Saturday Evening Post #139: The Bohemians

We’ve been locked down to a 10 and then 25 Kilometre radius for the past few weeks.  Add to that the weather that seems to have translated itself from somewhere south of Antarctica, and #kneetoo still in recovery mode, there has not been a lot of enthusiasm to venture out to check the mailbox, let along go to the field for birds.

Thanks to a recommendation from Mike over at TOPS, I decided to buy a Kindle copy of a book by Jasmin Darznik titled The Bohemians

Warning: It is a novel. An historical novel; but a novel none the less.
It takes its setting in the late 1910s and early 1920s.  Its major setting is San Fransisco.

The heroine, is none other than Dorothea Lange. A photographer I have discussed on this blog before as her stunning photos and photo-journalism had an impact on my visual growth as a very young photographer. As a wet-behind-the-ears youngster, my local librarian had noted my interest in photography—perhaps astutely as  I’d borrowed the same basic photography books umpteen times and knew them from cover to cover, and admitted me to the ‘Adult’ section. Which, had for reasons I’ve never pondered, a really fine selection of photo-folio books. Several Dorothea Lange works were there and again I could pore of them learning a little of the artistic ability of this amazing lady.


This is not really a book review, nor am I crusading to have you rush out and buy or download the book.
The character, “Dorrie”, tells her story in the first person, and it’s a relatively good yarn, rollicking along, as Ms. Lange meets all the historical characters that played a part in forming the real Dorothea’s life.
It is also an interesting journey into the early 1920s and of course the struggles of the time. Quite a number of photographers make appearances, along with artists and writers.

Fair kept me busy during the rather cold weather of late. Hot cup of Cacao, my new fav warm drink, in my new “Hug Mug” and there was an afternoon or two speeding by.

I’m not sure about the author’s intention, but not doubt some of the social inequities of our current time have found their way into the story, which makes for some interesting comparisons.

There are a number of historical glitches, not big ones, Ansel Adams did suffer from the Influenza outbreak of 1919, and mostly they could be overlooked or simply left out of the story.

“Dorrie” hocks her beloved Graflex camera early in the story, but pops up a little later on making portraits with a 35mm Leica camera.

The Leica wasn’t announced until 1924 and production and first sales were 1925, I’m not sure of The Bohemians time setting but its highly unlikely “Dorrie” would have had access to one.  Still in the concept of the storyline it’s pretty inconsequential what she shot with. Dorothea Lange was making fine portraits and story-telling street shots no matter what camera she used.

Medical Update #5,  #kneetoo, is on the move, managed today to walk a few hundred metres up to the community centre in our village and enjoy a chat and coffee with several friends.  Full-steam ahead.

Stay safe

6 thoughts on “Saturday Evening Post #139: The Bohemians

  1. A wonderful image of the Kingfisher, David!
    And yes a good book and a warm drink is perfect with the weather the way it has been.
    Certainly not conducive to heading out. I did think about Truganina Park, the Robins are there, today but ended up not going.
    Great to hear that #kneetoo was able to walk up to the community centre.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A wonderful shot of the Kingfisher, and excellent news about EE’s progress. She will be ready to join the Olympic walking team in no time.

    These novels featuring real people always strike me as a bit odd, but then we read a deal of fiction about real people in the news, on assorted social media, etc, so I suppose it is a logical extension, as long as they don’t trash a decent person’s reputation.

    Meanwhile, I have just taken the plunge into the Mirrorless world, inspired by Harry and his 800 mm lens. It uses the Diffractive Optics system of which we “spoke” some time back, and it is a remarkably light lens. An f/11 aperture is okay as long as it’s reasonably bright, and I’m having fun getting to grips with it all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Eleanor, yes, I’m not a great historical novels person. I baulked after David Malouf’s Ovid, which I had to study way back. I think the author has treated her character sympathetically, and the first person does seem to make that experience more realistic.

      You should have a blast with the new Canon system, one of my English Flickr dudes has had once since early this year, and makes stunning owls on the open fields in that lovely English evening light.
      The f/11 is not such a big deal now with the new af system, and I’d be inclined to be happy to shoot at slightly higher ISO, like 3200 or so. Keep up the shutter speed for the handheld, ( stops the action as well as gives the vibration reduction a bit of a helping hand)
      The differences in depth of field with your slightly long but smaller aperture lens as against the f/5.6 500mm Nikon at the same distances, would be negligible, and when standing further back with your lens to get the same size subject in the frame, I think it would have slightly better dof. I’d not spent the time do the calculations, but it would only be a few cm diff I reckon.

      So enjoy, make great images and your back and arms will thank you for the lighter weight.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful Kingfisher David, and interesting share on the photographer. It is always interesting to read a good biography, and even better both auto after reading bio and comparing them. Such good news that dear #kneetoo is walking so far, she must be delighted in her achievement and especially that she gets to have some social reward at the end of her effort. Stay safe and warm. I was inland on the weekend, and it sure gets cold in the morning there, especially when the wind blows.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello Ashley, yep, I’m a boy of the wide open country plains. Freezing cold is how I remember walking to school. Fastest way was across the local racecourse, and some mornings the horses will still training as I went by. But the grass was frozen solid.
    Great fun for a kid to ‘crunch’ his way over the crisp grass leaving a recognisable footprint pattern over the course.

    It’s all good for the knee so far, physio is happy, and no doubt she is going to let #kneetoo to her own devices soon,

    I’m not a great reader of bio’s. I do like books or magazine articles that show how the artist worked, and how they chose their various techniques. I’ve always inferred a l lot from that about the person. Often wrong—truth be told 🙂
    I once read a magazine article about W. Eugene Smith’s film development technique using a small stainless steel developing tank. Took me quite a few years to be able to afford one. Didn’t improve my photography, or darkroom skills, but it felt pretty good to actually have such an item.
    My daughter used to play competition basketball, and really wanted a pair of Nike Air Jordon boots. Just so she could emulate the then famous Michael Jordan. Never made her a star, but the boots were a prized possession.


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