Photos from John Stamets’ 1987 book ‘Portrait of a Market’ will be part of a walking tour on Aug. 17.
ON AUG. 17, John Stamets’ 1986 panorama looking east on Pike Street from the Pike Place Market, printed here, will be exhibited in the Market from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., near where our “Now” photo was taken.
A mere 31 years separate the two photos, where Pike Street elbows north into Pike Place. We have chosen this subject in part to honor our brilliant friend, whose civic record of photographic achievements was well-chosen and utterly unique. Stamets died suddenly in June 2014, near his office and basement laboratory in the University of Washington’s Gould Hall, where he had been teaching architectural photography for many years.
This photo appears on page 65 of his 1987 book, “Portrait of a Market.” Although it’s now out of print, you can find a used copy with a little online exploring. All of the book’s 73 subjects are pans recorded with Stamets’ Widelux camera, and each takes its own page. This leaves room for the often-evocative captions by Steve Dunnington. The book’s publisher, Cathy Hillenbrand of The Real Comet Press, says Dunnington is a “journalist and co-owner of the Pike Place Market newsstand.”
‘Portrait of a Market’ exhibit
As part of Pike Place Market’s 110th anniversary celebration, 20 of John Stamets’ photos of the Market will be displayed in a walking tour of the arcade. The photos are pulled from the 73 photos that appeared in Stamets’ 1987 book, “Portrait of a Market.” The event will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Aug. 17. Later this year, the selected Stamets Market panoramas will be put on permanent exhibit in the Market Commons, part of the new addition on the west side of Western Avenue.
Thirty years ago, or so, you might have bought a publication from him at the corner of what remains one of Seattle’s most cherished landmarks: the intersection of First Avenue and Pike Street. On Aug. 17, Dunnington and Hillenbrand will be on hand to share in what is also the Market’s 110th anniversary celebration.
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I met Stamets in the 1970s on Capitol Hill, where we each rented apartments on 13th Avenue. Stamets, a Yale graduate, was the progressive tabloid Seattle Sun’s last editor and also its last photographer. Among his many projects that followed were an elaborate colored survey of “Flesh Avenue,” the name sometimes used for First Avenue south of the Market before its gentrification; a masterful collection of portraits of his riders when he was driving a cab; and the oversized record of the business district through its changes in the 1980s and after.
Stamets was famous for his serendipitous knack for recording the unannounced 1987 collapse of the new construction on Husky Stadium (he was biking by) and the fall of the Hammering Man at the Seattle Art Museum’s entrance in 1991.