Thursday, January 21

Tuesday, June 13

Everybody is crazy about airplanes. Little Terre Haute, Indiana (Terre Haute being French for a fashionable woman’s hat) can bring out the whole town and marching band for so much as renaming the local airport. The press coverage was extensive, which led to one of those situations where one photographer has taken a picture of another photographer taking a picture. It happens fairly often, actually, but getting both photographs is rare.
So at the top, we see some dignitaries, all in their summer duds (except for the undertaker, who is undertaking to pull the rope to reveal the new name of the airport) looking up to see what’s holding things up. Security is tight, and this group is guarded by a large son with a billy sticking out of his pants pocket. I’m really disappointed with this shot, however, because had the photographer bothered to move about three feet to his right he could have gotten the “T” in “Terre” in the picture. What seems to be the horn of a loud speaker is hiding it.
Next we see this scene, moments later, from the other side. The rope has been pulled, the new name partially revealed, and the exact location of that lazy photographer is captured for all time. Well, no wonder he didn’t “just” move three feet to his right- he’s got an ancient old box camera on a tripod. The resolution of this shot isn’t great, but he appears to be standing and watching the curtain drop, rather than scurrying to insert a new plate in his camera (having missed the very moment of the unveiling). The fact that he doesn’t have a box of plates at his feet indicates to me that he banked on getting the shot in one shot, as it were, which was probably a fair assumption. However, he should have assumed that the mechanism for releasing the curtain would not function smoothly, and waited to see the curtain actually begin to drop before squeezing the bulb.
Meanwhile, photographer #2, my hat’s off to you. First of all, you found a perch which tells the whole story- dozens of airplanes parked on the field, hundreds of people in attendance, and even a glimpse of the airfield itself, which appears to have been one of the old-skool airfields without proper runways. You’ve got the moment when enough of the new name has been revealed to identify the place, and even had the luck to capture the father leading his young son across in front of the dignitaries, the security man having his attention caught by the unveiling, and if you look to the right, you’ll see a young mechanic stepping out from his work on that pusher-prop job in the hanger to have a look see. He’s wearing knickerbockers, seems to be wiping his hands with a rag, but his attention isn’t on the curtain above him (where it certainly should be!) but he seems to be looking at the group of dignitaries, which include among them one female. Could she be a sweetheart? His mother? Now, that’s a photograph!
Lastly, another magazine cover. This one features the djinn of the Chicago World’s Fair, the “I Will” girl herself, who I’ve seen depicted in a dozen different ways on various articles- and you shall see more of her too, if you stay tuned for the summer! This particular version is what you might call the Madison Avenue style- in a decade or two, anyway. But in this, she’s given some sex appeal, whereas her usual expression is classically bored distraction. Here she is wide-eyed, slender, offering you the contents of her horn in a pose which says “I Will” without actually having that phrase appear anywhere in the illustration. Hat’s off this time to illustrator Robert O. Reed. The organizers of the Fair might have done well to have hired him for their promotional material!

You can see this particular spirit here.

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