Saturday, February 18, 2012

Botanical Tiles - Envelope #6

Ann Chamberlain created the Botanical Tiles project at UCSF Medical Center at MT Zion's Healing Garden.  Here the barren walls of the Women's Cancer Treatment Center are replaced with stories of loss, hope, perseverance, love and life. Ann came up with the idea while she was receiving treatment... A way of bringing the life of the garden onto the center's sterile walls.  Tiles are made with a plant impression and a patient's (or a surviving family member's) personal story. 

Reading these people's struggles is difficult.  But not as difficult as seeing a frail woman being carried by her husband into the center for treatment. Struggling to not fall over, she mutters, "I am not drunk. I am not drunk."  My heart is heavy with sadness. I want to help. I don't know how.

With tears in my eyes, I finish up the day's "photo assignment". Lote and I walk back onto the streets hand-in-hand with a deeper appreciation for the life we have right now.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sutro Baths Ruins - Envelope #5

As I look at what used to be Sutro Baths, conflicting feelings of sadness and tranquility overtake me.  At the turn of the century, these baths were the epitome of opulence in San Francisco. Now they are  pools of brackish water.

At the time of the opening, it was the largest indoor swimming pool facility in the world. They were built by entrepreneur and former SF Mayor, Adolph Sutro. As I photograph the ruins I feel as though I am capturing someone else's dreams, smashed.  It's a shocking contrast to what lies beyond the edge of the foundation; the glorious foamy Pacific. 

This emptiness was once filled by 7 large baths (6 salt water, 1 freshwater all set at different temperatures), a skating rink and a concert hall. Too expensive to maintain, they eventually shut down.  In 1966, during demolition the baths burned down

I guess folks swam more for recreation then.

children playing in what I believe were dressing rooms

©  2012 by Hayley Thistlethwaite all rights reserved