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Week 31

August 01, 2020

228.2 lbs

07:13 AM – walking, Pocket Road Trail

… as i arrive a bunch of people who don’t seem prepared to wear masks heading up, i decide against hiking up myself, i will wait, during the week there are fewer people… “tin soldiers and Richard Nixon, four dead in Ohio,” plays over and over again in my head… we live in strange, dangerous times, the winds of Chaos… i am thinking garden work this morning, housework later?, the stream being loquacious…

04:13 AM – dining room

… weight up, despite calorie counting… Art Blart on Brassai, impressive, especially on people, mostly on people, which i rarely photograph, would i be good at that if i did?… an article in Lenscratch, Lynne Buchanan, not Aline Smithson, i am overcoming my annoyance with Aline for never accepting any of my submissions for publication, annoyed i think, because she presents so much, how could i not at some point be something she could share?, but i want to read the words of women writing about photography, Lenscratch is a good location for that… the article is about a Nat Geo photographer, retired, photographing a forest in Atlanta, i like the images, i have made similar, though with lesser equipment, i am sure… the photographer is Peter Essick, the work is Fernbank Forest… i read about Valery Faminsky, Berlin Mai 1945, Berlin in defeat, it surfaces, i am sure, because the author worries we are heading to a similar awful place in America, i read about it, because of similar worries, this week, 45 has talked about postponing the election, will this nightmare never end?, it lasted for twelve years in Germany, at least the most virulent version of it, there were years before when it grew, like a cancer, we are in that phase now, can we turn it back in time?…

July 31, 2020

227.2 lbs

07:50 Am – MBP

… a woman with camera and binoculars, anything interesting?, she’s been trying to get a picture of a Marsh Wren all summer she tells me, i wish her success, we all have passion projects…

07:43 AM – Madame Brett Park

… back rest stop, depressing speculation about electoral disaster on FB, people are scared, i am scared, this all sucks so badly…

06:54 AM – walking, Long Dock Park

… T walks up with the boys… the song Southern Man playing in my head, except i want to replace Southern with Western, Southern man being a special case of Western Man… sounds of T jumping rope, a truck throttling down makes the bridge seem only feet away, the boys chortling, T picks up the pace, staying in shape… i am tired today…

04:09 AM – dining room

… to bed early, up early, i always wish the healthy, wealthy and wise bit was true, though i am healthy, some might think me wise, but certainly not wealthy unless we assess wealth differently than normally assessed in this society… an article on Thucydides and the Peloponnesian War, predictive of our current state of affairs?… yesterday, 45 threatened to postpone the elections, wanted to record that, fortunately, only congress can do that… a photo essay on breast feeding, i look at it because, of course, breasts, but the images don’t satisfy in that way, they point to the not very sexy nature of the dynamics of fluid exchange between mother and child… an article in Lenscratch, Aline Smithson shares a new publication from Yoffy Press, featuring three photographers, Cig Harvey, is one of them, i had a workshop with her years ago, i pay attention when i see mention of her, AS does not so much review as share in this piece, a difference between a woman and man reviewing books?, an hypothesis forms, do men need to critique while women just need to share?, to be tested… an article on Julie Blackmon in Photo-eye, more a sharing of new work, i adore Julie Blackmon… i review my week 30 post, i am satisfied with it, lots there if anyone wants to delve into it, takes a time commitment though, most people don’t have the interest… Huck Magazine, A sacred festival with India’s trans spiritual leaders, provocative title, i peak…

Although Hindu traditional myth looks favourably upon India’s trans individuals, British colonial rule outlawed homosexuality and, by extension, criminalised transgender people.

However, in a landmark Supreme Court ruling in 2014, India became the very first nation to recognise trans as a third gender. Yet trans people in India still face discrimination, violence and abuse as the stain of Western imperialism lingers long after the country’s independence.1

… i am struck by the impact of Western imperialism, setting a traditional society and religion back generations on acceptance of “the other,” the trans, i am intrigued by transgender individuals, most especially the male to female mapping of gender, it is because i have a strong feminine side that i am not ashamed of… another review of the book Reveal, by Ellin Spring, it presents and describes, compares and contrasts, it’s a bit more like what i am familiar with in the mostly male author reviews of books, would be interesting to see this book reviewed by a male author… review of 4 photobooks out of Japanreview of Miss Cox, photobook, wow!, wish list… i have this pervasive feeling that i need to get H out for walks, with, without dogs, i am frustrated with her in this regard, she won’t do it herself, without me, it makes me feel responsible in a way that it doesn’t feel one person should put on another…

July 30, 2020

227.2 lbs

11:03 AM – dining room

… the bell tolls for John Lewis…

10:46 AM – dining room

… news that Herman Cain has died from COVID19…

07:48 AM – walking, Fishkill Creek

… research into means to present video in gallery setting… a cheap tablet seems feasible…

04:51 AM – dining room

… cat trilling at the window, wondering if the black cat is out there, i check, no… not happy about my weight, trying a new calorie count/lifestyle app, we’ll see… want to get back down to where i was before pandemic started… didn’t sleep that well, woke up in middle of night, worried i forgot my bp meds, came down and checked, no, i did not, trouble getting back to sleep, up earlier than some days… question to SxSE shop re still-life call for entries, wondering if my video stills would be accepted… a mix of articles on Feedly, none pulls my full attention…

July 29, 2020

226.2 lbs

12:18 PM – dining room

… editing photographs, they have turned black and white, it is a mystery to me why i suddenly switch from color to b&w or vice-versa, no clear motivating factor except mood?, i am in better mood these days, so why b&w, don’t need the color anymore?…

07:49 AM – Madame Brett Trail

… joggers, walkers, birds twittering, late July summer stillness pervades the air, a woman walks by, eyes straight ahead, for some reason she seems Austrian, almost Nazi to me, her expression is stern and does not change, man with dog, man without dog, but with camera, long lens, wildlife photographer… the sound of a freight train making its way down the other side of the river, it cries out loneliness…

07:04 AM – walking, 9D/Fishkill Creek

… as i contemplate critique of the system and its effectiveness, i think about the Unabomber, his critique of society coming from a cabin deep in the woods, the fringes, it’s ability to gain attention even at the justifiable expense of its author, a manifesto that gets quoted and preserved, but has there been change as a result?, i don’t know, but i don’t think so…

05:43 AM – dining room

… an hour editing week 30, will be a very long post that few, if any, read to the end, but so what?, it’s what i am compelled to do… an article in Arc Digital, Don’t Become the Thing You Hate, i think, yup… dogs released, H up, my quietude coming to an end… an article on Zanele Muholi’s very political art, in British Journal of Photography… i consider it in light of what i read and thought about art critiquing social structure last week, my question this morning is, are there times when social critique art gets absorbed into the system is a good thing?…

“I consider myself a visual activist first and foremost because my work has a political agenda,” writes Muholi, the Black, Queer, non- binary visual activist, who takes the pronouns they, them and their. “What is important to me is how my work challenges and contributes to society and the place of Black LGBTQIA+ people within it,” they continue, responding over email in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.2

… i am left to consider the idea that when the need is for recognition and acceptance by the system, being invited into it’s mainstream normalization process is progress for marginalized populations…

July 28, 2020

226.4 lbs

07:36 AM – walking, Dennings Point

… i decide to go to tip of point, the old factory building is fenced off, all brush has been cleared, is renovation beginning?, are they tearing it down?, a siren goes off in the distance, what for?, it ends quickly, it’s quiet, a few birds twittering…

06:46 AM – walking, Long Dock Park

… T and the boys, we greet, chat a little, the boy’s birthday next weekend, going to be two, uh-oh, the terrible twos… earlier on Main Street, R stops to share a photo he made on the bridge… a man in wheelchair rolls by, mother and child walk by to my right… air still, humid… a woman with two little dogs, i say good morning, she returns the greeting, wishes for the promised rain, as we part she tells me to be well and be blessed, i wish her the same…

05:29 AM – dining room

… i let the dogs out of the bedroom, i can hear they are awake and most likely bothering H sooner than she wants… i stumble across a book review from PhotoEye, Mayflies, Blake Andrews the reviewer, is he this years judge of Photography Now at CPW?, the cover photo is a photo i have made, not the exact same photo, but the same insight, a vaginal wound in a tree, made to look vaginal, emerging from the dark, is it better than mine?, hand rendered apparently, more complex?, more clear?, i don’t know… Photography Now juror is Andy Adams… i have been waiting for the outcome of that submission, soon?…

03:55 AM – dining room

… up early, not sure why, sleep just stopped… H awake too, not sure why, will she get up and come down?… dogs woke me up at 1:30 AM, needed to go out, need to figure out how that does not happen… an article by Jorg Colberg, about the relationship between photographer and human subject, it’s not ok to make pictures without consent, it’s not ok to make pictures without some attempt to understand how a person might want to be portrayed… the article leads with Dorothea Lange’s famous photograph of Florence Owens Thompson and her children, with consent, which Ms. Thompson came to regret later, being the poster child for poverty… a long article on the provenance of the picture, it is very interesting, laying bare the myths photographers tell themselves and others about their own work… as i read the article there is a copy of Migrant Mother, Migrant Gender, by Sally Stein, sitting to my left, part of a backlog of books, recent acquisitions, women writing on photography…

July 27, 2020

227.0 lbs

08:29 AM – walking, Fishkill Creek

… chubby white man walks by, no mask, no effort to distance himself, that’s just rude… english dude with children and friend on bicycles, passed dude and friend yesterday too, i knew his name but can’t recall… lots of activity in normally quite places, lawns being mowed, utility poles being loaded/unloaded, burly, he-man work…

07:16 AM – walking, 9D near Fishkill Creek Bridge

… sultry Monday, i pass B tending her yard, her kid watering… i am glad for Monday, quietude in Beacon, no tourists… young woman running by, turns around and heads back… only H commenting on my posts, it’s early still…

04:09 AM – dining room

… early to bed, early to rise, dogs got me up near midnight to go out… an article about a genetic study on the slave trade, 12 million people trafficked, 2 million of whom died in transit… an article on The Polaroid Book, my father had several, he liked cameras, a fonder memory… the smell of skunk wafting through the room… in Eye of Photography, Lara Gasparato, her work catches my eye, something moody and poetic about it… presented in the style of memories, faded, stained photographs of contemporary people… an article about the illiberal climate in liberalisim, the Harpers Letter, which has stayed at the surface of my news feed… all sides are hardening into ideological puritanism, you are with us or against us, and if you are with us, you can’t critique in a balanced way, i have experienced this several times in the past months, a friend suggesting i shouldn’t spread an article with valid critiques of Democrats, another friend suggesting i am part of the liberal circular firing squad, and there was another i forget, my liberal ideological purity is that i am open to information and arguments from all sides of the question and i make up my own god damn mind… this in The Retoric of Treason in Politics:

Soon after Trump became president Horowitz published Big Agenda: President Trump’s Plan to Save America which offers the following advice: “Conservatives must begin every confrontation by punching progressives in the mouth”; “Republicans must adhere to a strategy that begins with a punch in the mouth”; “the strategy is to go for the jugular”; “it’s time to take the gloves off; “take no prisoners; stay on the attack.”3

… i find this offensive and a sign of how desperate the white patriarchy is, conservatism is, and how destructive they are prepared to be to hold onto power… an article in Politico about the violence over the weekend, i share with this comment:

This litany of violence over the weekend is distressing. The descent is continuing… category five Chaos is at the bottom. The violence has been emphasized and in the case of Portland, provoked, by the administration of 45. It’s not good when a neutral news outlet puts out an article like this. Liberals loose on the moral high ground when there is lots of violence to report. Severe storm warnings for the next 100 days.

July 26, 2020

226.8 lbs

04:40 PM – living room, watching the news

… i want to write down that my sister said there are federal troops in Seattle… a piece on US/China relations…

08:17 AM – walking, Fishkill Creek

… it’s July, but it seems so August, cicada chorus in full swing, the air, hot, dry, languid… i look up languid to confirm its appropriateness, seems to be, briefly, i imagine myself a poet for the ages, a slight adrenaline rush, then i suppress the thought, who am i to imagine great things?…

07:31 AM – walking, Sargent Downing School

… sitting on a bench, par of an outdoor learning environment project built and donated by Aidan Lutley, an Eagle Scout merit badge project, the Boy Scouts of America, did i hear the national body went bankrupt recently?… yes, i did… i remember being a Boy Scout, trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent… and, be prepared… i remember these things…

05:34 AM – dining room

an article on drone and social media surveillance of protest marches speaks to the surveillance state… we live in weird, frightening times… an article on a planned Philip Guston Virtual Show, opening July 30, 2020… On Jane Austen’s Politics of Walking, Literary Hub, i read it because of walking, something i do a lot of, something i am interested in… an article in the Paris Review catches my eye because of the title, Staff Picks: Sex Work, Cigarettes and Systemic Change, it is, of course, the Sex Work part of the title that first catches my attention and then Cigarettes, a commodity that has been coupled with sex, both historically and in my own life… i am further drawn to read it because the Sex Work part of the title is about a Japanese film available for streaming from the Japan Society and i have already seen and not really read a review on another outlet… i read the PR article in full, run across a link to AOC’s rebuke of House Member Yoho and the white patriarchy in general, now the review of a Jazz album on the tender spot of calloused moments… i am still looking for the cigarettes part… it comes at the end, a reference to a poem by Ya Shi, from Floral Mutter, i contemplate ordering the book, don’t, but i may still…

  1. Miss Rosen, A sacred festival with India’s trans spiritual leaders, Huck Magazine, July 30, 2020
  2. Hannah Abel-Hirsch, Zanele Muholi: Art and Activism, British Journal of Photography, July 28, 2020
  3. Thomas J. Main, The Rhetoric of Treason in Political Discourse, Arc Digital Media, July 26, 2020

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