Sunday, July 26, 2009


Reaching the end of my last 10-shot pack of Polaroid 600. One shot left. Taken with the Polaroid One.

Monday, July 20, 2009

nedraG gnidaeR

Between the old Cleveland Public Library building and the more recent Louis Stokes Wing. Designed by the great Maya Lin.

Third photo by guest contributor, intrepid photojournalist Pamela Zoslov.

Instantaneous Avenues

Detroit Avenue.

Superior Avenue.

Prospect Avenue.

Euclid Avenue. Enlarge to spot bicyclist pedaling into view!

Fuji Instax 200.

Downtown, Instantaneously

Marcel Breuer's AmeriTrust Tower.

Prospect Avenue, near East 9th Street.

Polaroid One, winding down the last pack.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Erie at Twilight

A brisk, cool wind from the northwest bringing Erie to white-capped life. Euclid, Ohio. Canon XSi.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ruined Castle

Purportedly one of the most haunted houses in the region, the Tiedemann House, built in 1865, has latterly come to be known as the Franklin Avenue Castle, its original builder Hannes Tiedemann having died in 1908. It served as headquarters for the German Socialist Party until 1968, when it became a residence again. Beginning in 1976, the house changed hands a number of times, selling initially for $34,000. Its current owner purchased it in 1999 for $350,000. A fire in 2000, reportedly started by a homeless person, set in motion a number of actions against its latest owner, centering on the house's dangerously dilapidated condition.

Since then, the mansion has been the center of shady activity, but not of the ectoplasmic variety. Plans were announced in 2003 to create the Franklin Castle Club, and a hyperbolic website created that promised fabulous amenities for its prospective members. The "what-to-do-where-to-go" website Plugged In Cleveland went so far as to create a listing for the club and its restaurant, which is still online today, despite the fact that there is no Franklin Castle Club.

What does go on at the Castle is laid out in detail in a 2006 Plain Dealer article by Michael O'Malley and Joan Mazzolini. It's clear that the announced renovation is, to put it mildly, a little behind schedule, though it appears that someone apparently associated with the house is still spinning tales about its imminent transformation from ruined pile to historic showcase.

The Plain Dealer uncovered a connection between the current property owner and manager and something called Voodoo Media Group, a northeast Ohio producer of what might be delicately called video erotica, but is probably more accurately dubbed porn. One can only wonder why video producers of dubious material are so attracted to historic homes (see "Not Haunted" below). It would be in the interest of the neighborhood and the city for City Hall to move to repossess the Tiedemann House, perhaps under eminent domain, and make it an asset to Cleveland.

Photos taken in 2006 with Mamiya C330S, 80mm lens.

Night Shopping

An after-hours stroll among the stores on a humid summer night.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

Not Haunted

While doing a Google search on "Corning Mansion Bratenahl Ohio," I came across a website that presents what it claims are photographs of ghosts taken inside the mansion during the years it stood empty. A more preposterous idea I've not heard in a while. The photographs, taken with a pocket digital point-and-shoot, are laughably fake.

The site itself is part of the home page of a bottom-of-the-barrel video production company specializing in half-hour "horror" dramas and "reality show" videos of drunken people engaged in being drunk -- talking nonsense, fighting on the sidewalk, and the like, which they seem to distribute mostly via YouTube.

Their concept of ghost hunting is about as far as it's possible to be from serious paranormal research. On a page with throbbing heavy metal music playing and a photo of the company's president (a thirty-ish woman in what can only be described as slutwear), the technique is described thusly:

We like to get the ghosts [sic] attention by showing some titties, swearing, banging, and all sorts of fun stuff. Basicaly [sic] we confront them with a challenge and then see what we get.

Brilliant. As a boy, I spent a fair amount of time in the Corning Mansion, including many overnight visits. Let me say without hesitation: the Corning Mansion is not haunted. It's a fine and beautiful home that has recently been stabilized and spruced up after years of neglect.

Cleveland's TV Channel 19 news seems to have done a "gee-whiz-it's-Hallowe'en" feature on this company's "discovery" of the purported haunting a couple of years ago. Its unquestioning coverage is embedded and viewable on the website. It's a good example of why local TV news lost credibility decades ago.

The only remaining question is, who allowed these awful people inside the house in the first place?

Night Images

Strolling around Shaker Square and environs with the 3.2mp Canon A510 pocket digital and my best pal.

Instantly Disappointed

The first amazing thing about this was spotting it on the cheap camera shelf at Unique Thrift, where it sported a price tag of $3.99. Not bad for a camera that originally listed for $249.00. Over behind the counter they were offering a Yashica Electro 35 for $45.99 and a Minolta SLR with multiple lenses for $79.99, so the SX-70 appeared even more of a bargain.

Never mind that you can't get film for it anymore unless The Impossible Project comes through in 2010 as they project. You can be sure their product will be in the same price range as the now defunct SX-70 Blend, about $40.00 for a twin-pack of twenty images. You'd better make each of those two-dollar images count!

I love the brushed stainless steel body and the black leather trim. My SX-70 II has a white plastic body with brown vinyl "leatherette" trim that is doing what you would expect thirty-year-old brown vinyl to do: crumbling around the edges.

This particular one still had a film pack in it, with enough remaining battery power to operate the sonar autofocus, which worked like a dream. Four shots left. Tried one, came out blank. Chemicals either inert, or someone at the store had perhaps opened the film chamber and the top picture was exposed to light. Decided to take it out in optimal lighting conditions -- bright sun -- and try another one.

Unfortunately, it appears that cranking out the previous image used what was left of the battery's power. Herewith the photo I was trying to take, snapped with the Polaroid One and film reaching the end of its viability, as the slightly bilious cast reveals.

You can still buy a Polaroid One. It's a nice little camera, with a surprisingly sharp lens. Better than you might expect from a low-end consumer model. Incorporates useful features from the very nice Polaroid Spectra, erstwhile favorite of police departments nationwide. The One used to retail in the $40 range, if I recall correctly; Amazon sellers are offering Polaroid Ones at slightly higher prices, which seems not a little outrageous, considering that they are poised to become obsolete, at least for a couple of years, if not forever. I got my Polaroid One at Value World for $5.95.

Photo of the SX-70 snagged from one of the best online Polaroid resources, Jim's Polaroid Camera Collection.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Paper Lake Park

The lustrous PZ, at the hidden park with the aquamarine-colored lake in Chagrin Falls, 07-05-09.