One thing I noticed upon reading the text that accompanied Lee Friedlander’s photographs in the awesome, awesome and ultra rare “Cray at Chippewa Falls” (some photos from which I scanned and posted earlier) is that Friedlander often made tiny visual jokes or puns. These details are very hard to notice. It’s also very hard to tell if the pun was intentional or not. Once explained, these little jokes make the image much more special and enjoyable.
The special thing in the previous photo is very hard to see. The traffic cop has a little sticker of an American flag on the cover of his ticket book. A 911 remnant.
I actually keep my notebook in a leather binder like that. My 911 reminder is a little flag button on my bag.
In the speech class that I took last semester I chatted a bit with an intern from New York Post. He told me that the tabloid format of newspapers was influenced by the fact that blue collar workers liked to keep a newspaper in the back pocket of their pants. He also gave me a blank New York Post reporter’s notebook (which is actually the same format as the aforementioned ticket book).
Kids playing in Brooklyn.
Hey, you never know. The New York State Lottery guy is out of a job. Strangely enough I can’t find any information about him online.
Ok, I’ve made an extravagant purchase. But I wanted it so, so much!
What was the object of my desire? It was a book of photographs called “Cray at Chippewa Falls”.It was an album by Lee Fridlander that was commissioned by Cray Research. The book was given to employees and was sold in Cray company store to visitors, but there were only about 5000 copies made.
The photographs are of unspeakable beauty. Friedlander starts with outskirts of Chippewa Falls – the waterfall, forest, fields. Then the photographs depict a typical small town – a railroad track, broken down pickup truck, suburban houses. Then the center of the town: a barber shop, Radio Shack, some fast food stores. Nothing extraordinary (except for Friedlander’s photographic talent). But then the magic begins. The book is full of photographs depicting highly concentrated men and women among chip making equipment, chassis of supercomputers with garlands of wires, computer terminals. Everybody is filled with a sense of purpose and pride – they are making the most advanced thinking machines in the world!
Seymour Cray, the Superman of Supercomputers
That’s Cray 1 in the background. Notice a nice little leather covered bench around the chassi. It was meant as a place where technicians could sit and warm themselves after spending a long time in an air conditioning room. In reality, few technicians would sit there for the fear of breaking the multimillion dollar machine.
Aaaaa! I am swallowed by a supercomputer!
That’s a lot of wires. But if they put their heads together…
Even though I paid $250 for this album (and it is worth every penny), the copyright of course does not belong to me. But I am pretty sure that showing you these photos falles under “fair use”.
From http://www.louisville.edu/~ddking01/mmgdl01.htm :
“Under these guidelines a photograph or illustration may be used in its entirety but no more than 5 images by an artist or photographer may be reproduced or otherwise incorporated as part of an educational multimedia project”
So if anybody asks – this is an educational multimedia project.