August 31, 2011

August 26, 2011

August 23, 2011


I read somewhere that the electronic signal of the original
I Love Lucy broadcast is just now reaching some distant star
in our galaxy. Perhaps the conversation I had this morning
with Rick is somewhere in the vicinity of the moon.

In Matthew, Jesus said that we will have to give an account
for every idle word we speak. Are the things we say out there?
They don’t just disappear once they resonate on the tympanic
membrane of the nearest organic life form? They keep going?
There are a handful of things in scripture that came home to me
like a slap across the face - the kind of slap a Zen master gives
a student to get his attention. That was one of them.

Since then I’ve tried to honor the check in my spirit that I
sometimes feel when I’m about to say something unwise.
Something venal or ill-willed. Clever and foul. It isn’t easy.
The urge to plow through can be intense. There’s usually some
emotional momentum behind it. Yet out of that painful void,
of a gratification denied, can emerge the sweetest tangible peace.
Paul called it the fruit of the spirit.

And no eschatological ‘splainin’ to do.

Granted, there are things that sometimes need to be said, and I
believe God honors authenticity. But the question, I think, is
where is it coming from? The throne of my ego? The swamp of
my id? A prompt of the spirit? Discernment matters.

The motto over the entrance of a college in a novel I read recently

"Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? Does it improve on the silence?"

Like that.

August 18, 2011

August 12, 2011

August 6, 2011

Correspondence / 1

Long time, W. You're such a crazy mix of affection and thorns...

While I disagree that eating, drinking, reading, are not "life", the deeper
governing aesthetic of the way I deal with people is that the photographs are
essentially portraits and therefore often, though not always, solos. Beyond that,
I often see people as elements of composition. I talk about this in my post "Along the
dotted line." The beach, of course, is generally a place of repose. I'll do a boogie
boarding or volleyball or some other action shot once in a while, but it's very
easy to get into Chamber Of Commerce world that way, and that's not where I live.
Why am I explaining myself to you? Is it my job to minister to your
aimless discontent?

My fondness for bicycles, and a few other objects share this meaning for me as
well; they're appealing to me as compositional fodder apart from their use in
transportation, which I take as a given reference. Perhaps you've noticed that
several iconic objects, bicycles, umbrellas, beach gear, make regular
appearances in my stuff. There is no symbolism. I simply enjoy their object-
ness and find in them a rich vein of compositional possibility. To a great extent
all my photographs are abstract, which is to say compositions first - whatever
psychological implications arise do so on their own, and with a life of their
own. That, for me, is the aesthetic thrill, the alchemy, implicit in Classicism.
I suspect that my work in photojournalism, with its instinct to suggest narrative,
while recoiling from hype, has informed this outlook as well.

I understand your fondness for drama, the grander the better, the romantic
thing. But I'm a child not of Wagner, but of Ravel. Can a Romantic
understand a Classicist, and vice-versa? I think so, depending on your capacity
to find resonance outside your home turf. There is, certainly, a lot of crossover
beyond these signature habits of perception and expression. Of course
Romantics tend to find Classicism cold, while Classicists regard Romanticism
as overwrought. Chacun a son gout. Interesting that the classical aesthetic
arose in, and perhaps as a response to, a world immersed in passions.
Romanticism came about only after civilization had acquired sufficient order
and predictability to make it meaningful. Perhaps there is a corollary within
each of us - we seek out the expression that is precisely not the prevailing mode
of our souls... a longing.

Thanks for stopping by and getting me thinking. I may post some of this.


August 4, 2011