Archive for Sunday, November 15, 1992

ANOTHER FORM OF PRESERVATION

November 15, 1992

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Earl Iversen describes the meeting room upstairs in Vinland's Grange Hall as having a "real pristine, historical feel."

There, the Grangers held their ceremonial gatherings against a backdrop of community billboard advertisements that remain in place today.

Iversen, a Kansas University associate professor of design, took first prize last month in the Douglas County Architectural Photography Contest. His entry was a series of recent Grange Hall photographs, including one of the meeting room that captured its vintage feel and that was singled out for top honors.

John Charlton, Kansas Geological Survey photographer, focused on another historical ``time warp'' in his contest entry, which received a special mention designation.

Charlton submitted a series that took him back to the same locations in Douglas County that famed Civil War and Abraham Lincoln photographer Alexander Gardner documented in 1867 for the Union Pacific Railroad.

CHARLTON'S views of the "built" and natural environment around town are quite different from Gardner's.

Recent KU architecture graduate Chris Davis took an architect's view with his second prize-winning entry. Davis submitted three photographs of railroad cars that have been turned into a private residence alongside U.S. Highway 56 between Baldwin Junction and Overbrook.

"We (also) got some nice mundane things," said contest organizer Nicolette Bromberg. She noted, for example, the River City Car Wash in North Lawrence, shot by Andrew Arnone, a KU senior in journalism from Lawrence, which placed third.

"He's a very good photographer," Bromberg said of Arnone. "These are things no one else will think to record."

The contest, sponsored by the Lawrence Preservation Alliance, drew entries from 56 people. Bromberg, an LPA board member and president-elect of the group, also is curator of photography for the Kansas Collection in Kansas University's Spencer Research Library.

"THIS IS just another form of historic preservation," she said. "You can't preserve every single building out there. Change comes to the world.

"In 20, 40, 50 years, it could be this will be the only record of some of these buildings."

With that possibility in mind, she added, contest entries were required to include specific locations and the dates photographs were taken.

Winning entries and a selection of others go on exhibit this week in KU's Art and Design Building, after having been on display in KU's Marvin Hall. The photographs' next showing will be in May, during Preservation Month, at Gallery IV, 17 East Seventh.

Judging was Oct. 13. First prize was $250, second was $100, third $50, and two honorable mentions were $25 each. The special mention designation carried no monetary award.

"I WAS pretty pleased for the first time out," Bromberg said of the number and diversity of the entries. "We had a good range."

In addition to Lawrence, Vinland, Long Star and Worden were among Douglas County communities photographed, as well as a number of rural sites.

Noting she hoped the contest would become an annual event, Bromberg said entries were to go into a Lawrence Preservation Alliance collection within the Kansas Collection, and over time should build "a nice record of architecture in Douglas County."

In selecting winners, Bromberg said, she and the other contest judges, Hobart Jackson, KU associate professor of architecture and urban design, and Curtis Besinger, KU professor emeritus of architecture and urban design, looked first for technical quality and then nice images something more than "the same, old things."

KATHRYN SIEBERT, a sophomore in fine arts from North Platte, Neb., won honorable mention for her photographs of fast-food eateries. The exteriors of Sonic, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, McDonald's and Quickie's singled out as best of the group trigger instant recognition.

Siebert is a student in Iversen's photography I class, members of which were required to enter the contest. After a field trip to the Kansas Collection, Siebert said she decided to try to "capture more our times, and how our modern society is based on quick, fast kinds of things no time to do anything but just `drive through.' "

She added her honorable mention was quite a surprise as the photographs were some of the first she'd ever taken.

Iversen said he assigned the contest, in part, because it "was being run for all the right reasons." He said the LPA was "a real good group and a very positive thing in Lawrence," and the fact that the contest entries would go into the Kansas Collection also was a good reason.

After he made the assignment, though, he said, "I was frankly pretty nervous."

Photo I students, most of whom are second-year design students, usually are started much more slowly.

IN THE END, though, Iversen was pleasantly surprised. "Overall, I was impressed with what they produced," he said.

Bromberg said she also sent word of the contest to various photography special interest groups to generate entries.

Johnson of Shawnee Mission, a member of the Society for Contemporary Photography, entered several photographs and received an honorable mention for one of a billboard the "built" environment touting "Great Used Cars." At the frame's edge, Johnson caught a parked 1937 Chevrolet sedan.

Second-prize winner Davis said the unconventional housing in his entry struck him because it showed how people create their own environments with their dwellings.

"It was just really odd . . . just the idea of making a house out of railroad cars," he said, noting he spotted the train-home one day while bicycling on Highway 56.

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