T4 : Some progress perhaps...

Some progress on a number of counts this week…

Firstly, I’ve completed the first draft of the essay. It will change in some way, the conclusion isn’t right and I need to get it tighter, but I think I’ll let it lie for a week first (not too long though)

MA1 Essay DRAFT1 (password protected - e-mail me if you want to read it)

Secondly, I have had a response from Martin Möll about the location of Bob’s Service in LA. As it happens, he’s not actually sure, but he sent me some information anyway:

Hi Rob,

Thank you for your e-mail. I’m glad to hear that my work has been a great help so far for your own project.
To be honest, Bob’s Service in L.A. is one of the few sites I can’t with a 100% certainty say that I am right with my choice.

Here’s what I wrote down for my own purposes after visiting L.A. in 2009:

“The Los Angeles Central Library downtown has the
1962 yellow pages on micro fiche. After two hours
going through listings of service stations, gasoline
companies, automobile repairs and services as well as
restaurants, the following information was found:

– There are no listings for Bob‘s Seaside Service, there
were a few Seaside Service Stations, but not one near
Route 66 at that time. There were four Bob‘s Service.
Two of them are too far off from Route 66, one is on
3500 North Broadway (Route 66 from 1926 until 1931)
and one is four blocks south of Santa Monica Boulevard
(Route 66 from 1953 until 1964).”

Since Ruscha photographed each of the sites in 1962, I chose to photograph the former place of the Seaside Service south of Santa Monica Boulevard.

However, it is possible that Jeff Brouws could provide you with a different information, since he revisited the sites only last year. Together we work on the project to revisit the revisited.

I’m interested to hear more about your project and would appreciate it if you could tell me in more detail about it.

And I hope my information is of any help to you.

Kind regards

I was aware of a Bob’s Air Service on Wilshire Blvd, which is south of Santa Monica Blvd (not sure what constitutes a “block” in America…) I’m really not sure this is the place though. I have now contacted Jeff Brouws, hopefully he will get back to me soon with something more definitive. I’ve not heard from the others I’ve contacted (from Road to Ruscha, etc.)

The other thing that I think is quite positive is the effect putting diesel has had on my test prints. This came through as an idea following discussions with Lisa Barnard, and initially it didn’t look like it was doing anything – I was hoping it would affect the image, but I experimented anyway, using a spare commercial digital lab print I had, together with a few different papers through my inkjet. The commercial print didn’t really do much, but I did get an interesting effect from a matte paper as the diesel makes it largely translucent if you hold it to the light. It also makes them smell, but that’s another issue. The photo below is just a test print, but I like what it has done after about 2 weeks – it mirrors the fact that the gasoline stations have largely disappeared (there’s maybe just the Jackrabbit one that is still operational, but I can’t really tell). If you lay it down, it feels much more like a “normal” print though.

Whiting Bros, near Ludlow, California [Jul 2012]

This leads me to wonder whether light boxes would be the way to go (or is it a fire hazard, bearing in mind they’re soaked in diesel!)? And do they stand up in isolation and therefore not need the local works in juxtaposition? Something to discuss over the next few weeks in the group crit and tutorial, see what others see in there.

The above is just a 15x10cm print, so I’ve done some a little larger (limited by size of my diesel tray) and will see how we get on after a week – time is running out I guess, so if I can squeeze the soaking time, it would help.