We were now into the early part of November and one liberal arts class that Maria and I happened to share was called Mass Media. With the exception of one field trip downtown the course was strictly classroom based. Not being a ph0to major I naturally brought my Minolta SLR along the day we went to WPRI-Channel 12 which was only a ten minute walk from the RISD campus. Ironically, Maria, who was the photo major didn't bring her Nikon along that day.
This was the second time I ever had visited a television station. The first time was years ago when I was around ten and my parents took me on the NBC tour at Rockefeller Center and I not only was able to see where some shows were produced, but also radio/tv star/game show host, Gene Rayburn, was there that day and said hello to the group.
Channel 12 was a far cry from Rockefeller Center, but meeting with people from the station who showed us lots of details more than made up for the difference.
A facade shot of Channel 12, which had been renovated just a few years before the time of our visit in '76.
One of our classmates having fun on the set of the evening news set. His cigar is a reminder of how non-existent smoking laws were in those days. At some point in the future Channel 12's evening news would be called Eyewitness News, just as had happened in NYC on Channel 7.
A photo of one of the monitors in the news control room.
Before the ubiquitous international symbols for women and men were on rest room doors there were simple signs that said "women" and "men." I received a gentle ribbing by Maria for this odd photo I shot.
One of the best shots I took of Maria during the fall of '76. A candid shot with her dressed in her signature black turtleneck, vest, jeans, handmade necklace, and wide leather belt. We were just seven years past Woodstock and most of us at school still dressed in the casual apparel of those interesting days. Flashforward a few more years and many art school students were typically dressed all in black. In my opinion, our clothing had more going for it than the artists soon to be clad in all black.
As I recall, the group was checking out the craftsmanship of the wooden table. That's what happens when you surround yourself with design students.
Crosby, Stills, and Nash's song Long Time Gone that serves as a reminder for me of Maria and my friends from that time in the '70s when the U.S. had just pulled out of Vietnam a few years prior and so many of us were into design, photography, arts and crafts.
Two shots of downtown Providence taken from my bedroom window.
Below is the beautiful First Baptist Church (which WAS the first Baptist Church in America) with the two RI Hospital Trust buildings and the Industrial National Bank building in the background. To the right of those buildings in the Biltmore Hotel. Jumping ahead a decade or so and the Providence skyline had added several office towers to this particular view.
Looking more to the north is Veterans Hall where I had attended four RI Symphony Orchestra concerts the previous year and to the north of that is the Rhode Island Statehouse. Flashforward to 2012 and the view would include the huge Providence Place Mall and the relocated Providence train station.
One of the reasons I was shooting so much film towards the end of my years at school was due to buying film in bulk 100' rolls and "rolling my own" film canisters with whatever number of exposures I needed at a given moment (to a maximum of 36).
While Maria and I didn't do any drugs I was her "dealer" when she ran short of black & white 35mm film. In 2012, I am still using the same type of Kodak bulk 100' film and 35mm film loader as I was in 1976:
On some occasions I would shoot a few shots to make sure I was at the end of a roll before taking the canister out of the camera. It was at this time in the fall of '76 that a random shot picked up a sampler I had woven in weaving class that semester which can be seen hanging to the left of my closet turned darkroom. This is also the only photo I have of my darkroom from that school year. With 24 hour access Maria made use of the darkroom more than once.
One of the events at this point in time was The Electric Cowboy who presented an interesting multimedia show using music and slide projectors, etc. The show was sponsored by the graphic design department and held in the RISD Auditorium. I brought my camera along and as far as I could tell was the only one present documenting the event with a handful of photos.
A close up of the control panel--the black and white photo does not do justice to the colored lights and electronic displays.
Tom, the head of the graphic design department wearing a mask. Hans, our typography teacher in graphics is seen in the background.
A classmate wearing the mask later on...
This presentation almost pulled in more students asking questions than most presentations I had attended in four years of school.
Maria didn't happen to attend The Electric Cowboy show and she also did not come to another presentation I sat in at that time in the fall. This second event was a lecture presented by the RISD industrial design department featuring Jay Doblin, who was a world famous industrial designer. I was actully surprised the lecture room wasn't filled to capacity, but I do remember it was held in the middle of the afternoon which may have been a scheduling conflict for other students. Again, I was present with my Minolta SLR and captured the event for posterity. Had I not gone into graphic design, I might well have steered myself in the direction of industrial design which formed part of the basis for my OS series on going back to grad school to become an industrial designer!
Jay Doblin has since passed on, but search him on the web and you'll find lots about him and his design work...
One thought starting to be on my mind at this time is how this wonderful school year was now roughly one third over. It was turning out to be best year out of the four and I wanted to slow down the clock. The best I could do was to enjoy each day to its fullest.
The next part of the story will be along in a week or so...
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