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Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Sometimes being “chemo sick” robs a person of their creative connections, not always, but often enough so that when those cool, lucid, and inspired moments do occur, I have to take advantage of them.  Hence, a post containing original music.  A first for me here, but after all, it’s all about “call and response.”

The solo was written, recorded, and mixed, using a my 2001 Fender Texas Strat (Humbucker pick up)  played live through my little red Fender 25 R amp, recorded through an Olympus DM-20 digital recorder, HD, and and a omni-directional mic suspended and balanced between live amp and computer backing track.  Reggae style backing track composed using Chord Pulse 2.4 software in the key of Am.  Sound was mixed using Audacity.  All photos edited in Windows Movie Maker, using Google images from “public domain.”

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Turban Woman

This entire post came about because of a photograph of a lady’s odd-looking turban. Yes, turban. Jackie was sifting through her old family photographs and came across an envelope with about a dozen or so very old black and white negatives, not the kind from a 35 mm roll of film, but negatives from 620 film developed by Kodak in the early 30’s. The film was possibly used in an old box-style camera, like the Target Brownie Six-20 popular in the early 40’s. It looked something like this:

Camera Details Kodak Brownie Six-20 used 620 film developed by Kodak in the early 30’s (1931)

Camera Details
Kodak Brownie Six-20 used 620 film developed by Kodak in the early 30’s (1931)

We had no idea what was on the negatives. I used a technique I read about online to transfer the negatives to my Photoshop Elements program using a scanner. The digital images came out surprisingly well.

Most old photographs reveal some sort of story about their subjects. One image in particular that I transferred to digital jumped out at me: it was a photograph of a woman, her back turned to the camera, walking away from the scene taking place in the foreground. The photograph was taken somewhere in Tucson, Arizona, sometime in the middle 1940’s. The woman is wearing a very fashionable (for the times) 40’s, pre-war era turban head scarf, a white jacket covered with barely visible random letters printed on the back, and by the look of the position of her arm, her body language suggests to me she is exiting post-haste.

In the foreground, Jackie’s Uncle Lionel (Jackie describes him as the Golden Boy of the family, very successful, and one of the original Marlboro Men), humped over the fender of his car (make is unidentifiable), is peering intently at the engine, the car’s half-hood raised, and a cigarette dangling from his mouth. As a casual observer I might suppose Uncle Lionel’s car broke down, and his turban-clad girlfriend, perhaps fed up with the wait and the possible threat of later having to sit next to her oleaginous boyfriend, decided to strike out on her own, leaving Uncle Lionel on his own. We see only her back as she walks away, her turban securely resting atop her head.

Staring at this photograph, I am curious about that turban she is wearing. It raises some questions in my mind. For example, why the hell is she wearing a turban? The ubiquitous turbans we see today are typically worn by Muslim or Sikh men or members of any number of middle-eastern religious groups who wear this type of head covering for religious reasons. After a bit of research, I learned that as a head covering, American women have worn turbans for a long time and for different reasons, both practical and fashionable. Women have worn cloth head coverings—variously known as “head rags,” “head wraps,” “head handkerchiefs,” as well as turbans— in 19th century America, and have continued to wear them well into the 1950’s and even now in 2015. These head wraps or turbans initially served a very specific and functional purpose for the female labor force, and were far removed from being any kind of symbolic fashion statement. But as the American high fashion world often does, it takes the old and turns it into something new.

black woman wearing a turban, 1870

From this (Brazilian slave women, 1870)—

JayLo in a turban

To this (Jennifer Lopez, singer, dancer, fashion designer, 2011)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To be continued:  The Turban: High Culture vs. Low Culture.

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