Mendocino “Drumbeat”

Mendocino Main Drag

Ok, this isn’t one of my usual posts, but Barbara and I were up in Mendocino yesterday and I also happened to have my camera along.  Why “Drumbeat?”…Well remember that most ancient (and some present) tribes of indigenous peoples communicated through drums of various types to keep the community at large up to date on current events. 

Mendocino, while not an ancient tribal colony, always struck me as being somewhat defined by and stuck in the 60’s.  It was only recently that a cell tower was installed after years of objections by the locals.  This is still a small community, and as I walked around yesterday I was struck by the numerous and definitely old-fashioned bulletin boards.  I’ve seen them on the many trips I’ve taken to Mendo, but I guess they never really made an impression on me until yesterday.  These are well used, and the images I present here are just a smattering of these local town drums. 

This community still communicates with its members through this old but proven method of sharing current events.  Cell phones are tolerated, just not everywhere.  If you want to know what’s going on, or about to be going on, you can Google your brains out and never capture half the stuff that’s on these boards.  Some of the locals also carry their messages with them on their cars, as you will see below.  There’s a lot going on in this little town, but to capture it all you’re going to have to take to the streets to really be in the know.

The first image (above) is a shot of the main drag.  The remaining images are pretty much self-explanatory.   I had a good time walking around and shooting these message totems.  I got lots of stares from folks who were wondering who this weirdo was who was more interested in photographing bulletin boards and not the beautiful seascapes behind his back.  Well, those folks are also probably going to miss the soup and chili cook-off and the pancake breakfast.  I hope they enjoyed the view however.  As for me, pass the syrup!

Main Message Board

Main Message Board -Close-up

Another Message Board

Mobile Message Board

Message Totem

Small Scale Message Board

No Doubt About this Message

Equipment: Nikon D3s, Nikkor 17-35mm f2.8 lens

This entry was posted in History, Landscapes, Mendocino County, Old Buildings, Street Photography, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Mendocino “Drumbeat”

  1. Deidre says:

    Fun observation and photos. I swear you could do a book. Each series tells a story,
    Wedeet Phillips, master photojournalist.

  2. Chris Wendt says:

    Really cool kitsch (not referring to the photos). I really like the totem pole. Looks like pancakes are a mainstay of their diet! Well done, Phil.

    • Thanks Chris…I was definitely thinking of you as I was walking around town with my camera. Different kind of landscape, but great fun once I got on a theme. Sometimes the camera does help you “see” better, or at least differently.


  3. Janet Ashford says:

    the first three shots you’ve posted are of bulletin boards that are tended and often rearranged as a purposeful art work by a apparently mentally ill homeless man, who has lived near the village for many years. you can often see him setting up to work on the days when he creates his art.

    • Thanks for the background Janet. I’ve seen these B-Boards for many years and often wondered if they are tended. I like what it says about the community.
      Thanks again,


  4. Ron says:

    Thanks Phil,

    I really enjoyed this last post.

    I will go and walk around next time I am at The Sea Ranch .

    Thanks again.


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