Happy Birthday to me

Birthday Alligator
Happy Birthday to me.
Happy Birthday to me.
Happy Birthday, dear me.
Happy Birthday to me.

Hershey Kiss
In case I hadn’t mentioned it, today is my birthday.

Yesterday, I had someone come up to me and say “I recognize you from somewhere.” And after we went through a big list of places (work, college, high school, friends, etc.) it turns out he recognized me from my appearance on the morning news with Dick Wolfsie. I’m like, famous. In Indianapolis, Indiana. I think I’ll stop combing my hair and become disaffected, like all the other celebrities.

(2014 update: I’ve since realized it isn’t that hard to get on the local news, or that impressive. But I should let 2002 me have my moments, shouldn’t I?)

Continue ReadingHappy Birthday to me

Sky City / Pyramid City urban development projects

Some stuff I’ll have to photograph – Discovery Channel’s Engineering the Impossible – someday.

Tokyo’s Sky City
It would house 35,000 residents and host 100,000 daily workers, students and visitors. This space-age city in the sky might seem like science fiction, but it answers some questions about where humans might live as our most crowded cities become even more densely populated.

City in a Pyramid
Imagine a self-sustaining pyramid-shaped city in the air. And imagine that it is built by robots and with little help from human workers.

Continue ReadingSky City / Pyramid City urban development projects

So I’m back at work

So I’m back at work after my two-week vacation and my big-fat road trip extravaganza. Yipeee! I had a great party, and a great time, but it’s good to be back to my 130 + work-related e-mails. Swell. Plus I’m in my new cubicle after the latest move at work (happened right before I left). I gots me more space than before. Es vera cool. 🙂 The party and road-trip photos will go up ASAP after I finish working on my Dad’s website.

Continue ReadingSo I’m back at work

weekend update 2001-01-30

1) Went to see Barbara Higbie & Suzanne Westenhoeffer in concert Friday night. Barbara was great and I talked to her mom afterwards. After the concert, I went to Utopia [2019-04-16: former lesbian bar in Indianapolis] and hung out with my friend Jennie.

2) Went with my brother and sister-in-law to an antique mall on Saturday and bought a fez, then met my other brothers and nieces at the Children’s Museum, where I realized there are tons of big things there that I need to photograph, then visited my mom until late and my nieces & brother & sisters-in-law made shrinky dinks and pretty much exhausted the dink-supply.

3) On Sunday, I went to my friend Karl’s to watch the superbowl with a bunch of my friends/co-workers, got drunk, stayed late and crawled to work the next morning hung. Fun.

Also found out this weekend that my landlady is asking me to sign a lease and she’s going to raise my rent by $50. Since I’m already paying more than I’d like for this apartment, I’m going to have to move.

Continue Readingweekend update 2001-01-30

Big Things Photos

Giant horses, enormous cows, men that tower over the skyline… some of them are permanent fiberglass structures, some temporary inflatables, almost all of them are advertisements for a business. They’re cool, and I take pictures of them.

Where Are They?

So far, I’ve covered Indianapolis with the help of family, friends and helpful strangers who’ve sent me information through e-mail. I’ve also taken several trips around Indiana and the midwest. There are still several Indiana day trips I need to make to photograph:

  • Giant Egg in Mentone, Indiana
  • Giant Peach near Vincennes, Indiana
  • Big Chicken in Spencer, Indiana
  • Giant Red Rooster in Hobart, Indiana, Hwy 6
  • Giant Rocking Chair in Amity, Indiana
  • Giant Indian in Toto, Indiana

E-mail me if you know of any big things in Indiana that I’ve missed.

"Big Things" In Indianapolis Photo Gallery

Pictures of… stuff that’s big. Like Mr. Bendo of Ralph’s Muffler, giant chickens, cows, horses, etc. There are lots of these roadside art/advertising objects in and around Indianapolis.

Mr. Bendo
Mr. Bendo

Indy’s Lost Big Things Photo Gallery

Sadly, since I started photographing in 1999, Some of Indy’s "Big Things" have been lost to time, due to businesses closing or natural disasters. Here are my photographs in tribute to Indianapolis icons that are lost time.

Pig Car
Pig Car

Big Things In Indianapolis – Inflatables Photo Gallery

These big things are often seasonal, related to holidays (Santa, pumpkins, ghosts) or are used as advertising to highlight a sale or grand opening. They’re usually temporary, so catching them is more challenging, and often more fun.

Inflated Ghost Big Thing
Inflated Ghost Big Thing

Big Things In Indiana Photo Gallery

Indiana has quite a few big things in various towns; I’ve traveled around to photograph many of them, and will be making more trips this year to find more.

Giant Rocking Chair
Giant Rocking Chair

Big Things In Muncie, Indiana Photo Gallery

Pictures of… stuff that’s big in Muncie, Indiana, home of my alma mater, Ball State University. Muncie has three big "Muffler Men" type guys, as well as a giant frog, hippo, lion and other stuff.

Giant Frog Muncie Indiana
Giant Frog Muncie Indiana

Big Things Around the U.S.A. Photo Gallery

Pictures of "Big Things" outside Indiana, including a Uniroyal Tire Gal and a Giant Cornucopia. Also, one of the first "Big Things" I ever photographed; a giant Indiana in Oklahoma.

Giant Indiana, Oklahoma
Giant Indiana, Oklahoma

2001 "Big Things" Midwest Road Trip Photo Gallery

I took a massive four-day road trip through the midwest (Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois) to photograph "Big Things."

FAST Company Cow
FAST Company Cow

2004 Visit to Dinosaurland in Virginia Photo Gallery

On a trip with my girlfriend to a VW Beetle car show in Virginia, we visited Dinosaurland in Winchester, Virginia. Dinosaurland is a tacky 60’s tourist attraction featuring 40 huge dinosaurs and other "big things" like a giant King Kong.

Dinosaur Land
Dinosaur Land

2005 – Big Things In Louisville, Kentucky Photo Gallery

Stephanie and I went on a road trip to take pictures of Big Things in Louisville. Including the giant bat, a coffee pot, and the giant Colgate Clock.

Giant Bat
Giant Bat

Me and "Big Things" in the papers

On January 5, 2005 an article on on my "Big Things" photography hobby was the cover story of Nuvo Newsweekly. I did an interview, and had my picture taken with Mr. Bendo for the article.

Why do I Take Pictures of Big Things?

When I was a kid, my family used to stop at the Happy Chef in Ottumna, Iowa, which featured a Giant Chef, complete with chef’s hat and wooden spoon. If you pressed a button at the base of the statue, the chef would talk to you. It scared the crap out of me, but I still wanted to stop every time.

I resumed my fascination with "Big Things" on a road trip in 1996 to Tucson, Arizona. My friends were moving, and I helped them drive the moving van out west. We took Route 66 for part of the trip, so we saw lots of big things. Unfortunately, my crappy camera didn’t capture many of them, but when I got home, I started snapping pictures around Indianapolis.

As a designer, I’m fascinated by "Big Things" because I’m interested in their effectiveness as advertising. To catch people’s eye, the advertiser took something ordinary and distorted its size in relation to the objects that surround it. You’re driving along, and you see "building building, giant cow, building" and you think, "Wait a minute, giant cow? That’s not right. What is that?"

Another interesting aspect of the "Big Things" phenomenon is that big people like Mr. Bendo are the decendents of American folklore. Part of our American archetype are folk stories of giant men like Paul Bunyan, who strode across the landscape, stepping over trees and buildings as he helped tame the wilderness.

Mimetic Architecture
Closely related to "Big Things," mimetic architecture are buildings in the shapes of objects, like the long-gone Polk Dairy building, which featured smoke-stacks shaped like large milk bottles. This building was one of the few examples of Mimetic Architecture in Indianapolis.

Related Stuff:

Me and "Big Things" On TV:
Dick Wolfsie and Barney the Dog, from WISH-TV Daybreak News interviewed me about my "Big Things" at 5:50 a.m. Tuesday January 15th, 2002, from Ralph’s Muffler on 16th street, home of Mr. Bendo.

Photo 1 of Dick, Barney & Bendo – High Resolution

Photo 2 of Dick, Barney & Bendo – High Resolution

I’ve been mentioned several times on the website roadsideamerica.com: "Akin to the mad building frenzy of the Winchester Mystery House widow, Steph must keep photographing giant things in Indianapolis or die."

Me and "Big Things" In Print:
Indiana Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities, and Other Offbeat Stuff
by Dick Wolfsie (Author)
I have photo credits in Dick Wolfsie’s new book, of the giant Steer in Kokomo and the ladies leg sundial that I photographed. I was featured on Dick’s show for my photography of "Big Things."

Continue ReadingBig Things Photos