The ramblings of an Eternal Student of Life
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Saturday, June 18, 2016
Photo ... Society ...

I took a 3 hour walkabout today through the inner suburban maze of Essex County NJ, looking for an interesting photo angle or two. Well, actually that’s a tough assignment, as the older ‘burbs of northern NJ can be rather bland in outward appearance (and the newer ones are even worse). One element of this blandness is the widespread use of straight lines and square boxes, with a few triangles thrown in here and there to spice things up (but not by much). So, I’ve posted two shots that I took today that seem to celebrate the squareness of suburbia. The top photo shows
a driveway view peering into a backyard, surrounded by lines and squares and a few triangles. Even the car in the driveway is quite square. The second shot shows the medical building on the main drag. Very square. Actually, I know something of this building, since my dentist is located there.

In the 1950’s, the “Beat Generation” had a slang term for everything that wasn’t “hip” or with-it — i.e. “square“. The suburbs were considered VERY square by beatniks. In fact, in 1959, Life Magazine had an article entitled “Squareville USA vs Beatville“. Here we are 57 years later, and Squaresville seems to be doing just fine!

◊   posted by Jim G @ 1:10 pm      

  1. Jim, I’ll bet a lot of people don’t even notice that “squareness”; but it seems you’ve hit the nail on the head. They need some help from the architects in Chicago who build beautiful and fascinating buildings. But Chicago is a big city and not a small town. I live in a small town filled with historic houses that are just beautiful. When I first moved here I had no clue about that aspect of the city, as it’s called. The first picture is particularly perceptive on your part. I’d have never noticed it, but you have.

    Strange how different areas take on different “forms”. But your are also right: The beatniks are long gone, but the “squares” are still doing fine. Very nice pictues and great perceptiveness on your part. MCS

    Comment by Mary S. — June 18, 2016 @ 7:54 pm

  2. Jim, A further thoh’t regarding your first picture here. I’ve tho’t of it several times, and there’s something quite interesting about that picture: the squares within squares, the triangles (larger and smaller). Who knows? I could see this picture being notable in the future as a new approach to photography and design in architecture. There’s something very interesting about that picture. Good job in capturing it. MCS

    Comment by Mary S. — June 20, 2016 @ 1:19 pm

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