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Monday, 4 October 2010

Production: The Big Smoke


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Smoke stacks: photo by Alfred Palmer, 1942


O beautiful for spacious skies

Katherine Lee Bates: Pikes Peak, July 16, 1895

... they came, by slow degrees, upon a cheerless region...advancing more and more into the shadow of this mournful place, its dark depressing influence stole upon their spirits, and filled them with a dismal gloom. On every side, and far as the eye could see into the heavy distance, tall chimneys, crowding on each other, and presenting that endless repetition of the same dull, ugly form, which is the horror of oppressive dreams, poured out their plague of smoke, obscured the light, and made foul the melancholy air.

Charles Dickens: The Old Curiosity Shop, 1840-1841




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Smoke stack of TVA chemical plant where elemental phosphorus is made, vicinity of Muscle Shoals, Alabama: photo by Alfred T. Palmer, June 1942

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Busy stacks give evidence of all-out war production effort at a plant of Owens-Corning Fiberglass Corporation, Akron, Ohio: photo by Alfred T. Palmer, 1942

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Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corporation, Akron, Ohio: photo by Alfred T. Palmer, February 1942

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Near the waterfront, New Bedford, Massachusetts: photo by Jack Delano, January 1941

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A starch factory along the Aroostook River, Caribou, Aroostook County, Maine: photo by Jack Delano, October 1940

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Southland Paper mill, Kraft (chemical) pulp used in making newsprint, Lufkin, Texas: photo by John Vachon, April 1943

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Blast furnaces and iron ore at the Carnegie-Illinois Steel Corporation mills, Etna, Pennsylvania: photo by Alfred T. Palmer, November 1941

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Smoke stacks: photo by Alfred T. Palmer, 1942


Photos from Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress

5 comments:

curtisroberts said...

What hath God wrought?

TC said...

Infinite particulates, 'twould seem.

It's the still so, so blue skies that make the views so poignant... as if the absorbent power of the atmosphere were even more infinite than the infinity of particulates.

If only.

STEPHEN RATCLIFFE said...

Yes indeed, and what the hand of man (hath wrought) --- a beautiful, restorative (if perhaps only illusionary) thought, that these "still so, so blue skies . . . were even more infinite than the infinity of particulates) . . . .


10.4

light coming into sky above still black
ridge, waning white moon next to branch
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

present of marks in patterns
that texture, that hand

abyss between open and “open,”
sees this, glimpse this

grey-white of sky reflected in channel,
wingspan of gull flapping toward point

TC said...

Steve,

What I remember best about Bolinas, especially from our first abode out over the reef, was the astonishing blue depth of the sky, when the fog cleared away...

(sees this, glimpse this)

From here, when one gets up above the business district a bit and looks toward the south and west, one sees, on most days, a yellow haze.

STEPHEN RATCLIFFE said...

Tom,

I know what you mean (yellow haze, especially in the fall when NW wind stops), I was over there yesterday, saw it too. . . . that deep blue sky out here yesterday morning, with lines of clouds going this way and that, that plus "silver of sunlight reflected in water" - - -


10.5

light coming into sky above black plane
of ridge, white curve of moon by branch
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

sequences of pre-established
subject, its concrete

part in air, deep blue green
white not water, even

silver of sunlight reflected in channel,
line of 6 pelicans gilding toward point