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Posts from the ‘Portland’ Category

on looking for the vanishing point

1 : a point at which receding parallel lines seem to meet when represented in linear perspective
2 : a point at which something disappears or ceases to exist  —Merriam Webster Dictionary

A vanishing point is a point on the image plane of a perspective drawing where the two-dimensional perspective projections (or drawings) of mutually parallel lines in three-dimensional space appear to converge.  —Wikipedia

Mary Berry, an English non-fiction writer, arrived in Paris on Sunday, March 14, 1802. At 1:00 p.m. the next day, she went to the Louvre. “To give any idea of this gallery is quite impossible,” she wrote.

“You ascend to it (at present) by a commodious plain staircase, and first enter a large square room [the Salon Carré] … lined with all the finest Italian pictures, very well placed as to light. Out of this room you enter a gallery [the Grande Galerie]—such a gallery. But such a gallery!!! As the world never before saw, both as to size and furniture! So long that the perspective ends almost in a point [emphasis mine], and so furnished that at every step, tho’ one feels one must go on, yet one’s attention is arrested by all the finest pictures that one has seen before in every other country, besides a thousand new ones.”

If I want to impress someone when I visit a museum, I will mention the vanishing point in a painting. I will choose a painting with a single vanishing point, maybe one with two, and they are often obvious, and ask, “Have you noticed that this artist has used a single point to focus the elements in the painting?”  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

Once I did that while visiting a photography exhibit in southern France. A camera crew happened to be there. As I pointed to this and that in the photo, talking away, and without knowing, I was being filmed. When I looked up and back, I saw what was occurring and someone with the camera crew beckoned me to continue.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.) But wait, there’s more!

on sleeping on the streets of portland, part 2 (b & w)

 Continued from . . . “on sleeping on the streets of portland, part 1 (color).

Outside my apartment during the past two weeks, a lady in her fifties, maybe, with an overfilled shopping cart, her possessions piled high and secured, had chosen to pass the day and the night, not moving far, often prone on the sidewalk but out of the way for pedestrians to pass without stepping on or over her.

The other day I walked by a stretch of street with two adjacent popular restaurants. The tables were taken and the terrace tables, newly installed during the pandemic to provide safe, out door dining, were all taken. Brunch is popular in Portland. Across the narrow side street and clearly visible to all were four tents, neatly pitched, and no trash cluttering the pavement.

On another day I happened to pass Voodoo Donuts. As usual a long line extended along the wall from the entrance to West Burnside. The patrons generally were young, although some adults stood patiently waiting, well dressed and clean and fresh. A jazz saxophone player played music.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

But wait, there’s more!

on sleeping on the streets of portland, part 1 (color)

The two story Fremont Bridge in Portland is large, really big. It is a major conduit that crosses the Willamette River, and cars and trucks use it to head toward Washington state to the north and to travel south on I5 toward the California border some 250-300 miles away.

Underneath and adjacent to the bridge are stores and restaurants and schools and parking lots and . . . homeless camps.

One does not fully appreciate its size until standing underneath and looking up, and from certain vantage points, one can see the trucks and cars, the size of toys, rush by.

And underneath it all are many homeless camps.

The Fremont Bridge and the freeway cut through and over the more wealthy sections of Portland—the northwest areas of the Pearl, Nob Hill, the Alphabet District, Slabtown.

In those neighborhoods, one of which I call home, the residents are comfortable. They have money, generally. Those neighborhoods have many residents on the streets as well. That is where they sleep. And eat. They use the Portland Loo toilets when they can.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

I have criss-crossed the streets and walked in and around the pillars that support the Fremont Bridge. I have seen the camps and watched them grow and die and sometimes be taken down and swept away by the city.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.) But wait, there’s more!

on the vanishing point of portland streets in color & black and white

The vanishing point in paintings forms part of a linear perspective scheme. It is the point in fictive space which is supposed to appear the furthest from the viewer – the position at which all receding parallel lines meet. —National Gallery

1 : a point at which receding parallel lines seem to meet when represented in linear perspective
2 : a point at which something disappears or ceases to exist. –Merriam-Webster Dictionary

When the neighborhoods in Portland, Oregon—my home town—were planned, I suspect a city planner took out a sheaf of graph paper and a ruler, then chose parcel of land, and set about drawing straight grids, checkerboards from the sky, with streets straight and long with vanishing points at each end.

Portland is flat, more or less, and in most neighborhoods, including mine in NW Portland, one can stand in the middle of the street and look one way and then turn 180 degrees and look in the other direction and see two long, diverging lines to a vanishing point in the distance.

Few hills obstruct the view. Few buildings will abruptly block the gaze.

Most of these long and narrow streets are lined with trees whose branches extend out and over, touching and overlapping from one side to the other. They are one more example of the tree hugging reputation that exemplifies the liberal Portland.

But wait, there’s more!