On this page you will find low-resolution, medium-size thumb-nails of black and white 35 mm film photographs using a fish-eye lens, circa 1970. Camera was a 35mm Asahi Pentax Spotmatic. Film was Panatomic X. Printed on Kodak Polycontrast N paper circa 1972 and then scanned with Epson V700 Perfection photo scanner 40 years later for conversion to digital images.

      The fish-eye lens alllowed exploration of perspectives that were very close to the field of vision of the human eye. It gives viewers the opportunity to feel immersed in the scene and drawn into another world.

      Click on a thumbnail to view a larger version of the photograph.


        Watts Towers (The Towers of Simon Rodia, Watts, Los Angeles)

      The photographs below allow you to immerse yourself in Watts Towers in Watts, Los Angeles, California. As stated at the California State Parks website: "Watts Towers is a complex set of 17 separate sculptural pieces built on a residential lot in the community of Watts. Two of the towers rise to a height of nearly 100 feet.

      The sculptures are constructed from steel pipes and rods, wrapped with wire mesh, coated with mortar, and embedded with pieces of porcelain, tile and glass. Using simple hand tools and cast off materials (broken glass, sea shells, generic pottery and ceramic tile) Italian immigrant, Simon Rodia spent 30 years (1921 to 1955) building a tribute to his adopted country and a monument to the spirit of individuals who make their dreams tangible.

      Even California State Parks gets it -- "a monument to the spirit of individuals who make their dreams tangible." Not very poetic but good.

      I would have said "a monument to the spirit of aspirations and hope, and to individuals who pursue their dreams and rise above their circumstances." Of course, that is no easy task. And, I am sure you could ask just about anyone in Watts just how hard that can be.

      When Simon Rodia was asked why he built the towers his answer was, simply, "I had in mind to do something big and I did it."

      Top: Aspirations by Ron Sterling, 1972. "Transcending the web of discrimination and disrespect and the consequences of legacies of slavery and servitude."

      Middle: The Ankh Within by Ron Sterling, 1972. Commentary - "I am sure Simon Rodia had no idea that the support and connecting rods between two of the tall towers were formed in the shape of an 'ankh.' The Ankh is a symbol that is also known as breath of life, the key of the Nile or crux ansata (Latin meaning "cross with a handle"). It is an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic character that meant "life." It is often interpreted to mean eternal life.

      Egyptian gods were often portrayed carrying it by its loop, or bearing one in each hand, arms crossed over their chest. The ankh appears in hand or in proximity of almost every deity in the Egyptian pantheon (including Pharaohs). It is also widely used as a symbol of early religious pluralism: all sects believed in a common story of eternal life, and this is the literal meaning of the symbol. The New Age mysticism movement in the 1960s utilized the Ankh to symbolize the same tolerance of diversity of belief and common ethics as it did in Ancient Egypt."

      Bottom: Ascension by Ron Sterling, 1972. "There is more than one way to take flight or transcend your surroundings."

        Thank You for Visiting!

                 Best wishes! Ron Sterling

    Sterling Images (tm)
    Phone: 206-784-7842
    Seattle, Washington, USA

    Updated April 8, 2015
    Copyright 2005-2015. Ron Sterling. All Rights Reserved.