Archive for the ‘photography’ Category

Imaginary Album Art: Frugivore

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Apparently during SXSW week in Austin even some Cedar Waxwings can start a band. It’s a good thing I had time to churn out the album cover before their free showcase in my backyard. The drummer is down there on the left … I think he said his name was Saul.

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Well-Respected Beards, Nos. 032 and 033: Muybridge and Marey

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Eadweard Muybridge and Etienne-Jules Marey, chronophotographers of the late 1800s. If you like movies, thank these dudes, their beards, and their tricked-out cameras.

And now a few words for Sr. Salgado

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(I was working at a bookstore that year and picked up a copy of “Workers” and had all the kids in Photo class sign it and then we gave it to Mr. Baldwin because we figured he liked Salgado. Usually when photographers go to foreign countries and document poor working conditions or starvation or human rights violations or war, people don’t complain that the photographs might be too beautiful and idealize the situation. Not only does Salgado make art, he makes visual haikus that break you down until all that’s left is your eyes and whatever that part is that makes us human and wants so desperately to connect us with the other humans. That part doesn’t care where, or when, or why. It just wants us to see, that man is carrying a heavy bag of dirt, and no one is helping him, why isn’t anyone helping him? (Thank you for the present, Mr. Baldwin.))

A community above Chimborazo, Ecuador 1982
Day of the Dead, Ecuador 1982
Transporting bags of dirt in the Serra Pelada gold mine, Brazil 1986

All copyright Sebastiao Salgado, used without permission, sorry, I had to do it.

Bob’s inner puppy

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Bob the dog is all grown up now, but Bob’s Master didn’t meet Bob until Bob was three years old. Master’s brother took this picture when Bob was a young pup but had never shown it to Master, thereby depriving Master of scenes of Bob’s younger days. But, in what might be described as “A Good Day,” Master’s mom got Master’s brother to give Bob’s picture to Master. And Master, as you can imagine, was beaming like a mother reunited with her long lost child.

It’s an interesting case of memories lost and found. Master gets the rare chance to see a version of Bob that no longer exists, a Bob she never knew. Bob can’t do anything with the photo himself, except maybe chew on it a little bit, but Master can look at grown-up Bob for signs of the Baby Bob who is in that photograph. She won’t find the brown spots; they’ve all gone grey. But something is there. Something Bob doesn’t remember, something Master can recognize even though she’s never actually seen “that” dog ever before: some curious bit of dog-spirit that Bob held on to. Master knows all about Bob’s timeline, knows how it stretches back (to a time when Bob took care of Master and not the other way round) and how it may proceed. But now, thanks to brothers and mothers and hanging on to old photographs, Bob’s timeline is a little bit longer, and a little bit brighter. Sometimes a golden memory, rediscovered, makes the amnesia almost worth it.

6 years – 1 day = (2 towers / 2 planes) – 3000

That was the day I was sitting in a classroom full of preservice teachers who kept getting text messages from their boyfriends about how they needed to get to a television immediately, the world has changed, the lecture we are receiving about children’s literature becomes more irrelevant by the second.

That was the day I drove around with my girlfriend the photojournalist, she steering frantically through seemingly empty streets, it was like the city shut down for a couple of hours, we could hear the panic in the radio announcers’ voices, the car was full of panic, as if we kept driving around long enough we could do something, help someone, get somehow closer to the image that was already charred into our brainstems after seeing it on the television, file it next to the Challenger, how is it that these two plumes of smoke filtered by television waves can be so memorable when I have seen so many other things burning right in front of me? Some photographs are nice to keep around, they remind you of things, but this, these images which made it around the world in 80 milliseconds, flashing over and over again just to make sure you saw it from every possible angle, no one ever needs to see these images again, because they are carved, etched, chiselled into our memories.

Historians 2000 years from now will be able to watch full-color video of the event happening in real-time, somehow these records will be preserved, but if they want to see the pictures  the photojournalist took that day, so far away from New York City, they had better have a functional prototype of a time-machine, they’re gone, the file formats changed, they were lost in the flood, the discs got scratched, they got buried in the landfill, the heirs didn’t care, it seemed irrelevant at the time, what we really want to know is the names of all the people who died, and what were the names of the murderers, can we write biographies of these men sortof like the ones about Hitler, get into their heads, try to figure out why they did what they did? That’s what the historians will want to know, the ones who don’t have the image fresh in their heads, the images burned onto the backs of our brains like the shadows of people thrown onto the sides of buildings by Fat Man or Little Boy. They’ll look at it academically, and wonder why. Do we know why? Did we stop to ask, or was the question made irrelevant by our precision bombing raids? Will they come to the conclusion, 2000 years from now, that religion was the problem, and the solution?

AFP/Getty Images