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Bill Cotter

Why Do People Take Some Pictures?

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Here's a view from Expo 74 that begs the question "Why?"

Maybe it was because one of the phones was at an accessible height? Wouldn't it have been a new thing around that time?

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Could it be that this open-type phone booth was a novelty at the time? Weren't most public phones in the 70's of the enclosed "Clark Kent becomes Superman" variety?

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If only people from both NY fairs took photos of the smaller details like this, it would be easier to understand the human amenities need to make the fair a somewhat of a success. Also, for both 1939 and 1964 fairs, each had a distinctive style, I cant imagine what they would have looked like then!

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I agree with Joey regarding small details like these phone booths although there is nothing in the photo to tell you they are at Expo 74... they could be at the corner Shell station. The serpentine telephone booths at the New York World's Fair 1964/65 and the wonderful bubble phone booths as well as lighting fixtures, benches and signage at Expo 67 were great examples of street furnishings and are useful additions to a photo as long as they are shown in the context of the fair. Expo 67's street furnishings were so well recieved by architects, city planners and industrial designers that an entire chapter was devoted to them in Robert Fulford's Remember Expo A Pictorial Record.

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Assuming they are from that all but forgotten fair, maybe the person who snapped this shot just had one last photograph left on a roll of film or perhaps this is some form of artistic statement. In any event, it is an odd photograph because, even by the standards of the time, these are not particularly unique or artistic designs. They are two nondescript telephone booths.

In any event, the reference to Expo 67 and its light fixtures is interesting. Expo's lighting was truly unique and much has been written about the indirect lighting fixtures since that fair. In fact, many of those fixtures remain on the Expo Islands today. Even the trash bins and flower planters won critical acclaim at the time of Expo. Interesting stuff....

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Hi Bill,

I do like this photograph. :) And now, Craig believes me when I tell him that phone booths used to have a copy of the Telephone Book attached to them! Also, photographs like these are a wonderful record - perhaps this one is not the best example, but little details like this are incredibly valuable to me. Such a photograph on the Olympic or the Lusitania/Mauretania would be of intense interest to a lot of folks and bring a large sum.

Eric

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I know what you mean, Eric. That's why I restore even these oddball shots, as a few years from now things from 1974 may be viewed in the same light.

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All good observations, however, what about this photograph even suggests that it was from the fair in Spokane? Is it at all possible it was take somewhere else and just appears on that roll of film you are using? Are there other photographs which can confirm its location at that fair?

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Maybe the person was adjusting a lens or something. Otherwise, as far as I can tell, he wasted a shot. There does not appear to be a thing which would tell anybody that it was taken at that fair. It is not like a photograph of a souvenir stand or even a men's room with the fair logo on the sign or something.

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Actually, the wall material and the wall look similar to other photos I have seen from Expo '74. Maybe if we could find that wall color in other photos?

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