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Tall Ships and History - if you can't be witty, then at least be bombastic [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
kyle cassidy

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Tall Ships and History [Jun. 29th, 2015|06:55 am]
kyle cassidy
[mood |accomplishedaccomplished]

So the Tall Ships came to Philadelphia last week. One of them was a French ship named L'Hermione which is a recreation of one of the ships that belonged to the Marquis de Lafayette, who, if you remember your American History, arrived in the colonies in 1777 and proceeded to save our bacon from the English with all his tactics and genius. He was 19 years old at the time and wildly popular with ... everybody. L'Hermione (the recreation of it) took 17 years to build, with the express purpose of sailing from France to America to deliver us Lafayette -- or at least someone playing Lafayette.

trillian_stars who is in on the ground floor of these things, told me that her friend, John Lopes, who plays General Washington was taking Layafette out for dinner after the arrived in Philly and they did their thing on the tall ships. SWEET BARKING CHEESE! HOW DO WE INVITE OURSELVES TO THIS?!? I wanted to know. I seriously wanted to be a fly on the wall of conversations between learned scholars who spent their lives figuring out what Washington and Layafette would have said to one another.

And, since Washington and Elizabeth Powel were BFF's (According to historian Richard Beeman: "there was certainly no one in Philadelphia… whose company Washington enjoyed more" than Elizabeth Powel") and I knew Eliza Powel (or at least the woman who plays her on TV) I thought it would be nice to get them all over to the Powel house (which still exists as a museum) and photograph something that might have happened right around this time in 1777 and then, you know, casually suggest that since we had such a good time taking photos that I should get to go along for dinner..... Which left convincing the Powel House that they should let us in for 20 minutes after hours and that I'd be really fast and that I wouldn't break anything and that I'd send them copies of the photos after. (One of the big lessons I learned from Mary Ellen Mark is that photography isn't about f-stops and shutter speeds, it's about being able to talk to people. It doesn't matter how great a camera you have if you can't talk a historical landmark into staying open late so you can bring some people in costume in to use their museum as a set.) The Powel house was super nice about it and they sent someone to let us in and we did some quick photos. The best part was that they all talked like they would have talked had they been in that situation, so the Marquis told a very funny story about Marie Antoinette and how she stopped a ball to point and laugh at him because he couldn't dance very well and everybody laughed and I, for a brief moment found myself peering through a hole in time to something that might have happened in that very spot.

(Photo Geekery: I shot this with a Leica M9 and a 35mm f1.7 lens using all available light, plus the skills that I picked up from Mary Ellen.)

Then we all went out to National Mechanics and met some of the crew of L'Hermione who didn't speak English (but Layafette did of course) and had a splendid time.

That was our Friday. How was yours?




Layafette plots with General Washingon. Mrs. Powel enters the room.
You may clickenzee to embiggen!







Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier de Lafayette, Marquis de Lafayette,
The 19 year old Major General with no troops or battle experience, won over not just
General Washington, but Hamilton, Jefferson, and all of Philadelphia society.
You may clickenzee to embiggen!






Layafette, Elizabeth Powel and General Washington.
You may clickenzee to embiggen!






The Powel's ballroom, which celebrated all of Philadelphia society, exists as it did in 1777.
Something very much like this probably actually happened.
You may clickenzee to embiggen!






Spying on the Chew family who lived next door.
You may clickenzee to embiggen!






Behind the scenes photo by Mickey Herr from Philadelphia Landmarks
who was kind enough to let us into the museum.
You may clickenzee to embiggen!







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Comments:
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2015-06-29 05:26 pm (UTC)
Fo shizzle. He must have been an extraordinary individual for Washington who was like 47 to have trusted him so much. "Here kid I just met, take these troops you've never commanded to the top of this hill and keep the British from invading Philadelphia. There's a cheese steak in it for you when you get back."
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[User Picture]From: coffeeem
2015-06-29 05:13 pm (UTC)
I love these photos madly. Thank you for taking me time-traveling!
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2015-06-29 05:24 pm (UTC)
Thanks! It was a really wonderful experience. It's as close as anybody can ever get to being in a room with the three of them. I was thinking at the time "Wow, Lafayette is REALLY FUNNY and then I thought the real Lafayette was incredibly popular, why couldn't he have been funny? We have this idea that historical figures must all be stogy and serious, when no doubt some of them were hysterical. Especially the charming ones.
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[User Picture]From: chamisa
2015-06-29 08:39 pm (UTC)
OUTSTANDING. I love these photos and the story and everything about this post!

My Friday was, uh...I don't even remember what I did. I certainly did nothing comparable. Oh, wait. I did get a cool photograph of a lightning strike during a beautiful sunset. SO, I got that goin' for me. ;-)
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2015-06-29 09:25 pm (UTC)
lightning strike counts!
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[User Picture]From: chamisa
2015-06-29 09:28 pm (UTC)
YES! :-)
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[User Picture]From: mizkit
2015-06-29 09:29 pm (UTC)
My Friday was spent sweating and housecleaning and unpacking. Yours was better. :)
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[User Picture]From: ratphooey
2015-06-29 09:46 pm (UTC)
Worth the LJ-blocked-at-work wait!
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[User Picture]From: ysobelle
2015-06-29 10:02 pm (UTC)
My head has exploded. Thanks very much, you have exploded my head. I worked on my novel, I think. And possibly some corsets. I don't even remember!
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2015-06-30 02:27 am (UTC)
I am happy to have esploded your head in a (hopefully) nice way!
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[User Picture]From: tsarina
2015-06-29 11:30 pm (UTC)
This is so cool.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2015-07-08 04:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Hope to see you again some time!!
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[User Picture]From: lawbabeak
2015-06-30 12:07 am (UTC)
My Friday? Marriage Equality. Followed hot on the heels by Johnson v. United States, which held the residual clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act unconstitutional. A bunch of my gun/ammo clients now have 10-year maximum sentences, instead of 15-year minimums. For instance, one client who is serving 264 months for buying or stealing ammo (I forget which) as a felon now has a ten-year cap and likely a guideline range of 70-87 months.

And then my boss declared there needed to be wine at lunch, so there we sat at the Bistro, champagne flutes in hand, toasting a rare big win with Prosecco.

It was a good day.
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[User Picture]From: linz_lou
2015-06-30 12:21 am (UTC)
I love this! So fascinating. And, as always, your photos are extraordinary.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2015-06-30 02:31 am (UTC)
Those dudes were all so spot on with what they do. It was great to be around them. And a bit weird when they showed up at the bar looking completely different.
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[User Picture]From: vnend
2015-06-30 02:04 am (UTC)
That was all unspeakably cool. I am simply in awe. Well done.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2015-06-30 02:30 am (UTC)
aw thanks! It's all about figuring out what you have to get you invited to wherever it is you want to be. Sometimes it's a football, sometimes it's witty conversation, sometimes it's being nice, this time it's a camera.
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[User Picture]From: davesmusictank
2015-06-30 04:31 pm (UTC)
Great pics. fascinating history.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2015-06-30 07:35 pm (UTC)
Amazing isn't it? Dude was nineteen.
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From: Jack S
2015-07-02 12:21 pm (UTC)

Awesome..!!

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From: rcmckee
2015-07-02 09:09 pm (UTC)

I shan't discuss my Friday

other than to observe that it involved the consequences of having dinner with my mother at an Asian buffet on Thursday night and perhaps some tartar sauce improperly stored, and it was not one of Mom's happier days. We missed her doctor's appointment.

Beyond that, however, I have to say that I very much enjoy and admire the lighting and processing here. The images are very close to period paintings, and I have no difficulty at all in imagining or accepting them as time-skips from the 18th century. Spectacular work.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2015-07-08 04:19 pm (UTC)

Re: I shan't discuss my Friday

Thank you! That is wonderful to hear from someone such as yourself!
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2015-07-08 04:20 pm (UTC)

Re: I shan't discuss my Friday

(The bit about the lighting that is, not the bit about your mother's bad day.)
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[User Picture]From: cynic51
2015-07-03 04:46 am (UTC)
A recent issue of Smithsonian magazine had a great article about L'Hermione and Lafayette. Your pics are better though.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2015-07-08 04:19 pm (UTC)
Whoohoo! They should totally hire me next time.
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