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Look Downward Angle: 1941

Look Downward Angle: 1941

July 1941. No caption here, "here" being somewhere in Chicago at 9:37. Medium format acetate negative by John Vachon for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


Nine. Thirty-seven.

I'm loving the reference to Look Homeward, Angel -- a book that I (and most) consider Thomas Wolfe's greatest work. Incidentally (considering the time that JV took the photo), TW died on September 15, 1938, at age 37 (two-plus weeks shy of his 38th birthday).

My own father (a pilot, not a writer) was born almost exactly 30 years after Thomas Wolfe, in October 1930. He died on September 13, 1968, at age 37 (a month before his 38th birthday).

It's the kind of picture I would take

I'm going to guess what prompted John Vachon to take this photograph: there are four sets of two men walking towards a mutual intersection point. Behind three of the pairs of men there is a single man. Vachon snapped this photo just before the man at the bottom disappeared under the building's ledge. It has more impact if you imagine it in motion.

I would also bet there wasn't much other foot traffic, which made this near collision more noticeable.


Although the header here presents a pun-perfect literary allusion, best to be careful about crying Wolfe.

Ice Away

My mom used to tell a story about my uncle and her tossing ice cubes out a second story window while their parents were entertaining business clients in another room of their hotel suite. This all stopped when a policeman knocked on the door. Really irritated since he got hit with a bucket of ice cubes.


I suffer, like many, from an extreme fear of heights. Pictures like this in print and on TV literally cause my palms to sweat. Yes, I know it's not really a dangerous situation, but tell that to my phobia.

Bombs Away!

I feel like I should be holding a water balloon out of this window while deciding who my target will be.

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