Updating Cysewski

March 29, 2015 at 3:46 am | Posted in anchorage, art, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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This was an idea of Jon Lang’s — a longtime friend who has come into his own as an independent Producer/Director of art films lately.  [He and I have talked about joint ventures on art projects before but I’ve never followed through.]

Stephen Cysewski has been getting lots of buzz for a long time about his 1970s photos of Anchorage, Fairbanks, Seattle, Tacoma and other places.  Jon’s idea was that he and his wife, local photographer Jamie Lang and I would go around and take contemporary photos matching Cysewski’s four decades old ones — and be able to observe how much the physical settings had changed, or had not.

Some of the locations of the vintage shots are easy to spot, others not so much.  But we enjoy a challenge!

Today I got the ball rolling.  First I picked out some shots from Cysewski’s site and printed them at approx. 3×5.  On the way back home, I stopped at a few of the sites.  Prints in hand, I tried to recreate the shot from the same angle, as closely as possible.  Some were more successful than others.

Maybe we’ll work on this some more, refine the approach and technique?  But this seems like a decent start!  Kind of fun, isn’t it?


This was easy to place because there’s another photo of it on Cysewski’s site of a sign in the front yard that includes the address [cropped out of this view].  There was a fortune teller in here when Cysewski wandered by [on W. 6th Ave. between H and I Streets] back in the ’70s.  This little house and the one to the left of it are now gone, but the one on the right [at 825 W. 6th] is still there and in recent years was a Chinese restaurant, though it now appears to be closed.  The front yard was decreased by a widening of 6th Ave.

Same location today.

This one was easy to composite, by matching the Capt. Cook Hotel tower in the background, and the dormer on the house that’s still there.

This scene has hardly changed at all.  For a long time in the ’80s and ’90s the tile was covered up with beige paint, but later they had the sense to strip it off.  The building is owned by the Catholic Archdiocese.  The owner of the tile business was Elmer Eller, as I recall.  He moved it out of downtown in the early 1980s, and then went out of business.

The first Denali Tower, at 2600 Denali St.  The business development of Midtown was just getting a head of steam, and when this tower was completed in 1977 it looked out of place among small houses and low-key side streets.  Cysewski’s view is from Cordova St. looking east.

Today the houses are gone and their lots are part of an expanded parking lot.  A second Denali Tower with 13 stories was finished next door at 2550 Denali St. in 1983.

This place just seems like the archetypal Pipeline era establishment [at E. Fireweed Lane and Fairbanks St.].  In the ’80s it was a branch of El Toro Restaurant [they had a bigger one in Wasilla] and later it was Steve’s Sports Bar.  Recently it’s been vacant.  Last year somebody stripped the exterior and began renovations that have since stalled.

This place on E. 4th Ave. just west of Gambell St. was suffering a lot of deferred maintenance issues but nonetheless seemed to be some sort of State offices, judging from the Chevy Nova staff cars with State of Alaska seals on the doors.

It looks quite a bit better now, and it and the larger building to the right are a seedy residential hotel [but it’s better than living on the streets].

Used car lot where a boxy low rise state office building now sits [it’s just a little newer than this photo] and a fast food place, Malay’s Sandwiches that today is Burger Jim.  Looking east at 4th and Gambell.

This was the hardest one to create a composite from the two images.  The original was taken with an SLR from inside a car, the one today with an iPhone 6 standing in the street.  I was able to sort of line up the mountains, but the rest of it looks a bit unconvincing.

Side note on this one: The large building-mounted sign on the sandwich place in the old photo was only recently removed.  I took its photo in 2009.

The last stops on today’s tour will be Mt. View.  Here’s Cysewski’s candid looking east from Mt. View Dr. and Bragaw St. in the ’70s.  He was probably standing right where I was, at a short section of solid wall next to large plate glass south facing windows of a laundromat.  The gas station that’s just cropped out of the view was torn down in 2009 in favor of the Credit Union 1.

This one includes what was then Alaska State Bank and is now McKinley Services in the foreground and Jamico’s Pizza [that is still there, remarkably] beyond.  Mt. View Dr. just east of Bragaw, view looking SW.



April 6, 2014 at 5:39 am | Posted in anchorage, art, photo du jour | Leave a comment
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Photo class session, learning about shooting portraits in natural light.


June 5, 2012 at 9:24 am | Posted in anchorage, art, photo du jour | Leave a comment
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Detail of ambitious art installation by Harry Mezak.  More about it at my Mt View blog.


May 2, 2012 at 5:01 am | Posted in alaska, art, photo du jour | Leave a comment
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coffee bear

Coffee stop kitsch, better than average -- Sterling Hwy.


April 9, 2012 at 3:39 am | Posted in alaska, art, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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michele spring 2011

Finally had some money to retrieve some film that was in the lab for almost a year!  And turned in 11 more rolls of 120.  This was one of the first outings with a new [to me] camera and there were some technical difficulties — overexposed, film possibly fogged at the airport, and I suspect one of the two lenses is a little better than the other [this was shot with a 135; the frames with the 80 are sharper] — still, managed to tune this one up a little in Photoshop and it’s a nice capture despite more than a few flaws.  Looking over some old shots from 2009 the other day, I’m remembering how much I like the character of film.

Update: Same camera with 80mm.


April 6, 2012 at 5:38 am | Posted in art, photo du jour | Leave a comment
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March 26, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Posted in anchorage, art, photo du jour | Leave a comment
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gonzales family portrait

Rod Gonzales‘ painting of himself and family in Talkeetna, AK +/- 20 years ago — at his memorial service.


April 16, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Posted in anchorage, art, photo du jour | Leave a comment
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Angela Ramirez self-portrait at her MTS Gallery solo exhibit.


March 16, 2011 at 5:58 am | Posted in anchorage, art, photo du jour | Leave a comment
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Painting gallery walls in preparation for the next exhibit.


March 8, 2011 at 5:48 am | Posted in alaska, art, photo du jour | Leave a comment
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Detail of spiky sculpture piece.

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