Monday, November 30, 2009

Free Food? You Could Starve To Death!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

North Miami's Winternational Parade

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Cup Of Coffee And Some Intelligent Conversation With Alexandra

Friday, November 27, 2009

I Could Buy A New Leica For Less Than What These Glasses Sell For!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Just Lookin' (Eyewear)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Joan Lehman's Sculpture Studio

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Spirit Woman? Does She Actually Exist?

Monday morning and Janis materializes on my sofa, drinks a cup of coffee, eats some pastry if I have some, and stuffs my Sunday Herald back inside the plastic bag. Then she heads out the door and evaporates into thin air as she heads down my front walk (top photo). She'll call later in the afternoon with a plaintive "Did you make any more coffee?" She's the stone deaf widow that lives down on the next block.

I lead such an exciting life with all of these beautiful women calling and visitng and begging rides to the grocery an the drugstore.

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Just a Copyright Reminder

ALL of the photographs on this blog are copyright by me unless credited to another photographer, in which case he or she owns the copyright.

ALL of the text likewise is copyright by me, and if you want to use any of the photographs or text for any reason please ask permission BEFORE doing so. I'm sure that we can work out a reasonable financial arrangement. Copyright is regulated by international treaty and in the current world of Google searches it's about impossible to publish text or images anyplace on the planet and not get found out. Any reproduction must appear with a credit and copyright notice.

The blog itself is considered "editorial material" no different than a newspaper or magazine, which means that no release is required for using a photo of any person living or dead as long as the image is used in an editorial context.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Crossroads Village? Not Quite

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Jazz Player?

Barry University was one of my biggest clients for about twenty-five years. I watched and documented the change from an all girls Catholic college to a fully integrated co-ed university.

At this point I have no clue as to who the pianist might have been, whether she was a lay teacher or one of the sisters who'd opted to stop wearing the white habits they'd all worn when I first started there. For some reason the public relations director wanted photographs of her. I liked this one the best.

It was taken in November, 1989 on Kodak T-Max 400 film with a Leica M2 and 35mm f/2 Summicron lens.

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pretty Baby And Phillip Michael Thomas

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Mothers

Twenty years ago when I made my run for city council my mother (the short lady on the right) and my opponent's mother were out there at their neighborhood polling places weilding campaign signs for their sons. They both lived in the same precinct.

My mom, Ruth B. Solomon, had never professed much interest in politics, yet some of my earliest memories include walking with either her or my grandmother the five or six blocks to the Betsy B. Winslow Elementary School on Eection Day where we'd go down the half fight of stairs to the basement where the voting took place.

Even at the ager of two or three I got the lecture on how we lived in a democracy and it was our solemn duty to vote to preserve our freedoms. I was told that in places like Nazi Germany, Russia, Poland, and a bunch of other countries people didn't get the chance to vote for their leaders.

In a way we really didn't either. Voting was often along religious or ethnic lines. Adult conversation in the weeks leading up to an election was often filled with "We should vote for so-and-so because he's Jewish, and since Hymie Rosen retired we haven't had a Jew on the City Council!" But other times it was "Vote for Manny Goulart's cousin because Manny is Grandpa's business partner. They own the Dean Bldg. in the North End and the Olympia Bldg. in the middle of downtown New Bedford. They're old friends!" and it didn't matter that Manny was Catholic and proud of his Portuguese heritage.

I'm not really sure how these two guys became such good friends but I have my suspicion that it had to do with smuggling. My grandfather had been in the wholesale liquor business both before and after prohibition. Manny owned a small fleet of commercial fishing boats that fished for cod and haddock of the coast of Newfoundland in Canada. Booze stayed legal there. I suspect that all of those boatloads of fish had a layer of fish covering bottles of whiskey and kegs of beer mixed with the ice.

We lived way too well to be doing it on half of the profits from a small strip of retail shops and a four story office building, both of which were half vacant most of the time.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Not Losing, Winning!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mayor Christine Moreno

Howard Neu was the mayor and he'd asked me to chair his re-election campaign. He'd appointed me to the Planning Commission. I declined chairing the Commission but accepted the vice-chairman position. I had way too many things going at the same time. I'd helped him form Task Force 101, also known as The Mayor's Economic Task Force. Then twenty years ago he suggested that I run for John Haggerty's seat on the city council. Running against an incumbant didn't exactly seem like a good plan but he said that he'd help me raise money and endorse me. Why not? I figured, I'll give it a shot. I went to the city clerk's and filed to run for Haggerty's council seat. Within a day or two I heard that Haggerty had decided not to seek re-election.(Did Howard Neu know something I didn't?) I was in! With the mayor backing me I was unlikely to draw new opposition.

WRONG! Next thing I hear is that Howard Premer, the owner of radio station WKAT, had filed for the seat. Now things were getting tough. It would be difficult to raise the kind of money that Premer could just write a personal check for! I considered dropping out until somebody told me that Howard Neu was now backing Howard Premer, not me. Supposedly in exchange for a weekly radio talk show. This was WAR! Never piss off a scorpio, and I was pissed big time.

A few weeks later my wife Claudia and I were attending a Chamber of Commerce dinner at the Miami Shores Country Club. We sat with city attorney Will Splitstoesser and his girlfriend, a young good looking barely out of law school attorney, Christine Moreno. Her father was a realtor and very involved in the city but Christine hadn't been. Christine was sitting between Will and myself as we discussed the upcoming election. Suddenly she asked "How come nobody is running against Howard?" At exactly the same tme, as if we'd rehearsed it, Will and I both turned toward Christine and said in unison "Why don't YOU run?"

Come morning and I started getting phone calls. They were all "Did you hear that Christine Moreno went to the city clerk's office and filed to run against Howard Neu?" A plan formed in my evil scorpio mind! I must admit that the plan likely resulted in my losing the council race by a narrow margin, but even with all his money Premer won by a very narrow margin. Right after the votes were tallied he told me that up until the last precinct was counted he wasn't sure of the outcome.

Getting back to the mayor's race, which is where I'd invested way too much time and effort, a friend who was familiar with the city's politics and the major players, but whose voice wouldn't be recognized by the Miami Herald reporter (this was before caller I.D.) called the reporter almost every day with more juicy morsels about the mayor. No deeds truely illegal, but enough off track to raise serious doubts about him, along with whom to call to follow up on the items. The day before the election the editor at the Herald wrote something like yes, Christine Moreno was young and inexperienced, but there were too many doubts about Howard Neu. They endorsed Christine. She won. She became North Miami's first,and so far only, female mayor.

A year or two later Howard Neu packed up his law practice and moved up to Broward County.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cheap Film

I was thinking that it was about time for Walgreens or K-mart or CVS or SOMEBODY to have a sale on cheap color film. I was about out. My fridge had milk, eggs, and butter but no film. The inserts in the Sunday paper had this CVS 200 film at $4.99 a four pack. They also had faster films on sale, but I'm so used to doing the color shots for this blog with 200 speed film I decided not to spend extra for faster film.

Supposedly Fuji makes this film for CVS, and they probably make Walgreens, K-mart, and several other chains film. I grabbed five packages, paid the clerk, and was on my way. Between cheap rebranded Fuji film and Merna's expertise at my local Walgreens one-hour we get all these gorgeous color shots here on thepriceofsilver!

And then there are the times when I use neither film nor camera, like this picture of the film boxes. It was just too easy to put the film boxes directly on the scanner's glass and then scan the image of them.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Hey! Take A Look At My Nuts! (both of them)

I seem to attract the most oddball females! But they do fascinate me, no doubt. Janis, in the top pictre, is my neighbor, thin as a rail, stone deaf, and widowed going on two years now. She hasn't gotten past John's death yet. She comes over for coffee and wants my Sunday paper when I'm through with it. Once or twice a week I take her to the drugstore and the supermarket. In this photo she was looking for a new toaster. She's terribly shy and won't let me photograph her so I have to sneak the occasional picture from afar. She always puts on a bit of eye make-up, some lipstick, and asks if her hair looks alright.

In a way, though, it's kind of fun. She reads lips, but getting her attention first is the challenge. People look at us funny when I yell "Hey Janis!" good and loud, but they catch on fast when they see her turn her head, cup her hand around her ear, and reply "What did you say? I can't hear you!"

I met Janie at an outdoor last-Friday-of-the-month free jazz concert outside of city hall. She thought it was great that I was Jewish. I've never dated Jewish girls. She was living in an apartment building a few blocks away, the same one where my ex, Claudia was living when I first met her a couple of decades ago. Seemed safe enough, right?

What I didn't know was that the apartment building was now a halfway house for recovering from whatever they were recovering from type people. Then I discovered that she's fixated on food. She knows by heart the menu of every restaurant around, how giod the food is, what the service is like, the house specialty, and if we should happen to drive by a new place she always wants to check it out. A time or two each week she calls to find out what my plans are for the weekend. In between it's "Let's get together for coffee" and if we do she never shuts up.

Thankfully she moved to a halfway house up near Fort Lauderdale. Now the tavel time and the price of gas is my excuse. She's not happy about it but she accepts it. That doesn't stop her from calling though.

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

A 1964 Contact Sheet (And That's A Wig)

I spent the winter of 1963/64 in Boston freezing, taking some photos, partying, working at Zeff Photo Supply in "The Photo District" on Bromfield Street, and being thankful for public transportation. Besides freezing on that bike the streets would get slushy during the day and the ruts would freeze solid at night. Once you got in a rut you were like riding down a railroad track! You couldn't turn out of it. A friend of mine helped me schlep the little Honda up a flight of stairs where it remained until spring thaw. The other shots were in and around Borton and cambridge and no, I don't remember any of their names. It's all there on the contact sheet.

These days almost everybody shoots color with a digital camera, downloads the images into a computer, ant the little pictures on screen are called "thumb nails". This woman was sitting in My usual Starbucks looking over her day's take while her daughter looked thoroughly bored. She seemed very intrigued with the Roleiflex I was carrying, but even that didn't seem to pull her daughter out of her boredom. We talked for a few minutes about how she really likes black and white, and that digital pictures in black and white never seemed to look as good as those shot on film.

I left her with my card, suggested that we might meet up for coffee sometime and chat photography, but that she should finish her editing and get that poor bored little girl home as soon as possible. The girl smiled, but first she wanted to get one more look through the Rolleiflex's finder at the backwards image.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Better Than A Contact Sheet? Hang in there!

The caption of this photo of the woman with the laptop computer ties in with the photo immediately above.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday The Thirteenth ~ First Mug Of The Day

My friend North Miami City Councilman Scott Galvin got an idea a couple of years ago. I know. Nobody expects city officials to think. He thought it would be nice if you could drive down the street and see American flags flying in front of the houses on patriotic holidays.

He decided to use his expense allowance for something other than weekend junkets and entertaining potential contributors to his next re-election campaign. He bought American flags with the money! Any resident who wanted one could have one for the asking.

That's me there, holding my imported-from-India Leica mug. My fiend Mukul Dube in Dehli came up with the idea for the mugs. He doesn't have a cushy government post with a huge expense account like Scott. He will sell you one though. $20.00 U.S. will get it all the way from Delhi to your door, mug and postage included! The little bit of profit he makes goes to help out poor children in Delhi. They can use the help! Mukul's email is and he'll accept your check.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Entrance To The Temple At N.E. 135th St.

It's near closing time, probably about 10 PM. The umbrellas are folded down and there's nobody left to chat with. Unless I'm expecting somebody to show up this is when I'm likely to get a last refill for the day and head home.

I wish it was a bit closer to my house than 4 or 5 blocks. Still, though, it's easy enough to find the place. It's right at the corner of U.S. Route 1, alias Biscayne Blvd. and N.E. 135th St. Head a couple of kilometers west on 135th St. and you're at Interstate 95.

I like sitting outside on the patio. The law doesn't let you smoke inside and most nights in Miami the weather is great. We get a few nights when it's too damn cold or windy, and occasionally the rain will be blown under the roofed over area, but for the most part it's nice enough. The sound system isn't overbearing, and it leans towards classic rock.

When I just want to meditate, lost in my own thoughts, I do. If I feel like socializing I always manage to run into somebody or another that I know, or I can strike up a conversation with someone new. And then there's the eye candy! With four university campuses within a few kilometers of here there are usually at least a few young ladies to spice up the view.

It's a great place to refresh the soul and renew the spirit. Isn't that what temples are for?

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mug Shot ~ Thanks Mukul

My friend Mukul Dube in Delhi, India sent me this mug. Thanks, Mukul! What a great birthday gift! Yeah, I turned 67 a couple of days ago and I look more fit and in better shape than my balding physician Larry. I got me a flatter belly also. Not to mention that mop of hair! Eat your heart out, Larry the Bald.

I guess this means that I'm going to have to stick my 15mm Voigtlander Heliar lens, that ultra ULTRA wide angle optic, my favorite lens, on one of my Leica camera bodies instead of the lightweight little mostly plastic Bessa L. That oughta build up my arms and shoulders, holding close to a kilogram of glass, brass, and chrome out there at arm's length. Strange, but it's mostly chicks that recognize the Leica name. Or take traditional darkroom courses at school and still shoot film! The Dudes talk about "megapixels" and auto this and auto that and frame rates, all that tech geek B.S. rather than wanting to learn how to make great eye catching photographs.

I like to sit out on my front porch in the morning, drinking my coffee, watching the dogs and kids walk by. I really enjoy watching the neighbor's cat trying to stalk the occasional wayward mouse that didn't manage to get into his hidey hole before it got light out.

The coffee tastes great in that new mug also. If you'd like one email Mukul. He can be reached at He'll want a check for $20, which includes shipping from Delhi, and the few dollars "profit" he uses to help out the malnourished children there. Obviously he can make good use of more money if you feel generous, and there's a saving in per mug shipping costs if you order more than one at a time, which is more more money for his good work.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Well Furnished Pad

It was February,1964 and I'm not sure where in Boston the this was. Probably Norway Street. I'm pretty sure that her name was Barbara but I can't remember his. It's always easier for a guy to remember chicks' names. She's sitting on a big soft cushion. Bean bag chairs were still a dozen years off in the future. None of us minded sitting on the floor. It was pretty common to sleep on a mattress on the floor, no box spring even! Now if I tried that I'd have to crawl around until I got near a doorknob or piece of furniture so I could pull myself up.

Of course when everybody sits on the floor you tend to hang the art work lower too, keeping it eye level. He was the artist.

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Monday, November 09, 2009

That Must Have Been Some Killer Headache!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Contraband Teeth? ~ The Laws They Are A Changin'

I didn't know that the shell mound even had a name until I went on-line yesterday to get an idea about how far it was from Placida, Forida, where we'd put the canoes in the water. Now I know. It's called the John Quiet Mound and it's over a kilometer east of Placida. It's the biggest highest shell mound in the area and was inhabited by the Calusa Indians a thousand, perhaps even two thousand years ago. They built it! Leftover shells from cooking the clams and conches can make quite a mound over that period of time, even when you start out piling them mostly in shallow water. It's the size of several city blocks and it is over three meters high in places.

In 1973 I went there the first time with Darryl Seideman, a jet engine mechanic, Laymond Hardy, a naturalist and science teacher, and Buzz, a local businessman who was convinced that there was pirate treasure buried there. The real reason we had all gotten together to go there was to check out some rumors that there had been recent sightings of the fabled Florida skunk ape, a large hairy hominid, in the area. We didn't find one.

It was obvious that we weren't the first people there looking for buried "pirate treasure". There were numerous holes next to piles of dirt and old shells. Some of the holes went all way through the mound to the black muck underneath. The record of history shown by the various layers had been destroyed. Now the state owns the place. It won't be developed into condos or townhouses, but now you're not allowed to dig or even pick up fossils and pottery shards that are laying on top of the ground.

These teeth and bits of human skull were collected in the summer of 1973. I didn't dig them up. They were just laying on top. I also collected a bunch of shards of pottery as well as some pieces of flint and quartz that had traveled south either by foot or canoe about 500 km or so.

Laymond pointed out how the teeth were worn flat by chewing corn that still had stone grit from the grinding process but showed no signs of decay. He estimated the bone to be over a thousand years old, judging by the erosion of the bone.

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Saturday, November 07, 2009

Friday, November 06, 2009

Those 1970's "Guitar Strap" Neck Straps

The NIKON strap is like brand new. Somebody gave me a bunch of straps and pouches recently. The two "Hippie Straps" below are from the 1970's. I used them on my Pentacon-Six cameras which are much larger and heavier that 35mm SLR's.

The fabric straps hold up much better than leather straps, but the leather parts still dry out and get cracked. I want to get some rivets and use the Rollie clips off of an old dried out leather Rollieflex strap on a fabric strap.

The straps really weren't "photographed". I just put them on the scanner glass and scanned them directly. I did the same with the bones and teeth,as well as with the Edgeworth tin.

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

An Edgeworth Sliced Pipe Tobacco Tin

It's become impossible to locate a lot of the pipe tobaccos of yore these days. They just ain't made no more. I still have a bunch of the metal tins though. One of the small pocket size tins holds postage stamps while another holds paper clips. The larger ones are ideal for storing empty 35mm cassettes awaiting a reload.

Edgeworth Sliced was made by stacking and pressing together a bunch of leaves, along with some other "secret" ingredients, then cutting the sandwich into very thin slices. You crumbled it up with your fingers as you filled your pipe. You could also buy Edgeworth Ready Rubbed, pre-crumbled and in a pouch. It always seemed to get too dried out and burned too hot.

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Racial Integration At Barry College

When I started doing the public relations photography for Barry College in the late sixties it was a Catholic girls college. All of the girls were non-Hispanic white Catholics and the teachers were mostly all nuns wearing habits. In fact so was most of the management and office staff. One of the reporters at the North Dade Journal took over the public relations at Barry and asked me to do their photography. Kathy convinced me that being about the only Jew on campus wasn't going to be a problem. I guess she'd already convinced them.

It was an exciting time at Barry. Sr. Jeanne O'Loughlin became president and embarked on a massive expansion of both the campus and the student body. Probably the most ambitious endeavor was diversifying the student body. When I first came on board there were a few Anglicans in addition to the Roman Catholics, and most all of the students lived in dorms. Everybody was white and female. There were strict curfews. Everybody attended mass in the school chapel on Sunday morning. Parents could be assured that their daughters were safe and in good hands.

It was during this period that the first male students were enrolled (lucky them!) as well as the first black students. The school needed photographs for brochures and publicity. This was shot in January of 1976.

A few years later Barry College became Barry University.

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Somebody's Wedding

Boston, February 1964

I remember shooting the wedding. It was a small wedding, last minute as I recall. I knew the people getting married and they asked me to photograph it. Very few weddings were shot in color at the time. Just as well. The prints would be badly faded by now. I can't recall their names and I haven't seen them since shortly after I did the photography.I was likely shooting with my Canon II-s and 35mm f/1.8 Canon lens. They must have grandchildren by now!

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Monday, November 02, 2009

1962 ~ When The Motorcycle Cops Wore Neckties

Sunday, November 01, 2009

A Will Of The Whisp?

No, it wasn't a visitor from the spirit world. The kids were enthralled by the July Fourth fire works, which were plainly visible from their back yard in Boston in 1963.

Leica III-CK, 35mm f/1.8 Canon, Plus-X developed in Acufine for enhanced speed.

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