***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.
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)
Leaves are Falling
Swimsuits exchanged for flannels
Signs of Autumn
I’ve been a fan of composer, musician Jia Peng Fang (Chinese: 賈鵬芳)
for years. He’s from China and plays a traditional folk instrument called the Erhu (Chinese: 二胡). I find the mournful sound soothing as the Summer drifts quietly and slowly into the sunset and Autumn rises in the cool crisp morning. May this new season bring many blessings to all who read this.
***fyi – Artist website is very interesting with great pictures, videos etc – but only language options are Chinese or Japanese – however, you don’t need to understand the spoke/written language to understand the language of beautiful music – so check it out.
THE STORY OF OUR LIVES is a series of photographs of signs that when taken outside the context of their function (and sometimes location) have a dual purpose of telling our story of existence. In other words after we are gone and our culture no longer exists, how would others (or aliens) interpret our lives based on what the signs reveal – supposing aliens decoded and understand our language?
This latest image is a personal favorite: It is simply titled THE STORY OF OUR LIVES #95
This image as taken at a demolition site. I found this sign on what remained of a wall at the site. It’s a fascinating and wonderful little chapter in the story of our lives.
While smoking has been deemed as bad for our health and in some cases has been made illegal as a result – it is in a location that has been destroyed, demolished. The demolition had nothing to do with smoking. This is a perfect metaphor for our lives. Life is fragile and there is more than one thing that can disrupt, tear apart or destroy it. So often we focus on the wrong things. We go to great expense to make things like smoking, abortion, drugs, “assisted suicide” etc illegal. And while those things may destroy our lives as we know it – we actively pursue other methods of destruction – war, income inequality, denial of medical care etc. Is it better to deny a person’s choice of self-destruction in order to insure the destruction of many? That is what is happening in our culture and our world. It is seen in our immigration policies, how we deal with refugees, it is seen in our responses to foreign powers that we have deemed as enemies. It is seen in the laws we pass for our own people.
What makes life so precious is that it is fragile. There are any number of things that can snuff it out in an instant without our help – disease, old age, the environment (poisonous plants, wild animals, accidents, etc)
Two things make life something worthwhile:
Now this may seem like something of an oversimplification but it is none-the-less true.
One of my favorite abstract artists is Cy Twombly – especially his “scratch” or “scribble” works, like the “Blackboard Series” with the notions of automatic writing, action, movement, simplicity, emotion and passion and how these all work together as a joyous expression of life and identity.
Where I found this artwork: Last Summer I decided to visit the Cleveland Zoo. I was hoping to get some nice pictures of animals but just like me trying to photograph people – my camera just said “no” to animals (mostly because the animals looked bored, unhappy or sickly – so JUST SAY NO to ZOOS! There has to be a better way to learn about exotic animals). Okay so enough about my newly developed political viewpoint toward zoos.
Now, onto the main topic of this post. I did find a couple of other cool things on the zoo grounds. One thing was this blackboard outside the Ape Exhibit where visitors (animal or human) could take a piece of chalk and write, draw or mark up what ever they felt like.
I like both presentations of this work and even if they are the exact image the processing completely changes it and I think they are very complimentary side by side and in the spirit of Cy Twombly’s work – which is why I titled them “ODE TO CY TWOMBLY”. I hope you enjoy.
For the music part of this post I decided to include one of my new finds that I dearly enjoy. The composer is Canadian born Mark Templeton. He composes experimental/abstract/noise/glitchy/ambient music. I hope you like this selection, “Pattern For A Pillow” which is from his 2007 recording STANDING ON A HUMMINGBIRD.
For more on Mark Templeton you can check out his website at http://www.fieldsawake.com
“In order for light to shine so brightly,
darkness must be present.”
~ Francis Bacon
Nature can teach us so many things if we only take the time to stop and listen. This photo was taken at a local area called Gorge Metro Park. And yes it does live up to its name since it is a large rocky gorge carved out by the Cuyahoga River over centuries and cuts right through the city of Cuyahoga Falls. There are several trails in this park where one can observe huge rock overhangs, cliff walls and large monstrous boulders. This image is a detail from a cliff wall. It was well above arms reach and I had my zoom lens out to its max of 200MM. I was mesmerized by this patch of grass that seemed to be growing happily on a small outcropping of the cliff wall. I took this photo a few weeks ago and have been pondering over it ever since.
As a species, we humans are a restless lot. We never seem to be satisfied with where we are at – neither in physical location personal, emotional or intellectual development. It seems are constantly dissatisfied with what life hands us. Now some people would praise that and say, “Duh! That’s how progress is made” But is so much dissatisfaction really beneficial? I think there’s a difference between the dissatisfaction that encourages progress and the dissatisfaction with life’s circumstances that are imposed on us that we have no control over. Can we ever accept contentment and happiness – even if they are fleeting?
I wonder if we need to take the time to truly cherish where we are located in life. I wonder if we can grow where we are planted like the grass in the photo. Talk about an inhospitable environment! That poor grass is in a bad location all around – lack of nutrients, lack of water, limited light and limited attention. But it is still growing. Is its life circumstance sad, tragic or unacceptable? Absolutely not. For it has shown me beauty and taught me something valuable. That patch of grass can be content with its limited life span because it has served some purpose for the betterment of the planet – even when it has reached maturity and “gone to seed” it will feed other animals and as it decays on it’s little rocky outcropping it will become fertile soil for the next generation. You and I are the exact same way. We may live an ever so humble existence – we may lack one thing or another – we may be living in circumstances that have spiraled beyond our control. And like the grass – we have worth – we have value – we exist for the betterment of the planet; it may have happened in the earlier part of our lives, in the present or may even happen in a fleeting moment in the future but we have worth. It’s not the amount of time we have or how much we do with it. The fact that we ARE is enough.
In our birth we bring joy and wonder. As we grow we become a symbol and a beacon. When we die we make room for others.
So go ahead try to appreciate where you are no matter how rocky it may seem. Just stop for a while and then slowly feel your way around lest you fall off the cliff. Then relax and grow where you are planted.
“Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?” – Matthew 6:29,30 (NIV translation)
“If the problem has a solution, worrying is pointless, in the end the problem will be solved. If the problem has no solution, there is no reason to worry, because it can’t be solved.” – Zen saying
“Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” – Zen saying
“the quieter you become, the more you are able to hear.” – Zen saying
“Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, and grass grows by itself.” – Zen saying
Is there such a thing as too much color?
In a world where saturated color and manipulated images have become the norm is black and white more real?
In our so-called modern society, and culture, image saturation is not only 360 degrees around us but also gets embedded in us as it’s imprinted on our minds. Technology now is primarily image based and all of it is in color; brilliant, vibrant, glowing, saturated color. Printed matter whether publications or advertising is 99% image-based.
Is there such a thing as too many images?
By having so many images do we become desensitized to the image and color?
Or, are we still in the process of becoming desensitized?
How much is too much?
I read a recent article in a publication that people today prefer to look at art online than actually going to a museum. Does this devalue art?
Well, these are just some of the things floating around in that vast empty space between my ears….. I had these thoughts as I have found that color images no longer interest me. I’ve gotten bored with images – specifically color images….. As a result, all my newer work is strictly in B&W. For me B&W feels more real. I find greater nuances in the images when I’m working in B&W. The image in B&W does not bore me – it makes me look closer. Will that change? Probably, at some time. But then, again, maybe not as long as our world is – the way it is.
Here are some recent B&W images I’ve created. Enjoy.
As always you can click on an image for a larger view and then use the arrows to advance to next image.