… on… Buffy Sainte-Marie….

As many of you already know I am a HUGE fan of a variety of music.   I’ve long listened to Native American music artists From N. Carlos Nakai, Bill Miller, Robbie Robertson, Robert Mirabal, Mary Youngblood, Pura Fe, Brulé, Rita Coolidge, John Trudell, The Black Lodge Singers,  Primeaux and Mike just to name a few.

One artist that I haven’t listened to in years is Buffy Sainte-Marie. She was born in Canada and currently resides in Hawaii.  Back in the 60’s – 70’s she was best known for her folk and country music along with protest anthems like UNIVERSAL SOLDIER and activism for Native American rights.

Well, the 74-year-old of the Piapot Plains Cree First Nation subject matter has NOT changed.   Her music has changed with a dynamic, visceral tone and timber to keep up with the times and lyrically she is as powerful as ever.  On the new music her unique time ravaged voice rages like a windstorm which is so perfect for the lyrics she writes and sings.   She reinvented herself in the past decade and  was recognized with the Polaris Prize and Juno Awards of 2015.  Her winning album was POWER IN THE BLOOD and just this year she released MEDICINE SONGS.  On the new album she not only has some new music but also has re-recorded some of her classics fanning the embers into a new burning flame.    On her website she states about this new album,

“This is a collection of front line songs about unity and resistance – some brand new and some classics – and I want to put them to work.”

You can check out more on this fine artist, humanist, activist, environmentalist through the links at the bottom of the post.   But first I want to share a couple of her amazing songs.   This is immediate music for our immediate present.  So turn it on, turn it up and don’t be surprised if you start to move.   🙂

YOU GOTTA RUN(SPIRIT OF THE WIND)


STARWALKER

NO NO KESHAGESH

UNIVERSAL SOLDIER

POWER IN THE BLOOD

Here are some great links

http://buffysainte-marie.com

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffy_Sainte-Marie

***** I need to give props to my friend and fellow blogger known as “sloppybuddhist” for re-acquainting me with this powerful music artist.  Check out her blog at https://sloppybuddhist.com

… on… the macro verse….

I’ve long been fascinated with macro photography.  It’s so hard to do it right.  And I’m usually too lazy to carry a tripod around so I’ve never really bothered.   But lately, as my previous post shows.  I’ve started getting into the so-called groove of close-up and macro imaging.    I still don’t use a tripod – all handheld – so the number of useable images are limited.

This morning was a beautiful frosty December morning and I decided to go to a local park close to downtown and only about 5 minutes from my apartment.   Here are two of the images I was able to use from this morning along with two new haiku.  Hope you enjoy them.

Les Bébés Congelés

Frosty mornings
Inhale a crispy frozen breath
I gasp, in love

Whiplash wind storm
When I am lost you bend me back
See what’s behind

Whiplash Bend

The music moment is provided by the Tindersticks.    Their song FROZEN from their recent album – The Something Rain.

… on… time….

2012 Marking Time
I’ve been fascinated with concepts of time and our perceptions of it. I just saw this wonderful film that is an artful exploration of the subject of time.
It is titled THE END OF TIME by Peter Mettler…. It is mostly image and music but there is some spoken word. And wow, the spoken word has so many quotable quotes I would just say watch the whole movie. Here is a trailer to entice you.

Did you know that the root word for time and weather is the same in many languages? With that in mind here are eight questions and possible answers arranged in an hourglass shape.

Q: Are you rushing because you are Late?
A: I am getting wet.

Q: Do you like the hot afternoon sun?
A: It is 3PM.

Q: Are you really 85 years old?
A: The sun is setting.

Q: What time is it?
A: It is snowing.

Q: What time is dinner?
A: The wind is blowing.

Q: Where is the sun rising?
A: The dawn comes early.

Q: When does the moon rise?
A: The temperature is dropping.

Q: Do you have the time?
A: Can’t you see the clouds in the sky?

… on… my disappearance….

Identity presence existence metaphysic existential reality:
these are the issues.

“Life is an illusion and we trick ourselves into thinking and believing it’s real.”           ~ mobius faith diaries

When I took this photo (below) I was fascinated by the door handles, lock and chain. But as is often the case – after I got home and started processing the image I realized something quite disturbing. I was standing directly in front of these doors but nowhere in the image. No reflection of the photographer. Where had I gone? Where was the photographer? I suddenly began to question my existence for some reason. I began to doubt all that I thought I knew was real. I just could not fathom…. logic told me that when someone is standing in front of an object that is casting a reflection that person should be part of the reflection. But here, the glass doors were reflecting the street behind me but showed no interest in reflecting me – the reflected image was not interested in my narcissistic obsession. Okay so this is the stuff of nightmares. I actually did have a nightmare about this the night I processed this image. There had to be some logical explanation. There was NO “photoshopping” of this image to remove my reflection. I had simply disappeared at some point in time between the time I pressed the button on the shutter and when the shutter closed again. This was during the day so there was no time-lapse – I was shooting at full speed.

Locked Between Two Worlds

I noticed the crack/space where the two door meet. Had I disappeared into the crack of dark space. And if so how come I have no recollection? If we cease to exist do we have no recollection of what came before? If we cease to exist on this plane do we just start some other existence with no remembrance of the existence we had when we were mortal corporeal beings? Had I crossed some astral plane to the other side of the doors and was looking out? At one point I did actually wonder if I was looking out or looking in thru these doors. One can see the windows in the vacant dark space which contrast with the reflection of the street. But again, I began to question – is this a reflection of the windows or reflections of the street?

Your music moment today is provided by Khôra featuring their track ONE IS THE OTHER from their album Silent Your Body Is Endless on my favorite Canadian Label (Constellation Records).

***The truth of the matter – destroy your illusions – reflections have a way of bending.  And that’s exactly what happened in this image.  As you can see in the photo there is a space between the doors which means they were not sealed tightly shut.  They were bowed out slightly reflecting the sides of the entrance and the street behind.  The doors were bowed out enough to allow me to stand in the crack or space between without being in the reflection.   You can figure out exactly how much if you measure the angle in the reflections which seem to close in behind me.  Also logic tells me (and you hopefully) that there is no entranceway like this that narrows then gets wider as you get closer to the door.  Think of a theater – outside on the sidewalk the entrance is wide and then funnels you into the doors not the other way around.

Bottom line.  I no longer have nightmares about getting lost and disappearing.  I CAN understand, appreciate and enjoy when it does happen.  🙂

… on… knock, knock….

Behind caged bars
restless heart, fearful mind
murmurs of changeKnock Knock

This image is one of the not-so-hidden spaces in downtown Akron.   Just on the other side of this building is South Main St.   And it is adjacent to the Akron Civic Theater.   This entire area has been under a slow renovation for several years.  Just behind me is the popular LOCK 4 of the canal which runs through this area. It is already repurposed as a wonderful outdoor entertainment space with live jazz, blues and gospel over the warmer months.  When I peered though the windows on South Main and between the bars through the cracks in the plywood I did see construction lighting and various clean-up tools as if this structure is under renovation.   I just hope they  don’t tear it down like they’ve done other historic buildings downtown.

Your musical moment to help digest this post is provided by FORQ (yep it’s pronounced fork). The track is titled THE HARD WAY from their self-titled album.

… on… lessons in rust….

Hello again everyone.   As many of you know I have a preoccupation with the subject of rust in my photos.   More than a few of my photos feature rust in some form.  Today is no different.   I’ve been thinking about why I find rust to be such a dynamic subject.   Part of it is (as I’ve written on my previous blog) the Wabi-Sabi aesthetic;  Finding beauty in the imperfect, the flawed and discarded.   But it also goes beyond that.   I think rust has many lessons to teach us.  No only about the inevitable end of all things but also how we can come to terms with the inevitable end.   Rust is strong.   It’s strength does not lie in speed, or the forceful blow to its subject.  Rust is gentle.  It does not seek to hide – it is visible in its destruction.  Rust takes it’s time; the object of its affection is coaxed into its corrosive embrace.

The Way Out Is Through

You and me like all things must end.   It is the nature of things.  We are mortal.  That means we will not live forever no matter how hard we try to extend the time we have.   I don’t care how fit you are, how free of disease you have been, your physical fitness, or your emotional health.   You will die.  In fact, you might say you are already dying.  And that’s okay.   There is beauty in the process.   What?  Yes, there is beauty in the process of dying = it’s all in how you look at it.   You can approach it with grace and appreciation for the time you have and the inevitable end or you can fight it every single step of the way.   I once heard a woman say, “I do not plan to grow old gracefully, I plan to fight it every step of the way”.   I’ve always found that viewpoint rather tragic.  But that is the prevailing viewpoint in western society.  In fact the exception in western culture is that you must fight it and with medical and technological advances you can fight aging, disease etc.  But that is all a delusion.  In the west we have become masters of delusion and self-deception.

Why do we find Autumn to be one of the most beautiful times of the year?  Autumn is the season of dying.   The leaves on trees are the most colorful just before they die and fall to the ground.   And this change seems to happen rather fast but the change actually started  at the point the leaf first came out and reached maturity on its branch back in the Spring.  Our lives are the same way.    It’s not just the newborn and young that are beautiful.   Beauty is enhanced through experiences that are both good and bad.   Rust is like that; it is one of those experiences that may seem to hasten the demise of something but it does not know that.   It just is.   It is a part of nature.  A part of life experience just like disease, physical and emotional discomfort.   Those things exist to add to our beauty.

Catacombs In Rust

You find me
Slowly you Change my life
I love you

**************

I feel your presence
your corrosion adds beauty
glory of Autumn

**************

Your rough embrace
Enhances my life through change
I welcome you

**************

The color of love
Textures the smooth beauty of life
Open arms tremble

**************

Sing a song of rust
A slow ballad of decay
Autumns dying love

***************

Sound of slow scraping
Crippled dry dusty fingers
Wabi-Sabi world

****************

Illusions of age
You teach strength through weakness
Beauty in Frailty

Face The Colour Of Your Fears

Your music moment provided by a band I recently discovered and had to buy all their albums – Do Make Say Think – A TENDER HISTORY IN RUST from their album You, You’re A History In Rust.

Album version


Alternate version

****Hey!  if you have short form poem or haiku about rust and the ideas I’ve written about, please feel free to post in your comment.  😉

… on… beyond the subject….

I once read something that got me thinking about how I photograph different subjects. I’ve started becoming more interested – not in just photographing a subject but actually photographing in a way that may allow people to look beyond the subject.  How do we frame a subject?

Urban Void

Is the frame to be ignored for the subject?
Investigate the setting. Investigate the frame.
Can you see behind? What is hidden by the subject? What is revealed by the frame?

How does framing a subject tell us more about the subject than the subject itself?

For many in our image conscious culture life beyond the frame is frequently unthinkable.  I think the opposite is true.  Looking beyond the subject can deepen my appreciation and understanding.  It inspires more questions on the journey that can propel the viewer further into the world of the image.

Urban Frame-Up

If you’ve followed me for some time then you know that I am a big fan of abstraction.  And so often my images have been composed only of the subject itself.  I haven’t changed As one friend told me “you actually think in abstract.”  Maybe I’m just starting to expand my view to include a larger world and larger context in which the subject appears and that – for me – is just as interesting as the subject itself.  That’s why I love images like the ones I’m posting here where the subject almost seems like a void – a vast emptiness that nearly fills the frame of the image but is framed by its surroundings.

I like the contrast between being and nothingness (as Sartre would phrase it).   I find the tension between two opposite things utterly compelling.  Existential imaging?

SHOW ME EVERYTHING – by Tindersticks from the album The Something Rain

… on… photo editorialism….

***I found the subject for this photo near my home and felt it legitimately illustrated how I feel about what is happening here in the US.

In Trumpmerica – the left is not tolerated.   The legitimate press is not tolerated.   There is only one way – the right – Trumps way.

Story Of Our Lives #109

It’s funny how someone’s desire to “Make America Great Again” has actually made it worse.  Muzzle the press.  Authoritarian rule.  Punish the opposition.  Meanness.  Lack of noble character traits.  Ignorance.  Re-writing history.

Q: What happened to my country of birth?
A: SHE’S GONE AWAY (Nine Inch Nails – as performed in TWIN PEAKS: The Ltd Series)

 

… on… suffering….

Halloween.   What a perfect time to talk about suffering.  The two images today are part of a series titled “All Our Efforts Are Futile”.  In the long view, everything we make seems to fall apart.  No matter how much effort and how good it seems when it was first created our work, over time, will deteriorate.  It’s just a fact of life.   It’s a constant reminder of our own impermanence.

All Our Efforts Are Futile

The foundation of all mental illness
is the unwillingness to experience legitimate suffering.
~ Carl Jung

It seems to me that we spend most of our life trying to avoid suffering. But just like our own impermanence and the inevitable decay of all we build, suffering is a part of our life experience. But what is “legitimate suffering?”
Is it the suffering that comes as a result of the actions of others? Is it the suffering that comes from our own actions?

I once saw a mental health advertisement on a city bus:  it was a quote from a Newsweek magazine article from 2014 that had the headline “One In Five Adults Suffers From Mental Illness Each Year”.  Those are not very good odds by any standard.  If you look around you every 5th person you see may be suffering from some mental illness.   Now mental illness takes many forms and that descriptor is not exclusive  to the more elaborate/newsworthy like a sociopath.   But can be something as common as depression or melancholia.  I wonder if it is wise to describe these conditions as mental illness because everyone experiences them at some point in their life it is part of life experience and any number of things can spark that fire.   But mental illness is just one type of suffering.   There is also the suffering from physical illness.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed a couple of things.  One is that life is filled with suffering; but that suffering changes and metamorphoses over time.  In my younger years the suffering was more emotional but as I’ve gotten older the suffering has changed and become more physical just due to the natural aging of the body.  A constant reminder of impermanence.   I’ve also noticed something in my youth I did almost anything to avoid suffering.  I ignored it, I joked about it, I lied about it, I would participate in activities that would temporarily subdue it.   But as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to accept suffering much as one would accept a constant companion.  I don’t enjoy it but I do accept it and try to give it the space it needs.   I have found that this more nurturing approach actually eases the suffering and helps me understand it – including how my actions may have brought it on.

All Our Efforts Are Futile 2

“Fear is the path to the dark side.
Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering”  
~ Yoda (from Star Wars)

“Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret — it leads only to evil.” ~ Psalm 37:8 (NIV)

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete,
not lacking anything. ”  ~ James 1: 2-4 (NIV)

I have found this last quote to be especially true. We should consider it a joy to undergo suffering when it produces so many good things such as perseverance, maturity and a sense of completeness. We should not take the “consider it a joy” phrase as a directive to seek out suffering nor should we use it to justify causing suffering in others. Suffering will come automatically – usually when we least expect it, when it is unplanned and inconvenient. So when it comes welcome it. It’s okay and if you see someone suffering sometimes the best thing to do is not trying to ease their suffering (although many will argue that is what we should do) but to just be there with them in their suffering. Suffering is made more bearable when we are not alone. But be careful of being too empathetic so that you suffer along with them. Being with them does not require you to suffer because they suffer. Remember you are the supporter in that scenario.

I found tons of videos on YouTube that deal with escaping suffering including many well meaning gurus, religious leaders, teachers, philosophers and songs. It is so darn hard to find one deals with enduring suffering. In a world of escapism, quick fixes, and good vibrations have we forgotten the role of suffering in our lives and therefore put our own mental health at risk?