Vernacular Palettes Local Color in Richmond Virginia Photographs and notes by Ralph R. Sell
For more information or archival prints from this collection, contact the author at
Book copyright 2012 by Sandpiper Enterprises. Ralph R. Sell retains sole copyright to all photographs in this book.
23456789 ISBN 13: 123足4足56789012足3
Vernacular Palettes Introduction
Camera loaded and ready, many of us inter mittently travel through newtous places on the planet, stimulated and fascinated by unfa miliar stories, smells, sounds and sights. The latter often show rich, bold palettes. These colors then reappear in our slide shows, flickr photostreams, picture albums, Smugmug gal leries and dreams for our next excursion. I know this. I’ve relived the cycle many times.
Responding to globalization excesses, many trend afficionados promote the benefits of the local. Local food, produce, banks, wines, mu sic, roasted coffee, chefs and more have caught the fascination of those troubled by global soul Pico Iyer’s lament that now “every where is made up of everywhere else.” So for this photo essay I turned my camera around. With this small book, I challenge all you ac tual or aspirant world traveler photographers to find visual fascination in nearby places. Add “local photos” and “photographing locals” to your toshoot list.
I also include a challenge question. Is Pico Iyer's quip correct?
Does everywhere really look like pieces from everywhere else? Of course “the local” lacks canonical bound aries. For the record, all photographs in this book were taken by the author within or near the city limits of Richmond Virginia. For tem poral context I also give the year the structure was first built and the year I took the photo graph. Early 2010 revisits found some re painting and recoloring. Local color includes its own dynamic.
Above: Single and double homes, Oregon Hill, painted clapboard with wood trim 1910:2009 Left: Row homes, Swansboro, painted brick with wood trim 1920:2009
Above: Double homes as shops, Carytown, painted brick with assorted trims 1930:2009 Left: Row homes with cityscape, Oregon Hill, painted brick with wood and metal trim 1890:2010
Above: Single and double homes, Museum District, painted brick with stone and wood trim 1918:2008 Right: Double home, The Fan, painted brick with stone and wood trim 2008
Bold primaries often dominate vernacular palettes. Computers and digital cameras may mix their RedGreen Blues and printers usually overlay CyanMagentaYellowBlack, but around Richmond, I found many painted buildings showing the classic artists’ YellowRedBlue palette. Starting with yellow, each of these artists’ colors will have their turn.
Above: Single home, Forest Hill, painted stucco, 1927:2010 Left: Modern architecture, Jeff Davis Highway, painted stucco and cement 2009
Above: Single home, Fulton Hill, painted composite siding 1947:2010 Right: Sally Fretwell Paints, Carytown, painted brick 1933:2009 Previous page left: Restaurants, Carytown, painted brick, wood and siding 1920:2009 Previous page right: Hermitage Grill, Hermitage Road, painted brick 2009
Primarily Blue Vernacular Palettes
Above: JJ's Restaurant & Lounge, Jeff Davis Highway, painted cement block & brick with metal trim 2009 Right: Mojo's Philadeli, VCU/Oregon Hill, painted brick with wood trim 1900:2009
Above: Rob's Too, Jeff Davis Highway, painted metal siding with wood trim 2009 Left: Rob's Tire, Jeff Davis Highway, painted cement block with wood trim 2009
Above: New Battambang Market, Swansboro, painted cement block 2009 Right: Single home, Swansboro, painted clapboard with wood trim 2009
Primarily Red Vernacular Palettes
Above: Fritz's Care Care, The Fan, painted brick and metal 1930:2009 Right: Rudd Appliance, Swansboro, painted brick 1930:2009
Aboce left: Left side of double home, Oregon Hill, painted clapboard 1910:2010 Above right: Nacho Mama's Restaurant, Carytown, painted brick and wood 1922:2009
Above left: Row home, Jackson Ward, painted brick with wood trim 1842:2010 Above right: Single home, Jackson Ward, painted brick with cast iron trim 1900:2010
Mixed Palettes Vernacular Palettes
Primary colors combine in two ways, either together or apart. Together yellow and red make orange余 yellow and blue make green余 and so forth. Apart, yellow and blue appear as, well, yellow and blue! I first present primaries mostly apart, then mix them together, and finally drop all colorimetric pretensions, allowing vernacular palettes to define themselves. Yellow and Blue apart. Above: Ruby Red Beauty Supply, Jeff Davis Highway, painted brick, cement block and metal 1988:2009
Yellow and Red mostly apart. Above: Comida Mixta Restaurant, Jeff Davis Highway, painted brick with wood trim 1940:2010
Above: Lion Mart, Chamberlayne Avenue, painted cement block, brick and wood 2009
Above: Tropicabana Night Club, Jeff Davis Highway, painted cement block with wood trim 2010
Above: Multifamily conversion, Museum District, mostly painted brick with wood trim 1920:2009 Left: Joshua House, Bellemeade, painted stucco 1915:2009
Above: Becky's Restaurant, Monroe Ward, painted brick and metal 1915:2009 Left: Single home, Church Hill North, painted clapboard with wood and wrought iron trim 1910:2010
Above: Single family home, Bellemeade, painted siding with wood trim 1925:2009 Left: Single family home, Church Hill North, painted clapboard with red trim 1900:2010
Above: Single family home, Fulton Hill, stone facing, with wood and wrought iron trim 1946:2010 Left: Single family home, Church Hill North, brick facing, siding and painted trim 2010
Left: Single home, Fulton Hill, weathered shingles with wood and metal trim 1920:2010 Above: Modest home, Fulton Hill, paint-starved clapboard 2010
Vernacular Palettes Technical notes.
Camera: Digital Single Lens Reflex Pentax K10D producing Adobe’s DNG image files. Lenses: Pentax M 28mm, M 50mm, M 135mm, DA 1855mm zoom. Lighting: natural sunlight. Image processing: For most photographs, I merged five exposurebracketed DNG images (3 to +3 ev in 1.5 ev steps) into a single High Dynamic Range file using Photomatrix 3.0.3 software. I then tone mapped the res ulting HDR image using the Qtpfsgui 1.9.3 software implementation of Rafal Mantiuk’s “A Perceptual Framework for Contrast Processing of High Dynamic Range Images.” Final cropping, contrast, saturation and sharpening adjustments were performed in Adobe Photoshop CS3 which also converted the aRGB color space into Blurb’s CMYK space. Book layout produced with Scribus 1.3.6 which created an Adobe standard PDF/X3 file. Fonts are Scribus’s Arial and Bauhaus for text and captions respectively. Additional information about the software and techniques is readily available from www search inquires. Information about original construction date and neighborhood location came from the City of Richmond Real Estate Assessor’s online Property Search at http://eservices.ci.richmond.va.us/applications/propertysearch/default.aspx. I wish to acknowledge the inspiration and insights received from the Focus Group Camera Club of Richmond Virginia. © Ralph R. Sell June 19, 2012