling from this week’s edition: 

PETS R KIDS TOO!  Has quality puppies, kittens, fish, small animals.  Feeders.  All animals guaranteed.  New!  Clearance bin.  New inventory arriving weekly.  Stop in and see our specials.

NOW THAT WE ARE on our way into this New Year, what better way to get the year off to a good start than by having some new flooring installed!

FREE REMOVAL of sawed logs, vintage stereo equipment or let’s barter for any power equipment items for firewood. 

PET HOLSTEIN COW, $400.

THUMBS DOWN to the person who stole two baby cars seats out of my son’s and daughter-in-law’s yard on December 30th.  You should be ashamed of yourself, to steal something that a child depends on for safety is a disgrace.  To go into someone’s yard and just walk off with things that don’t belong to you is just so wrong.  You left my grandshildren without car seats and they were unable to go visiting for the holidays.  If you don’t have a clear conscience and want to return them, please do.  If you choose not to, you are the one that has to live with yourself.  Every time you use them, just think of the children who have no car seats.  Upset Grandmother

MOVIE NIGHT Sunday, January 27, 6pm.  “The Last Sin Eater.”  Cornerstone Community Church.

If you want phone numbers for the ads let me know. 🙂

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No Hanging Out

There’s a review by Holland Cotter in today’s New York Times about a new show at the International Center of Photography called “Archive Fever: Uses of the Document in Contemporary Art.”

Holland’s fascinating and glowing review has prompted me to see the show which runs from January 18 – May 4, 2008.  (I’m fortunate to live in such a beautiful, rural area with a 90-minute trip into Manhattan.) 

Holland writes: “Photography, with its extensions in film, video and the digital realm, is the main vehicle for these images. The time was, we thought of photographs as recorders of reality. Now we know they largely invent reality. At one stage or another, whether in shooting, developing, editing or placement, the pictures are manipulated, which means that we are manipulated. We are so used to this that we don’t see it; it’s just a fact of life.”

Of particular interest to me is this exhibit in the show:

“The thousands of images in a looping 36-hour slide projection by Jef Geys would seem to be linked by a firmer thread. They are a visual archive of Mr. Geys’s photographic output of 40 years. Whether they provide evidence of aesthetic development, though, or insight into the artist’s maturing mind and soul, will be known only to the most devoted of viewers.”

(Let’s see… the longest the museum is open on any single day is ten hours, and the longest anyone could realistically sit through a slide show might be three hours. So it’ll take at least 12 well-coordinated visits to see the whole thing!  With $12 admission, that’s $144, but an individual membership at $75 allows unlimited free visits.  Yay!)

Another exhibit in the show by Hans-Peter Feldmann sounds like a thoroughly intriguing study:  a room full of framed front pages of 100 international newspapers printed on Sept. 12, 2001.  To Feldman’s credit as an artist, and to Holland’s credit as a reviewer, both get past the fact that this event is still fresh to us and are able to raise all sorts of questions about image placement, text placement and the manipulation of content from country to country. 

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Rural Classified

Machine Shed

Can you determine a newspaper’s demographics by looking through the classified ads under “Articles for Sale”?  Here are some random things I found in today’s Morning Call, a newspaper that’s delivered to my house everyday:

♦ Console Radio / 8-Track Player, $95

♦ Couch (1970 Style), $20

♦ Exercise Machine, Push/Pull Type, $50

♦ Gossip Bench, $45

♦ Kids Pool Table, $50

♦ Shotgun, Like New, $250

♦ 16′ Swimming Pool, 5′ Deep, $50

♦ Man’s Woolen Irish Sweater, Size Large, $25

♦ New Moosehead Barlight, Wall Mountable, $55

♦ Old 4 String Tenor Banjo, No Case, $100

♦ Beer Can Collection, Over 175 Cans, $300

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Tractor Cat

I find it inspirational to study paintings and films.   I’m informed by the use of style, symbolism, craft, skill, history and light.  Ironically, I’m not often inspired by still photography.  It’s sometimes challenging to find enlightening work outside of the masters of photography, old and new. 

But as I found out this morning, a trip through The New York Times Photo Store is a real feast. You can see (and purchase!) an amazing array of images going back to the 1800s. Of particular interest is the “American Experience” category with riveting photos of American life over the last 150 years. If you’re looking for inspirational still photography, you’ve hit the jackpot.

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