Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I'm ready for my closeup Mr. Demille

returning eaves 

Most of us will be familiar with that classic movie line, uttered by a languid Gloria Swanson, in the 1950 film noir, Sunset Boulevard. "I'm ready for my closeup Mr. Demille."

neoclassical window entablature and pilasters

From time to time, delightful closeups appear on my laptop screensaver as it cycles through my photo archives.

 mausoleum adornment

The images conjure up the moment when I first encountered a particular element - some decorative, some practical, some the best of that synergy which sees a craftsman giving his best to the creation of even the most mundane bit of a building.

They rekindle the curiosity I felt at observing interesting construction details at close range, or at recognizing an iconic bit of a particular style.

cast iron neoclassical parapet graces concrete block store

The images also recall the emotions I felt at seeing something well - taking in all the elements,  listening for the voice of history (what was the public reaction when this structure was new, how did folks interact with it?)

neoclassical church entrance
wooden quoins

warmth of wood noted by the most discriminating critic
closeup: wilful neglect

Thought I'd share some.

1 comment:

  1. Nice pictures. There's so many vestiges of history for us to see, even in this day and age. I loved the ghost sign. A few years back I went on a mini-campaign to photograph the many ghost signs that still grace buildings in Toronto. There were also a couple amazing websites devoted to that very thing, if I remember correctly.