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04-2021

January 23, 2021

231.6 lbs

04:09 AM – my studio

… up early, dogs too, Chas leads the way, let dogs out, let dogs back in, snacks for every dog, the cat too, now Chas wants to return to the bedroom, holding him back to be sure he doesn’t throw up, he’s been having problems lately, we don’t know what is going on, trying to adjust his feeding schedule to see if it settles his stomach… news last night that 45 tried to replace acting AG Rod Rosenstein with someone more pliable on January 03, 2021… wondering how close we came to having the military turn on the country?, there seems to have been a high percentage of veterans and law enforcement among the rioters…

… de Beauvoir, “women of today are overthrowing the myth of femininity,” this myth is the Rosetta stone for decoding the photographic imaging of women?, it is orienting me in the landscape of female representation… reading de Beauvoir’s account of early childhood development, i wonder about self imaging with the camera, an almost primal link to early childhood?, the selfie?, apprehension of exteriority?…

… let Chas back into the bedroom, Fiona and Ruby both on the bed in my studio, first time dogs have ever let Ruby stay on the second floor, a truce has been worked out?…

… de Beauvoir, the treatment of boys and girls starts to differentiate at an early age, with boys having the reassurance of physical affection steadily withdrawn, the acceptability of flirtation and tears to connect and display emotions diminishes:

Many boys, frightened by the harsh independence they are condemned to, thus desire to be girls; in times when they were first dressed as girls, they cried when they had to give dresses up for long pants and had to have their curls cut. Some obstinately would choose femininity, which is one of the ways of gravitating toward homosexuality.1

… this statement suggests nurture, not nature, psychological, not physical, leads to homosexuality?, thinking about my own leanings towards femininity, is it a continuum of masculine to feminine that we all exist on?, that it is possible to both want to be the feminine as well as to be the masculine, to enjoy the idea of possession and penetration, and the idea of being possessed and penetrated?, the tail devouring snake, masculine and feminine are fluid states… de Beauvoir, boys and girls are trained through interaction with their parents to be masculine and feminine, society maintains a kind of Platonic ideal of one or the other, a template, that children are trained to fit… i must have confused and irritated J, sensitive, shy kid that i was, more intimately bonded to C… a discussion of the stance men and women take to urinate, standing, squatting, women do both, men do both, depending on culture and class circumstance, peeing standing “is the way among many women peasants,” necessity and efficiency while working in the fields?…

… i recall an Emmet Gowins photograph of his wife Edith standing and peeing in a barn, an astonishingly frank photograph… there is a New Yorker article by Chris Wiley about the image, The Most Intimate Photograph… i am enthralled with the photograph too, but why?, am i male gaze in love with the idea of a woman being that frank with her bodily functions in front of me?, the scene is sexually charged from my point of view, you to Mr. Wiley?, is this woman as object?, it seems to defy the myth of femininity, does that make it feminist?, is there a male gaze?, does Edith care about the male gaze?…

Edith Peeing in a Barn, Emmet Gowins

…de Beauvoir discussing penis envy in girls/women at length…

… with my new awareness of the myth of femininity, i am more interested in fashion imagery, where attitudes towards this myth are on display, gender fluidity is a luxury really, and plays out continuously in the world of fashion…

an article, Flowers, Fruits and Nudes: Inside Lin Zhipeng’s Sensual Photo Book, my (prurient?) interest in the female nude… youthful, naked, semi-naked bodies, and fruit, a trope… and now, an article, London’s Biggest Virtual Art Festival Is Coming to Your Living Room, cool…

January 22, 2021

227.4 lbs

06:10 AM – my studio

… Chas got me up in the middle of the night to let him out… strange dreams about flying to Italy only to realize we left the dogs crated and unattended back home, needed to get back before they died of thirst and starvation, bugs in the bed, insect spray all over the sheets to kill them, H out having dinner with a friend, me, alone in the hotel room trying to figure out how to get home and could we afford to change our tickets…

… day one of Biden/Harris administration, a flurry of executive orders, pundits starting to debate chances of legislation getting past McConnel…

… Amanda Gorman, inaugural show star, beautiful, young, talented, show stealer… my news feed to the left has a picture of her, and a picture of Mike Pompeo, pompous white male Christian ass, i am done with Christian white male idiots, female too… an article on the rise of global right wing extremism, the US is catching up to the rest of the world… an article about the Jacobins in France, 1793-4, a moment in French history with many parallels to the current moment, very bloody in the end… a warning that it’s not over, however relieved we are to have decency and competence in the White House… “Treason is merely a question of dates.”2

January 21, 2021

227.6 lbs

04:45 AM

… and so starts the term of Joseph Robinete Biden, 46th President of the United States, it was a hopeful start full of the desire and promise of working together to build that more perfect union, though, in many ways, there is much ground to recover before forward motion is possible…

de Beauvoir has outlined the myth of woman as a concept, eloquently, and the ways it has and has not led to her position as the second sex, though she demonstrates that not all men have wished her this second position, Stendhal is an example… i consider reading Stendhal, covered in the last chapter, but am uncertain about the translation options offered, some very inexpensive and well regarded…

the fact is that rich America and the male are on the side of the Master, and Mystery belongs to the slave.3

… “mystery belongs to the slave”… the point being that to other is to create a mystery of the other… “the myth of the woman,” de Beauvoir claims, “is a luxury.”… by this she means that those for whom it is a challenge just to exist don’t have the luxury of time to contemplate the myth, therefor, the situation of woman is a concern of the bourgeois, it occurs to me that the fashion industry is the crucible of gender myth making, an industry all about luxury… i am led to think about the Pygmalion myth, we create creature and then fall in love with it… My Fair Lady, an impoverished woman with beauty hidden by her poverty, Henry Higgins goes full Pygmalion on her, shaping her into the embodiment of the bourgeois myth he then falls in love with… in A Little Night Music, the peasant woman character lustily embracing life and her sexuality still aspires to be wife of the Miller’s son…

Thus we see that myths are explained in large part by the use man makes of them. The myth of the woman is a luxury. It can appear only if man escapes the imperious influence of his needs; the more relations are lived concretely, the less idealized they are.4

… but…

By way of religions, traditions, language, tales, songs, and film, myths penetrate even into the existence of those most harshly subjected to material realities.5

… de Beauvoir argues that the myth of woman is a poor substitute for the real thing, alas, the myth of woman is what i am left with, longing conjured by the young baristas i encounter and become infatuated with… as i read de Beauvoir, i begin to see in all the cultural rendering of woman, photography, film, painting, theater, sculpture, literature, the rendering of the myth of woman, and i now start to have a context for assessing the portrayal of woman in photography, past and present… i have a long way to go in that understanding, but a door has been opened…

January 20, 2021

228.4 lbs

04:43 AM – my studio

… at 12:00 pm today, the Cheeto-in-chief will no longer be… i am under no clouds-dissolving-sky-turning-blue illusions, but i feel as if the darkness of this four year nightmare has begun to lift, at the very least, 45 won’t be able to haunt our consciousness as overwhelmingly as he has… he won’t go away, his need to be at the center of attention will not let him go away, his need for the adoration and adulation of millions will insist that he does not go away, but for the time being, and for the next four years, a certain level of decency and competence will prevail in the executive branch of the government…

… i printed the first set of photographs for my show, very pleased with the result, they will be strong on the wall… i find myself thinking i need to grow the set, get it to a place where i can do a book…

de Beauvoir… a passage on Stendhal, who seems to have been a man who loves women above men the way i do, preferring their love to any friendship, preferring their friendship to that of men… this:

women… are neither angels nor demons nor sphinx: but human beings reduced to semi-slavery by idiotic customs.6

… and this:

It is well-known that Stendhal hates the spirit of seriousness: money, honors, rank, and power are the saddest of idols to him; the immense majority of men alienate themselves in their pursuit; the pedant, the self-important man, the bourgeois, and the husband stifle in themselves any spark of life and truth; armed with preconceived ideas and learned feelings, obeying social routines, they are inhabited only by emptiness; a world populated with these creatures without a soul is a desert of boredom.7

… as i consider this last quote, i think of my own situation relative to men, i don’t care for the world of men, i don’t have much to say to them, or they to me:

Faced with the woman, the man tastes the pleasure of contemplation; she intoxicates him like a landscape or a painting; she sings in his heart and lights up the sky. This revelation reveals him to himself: one cannot understand women’s delicacy, their sensibilities, and their ardor without developing a delicate, sensitive, and ardent soul oneself; female feelings create a world of nuances and requirements whose discovery enriches the lover…8

… de Beauvoir quotes Stendhal in a footnote: The horrors always come from the little soul that needs reassurance of its own merits… a perfect description of 45…

… and this:

But the only earthly destiny reserved to the woman equal, child-woman, soul sister, woman-sex, and female animal is always man. Regardless of the ego looking for itself through her, it can only attain itself if she consents to be his crucible.9

… it occurred to me that one of the images i will hang in my Solo Show was probably made with the iPhone, i checked the photo information, it was!… i have blown it up to large scale, 17 x 22, it holds up pretty well… i may return to it with a digital enlargement program to see if i can improve the detail in it, still, it will hang well with the images around it made with higher res cameras, this is confirmation that iPhone is the way to go in future for digital camera needs in most cases, i am thinking i will try to upgrade to the 12 Pro Max before M and W’s wedding next September…

January 19, 2021

04:25 AM – my studio

Simone De Beauvoir

… i finish a section on D. H. Lawrence, the theme of which is woman as receptacle of male passion, the surrender of man to nature through sex, the completion of man in and through woman… now a section on Claudel, devout Catholic writer fully embracing the original sin of Eve, tempting Adam to eat of the fruit of knowledge (strange, it seems a fruit he always wanted to eat and it is through knowledge that he gains mastery of the world and the women in it) leading to banishment from Eden, women forever after to be punished by the church, the synagogue… as i read about Claudel’s concept of woman, she is the sole source of completion and connection to the universe for men, i think about the concept of muse, i think about H and about M, the latter’s visage coming to me through Instagram regularly… H in a foul mood yesterday, depressed, didn’t sleep well, the whole day on the couch, in front of the TV, tried to get her out for a walk, she was half asleep and declined, will try again today…

“Marriage is not pleasure but the sacrifice of pleasure, it is the study made by two souls who forever, henceforth, and to end beyond themselves, “Must be content with each other.”1011

… the value of companionship, which continues over long periods of time vs the value of passion, which is short lived…

Insofar as woman is merely assimilated to a human being, she will be as unable as male human beings to save the doomed world; it is femininity as such that introduces this other element—the truth of life and poetry—into civilization, and that alone can free humanity.12

… i have often thought that the world needs more of the feminine in charge of things… the place of woman in the poems of Breton, de Beauvoir asserts, is in the reciprocal love relationship with man, the uroboros… this is a point of view that i can embrace as it is a point of view of completeness, of a whole, whether this relegates women solely to the roll of receptacle, caregiver, pacifier, is not absolute to me, it is a place of extraordinary power, greater in many respects than the power of agency, to have both this and agency is something else altogether…

an article on David Alan Harvey, Magnum photographer, credibly accused of sexual misconduct, the patriarchy alive and well…

January 18, 2021

231.6 lbs

06:04 AM – my studio

… photo editing done, review of WAAM show complete…

… Chas threw up bile again, doing that a lot lately, we are trying to adjust his feeding schedule, spread it out over the day, make sure he has something in his stomach, hope this settles down…

… found my wedding ring yesterday after ten months of thinking it lost, i had H put it back on my finger, it was at the bottom of a backpack i haven’t been using, why it fell of in there, how it did, i can’t explain, i have no memory of deliberately putting it there…

…just ordered a book of conversations with contemporary curators, only about $20, i feel it may well inform my selections of images to submit to calls for entry…

…i read about the Kamoinge Workshop photographers and learn about how they have been ignored until recently by major museum collections… this photograph:

Herbert Randall, Untitled (Palmers Crossing, Mississippi), 1964
© the artist and courtesy the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

… a number of others too… well, time to suit up and make pictures…

January 17, 2021

231.0 lbs

06:13 AM – my studio

… reviewing the news for the day, lawmakers involved in the riots, bomb making and guerrilla war fare instructions being passed around on line… an article in Reason.com about how (mostly white) Nationalism is the gravest threat to our democracy, not immigrants, who are rarely the problem, just the scapegoat

  1. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 286). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  2. Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand via Arc Digital, Goodlett, Sean C., Our Jacobin Moment
  3. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 271). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  4. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 272). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  5. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 272). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  6. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 254). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  7. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 254). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  8. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 260). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  9. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 264). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  10. Claudel, The Satin Slipper
  11. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 241). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  12. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 252). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

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