Curiosity Is a Marvelous Thing

buckner orphanage, dallas, circa 1968, by charles schuler

buckner orphanage, dallas, circa 1968, by charles schuler

Here it is nearly Christmas and I’m showing you pictures of worms, summertime and ancient history! Well, there isn’t much light our and about here these days, but school is out and I’ll be in Fairbanks for a few days. I’ll do my best to get out and make the most of what little daylight we have. Remember, Dec 21 is the shortest day of the year, unless you are in the southern hemisphere, of course!

With Grace and Dignity For All

arkansas old folk's home circa 1955 - by charlie schuler

arkansas old folk’s home circa 1955 – by charlie schuler

There was grace and dignity for every soul in Dad’s world. Look at how this lady in her pretty dress is a bright spot in the plainness around her. Dad would have told you that the real beauty in this picture is the old woman’s spirit.

The moment he turned his camera on you, you became an important part of his world. His photographs weren’t just images, they were remembrances of the people who had touched his life.

More than once he photographed some farmer or rancher in his travels, and later journeyed back hundreds of miles to see them again and give them a print. Sometimes he found them, other times they had moved onward, never to be found again.

A Light In the Bend

The Rio Grande River, looking from Mexico into Texas

looking across Rio Bravo, from Mexico into Texas

Rio Bravo. It is known as Rio Grande in the USA. I prefer the Spanish. As a boy, I stood on the far bank chucking rocks into Mexico and wondering how the English managed to give this diminutive river such a name. It didn’t look very grand to me. Of course, as a boy I had no idea that it is a magnificent drainage system with headwaters in Colorado. And now, all grown up, I understand how powerful a river can be, separating nations and cultures and economies.

Boquillas Del Carmen, Mexico, circa 1980

La Villa de Boquillas del Carmen, Mexico, circa 1980

Boquillas del Carmen, Mexico. I traveled here with dad several times and I believe it was one of his favorite places. My brother Mark lives just across the river and he, too, visits Boquillas often. He told me that it has only this year acquired electricity.

A las familias de la villa de Boquillas del Carmen, felicidades y salud!

Borderlands

Dad loved landscapes and believed the best ones showed some touch of mankind. “God made the earth for man,” he would say, “so a nature photograph that doesn’t show the hand of man is like a half empty cup.”

While he did not consider himself a portrait photographer, his portraits seem remarkably honest and revelatory to me. His subjects were often strangers to him and many times they did not even speak his language. Yet somehow he disarmed them and they stood there before him willing and transparent. Nobody could pretend before his lens; nobody wanted to.

Hats Off…

Charles Schuler
dallas-onduty-030

Downtown Dallas, 1955. I love the stance of Officer Friendly as he watches to keep the pedestrians safe at the crossing. Notice the lack of hats. In the 1920’s no man or woman would have ventured outdoors without one but this is the 50’s. The derby, the fedora and the homburg are gone, along with the panama and the bangkok, the snap-brim and the porkpies, and all the wonderfully fashionable women’s hats of earlier times. Today, the heads are bare, except for the officer’s. Never fear- 1939 saw the advent of Little League Baseball and in another decade or so the ubiquitous baseball cap will outnumber people! Who would have guessed?