The other day one of my colleagues was working with the collection of materials generated by the committee that organized Norman Hackerman’s inauguration in 1971. In one of the boxes I found the completely standard looking official scrapbook. It’s classic Rice in fact– dark blue cover, dignified gold lettering:
This cover was totally deceiving. I’d once seen a black and white image of Neal Lane at the inauguration but it did not prepare me for what I found in this book, which was weird, uncanny, and almost unearthly. The best word for it might be “Felliniesque.”
It all starts with the balloons, which seem to have been everywhere. (Knowing what I have come to know about Norman I find this choice inexplicable but I suppose at the time no one knew that.)
The first page sets the tone:
Then the delegates robe:
And the faculty processes. That’s Geologist and general rabble-rouser Jean-Claude deBremaecker with the balloon:
There’s more but I’ll save it for tomorrow. I would love to know who took these pictures.
Bonus: This one hung on through commencement then gave up the ghost. RIP.
The surreal feel to these is fabulous.
I agree. And I’ve never seen anything even remotely like them anywhere in the corpus of Rice photographs. I really would love to know who took them and who authorized collecting them into this scrapbook.