If you take a look at the column on the left-hand side of this page (which I haven’t updated, admittedly, in some time) and scroll down a ways, you’ll eventually find an unwieldy blogroll (or list of fellow blogs) that I clunkily titled, back in 2005, For Those About to Blog, … We Salute You (it seemed funny, at the time). These were blogs that I regularly read, or figured were thematically aligned with the content on my own blog. If I slotted your blog in there, it usually meant I was both a follower and an enthusiastic proponent of your work. Lucky you.
After eleven years of blogging here on Flaming Pablum, however, I seem to no longer necessarily be in step with the times (if I ever was to begin with). In the wake of more readily digestible social media, blogging itself has almost become a cute little anachronism, … just like still still using a 160 GB iPod or still collecting compact discs and other arguably ridiculous practices I’m loathe to give up. As such, many — if not most — of the blogs cited in that blogroll are long dead.
People give this stuff up for any number of reasons. My comrades Tim from Stupefaction and Bryan from This Ain’t the Summer of Love both recently ceased and desisted further blogging, as they felt they had other projects in their respective lives to attend to. I don’t know what happened to Hunter-Gatherer — he just seemed to stop, one day. Bob Arihood of Neither More Nor Less passed away, of course. Some other bloggers just sort of … drifted away, I guess.
But there is one blogger, or photo-blogger, I guess I should say, that I’m still curious about, even years after his content left the internet. As you may remember from this old post in 2011, there used to be a pair of sites called Street Views 1982 and Posterous, a gallery and a blog maintained by a gentleman named Dan Weeks.
Here’s how I described his work back then…
Dan Weeks' Street View New York 1982 (and its accompanying blog, Posterous) document the efforts of a photographer who sought to preserve the topography of Manhattan via incredibly detailed, panoramic photographs of its many avenues. It was an incredibly demanding, unwieldy and financially-crippling project for Weeks -- sort of the analog version of what Google Maps does today. I can't imagine how exhausting it must have been for the man.
In any case, decades later, Weeks has exhumed the ambitious project for the internet and is gradually presenting the photographs on the site. If, like me, you're a native New Yorker who walked the street of Manhattan in the early 1980s, looking at Weeks' website is like discovering a lost family photo album. The contrast between the streets captured in his pictures and their contemporary incarnations is striking.
Sounds cool, right?
Well, for whatever reason, Mr. Weeks threw up his hands and aborted the project, but not before wiping the `net clean, as much as he could, of his content. If you go to either of his pages’ URLs today, you’ll find nothing. It’s as if they never existed.
That said, while his stuff was live, he garnered a fair amount of attention. As such, there are still bits of his work around, if you look for it. All the images on this entry are from his pages.
Personally speaking, I keep periodically checking for some new presence of his around the blogosphere, as I am still very captivated by his project, and would love to see the rest of his work. I'm particularly miffed I didn't save one of his images -- the afore-cited shot of the old Disc-O-Mat on the corner of East 58th Street and Lexington Avenue where I spent large swathes of my teenage allowance.
I'm also just curious as to why he snapped and took it all down. Was it just too demanding a task? Did he experience some sort of epiphany about not wanting to dwell solely in the past (as I keep ruminating about)? Was it too emotionally harrowing for him?
We'll probably never know. In the interim, however, here are a few of his photos from 34 years back....