San Jose Back in the Day: A Contact Sheet of Downtown

San Jose Back in the Day: Downtown in the 80's
San Jose Back in the Day: Downtown in the 80’s

For decades now, I’ve been photographing Silicon Valley. In fact before it was commonly referred to by that name. Though this contact sheet is fairly boring on its surface, I thought what’s missing is interesting. Looking at the empty parking lots, I struggle to remember what is there now. In the spot where I took the photo where the St Joseph’s church is, I think is now the San Jose Museum of Art (?) The big parking lot might be where the 88 is now (?) The pawn shop is still there I think. And I forgot how bad graffiti was even back then!

Ironic Aethist

Old Saint Mary's Church of Nicasio Valley (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)
Old Saint Mary’s Church of Nicasio Valley (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)

Not sure if it’s irony or hypocrisy- but it didn’t go unnoticed that I’ve taken a lot of photos of churches in the last few days. I am in fact a member of what I’m told is the most disliked faith group in the US- the atheists, freethinkers, non-believers or whatever label you prefer.

Tomales Presbyterian Church, Tomales, CA (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)
Tomales Presbyterian Church, Tomales, CA (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)

Every once in a while I hear a peep from those other groups – implying irony that I would choose their institutions to photograph. I do in fact find churches and other such institutions to be one of my favorite subjects to photograph. They are often the most beautiful or interesting parts of a built environment.

Saint Joseph's, San Jose, California (Michael Halberstadt)
Saint Joseph’s, San Jose, California (Michael Halberstadt)

That having been said, if I were to take a Christian to Pyongyang* and show them their metro station they’d be hard pressed to say that its not more beautiful than their local church. Or to some of the more modern buildings built after religion took a back seat to people- city halls, factories, train stations and the like I’m sure they’d also appreciate the beauty of secular architecture.

Just a thought!

Old Saint Mary's Church of Nicasio Valley (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)
Old Saint Mary’s Church of Nicasio Valley (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)

*I consider societies like the DPRK to effectively worship their leaders in a similar way that conventional religious people worship their deities.