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10 March 2020

You can't pass a dry cleaners without seeing a Juki sewing machine in the window. It's essential equipment.

Closed. Captured on a Nikon D300 at f8, 1/250 second and ISO 400 at a 105mm equivalent focal length. Processed in Adobe Camera Raw.

The laundry was closed the day we passed by so we took our time to line up the shot and capture the prized possession on display.

Prized? We think so. It speaks of a level of skill. Repair, no doubt. Alterations, too. Both something beyond dry cleaning and laundry.

The palette is almost monochrome, raising the image above a mere snapshot.

It was a skill that our grandmother on our father's side turned into a business in the old country, sewing what needed sewing late into the night after spending all day at school.

It beat doing laundry in the river in the dark.

But we have to wonder if the sewing machine that was once a fixture in every home has gone the way of the piano, which was also once a prized possession found in the finer households. Today you can't sell a used piano to anyone.

It's not as if these skills of sewing and playing the piano have been replaced by modern technology. They haven't exactly been usurped by an app. And yet what young person do you know who can do either?

We can point to a couple. One tried to make a little money from her sewing to support her family. But the work is time consuming and she quickly found that her creations, as clever and popular as they were, condemned her to a kind of sub-minimum wage servitude she couldn't justify spending her time on.

This image appeals to us not just for the Juki. We like how the windows reflect the world going by, protecting the inner sanctum where the work of keeping the world spinning goes on. The palette is almost monochrome, raising the image above a mere snapshot.

It took a good deal of work in Camera Raw to bring the Raw file to life. That's a skill, too, it occurs to us. One we hope to keep alive.

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