Manhole Covers

Last sunday was a fun two hour drive and walk in the refreshing warm weather of Idaho. Photographing manhole covers of the City of Eagle is the start of my residency for MING Studios. 

When one starts a project, one must define the information and materials needed to create the final product. In the last 16 years, I have developed a method of organizing the creation and publishing of every phase of the volumes. 

If you are wondering how this project is created, the next few posts will uncover the tools used to create each volume of City Shields.

It all starts with camera in hand. Back in 99’, I built a large collection of manhole covers with a Sony Mavica digital camera. I continued photographing the entryways to the world beneath our feet. 

My next camera to continue my obsession was a Nikon CP-950, then a Nikon Coolpix 5900. In 2008, I acquired my fourth digital camera, a Canon Power Shot A710. I decided in 2012 to try my hand at a D-SLR and purchased a Sony Alpha 33. It was time to grow-up and get serious in photography. The Sony Alpha is the in·fa·mous camera I wrote about in my first few blog posts at the beginning of the year. 

 from left to right: Nikon CP-950, Sony Mavica, Nikon Coolpix 5900, Canon Power Shot A710 and the Sony Alpha 33  D-SLR

from left to right: Nikon CP-950, Sony Mavica, Nikon Coolpix 5900, Canon Power Shot A710 and the Sony Alpha 33  D-SLR

When weather permits, hiking the streets can be a long day. Manhole covers can be few and far between, depending on the city--few photographs taken and lots of walking is done. After a year of walking/hiking, in 2000, my husband, Michael, and I decided to speed up the process and cruise the streets with scooters. That didn’t last long! It was fun but, hey! The hills were killers!

We still walk the pavement and drive around when we have too much area to cover in a short period of time. Topaz, our little Sheltie, has accompanied us since 2002 and often her shadow can be seen in a photograph of a manhole cover.

I take photographs of our presence during these walks for future reference. I can’t help myself!

 © 2010 Louise Levergneux, manhole cover on Main Street in Salt Lake City, Utah

© 2010 Louise Levergneux, manhole cover on Main Street in Salt Lake City, Utah

 © 2012 Louise Levergneux, manhole cover in Albequerque, New Mexico, year of the tricentennial.

© 2012 Louise Levergneux, manhole cover in Albequerque, New Mexico, year of the tricentennial.

Oops! This isn’t a manhole cover but we're here standing on Historic Route 66!

 © 2010 Louise Levergneux, in Santa-Rosa, NewMexico on Historic Route 66.

© 2010 Louise Levergneux, in Santa-Rosa, NewMexico on Historic Route 66.

The major dilemma of this ongoing project is the forever changing technology. I try to keep a similar look to the original seven volumes, but differences are clear since digital cameras and printers continue to evolve.

With that said, I am running out of plastic Iomega Zip Disk jewel cases used for my slick presentation of each volume. Does anyone know where I can buy more? I know they are no longer manufactured; but a few must be hanging around somewhere.

Let’s continue next week with other tools used to publish the volumes of City Shields.