New Sight

Ever since our first weekend visit to Chattanooga a year and a half ago, I have wanted to peruse the Hunter Museum of American Art.  The building itself has appeared in many of my photos.  Perched high on the bluff overlooking the Tennessee River next to the Walnut Street Bridge, it’s a place I have walked around many, many times.

I just haven’t made it inside.

But, with temperatures rising into the 100’s in time for Pat’s family to arrive in Chattanooga and an enticing exhibit called Sound and Vision:  Monumental Rock and Roll Photography, it was clearly time to go.

I would love to have access to shoot the interior of Hunter Museum when no one is there.  As it was, tripod-less and hurried, I didn’t do the architecture justice.  Photos of the photos were not permitted, but it’s just as well.  The photos in the exhibit should not be reproduced by taking crappy pictures of them hanging on the wall.

I wanted to spend hours absorbing each of them.  So many of the muscians I had come to know and love were so artfully captured.  I wanted to know why.  Why was each image so uniquely powerful?  I looked at each photo going through a portrait photographer’s checklist:  eyes lit well, subject framed with rule of thirds, soft light, subject fills frame, etc, etc.  Every image violated at least one if not many of the “rules” of portraiture.  I’ve suspected as much.  If you want an interesting portrait, you’ve got to do something different.  I can’t wait to go back when I can sit and absorb some more.

We moved on through the permanent exhibits in the museum, including those in the historic mansion portion of this building.  Once again, I wish I had the opportunity to do the architecture justice.  I’m not always a fan of deconstructivist architecture (except for the inherent irony in the term), but somehow the juxtaposition of the historic mansion against the ultra-modern section works.  Apparently the ultra modern section was designed by a student of Frank Gehry (according to an employee of the museum).  There is certainly a resemblance in the style.

Later that night, we went up to Lookout Mountain to celebrate Pat’s 50th birthday.  I’m now married to a 50 year old.  It bothers him, not me.  Pat’s sister was supposed to join us, but having missed her flight from Denver, she didn’t arrive until after dinner.  We took Pat’s parents to Point Park before she arrived and then ended up back there again first thing the next morning.

An interesting comparison in the photos (at least to me):  I was shooting with my 16-35mm lens in the evening shots and with my 100-400mm the next morning.  I managed to get a shot of our building at 400mm.  It doesn’t make a very good image with the morning haze, but it still blows my mind that we can see our building from Point Park.


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