Monday, August 25, 2014

Friday, August 22, 2014

shame




There's lots to like about the neighborhood in which I live. It's kid-friendly, walkable, easy on the eyes, and almost entirely free of violent crime. One of its attractions for me has always been its more-or-less equal mix of large and small houses. This has been changing over the past few years as the latter type disappear. Many are mansionized by expansion up and out. Others, like this one, are eliminated to make room for new dwellings that are pretty much all structure and no yard or garden.


This demolition began when the backhoe arrived and carved out the street side of the little hill on which the house sits. The debris is dumped into trucks that pull into the newly-opened space.

Friday, August 15, 2014

a blush of color




This Rose of Sharon appeared today in the back-yard jungle of our neighbor to the south. It stands out handsomely amidst a dense thicket of vines, bushy greens, and cockeyed trees.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

moon




I'd read that this month's full moon would be bigger and brighter than most, but, imagining it in a clear sky, thought it wouldn't make an interesting photograph. Awakening around midnight with moonlight streaming in the window, I saw what you see here.


When I was about nine I had a friend who lived in a place which held many things that boys love, lots of woods, open grassy slopes, a cascading brook, and, best of all, a small farm complete with smelly chickens and lots of growing things. In a time when children were left to their own devices most of the time, I remember staying up unusually late one night enjoying the bright light of a clear-sky full moon and picking a carrot or two to eat while marveling at the shadows we cast.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

abstraction



This shows a watercolor called "The Balcony." Paul Cézanne painted it in 1900 and Albert Eugene Gallatin bought it in 1924. Gallatin was a well-bred New York connoisseur, writer, and artist. This photo of Gallatin at age 24 in 1905 shows his upper-crust nature. He was wealthy, conservative, dignified, and entirely correct. How then, one wonders, did he become one of America's most dedicated proponents of radical art, a participant in the rebellion against conservatism that followed the 1913 Armory Show in New York? And why, in particular, did he champion non-representational Cubist art?

Part of the answer is that he taught himself to see differently. A somewhat overwrought and wordy Ph.D. thesis by a man named Gregory Galligan attempts to explain:

"Cézanne taught himself to see otherwise, that is, he mastered an ability to largely disregard his usual habits of stereometric perception for something far more fundamentally (in the ontological sense of the term) pictorial, or "painterly." Albert E. Gallatin understood this aesthetic implicitly when, on a routine visit to the Galleries Berneim-Jeune, Paris, in the summer of 1924, he purchased Cézanne's late watercolor, The Balcony, of 1900. In this instance, a wrought-iron window railing answers the implied arabesques of a distant view of brush and foliage—nature and culture thus taking part in a close poker of mutual bluffing.



Monday, August 04, 2014

Flip




This shows a companion who shared my youth and was at times my best friend. Since allergies made furry pets impossible in my family's household, I and my siblings lavished our love on those that inhabited our neighborhood and this gentle beast, living next door, most of all. I can still remember the way his broad head felt under my hand and the softness of his ears. The image is a scan of a 35mm slide that I took using my own Argus C3 in 1954 or thereabouts, when I was maybe 12.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

dreaming of sudden death


Not too long ago I read Siegfried Sassoon's fictionalized Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man which comes to a close in 1915 when he puts on the uniform of a second lieutenant of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. This entry from a diary he kept comes from December 2nd of that year. The book is mainly about his love of outdoor sports, particularly cricket and cross-country horse racing. December 2nd's brief statement concerning an attempt to make a horse jump a ditch is in keeping with both the youthful yest for life that permeates the book and its understated humor.

Quiet day. ... Tried to make black pony jump a ditch and failed utterly. Saw a heron, which sailed slowly away across the misty flats of ploughed land, gray, still evening, gleaming dykes, willows and poplars; a few lights here and there as we rode home, and flicker of star shells in the sky beyond Bethune—Robert Graves lent me his M.S. poems to read: some very bad, violent and repulsive. A few full of promise and real beauty. He ought'nt to publish yet. ... Moving again to-morrow. Very wet night. I dreamed of a sudden death!

The public institution that holds the diary from which this image comes has asserted copyright protection for its digital images. It insists that one must pay a fee to use them. No distinction is made between commercial reproduction and personal or educational use. It's common enough, but always discouraging when an organization dedicated to serving the public restricts the use of cultural resources (particularly ones such as Sassoon's diary entries that are more than a century old) by means such as this. In any event, I am claiming the right to show you this page under fair use provisions of US copyright law.