Gloria and Her Music Box

While I was photographing Tamara in the Windansea area of La Jolla (photos to come), we stopped at a house with a beautiful old door and lovely clay tube brick archways for a photo op.

Gloria, the owner of the house came out to speak to us, and we were promptly invited into her house to see her old music box. As it turns out it was an original turn-of-the-century Polyphon music box (seen here in the background), that takes big brass discs for each song and creates music by striking a steel comb. It resides in the front atrium, that couldn’t have been designed any better to boom and resonate so amazingly as the music box struck each note.

We stuck around a little longer to find out what a full life Gloria has led and is still leading. She let me play with her 1950’s era Kodak Retina rangefinder camera and talked about photographing the pyramids on camelback with that particular camera. Talked about her documentation of the effects of acid at Harvard during the Timothy Leary days. She filled us in about her family, and what her days are like, with coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon.

Our visit with Gloria was surely fascinating. And as Tamara and I made our way to our next location we argued over which version of Gloria we should sing in tribute to our gracious impromptu host. I wanted to go with U2’s version, while Tamara was rather insistent on Olivia Newton John’s. Being a gentlemen, I of course let her sing her version.

I think it’s rather remarkable what we find about other people when we slow down for 20 minutes and become interested in someone other than ourselves. I’m really glad we took some time out of our photoshoot.

The above image and the two below were taken with a Hasselblad 501cm with an 80mm lens. The indoor shots were exposed at f2.8 at 1/30th of a second if I remember correctly, with only natural light from the doorway. And the outdoor shot was probably f8 at 1/125th.
Film was Fuji Pro 400h.

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8 thoughts on “Gloria and Her Music Box

  1. I like the clay tube archway picture. Good use of depth of field in the foreground. Also isn’t it fun to ask people to use a bit of their architecture? I have met the coolest people asking to use their property as a background.

  2. I find that in photography the hardest part is to connect with people. Pressing on the trigger button is last and the easiest part of the process.
    Nice compositions and use of natural light.

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