At the Reef

 

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The Reef, Downtown L.A. April, 2016

Terry has a cookie business, and a few times a year we do ‘shows’. Our favorite one so far is Artisanal L.A. A couple hundred local makers of artisanal food, crafts, beverages, music, and so on, gather to exhibit their wares to the public. We have had a booth there for a few years where we offer tastes of the cookies and sell them to the craft-minded people who have forked over a few dollars for the privilege. We usually do okay, the goal is to get our brand out in the marketplace, make new friends, and collect names for our mailing list. We also sell a few cookies.

Last year, the show was held in The Magic Box, an event venue on South Broadway. It is quite an experience. Folks show up on Friday with all the fixings for their 10 x 10 space and transform the second floor of The Reef into an amazing festival of locally produced goods. Saturday and Sunday are all-day affairs with thousands of people streaming by asking for samples. We spend a lot of time cutting and offering little cups with a piece of cookie. We might give out 1,500 samples over the two days. The best thing about the shows are the other vendors. We barter cookies for whatever we find interesting, kombucha, beef jerky, cheese, handmade crafts, it’s a lovely community.

 

These 4 cow-inspired chairs are in the lobby of the building, I shot them on our way out, late Sunday evening after two hectic days. I was in such a hurry to get home, I didn’t check the shot until later, but I kind of like the out of focus look for this one.

Mentally Healthy

 

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Edelman Mental Health Center, L.A. County. May 2017                                     ©2017 Rakefet Abergel

Here’s another guest photo from one of our regular contributors. I don’t have the story of why she was at the Mental Health Center, she is one of the mentally healthiest people I know. Maybe she was waiting for a friend. Notice how the fence outside the window is set up to keep people in. Hmmm.

Having other folks send me photos brings new perspectives to the Project that I truly appreciate. Thus far we have 6 outside contributors and are always looking for more. Please email me via the link with your shots of waiting, or if you have any philosophical commentary on waiting or any of the photos, please feel free to leave a comment. The Waiting Room Project belongs to all of us. Remember, “They also serve who only stand (or sit) and wait.”

 

Survey Says …

 

 

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Trotta and Associates, Marina del Rey. May 2017

I have participated in a few marketing research surveys over the years. Typically, you take a pre-survey to see if you qualify and if you do, you are invited to participate. They usually involve a new product or re-branding of an old one, and you sit in a group from one to 20 and give your ‘input’. The products range from hard drives to healthcare, baby products to beverages. For your time, you are compensated with cash, a check, or lately a gift card. It is an easy gig, I’m pretty opinionated; I wish I could do it at least once a week.

This survey mandated that I bring a friend to participate or I couldn’t qualify. So the two of us trekked to the offices of this company in the Marina. Spacious, well-lit, this company provides conference rooms with audio-visual capabilities, everything is taped, huge wall to wall one-way mirrors behind which sit the faceless minions observing, taking notes or whatever faceless minions do while the public is offering its opinions, and cheerful interviewers. The ‘sponsor’ or client whose product we are evaluating is rarely present, but it’s impossible to know who is sitting in those darkened rooms behind the glass.

This interview lasted a little over half an hour, and my friend and I departed a little richer for simply giving our reactions to a series of slides with graphic designs. That’s all I can say, there is always an NDA involved. I have never seen more than one or two people in the spacious waiting room. This day, there were two folks sitting around the corner, but I especially liked the perspective of this hallway.

 

The Empty Bank

 

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Bank of America, Venice. February 2016

This is what was my local bank. I did business with Bank of America for many years with my former business. Originally, we used a BofA that was across the street from our accountant in Westchester and had a spectacular personal banker there named Ellen. She took great care of us and our business accounts. BofA has a lot of regulations surrounding its business accounts, someone once characterized it as a law firm that accepted deposits, but Ellen always managed to make it easy for us. But it was a schlep for me to deposit the checks in Westchester, so I mostly used the ATM at my local branch on the Venice traffic circle. Ellen retired and we changed accountants around the same time so I officially moved our accounts to this branch.

We had a couple of personal accounts there as well. Jake had one and we used our account to transfer money to him occasionally. We never kept much money in there, we don’t use BofA for our primary personal banking.

I”m not quite sure why I was in this bank last year, perhaps to finally close our last remaining accounts. While the lobby isn’t exactly completely empty, it isn’t exactly bustling with activity either. This photo captures two distinct waiting areas and not a customer in sight.

 

Another Doctor’s Office

 

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Doctor’s Office, Santa Monica. July 2015

Another doctor’s office, more empty chairs. I cannot for the life of me remember which doctor this is, nor why I was there. I do know that a couple of days later, I was in another waiting room for an imaging procedure, but I can’t remember which one. I assume it followed this appointment, but I’m not sure. It is somewhat disconcerting that having been in so many doctor’s offices in the past three years they all blur before me.

 

Sears and Roebuck

 

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Sears, Santa Monica. July 2015

The Santa Monica Sears and Roebuck has been on the corner of Colorado and 4th street for as long as I can remember. It used to span 4th street, with the Automotive center on the east side and the main building on the west. There is a little booth at the top of the building where a parking attendant used to sit and direct cars to the vacant spots. In its heyday, Sears was the place, the store was modern and you could get most anything there.

Not much of that glory has faded. The automotive center was demolished to make room for the Santa Monica terminal of the newly extended Expo line, the parking guy in the sky is long gone, and the whole store seems a worn and a little seedy. I still like going there for the Craftsman tools in the basement, but little else.

Now Land’s End has an outpost in the store itself, and I was there getting some Dockers Khakis, the only brand that actually fits me. I had ordered them online, and while I was waiting for someone to fetch them, I browsed the shirt section just to kill the time. They had the well-made pique polos on sale so I got a few. After completing the sale, I was directed to this string of chairs. If you order online for in-store pickup, this is where you will wait while they fetch your merchandise. It was only a few moments before a courteous employee emerged from the stainless steel clad door with my pants, sealed in a plastic bag and tagged with my order info. Fairly painless, the pants were on sale online, and I didn’t have to pay for shipping. Such a deal.

 

Guest Post

 

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Medical Waiting Room, Unknown Location.

This photo appeared on my friend W’s Facebook page a few weeks ago. He is an accomplished photographer as you can see from the dynamic composition and critical framing. Knowing my penchant for waiting room photos, he tagged me in the post. I think it is a great shot, and in fact, it gave me inspiration to begin photographing myself in the waiting room situations. Stay tuned for some of these selfeets, coming soon.

 

St. John’s

 

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St. John’s Hospital, Santa Monica. November 2014

Doesn’t this look like a lovely living room? All that’s missing is a fireplace and some floor lamps. Well, it’s a primary waiting room in a hospital.  Look at all the reading material, the TV, the comfy couches and chairs. There is even free wi-fi. Yep, you’re going to be here a while.

We were there for a minor medical issue, and I had the chance to prowl around looking for waiting areas to photograph. We were there at night, so the usually bustling hospital had the lonely deserted air most do when the crowds of people leave. Hospitals have been some of the most productive places in this project because of the abundance of waiting spaces, large, medium, and small. As previously noted, there is a lot of waiting surrounding the medical profession. Too many sick people and not enough doctors.

 

Sherman Gallery

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Sherman Gallery, Marina del Rey. November 2014

Sherman’s is our local framing shop. We have been getting art framed there for more than 20 years. As Jake progressed through his art education, we had a number of his early works framed there, through his photographic career, right up to the last picture he created a few months before his death.

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Pastel. ©2016, Jake Colman.

I took this photo while we waited for our guy, Andy to help us with that last piece of Jake’s, a beautiful pastel he made while he was in Palm Springs. It is a large work, and we floated it inside a magnificent black Italian wood frame, like in a shadow box. As usual, Sherman’s did a spectacular job matching the texture of the matte inside and perfectly displaying this wonderful picture.

Our most recent trip was to get a portrait of Jake framed. Taken by my Mom’s friend Penny years ago, it is a fabulous picture of Jake with his camera at my Dad’s studio. Look at it closely; it perfectly captures who Jake was, his authentic self. We found a gorgeous hand-made Italian frame and they did a masterful job with the matting and framing. It hangs in our hallway next to Jake’s last pastel.

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Jake Colman. Photograph ©2016, Penny Wolin, all rights reserved.