Archive | photography

Finding Your Anchor(s).

Some days you need to find your anchor(s).

Today, mine are the past (a photo of girls from my great-grandmothers’ Domestic Service class, that says “Don’t they look happy?” on the back) and the future (going forward despite trepidation or uncertainty with a quote from the epigraph of Smile at Fear: Awakening The True Heart of Bravery by Chogyam Trongpa).



As I move forward and agree to take on things I’m scared about (as we all are with new big things!) these are the reminders that I need today that everything will be okay and that the past and the future both began with the same stitch. So we continue stitching and threading and weaving our way forward, strengthened by all that has come before us.

May you find your anchor(s) today, too.

Hi, Hey, Hello, 2011.

Here’s to the new year and all the dreams and adventures and love it may bring. As for 2010 parting, few things could be more fitting that this piece above.

Why this piece, you ask?

Because it depicts the juxtaposition of rough, activated and rugged (bull) vs warm, welcoming and beautiful (crochet) and how well they can go together. As those are the two poles we circumnavigate continuously in our daily lives, in between the good stuff and the bad stuff, I really like that it appeared on Wall St right at the tail end of a rough year. While this particular installation only lasted a scant two hours, this image remains as a testament to an artist’s vision, as she expertly combines aesthetics and concept. Of her work, Olek (born Agata Olek) writes,

It was truly a year of guerrilla actions that opened a new path in my crocheted investigations. I started it with a bike and ended up with the Charging Bull as a Christmas gift to NYC and a tribute to the sculptor of the bull, Arturo di Modica,* who in another guerrilla act, placed the bull on Wall Street in Christmas of 1987 as a symbol of the “strength and power of the American people” following the 1987 Stock Market crash.

This crocheted cover represents my best wishes to all of us. It will be a great, prosperous year with many wonderful surprises!!!

For more on Olek, check out her website, artist statement and be sure to check out her work, especially the Sculptures section for more amazing crocheted and fiber work.

So here’s to 2011, and here’s to new work, new ideas, new collaborations and new joy in this new year! And like di Modica and Olak, keep in mind that creativity and its creations are a gift, for both the maker and the viewer.

As makers we’re meant to let our ideas and whims break through into actual visual manifestations, we’re meant to put forth the work we envision in the shower, in a conversation, in dreams, everywhere we look. Maybe some projects falter and crack, but if you look carefully enough, they always light the path to an even bolder and more thought out project, the original thought was just the starting block.

As viewers, we’re meant to not only appreciate the time and effort that has gone into the making, we’re also meant to see these creations as manifestations of our own goals, in whatever shape they might evolve. Like the maker (creator, artist, crafter, whatevs), as viewers we are also here to create and make something beautiful, just perhaps not visually. Creativity, while at times, goofy, melancholy, engaging, is at its root, transformative, freeing and bold sparking revolutions both inside and outside of ourselves.

*For more on Arturo di Modica, check out his website. For more information on his statue, Charging Bull, go check out the Charging Bull Wikipedia page. Most interesting perhaps, is the original NYT story written the day after the bull’s installation on Wall Street in 1989.

[For more about the second photo, it’s by Flickr user Fotologic. About this photo she writes, “A still from a stop frame animation I made with my 8 year old son today. The full quotation from Henri Bergson reads: “To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating.”]

And for extra credit and two gold stars, go learn more about Henri Bergson, k?

Sometimes It’s the Quiet That Leaves the Biggest Scar

“Today the only works which really count are those which are no longer works at all.” -Theodore Adorno*

“Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak. But there is also another sense in which seeing comes before words. It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding world; we explain that world with words, but words can never undo the fact that we are surrounded by it. The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled. Each evening we see the sun set. We know that the earth is turning away from it. Yet the knowledge, the explanation, never quite fits the sight.” -John Berger**

It’s important to film and document what happens, when it happens. It’s important to leave documents of real life instead of curated life, which we’ve all become so used to. We document the happy moments, the milestones, the loved ones. We document so we don’t forget. The bad moments? We want to forget them, but we can’t. We don’t need photos, but what about people outside of our own heads? They need to see it too.

Riots, protests, need photographers and filmmakers. I want to document the quiet protests. The ones going on in houses, huts, tents, refugee camps, work about countries fleed from when they finally got to where they fled.

It’s the quiet I want to preserve and write down. I want to speak for them, not necessarily even out of a political standpoint, but a human one. We all want to leave this planet better than we started, to make our mark. While we with the internet and freedoms have a chance at that, millions don’t. I want to give them a chance to leave their mark and tell their stories.***

It took me a long time to uncover that the mundane is just as important as the other side of our reality. And finally, I came to a place where I believe that the most important work is done in, around, between and among these two worlds. The work of struggle and complacency, fighting against each other, just as those two opposing forces fight against each other all day long. We eat toast for breakfast while listening to the radio. At the very same time, somewhere a child is dying of starvation. Those are indelible aspects of our everyday lives, and I think it’s important to document them both.

The former and the latter are both someone’s realities. We create to ignore, justify, fight, love, hate, question those two differing worlds. For me, creation is just as much an act of salvation as it is an act of education. The mundane and the horrific have different stories to tell, and as such are equally important to take notice of. For years and years I tried to figure out what those two things fascinated me; figuring out their connection opened a whole new world. In their dissonance, they leave a bigger mark than by their isolation.

As for the scar left behind? It’s the emotions that the images themselves evoke as opposed to an actual physical mar. Most scars we can cover by wardrobe or makeup. But, however, when we sit down to create? There’s no makeup or wardrobe to hide behind, the curtain’s open before us, waiting for us to open it wider rather than run away or shut them tight.

*Epigraph from the Introduction of The Object of Performance by Henry M. Sayre.
Ways of Seeing, by John Berger. (Page 1)
***Something I scribbled down one day at random.

This is Bravery.

The August 9th cover of Time magazine, and video with commentary from the photographer, Jodi Bieber. Read the abridged article here.

[Interesting contrast to the 1985 National Geographic cover of Sharbat Gula. The original 1985 article is over here.]

More resources regarding Afghan women’s bravery and strength:
*Women for Women
*Afghan Women’s Network
*Women for Afghan Women
*Feminist Majority’s Campaign for Afghan Women & Girls
*RAWA (Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan)

And, of course, what’s happening to women in Afghanistan is also happening to women all over the world. To millions and millions of women. While you’re eating your cereal. While you’re checking TMZ. While you’re complaining about having nothing to wear.

‘Cause chillin’ ain’t easy in the hot hot heat.

It’s no secret that I ::love:: koalas. Ever since the fires in Australia last year, I’ve had the photo below on my fridge because 1) it’s a koala, 2) it’s cute and 3) it’s time to start seriously helping the planet when a koala comes to your house to hang out in your laundry basket.

Well, recently it’s made me jealous. Not because the little dude was fleeing from imminent danger and all of his little furry friends were scattered about running for safety. But because he’s hanging out in a pool looking like he needs a PBR in one hand. And during this heat wave in the East Coast, a sooty laundry basket with shedding fur floating in it sounds pretty good. Refreshing, even.

So thinking about refreshing things had me thinking about how beaches used to be, which is where I found the photo* below. The links below are quite useful photos for when you’re dreaming up a new project, wanting some new inspiration, or just want to escape the heat for awhile yourself. If nothing else you can marvel at how fantastically stylish everyone looked… even without central air.

More over at the Retro Pool Flickr pool and the Vintage Seaside Flickr pool. And extra loveliness over at the The Museum of Found Photography.

My favorite crafty and/or creative links this week?
*This Is Handmade (Thanks Rachel!)
*Jelloware: Drink from it… then eat it later
*The loveliest cooking blog that is Orangette
*11 year old grows veggies to feed the homeless
*7 yoga poses to improve concentration (Thanks Becky!)
*10 1980s toy commercials that will bring back memories
*Farrar, Straus and Giroux’s writerly blog Work in Progress

*Photo from hartman045‘s Flickr photostream.

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