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A Place in the Sun: 1936

January 1936. "Negro house. New Orleans, Louisiana." The abode last glimpsed here. 8x10 inch nitrate negative by Walker Evans for the U.S. Resettlement Administration. View full size.

January 1936. "Negro house. New Orleans, Louisiana." The abode last glimpsed here. 8x10 inch nitrate negative by Walker Evans for the U.S. Resettlement Administration. View full size.


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Today’s Top 5

1st or 2nd problem solved

Why not just look at the "Metadata" for each image? Oh wait, 8x10 nitrate negatives in 1936 didn't record "Metadata".

Off your rocker

Maybe it's just me but someone may want to turn that rocker around so the back faces the wall!

Re: Coming ... or going??

This photo was taken after the one posted here in 2007. So ... he is going.

When I first considered the challenge of Notcom's question, I thought to myself that it would be very unlikely the two photos were taken far enough apart to be able to find a clear difference in the shadows when comparing the two photos. But I found at least two places that allow an unmistakable comparison. The only opportunity to screw this up would be to misinterpret this virtual gnomon as I'm still sipping my first cup of morning coffee. Being winter helps, as the sun is very low in the sky in the south, so the house is facing south, or at least approximately. So the sun is progressing to the left of this photo behind the photographer as it moves west in the sky and the shadows are moving to the right. Of the two places I used for comparison in the photo, the most distinct is the shadow cast by the center handrail (serving nonexistent steps) on the pattern of what appears to be cement at the base of the porch.

It is so nice to have a lazy Sunday morning to be able to afford the time to contemplate something so esoteric and trivial, and share with others. Some day I'll retire and nearly every day will be like this.

Using my little grey cells

I conclude today's photograph was the second of the two. First, the man at left on the balcony -- it makes more sense he came out onto the balcony, stared at Walker Evans, then took his place at the corner; than it does he left the corner, walked towards the center of the balcony, and then turned to look at Walker Evans. Second, there is garbage at the curb. In the 2007 post there is no discernable garbage at the curb; but today there is at least one piece of white paper; probably dropped by one of the many small children running around because children are more likely to drop garbage than they are to pick it up. N'est-ce pas?

Coming ... or going??

If one consults that prior photo -- it was posted 16 years ago! -- it will be seen that most of the comments centered on the man sitting in the (now) vacant rocking chair. Specifically that he was facing away from the camera; interpretations ranged from the prosaic -- bashful, miffed at the photographer -- right up to the exotic -- voodoo priest (okay I exaggerate, a little).

None of that interests me; what I want to know is: was this shot taken just before that one, or just after??

The shadows seems ever-so-slightly shorter, but with no sense of time or direction. I'm not sure that helps any.

I think we have a winner, but at any rate a consensus: "going". The key is the (very slight) lateral movement in the shadows; I had noted the vertical movement, but forgot about the horizontal movement, which is ultimately more useful since the sun may move up and down in the sky, but it always moves west. The only possible complication would be if the negative had been reversed - an oddly common problem I have discovered - but the billboard tells us it's correctly positioned. The other question, "why?"(take two so similar shots), I'm afraid we may never have an answer to. Thanks to DFP and 'kines' for your deductions. - N

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