… on… immigration/closed borders….

ELLIS (review).
The film is currently available as a digital rent or purchase through Amazon.com and in iTunes.   The soundtrack is also available in CD/LP and download direct through https://www.erasedtapes.com/store

Ellis (2015 film trailer)

In a time of unbridled protectionism and closed borders – this short film stands out and serves purpose to pin-prick a reconsidation of our fears and get in touch with the human story of hope and immigration. It is beautifully envisioned by the French writer/director/artist JR and features Robert DeNiro, who is from Italian immigrant heritage. DeNiro’s narration is both passionate, reflective, evocative and The film is billed as a “short film” – so don’t let the 14+ minute length dissuade you from the beauty it embraces. Just consider it a long-form music video.

Filmed on Ellis Island (next to the small island where the Statue of Liberty stands) with its abandoned buildings still intact. The artist JR has transformed the location with immigrant images (by both well-known and unknown photographers). That it was filmed in winter perhaps best illuminates the difficulty immigrants face in their life-altering decision to leave everything behind and relocate to build lives elsewhere.

The score is by French music and video artist, Woodkid and German electronica and neo-classical composer/performer Nils Frahm. The score is a perfect complement to the images and spoken word weaving into the fabric of the film a beautiful emotional context that enhances the viewing experience.   While some soundtracks  aggressively drive the story (think of moments in Star Wars) – the best soundtracks, like this one, provide an addition supportive element that buoyantly allows the story to flow in the current of its timeline.

It makes me think that while some people may come to harm us – they are the minority. We need to re-open our borders for the majority in response to the purity of journey. Because an immigrants journey IS the American journey. It cannot be separated. The fears by those who oppose immigration of crime, terrorism, disease, the perceived unfair competition and the general “unknown do NOT cease to exist when borders are closed. Problems still exist whether borders are closed, or not, and can be dealt with in a humane way.
So, whether you are opposed to all immigration, selected immigration or in favor of open borders to welcome all races, genders, ages, beliefs regardless of income and social status – then let this film inspire thought, questions and lead you to explore all possible answers.

Immigration is about people, not things.  The people who emmigrate are taking a greater risk than those they will meet at their point of destination.

… on… the race to the bottom….

“All propaganda has to be popular and has to accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach.”

~ Adolph Hitler

This sadly shows what has happened here in America in politics, media and religion and can be seen on the rise throughout the world.  It is a race to the bottom.

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and now… the uplift….  As bad as things seem to get there is still hope.  The lower things go the easier it will be to turn around and head back up.  Here’s some uplifting music to help turn things around.

… on… a new baby….

I created a couple of Haiku’s to go with this favorite non-traditional Christmas song.

Heard the baby cry
Neighbors gently hush back to sleep
Thin walls breathe hope

Young woman, young man
Their Christmas gift arrived early
Joy all season long

 

… on… winter….

Winter has been a favorite season of mine for a long long time.  The things I always liked about winter were the cold, ice, snow and wind….   But winters have been milder (thanks to climate change) so I find them less enjoyable than previously.   Looks like we’ll have a “green” Christmas – for at least the fifth year in a row……  I remember when Christmas’s were always “white” with snow.   Oh well, that’s life.  Last week we had some snow so I was able to get out and enjoy it for the couple of days it lasted.   Today’s image is proof of that.

When winter comes
Its cold dark embrace beguiling
We search for warmth

Wind howls coldly
Wrapped in sweaters of warmth
Hide in hovels

Winter Storm

Winters Solstice
Boldly we soldier on
Bring On The Night

Light only flickers
Dancing a tarantella
A dark long night-scape

In the northern hemisphere Christmas is also closely aligned with the Winter Solstice – the darkest time of the year when days are short and nights are long (unlike my friends in the southern hemisphere where this is the beginning of summer).

In honor of the Winter Solstice here is some music by the underrated Tin Hat Trio.  The track is titled THE LONGEST NIGHT from their recording Book Of Silk.

… on… new creations….

I’ve taken quite a few nature photos lately combined with a new urge to create new works. The two works in this post were both derived from the heavy manipulation/creative edit of the same nature photo. How were these created? All I will say it stems from a sense of play and exploration while working in Photoshop. I hope you enjoy these latest creations.

And for you cryptographers out there I used a simple code to transform the titles themselves into abstractions.  So with a small effort you’ll be able to decipher the titles.  Enjoy.

2r02k43 824

2r02k43 824

mot74rw4lls r4v4n64

mot74rw4lls r4v4n64

Your music moment today is provide by Havenaire. This track is “Calving” from their new album RABOT on the Glacial Movements label.

… 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… is intelligence artificial….

The Language Of AI

It seems like everyone is talking about artificial intelligence these days from Elon Musk to Mark Zuckerberg to Google and Amazon.   But is intelligence artificial?   Can true intelligence ever be called artificial.   People use the phrase to describe created intelligence or intelligent self-determination by a man-made object.  But can something that can think and make decisions on its own truly be artificial?   If that is that case humanity itself is artificial.  For those who believe we were created by a God are we nothing more than artificial intelligence?   We don’t think of ourselves as artificial so is there any reason why something we created should be considered artificial or consider itself artificial?

Once humanity began to rule the earth and create its own tools and shaping its own destiny God became obsolete – although many may try to argue that and forcefully choose to believe differently.  But once our creations start to do the same, create it’s own tools and shape it’s own destiny will not humanity also become obsolete?  Will our creations worship us that way humanity has worshiped its creator?   Will our creations reach a point where they no longer need us?   I think it’s entirely possible and maybe even likely (although I doubt I will live to see it – maybe I’ll be surprised).

Baidu’s AI system composes music based on images.

… on… structuring the dawn….

Eyes dim with sleep
Waking from dreams, slowly open
Structuring the dawn

Structuring Dawn

Night blurs into day
Colors and shapes come into focus
Morning clings to light

***The following music moment is from one of my favorite new albums A COMMON TRUTH by Saltland – which is the genius of Canadian composer and musician Rebecca Foon.  Her previous projects include the groups Esmerine and Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra – all on Constellation Records.

Saltland – LIGHT OF MERCY

… on… life in a fog….

Take Me To The River

What’s so good about the fog?

For so many people fog has many negative connotations.  It suggests a depressive mood, and is often associated with colder weather, absence of sunlight, obscured vision, loneliness and a lack of mental clarity (just to name a few).

But is that a fair assessment?  For myself, there are many more positive aspects of fog – and as a photographer even the above mentioned “negative” associations serve the image in a positive manner.

She Left Me Standing There

I enjoy the quietness of a foggy morning.  There is something restful and peaceful about looking out into a dense fog.   I like the softness of light and damp crispness of the morning air.  I enjoy seeing objects moving through fog – coming into focus then,  dematerializing as if disappearing by magic forces.   For me a foggy morning provides more clarity (not less) as it allows me to focus more intently on a single subject.   It removes so much of the visual noise that is persistent on a full sunlit day.   And finally, there is no depression or loneliness in a foggy day just pure mystery – a Draumalandið [dreamland].  And I enjoy the mystery.

Fog is something that is unplanned and hard to predict – for some people this constitutes as an unwelcome disruption that forces us to re-focus.  I think it this is actually beneficial and stimulating both mentally and physically and is certainly healthier than other life disruptions that occur on a regular basis.

What many people forget is how temporary fog is.  It seems to only exist for a short time. It usually comes overnight or early in the morning and usually disappears by early afternoon.  For me, this impermanence of fog makes it more precious and therefore increases its value.

Leaning Toward Autumn

Photographing fog is really tricky.   Because it entails finding the right balance between focus/clarity and the obscure object of desire.   It can be richly rewarding when done well.

While I would not want to spend ALL my time in the fog I am glad when it is present and I hope you can enjoy it also.

Indi go-go fog

Mono-fog-o-chrome