U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Pittsburgh


Having mentioned Pittsburgh I feel compelled to add that it was wonderful, tho more accurately I should say it IS wonderful even tho I am no longer there. Totally unlike what we learned in school, it's full of shiny new architecture -- much of it DESIGNER architecture. And, Tom Persinger (NOT a member of the chamber of commerce, merely director of f295 -- tho Chamber of Commerce should give him a medal) noted that it has more bridges than any other city in the world except Venice.

Which does of course make for a great many romantic views, tho it also makes a girl lose her sense of direction: You get out of the Andy Warhol Museum and want to go east, but the yellow bridge you walked in on is over there, and that's probably north. The clue is that ALL bridges are painted yellow, so -- bring a compass.

Nor can you just hail a cab, roving taxi's aren't there yet. So you walk, but there are MANY great things to walk to. And the walk itself, (unless March wind is howling down from the North Pole) is lovely.

The gum prints at the Photo Antiquities Museum of Photographic History (look, I didn't make up that name) were extremely interesting, with an orangish single-coat portrait of a woman's head eerily reminiscent of one by Keith Gerling (seen on his website), tho Keith's was on rough paper and this one on smooth, so buttery I need to try it. (Scott Yoff, the reigning maestro, said he thought it was a Winsor Newton watercolor paper.)

But frankly, what thrilled me most in that "Photo Museum" was row on row (for 3 floors in a narrow storefront, slated for its own building when ready) of cartes de visite, albumen prints, tintypes, orotones, cyanotypes daguerreotypes, and more than I've seen anywhere else of "photo buttons" -- those round plates with photos in center and various borders or backgrounds, covered with something like celluloid, that Scott called "photo buttons"... plus others I forget -- more than you could take in at one time. (And-- a fetish of mine, a bunch of back views of the "cartes," showing signature designs of the studios.)

The Andy Warhol Museum is also major. Despite many recommendations, I figured I knew Warhol, who needed him in Pittsburgh? But finding myself on the doorstep with 2 hours to kill, I decided why fight it? The thrill was in the many other artists there: If you haven't seen Ron Mueck's giant baby girl, you need to (much more intense in the polyester, or whatever made it look like actual newborn about 15 feet long, than on a magazine page). Other attractions, of which I managed only a sampling, included neighborhoods full of little old houses we used to call Pennsylvania Dutch (a euphemism for German, I've been told) now attracting artist refugees from New York's real estate prices, of whom I met a couple.... (Not to mention Carnegie Mellon, et al, for more art fixes.)

Tom Persinger is of course an attraction in himself, founder of f295, sponsor of upcoming seminar, maven of photo processes, plus tall, blond and handsome (if I may say so without being accused of sexism).

[See his menu for the f295 Symposium, posted March 18.]

And apparently, busses go everywhere in Pittsburgh, tho you need to know the numbers and the transfer points. The ride in from the airport, for instance, is a long one -- $2.50 by bus, $40 -- or more -- by cab.) AND there's now the "Airtrain" to the E-train from Kennedy airport to Manhattan, which my seatmate on the flight back kindly led me to: MUCH pleasanter than the SuperShuttle, plus helluva lot cheaper.