Thursday, December 31, 2009
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Longtime readers might have noticed that winter sunrise photos are far more common here than summer ones. This is because winter sunrises occur later. There's a lot I'm willing to do for a (hopefully) good photo, but getting up that early is really pushing it.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
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A few photos of "Animals in Pools", the series of small fountains and animal sculptures on the Yamhill & Morrison sides of the old Pioneer Courthouse, in downtown Portland. It was inevitable that I'd get around to this one sooner or later. It's a fountain, it's art, and it's about cute animals. I would've done it sooner, but this block is also usually home to panhandling street kids, and it's hard to take decent photos when tweakers keep asking you for spare change.
The Portland Water Bureau looks after most of the city's public fountains, which is nice since they're the only city department that seems to grok the interwebs at all. Their water blog often talks about various fountains around town, like this post about cleaning the animals and their pools (also with a better photo of the bear & salmon). It also features on the city's walking tour of Portland fountains, also available as a glossy brochure for the tourists.
I don't know that I have a favorite among the animals, but I do like the bear and salmon. I mean, I think the shadowy cabal that selects public art here in town has imposed an official Law of Salmon, such that they'll only consider your proposal if you promise to include at least one salmon somewhere in the piece. Furthermore, the evidence suggests they prefer their salmon Heroically Swimming Upstream, and teaching us Valuable Life Lessons in the process. Instead, this salmon is on the receiving end of a serious ursine "om nom nom nom". The piece toys with the Law of Salmon without technically breaking it. By Portland standards, it's risky, dangerous art. Transgressive, even.
Or possibly I'm reading too much into it.
The fountain went in back in 1986, as a public art component of the original MAX project (now the eastside Blue Line). This may explain why one of the seals is perched like he's waiting for the next train. If he's heading to the zoo, I hope he realizes he needs an All-Zone fare for that. TriMet fare inspectors don't accept "no money", "no pockets", or "no opposable thumbs" as valid excuses for not paying up. In any case, it's weird how he looks kind of impatient and despairing. Maybe that's how seals always look when they're running late for a meeting or whatever; I'm not an expert on seals and I wouldn't know. I do know that I used to look that way a lot myself when I rode the Blue Line to and from the office.
I tend to go off on lengthy tangents about whether such-and-such thing is Good Art or Bad Art, but I'm not very interested in that question this time. It's fun and whimsical and cute and I like it. So there.
The artist's website shows it along with numerous other works, mostly in the Seattle area, and mostly of animals. She refers to this piece as "Oregon Wildlife" rather than "Animals in Pools". I'm not sure what that's all about. Maybe "Oregon Wildlife" refers to just the animals, and "Animals in Pools" is "Oregon Wildlife" plus the pools. I don't know, and I'm sure it's not important. I just always have to speculate, because that's just what I do. In any case, you can also find more photos of other works of hers on Flickr, and probably via your favorite search engine's image search, if you prefer.