Friday, August 26, 2005

Where to Photograph Hemingway Sites

Author Ernest Hemingway is perhaps best known for his terse, direct writing style and his stories about big outdoor adventures in exotic locations, as well as his tales of war. If you are a Hemingway fan, then there are several places you can go to view and take photographs of his old homes and haunts. Hemingway traveled far and wide, so there are many places around the world, such as Cuba and France, where he spent significant amounts of time. However, for the sake of simplicity I'm just going to tell you about some of the more prominent sites right here in the United States.

Oak Park, Illinois
Hemingway's birth city is located just west of Chicago and contains several places that are worth photographing. First, you can visit Hemingway's birth home. It is a house built in the Queen Anne fashion, and has been restored over the years, so it looks great. The home is located on a busy street with enormous shade trees, so you might have a few problems with lighting when taking exterior shots. The front lawn is expansive, so you will definitely have enough room to set up your camera for a picture that captures the entire house. You can also take a tour and take photos of the interior rooms.

While you are there you might as well check out the Ernest Hemingway room at the high school that he graduated from. It's a beautiful room that is still in use today. With public school security being what it is today, it would be best to phone ahead and schedule an appointment for your photographs. The room is on the third floor and has big south-facing windows that let in plenty of light. You should be able to capture wonderful images inside.

Key West, Florida
Hemingway spent more than 10 years in Key West, so there are a couple of places that are worth visiting. First, check out Hemingway's home and museum on Whitehead Street. I recommend going to the house during business hours even for exterior photos. Trees obscure your view of the house from the street, and the brick wall surrounding the property limits your access. You'll get the best vantage point from the backyard. If you really want a picture of the front of the house, you're going to have to bring a good lens to accommodate the tight shot.

No Hemingway photo shoot in Key West would be complete without a visit to Sloppy Joe's Bar. Hemingway was a regular at this local drinking establishment; there are still many photos of him on the walls. It is a tourist attraction now, so it might be difficult to get some decent pictures. At the very least, you should be able to get a shot of the front that includes the famous sign.

Ketchum, Idaho
To see where the writer affectionately known as "Papa" is laid to rest, visit the Ketchum Cemetery. There, you can pay your final respects and add to your collection a tranquil photo of the tombstone nestled between two pine trees.

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