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Week 48

November 28, 2020

230.8 lbs

06:16 AM – my studio

… photo editing complete… grabbed this image yesterday, unusual for me, really like it:

Red Onion

04:02 AM – my studio

… unhappy this morning, dogs restless, Chas in particular, gets me up at 2:30 AM and again at 3:30 AM, upset tummy i think, he just wants to go out and eat grass, gave him a bunch of treats, he has gone back to sleep with H… Fiona is with me… my weight is up again, have got to reverse that trend… HCR very depressing, 45 boobytrapping everything, installing loyalists all over the place, Republicans likely to be obstructive unless, by some gods-are-smiling-on-us miracle, we capture both Senate races in Georgia… it will continue to be a shitty time… Maria Popova advises, through the words of Alain de Botton, that we all learn to offer loving sympathy to those whose actions and words offend us to our core, we were all children once, with so much light and promise, before drowning in the sea of becoming adult… and i wonder, how is it possible to offer loving sympathy to a monster, say 45, or Hitler, or any other thoroughly despicable human being?… an article on Felix Gonzalez-Torres and Photostats contains this:

In a 1993 interview with artist Tim Rollins, Gonzalez-Torres described his art-making as “a way of working out my position within this patriarchal culture.” Citing a photograph he had recently seen of a Yugoslavian soldier kicking the bodies of two dead Muslim women, he said:

This soldier is a man who probably has a god, a man who performs his duty, a ‘family man,’ a hero… who has the kind of respect that I as a gay man will never have. How do I deal with a culture that will give him a medal of ‘honor’? In a way I’m trying to negotiate my position within this culture by making this artwork. What am I supposed to do? How am I supposed to feel? Who am I supposed to identify with? And finally, above all else, it is about leaving a mark that I existed: I was here. I was hungry. I was defeated. I was happy. I was sad. I was in love. I was afraid. I was hopeful. I had an idea and I had a good purpose and that’s why I made works of art…1

… ok, that is me… i am an unsuccessful version of that… there is the book, Photostats, available on Amazon, i would like a copy i think, i place it on my long and growing wish list, an abundance of things, mostly books, i would have if i had the money and space to acquire and put them… Jonathan Blaustein reviews a set of zines with the sole subject of brooms, over and over again, brooms, just the brooms, nothing but the brooms, well usually displayed in context… i am reminded of Ed Ruscha’s efforts, 26 Gas Stations, etc… i am reminded of my Flattened Cans project…

November 27, 2020

230.2 lbs

06:24 AM – my studio

… noises of the trash collectors coming down the street, it’s Friday, they normally come on Thursday, but, Thanksgiving…

05:00 AM – my studio

… weight gain expected, probably good that it wasn’t more… a successful TG dinner, lots of delicious food, cooked the turkey on the Green Egg and it worked rather well, i think probably better than in the oven, the drawbacks being the need to pay close attention to the Egg for the first hour, and i wasn’t able to start at high enough temp to do the initial browning of breast before tenting it with aluminum foil… The work of Zora J Murff comes to my attention via 1854 Photography, the link fails, but i read the description and am intrigued, so i search the name and find the artists website… what i see matches the words of the article i read, the photographs are not trying to be precious in and of themselves, they are trying to add up to something larger than each individual one of them, the artist deals with race issues, would seem to be black himself, a lot of what he photographs is black experience… i review an article that talks about artist notebooks, like the one i write in and construct now, this moment, process books, that capture ideas, these don’t do that, these capture thoughts, visual and written, observations, reflections, that is all that is intended… artist Alexa Cushing on Lens Scratch this morning, her photography mostly about the landscape, streetscape, a very few people, almost not enough to warrant having them at all, the pictures are natural, again, not striving to be exceptional in and of themselves images, just scenes that add up, again, this is what i do in a looser fashion… Alexa Cushing’s website…

November 26, 2020

229.2 lbs

08:36 AM – kitchen

… making the stuffing, feeling the effects of a little too much alcohol last night, will be more circumspect today… i am wondering if i made a mistake tossing the polenta cubes in butter as opposed to brushing them…

05:16 AM – my studio

… not a good weight position to begin Turkey Day… a day of cooking ahead, things already not going according to plan, the turkey barely beginning to thaw out after being in refrigerator for five days, accelerated the process by putting it in a bath of salt water, not sure how that will turn out… things beginning to feel more normal, returning to decency, a respite to deal with the virus, 45 no longer sucking up the news coverage… some more Rumi, this:

Stop the words now.
Open the window in the center of your chest
and let the spirits fly in and out.2

… mystics everywhere say that we need to stop the mental noise and open our hearts to the universe, let spirits fly in and out, intuition?, or calm detachment, just being in the moment and noticing…

Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.3

… this is what the economy must do for us, it must allow the beauty we love to be what we do…

… and this:

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass,the world is too full to talk about.Ideas, language, even the phrase each other doesn’t make any sense.4

… i send the HCR TD post to C, J, and R, it’s not the history i learned in school, it dates back to the Civil War, and i wonder, how did the story of the Pilgrims and Native Americans sitting down together to feast come to dominate the tradition, it is a northern story, a New England story, it became the story of the land, as opposed to the Civil War beginnings… i have a look at a book, Concrete Doesn’t Burn, it Crumbles, and i think, this is the kind of book i would do… i discover that i had the Stieglitz quote heading up my website a little wrong, with a subtle change in meaning, my version, “Beauty is the universe seen.”, the correct version, “Beauty is the universal seen.”… one is to open the eyes and see, the other implies a little more study, to find what is the universal presence in whatever one is seeing, and in relation to photography, compose and make the image such that the universal comes through… i change my website accordingly… photographer Jennifer Timmer Trail, Saccharine, a photographic project centered on her teenage daughter, black and white, i like the photographs, i like this pairing in particular:

Jennifer Timmer Trail, from Saccharine
Jennifer Timmer Trail, from Saccharine

November 25, 2020

11:13 AM – waiting for H at eye doctor

Betina PittalugaMiho Kajioka

05:52 AM – my studio

… morning started early Chas needing to go out, some dog, probably Chas, pooped in the dining room, i did not dress and come down quickly enough, next time, grab clothes and go… photo editing done, on to reading, learning… technology being frustrating this AM… computer crashed backing up Lightroom, which happens often… some kind of glitch with Ulysses app, it is not syncing…

November 24, 2020

04:38 AM – my studio

… 45 essentially conceded last night, he allowed the GSA to release funds for the transition, though he continues to push “the election was stolen from me” narrative… 45 is a noticeably smaller presence on the news as his relevance to national issues diminishes… my Rumi readings done for the day, nothing to quote, but some things to ponder, the image of the lover being the empty flag holding bracket, experiencing the wind but without the flag, there is a lot about not having a close relationship with the reality of things, or not being stuck in them, looking beyond to spiritual harmonization with the cosmos… of what use is it to be immortal, if the immortal one has no idea of that immortality?, culturally we know immortal, personally, we do not… i read about Rumi on Wikipedia… this about the tradition of Sama, listening to music and turning or doing the sacred dance:

In the Mevlevi tradition, samāʿ represents a mystical journey of spiritual ascent through mind and love to the Perfect One. In this journey, the seeker symbolically turns towards the truth, grows through love, abandons the ego, finds the truth and arrives at the Perfect. The seeker then returns from this spiritual journey, with greater maturity, to love and to be of service to the whole of creation without discrimination with regard to beliefs, races, classes and nations.5

… this, a very humanist way of looking at the world… and now i read about Sharia, which is Islamic jurisprudence, and is rooted in four sources, the Quran, sunnah (authentic Hadith), qiyas (analogical reasoning), and ijma (juridical consensus)6… it is interesting as this seems a good root ball for a way of life, though it, as with any belief system, gets twisted out of shape by extremists, like Christians in this country… so, climbing further into the branches of the tree of Islam, i learn about the Twelver branch of Shia Islam, Twelvers believe in twelve divinely ordained leaders, the Twelve Immams, and this i immediately cross reference with the Twelve Apostles of Christianity… it’s time to move on to other things, there are photographs to edit and catalog, my journey into iPhone photography continues, i have barely used another camera for months… the paradigm of image making is very different, everyone has, essentially, the same piece of equipment, apps are written to make use of the equipment in a variety of ways, ones “camera bag” has apps, not lenses, apps are cheaper, the compliment of equipment that goes with the phone camera is much less expensive…

November 23, 2020

03:37 AM – my studio

… here i am, 03:30 AM, i woke up at 02:30 AM, tried to go back to sleep, H snoring, then, Chas gets off the bed, a little while later he is whining, i get up knowing he needs to be let out, downstairs, let him out, set up the coffee, he comes back in, treat, for Rubie cat too, then Fiona making noises upstairs, i retrieve her, we all go out, come back in, treats, water still heating up for coffee, it smells like a dog pooped in the house, i look for it, don’t see it, think i am imagining things, sit to read HCR, still smell it, turn on lights, there it is, loose stool, clean up, take garbage out, water boiling, make the coffee, upstairs to start my morning reveries, readings, writings… S makes a comment about my Week 26 posting, the comment indicates that he read it, so it isn’t that nobody reads it… Rumi:

The beauty of careful sewing on a shirt
is the patience it contains.7

… when i read this, it makes me want to be patient, to sew, and wait, wait for someone to see it, and appreciate the patience it required… i then believe i am right to labor at my own pace, with my full intention about what is and is not important, not the many’s intentions about that, i will make patiently, because i need to make, nothing else matters…

When you are with everyone but me,
you’re with no one.
When you are with no one but me,
you’re with everyone.
Instead of being so bound up with everyone,
be everyone.
When you become that many, you’re nothing.

… so, is that it?, as i read the passage, i remember making love with H, a long time ago, perhaps the only time i ever felt myself completely merged with another, giving, receiving, receiving, giving, it was profound, remembered to this day, i was with no one but H, i was with everyone, completely surrendered to this “God moment,” H too, i could feel it in the posture of her lips, their feel when i kissed them, complete surrender to one another… i know Rumi speaks above of a spiritual moment with God, but who’s to say that every moment that overwhelms and dissolves our selfhood isn’t a moment in God, the many?… i dive into my Feedly feed, first, album reviews, i save one, discard the rest, the cover of one discarded catches my eyes and holds them, in the sense that one might buy wine but the attractiveness of the label, i would buy the album for it’s cover art:

Album Cover, Isla: Preyer
Album Cover, Isla: Preyer

… the image is compelling to me because of the way it straddles the worlds of living and dead, something reaching out to me from beyond the event horizon of being… it reminds me a bit of the Robert Maplethorpe self portrait:

Robert Mapplethorpe, Self Portrait, 1998
Robert Mapplethorpe, Self Portrait, 1998

the work of Thomas Duffield, i am reminded of Cig Harvey, luscious color, mostly square format, domestic life posed, this image in particular:

Thomas Duffield, from The Whole House is Shaking
Thomas Duffield, from The Whole House is Shaking

… Antonis Theodoridis, Ways of Escape, this image catches my eye because i saw it over a year ago and used it to construct a scene in a short story i started to write but never finished:

Antonis Tneodoridis, from Ways of Escape
Antonis Tneodoridis, from Ways of Escape

… the image is haunting because of the overlay of the safety of sleep and the danger that we imaging lurks in the hole below, if from nothing more than a fall and did someone place the cot there to prevent someone from falling in, or did the photographer place it?…

November 22, 2020

227.8 lbs

05:03 – my studio

… “Show us something we haven’t seen before.”, Jonathan Blaustein’s rule on reviewing books… i think about that statement and i think, why such an emphasis on the exceptional, on the unusual?, something we haven’t seen before, it has been said, nothing is new under the sun, it’s all been seen before, the question really is, can you show me something in an unusually revelatory way?, that could include the sublime perfection of something that has been seen before… i make this daybook, gather the photographs to appear in it, i spend hours each day in a labor few, if any, will have the patience to wade through… i share it, but nobody looks, well, that is how it is, to some degree, that nobody looks allows me to be a bit more honest about what is on my mind, my proclivities, though none are wildly out of line, they are just acknowledgment of feelings, attractions, frustrations, that society tells us to keep submersed… A Voice Above the Linn, Robbie Lawrence, a book i think i would enjoy, except i can’t afford another photobook at the moment… i decide to look at his website and find this picture:

Robbie Lawrence
Robbie Lawrence

… it’s beautiful in a nostalgic, old world kind of way, and points up one of the weaknesses of the iPhone as photographic tool, depth of field makes this image harder to accomplish, shallow depth of field, background blur… i am deciding to plunge more deeply into iPhone only photography, as the way to move forward, always have a camera with me… i am concluding that if my objective is a certain kind of abstract, this gets my attention, narrative, then the iPhone is just fine and i am likely to be able to keep up financially with equipment upgrades… i look at a book entitled, Stellar Skytron, it is a set of images of the lights the author was born under, thirteen photographs, hand made, $65 dollars, if i had the money in the bank, i would buy it, i don’t, oh well… this is my kind of concept book… i go to S. Billie Mandle’s website and i am mesmerized by the photographs, she has a wonderful eye sensibility, ear to the profound…

Stellar Skytron, S. Billie Mandle
Stellar Skytron, S. Billie Mandle

… i read about The Locusts, Jesse Lenz, a book about the wonders of nature and childhood…

from The Locusts, Jesse Lenz
from The Locusts, Jesse Lenz
  2. Rumi, Jalal Al-Din; Barks, Coleman. The Essential Rumi – reissue (p. 35). HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition.
  3. Rumi, Jalal Al-Din; Barks, Coleman. The Essential Rumi – reissue (p. 36). HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition.
  4. Rumi, Jalal Al-Din; Barks, Coleman. The Essential Rumi – reissue (p. 36). HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition.
  7. Rumi, Jalal Al-Din; Barks, Coleman. The Essential Rumi – reissue (p. 26). HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition.
  8. Rumi, Jalal Al-Din; Barks, Coleman. The Essential Rumi – reissue (p. 28). HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition.

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