“Then there was a fine noise of rushing water from the crown of an oak at his back, as if a spigot there had been turned. Then the noise of fountains came from the crowns of all the tall trees. Why did he love storms, what was the meaning of his excitement when the door sprang open and the rain wind fled rudely up the stair, why had the simple task of shutting the windows of an old house seem fitting and urgent, why did the first watery notes of a storm wind have for him the unmistakable sound of good news, cheer, glad tidings?”
― John Cheever,
On a sunny Sunday afternoon — one of those pre-summer days that’s hot but not quite the surface of the sun — cyclists have swarmed Deep Ellum. They may not outnumber the patio-seeking brunch crowd, but there are dozens of them. These are not the typical bikers who are mashing around White Rock Lake as fast as possible in head-to-toe moisture-wicking fabric.
These riders, dressed casually in jeans and peddling leisurely on cruisers, are going somewhere. And more and more, their destinations are Dallas bars and restaurants.
Turns out, sometimes our resistance to learn something new and master a new skill can lead to something pretty amazing. Pat Hines, who couldn’t be bothered to learn Photoshop and illustrated his ebook using good old Microsoft Paint, is the proof. “I suck at Photoshop and other programs, and have worked exclusively in Microsoft Paint for over ten years… I honed my craft working long overnights at a hospital reception desk…,” the guy writes. That’s why when it came to choosing the program to create illustrations for his novel Camp Redblood And The Essential Revenge, he looked no further and just went for something he was already good at.
Umm, I knew about all of these.
After shooting all sorts of things from 2011 to 2012 without ever finding myself and feeling my photography, I discovered my deep passion for street photography in the first month of my 365 project in 2013. Since then, I’ve not only spent almost every single day on the streets of the world to capture wonderful moments, but I’ve also built my life around it.
It’s true that city cycling is on the rise in the United States, and that has come with some backlash. The mere sight of a bicycle can send some motorists into a fury — often due to drivers not knowing the law. This has caused an alarming number of injury accidents that were completely preventable. Odds are, that annoying thing the person on the bike is doing — is completely legal.
Acoustic listening devices developed for the Dutch army as part of air defense
systems research between World Wars 1 and 2.
“If your reduce sculpture to the flat plane of the temporal experience of the work. (…) the experience of the work is inseparable from the place in which the work resides. Apart from that condition, any experience of the work is a deception.”
― Richard Serra
Mosaic – Sonia King – VisionShift
One of my favorite events of the Holiday Season is the Cedars Open Studios Tour. The Cedars is a neighborhood of Dallas south of downtown and is an up-and-coming area. It still has some relatively low cost space and a lot of artists use the neighborhood as studio space (we’ll see how long this lasts – gentrification is a bitch).
In November, the studios open up on one evening for the Cedars Open Studios Tour – Facebook Link. It’s a fun event and a great way to get some unique Christmas Presents. I always do the tour with some friends on a bicycle, but I guess it would be OK to drive a vehicle, park, and walk. Look for it next year.
The final stop is always Bowman Art Glass (a way-cool place). They have a tree-shaped armature out front. After sunset, they do a skit or two, then, in the dark, the workers bring ladles of hot glass out from the ovens inside and pour the molten liquid over the armature. This makes a glass Christmas Tree.
There is always some wood and paper in the armature so the hot glass starts fires.
The only problem is that is is almost impossible to take good photos – the darkness and the contrast of the bright hot glass, plus the large crowd gathered around. But it is a blast and fun to watch. Next year… bet there or be square.
“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.”
― Ansel Adams
About a year ago I was stretched out on my couch, TV remote in hand, clicking through the channels – way past the point of holding out hope that anything remotely worthwhile would emerge shimmering from the flatscreen. I was, I suppose, mistaken.
A documentary called Finding Vivian Maier started up somewhere in one of the channels in the one-thousand-eight-hundred-something range. It was done by a New York artist named John Maloof. He was doing a book on the past years of the Big Apple and was haunting estate sales for photographs of a historical nature. He bought a box of some sort, hauled it home, and discovered it was full of both photographs and hundreds of rolls of undeveloped film.
They were urban street scenes – but done with an impeccable eye and amazing composition. They were as good as the best professional work – but were a complete mystery. Who had taken these? How did they end up in this box? Why were they so good?
So Maloof started going through his box, finding scraps of paper with names and addresses that gave him his first clues as to who the photographer was and what the story behind them was. That story turned out to be as amazing as the shots themselves.
The photographer was a woman named Vivian Maier (though she used a number of different spellings of her name).
Some details of her life are still a bit fuzzy – but she took these photos while she worked as a nanny. She would walk around the city with the children, taking photos. She did this for years and years.
The filmmaker tracked down some of these kids, now grown, and interviews them about the odd woman that used to babysit them, and drag them all over the place with her trusty Rolleiflex.
I watched the biography several times and talked about it to my friends. Everybody that saw it found it as fascinating as I did. Of course, I searched for her work on this inter-web-thing – finding one amazing image after another.
Then, earlier this summer, I was driving to work, listening to a local radio station in my car – when a woman came on to announce the art happenings in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. She said, “And opening today, at the Arlington Museum of Art, is the show “Vivian Maier Lost and Found” and exhibition of work by the reclusive photographer. When I arrived home I did a quick Google search and found everything I needed to know.
I hadn’t even been aware that there was an Arlington Museum of Art. But it was easy to find, right in the middle of Arlington, which is right in the middle of the Metroplex. I was amped.
Things were really busy, so I didn’t go right away. The show ran all summer, so I wasn’t in much of a hurry. But, time flies, and my warning note in my Bullet Journal (Vivian Maier Exhibit Ends Soon!) reminded me that I needed to go. Luckily, I had some vacation time that I had to take so I put in for a Friday off and made plans for the solo drive to Arlington.
It’s a long way. There are giant elevated Texas concrete toll-roads that crisscross the ancient prairie like slashes from a celestial scimitar and I used my friends at Google Maps to maneuver through this unhuman maze without any real difficulty. Summer storms roiled and rolled by, windy, raining and thundering, but not able to significantly slow the stream of metal meat-cases plying the roads.
When I entered, a guy took my ticket and started to explain the exhibit. “But I know you’re excited,” he said, looking at me shifting from foot to foot, “So I’ll let you go look and not waste your time. Come back and ask me any questions.” Actually, I had to pee, but I appreciated his skills at observations.
It was really cool. Not overly large – fifty works in total. I was familiar with Vivian Maier, of course, but seeing the photos in professional quality gelatin prints, matted there on the well-lit walls… that is a thrill compared to staring at humble pixels on a laptop screen.
I decided that my favorite was this shot of two men staring at a coil of something in the rain. It seems to tell a story.
Then I asked the guy that took my ticket what his favorite was. There is this amazing shot of a man in a newsstand. I especially like how the titles on his wares illustrate the times.
And he liked (as did I) this mysterious shot of a winged car and some cats. It’s a spaceship guarded by two felines.
A cool afternoon, well worth the drive.
I’m a little ashamed that I knew nothing of the Arlington Museum of Art – the new show there looks really cool. It’s an exhibition of local artists called Ulterior Motifs.
I think I’m going to be making that long drive again.
so I turned the radio on, I turned the radio up,
and this woman was singing my song:
the lover’s in love, and the other’s run away,
the lover is crying ’cause the other won’t stay.
—-Lisa Loeb, Stay
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
― Pablo Picasso