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Stepping back from an earlier observation…

With the photographs of Wazee Street now developed and digitized, I am seeing something different in Lodo, particularly in Sam’s images. His are playful, with people at the edges of frames, moving. People appear in 1937, but rarely in 1978. I’m thinking of his images of the Wazee Lounge. Mine, with the Retina I bought 40 years ago (!)–the camera that took the 1978 pictures–are static but fairly exact. His encompass the Lounge, part of 15th St., the pavement of the street itself, the Acme Building off in the distance (hello, Guy Noir), an African-American teenager moving quickly out of the left of the frame, and finally some cars moving quickly and a little randomly through the intersection. Bravo, Sam, for the vibrancy!

I always wait for people to get the heck out of the frame, but Sam includes them–like the elderly white couple moving into the intersection at 16th and Wazee.

OK, there are a lot of cars down there now, a lot of people walking around, some looking pretty rich. Lots of trees. To beat a dead horse, though, this is not the Denver I knew. Yet why doom a downtown to be a skid row neighborhood? Sometimes I think I liked it not just because of the Brooklyn memories, but because it was quiet, filled with isolated people if at all, and the same with the railroad yards. I’m pretty focused on the built environment and want that to stand out, but, like Sam, maybe now it’s OK to let some people into my own pictures…let’s see.

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