This may well change by the time the weekend gets here, but whoah!

What I Read Today

2021: Farewell to a Stupid Year, David Corn, December 30, 2021, Reason.com

this essay by David Corn summarizes the precarious state of affairs in this country pretty much the way i believe it to be…

Ignorance can kill. And ignorance and anger are a lethal combination. Particularly in politics. The pro-Trump anti-vaxxers have placed themselves in danger; the 1/6 deniers and Stop the Stealers have put the nation’s political system in jeopardy. The year 2021 delivered a tough message: the suspicion, hatred, and paranoia flamed by Trump and his crew remain potent forces that can propel millions to make bad decisions. It’s a clear warning for 2022 and the stupidity that lies ahead.

In 2022, Pay Attention to Right-wing Authoritarianism, Veronique de Rugy, December 30, 2021, Reason.com

… talks about the rise in Authoritarianism around the globe and urges us to pay attention and resist…

So, as I wish you a happy New Year, I also ask you to join me in opposing illiberalism in all its forms. It means opposing the draconian regulation and unsustainable government welfare advanced by the left. It also means opposing rising right-wing illiberalism that is hostile to LGBTQ and immigrant cultures, itches to ban books, and generally wants to use government power to achieve its cramped vision of an American society.

How Biden’s Agenda Is Causing Inflation, Nick Gillespie, December 30, 2021, Reason.com

… talks about the relationship between the money supply and inflation…

We’ve seen absolutely massive increases in government spending over the past two years, which have been paid for by printing money and historic boosts in the money supply. When you print money it means that there are more dollars chasing basically the same amounts of goods and services, which causes prices to rise.

Unselfing into Oneness with the All: Transcendentalist Queen Margaret Fuller on Transcendence, December 26, 2021, Maria Popova, The Marginalian

… ode to Margaret Fuller, an uncommonly intelligent and determined woman who acquired an education and professional position at a time when neither were commonly available to women…

From the platform of her precocious girlhood, Margaret undertakes an inquiry into the building blocks of character. “Nothing more widely distinguishes man from man than energy of will,” she writes in a six-page essay, positing that a conquering will is composed of imagination, perseverance, and “enthusiastic confidence in the future.” But these elements are not weighted equally — she prizes above all perseverance, which fuels the “unwearied climbing and scrambling” toward achievement. “The truly strong of will,” she writes, having lived just over a decade, “returns invigorated by the contest, calmed, not saddened by failure and wiser from its nature.”

Against Illusionism, Jorg Colberg, Conscientious Photography Magazine, December 27, 2021

… about a group of photographers in Poland who created _Archive of Public Prostests_… shoestring budget, public good, what photography should be… JG is increasingly questioning the world of art photography and photobooks, as am i… too tied to the rarefied capitalist art market it has become an elitist proposition that struggles to offer meaning to the world at large…

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!📷

Exhibition: ‘Freedom Must Be Lived: Marion Palfi’s America, 1940-1978’ at the Phoenix Art Museum

… this article caught my eye straight off when i opened Feedbin… and as i read the opening paragraphs i knew i would be reading to the very end… the story of yet another woman who didn’t get the attention she deserved in the male dominated world of photography…

… as i read i encounter this:

“We talk about the poverty of the Indian, their poor health, their substandard of living – we cry – ! Who is responsible for this? The murder of the American Indian has stopped as such. No more Indian wars, but all kinds of schemes are constantly working to take still their last piece of land (we found oil, uranium, and other valuable minerals and there is fish, timber, etc.) and above all to wipe the image away – erase – “to change the Indian” – Into what? Into a middle class personality with all the ambitions and drives of our society. Competition and exploitation are the most important assets, we think. Foreign to all Indian thinking! What do we actually do? We destroy the Indian completely, mentally, psychologically, and spiritually. You might ask – so what? What is so good not to assimilate with the predominant society? Let me tell you what. Our society destroys lives – with our “know how” destroy all living. We pollute the air, the water, poison the plants and animal life. The Indian knew no money, but the Indian knew security, happiness – the Indian was a supreme conserver of nature – of life. The Indian worked with nature not against it.”1

… competition and exploitation are the core values of our society, western civilization, the capitalist world… we destroy lives and the earth as we pursue these values to their destructive end… could it be that this grand experiment of life and “intelligence” is destined to failure?… or could it be that as significant as we think we are, we just aren’t anything close to the main show?…

… but i digress…

… Marion Palfi’s life and work are amazing… it is a long post, as almost all of them are over at Art Blart… but in depth informative on a remarkable woman…


  1. via Art Blart: Marion Palfi. “Some Thoughts,” preface to the unpublished manuscript, “My Children, First I liked the Whites, I Gave Them Fruits,” in the possession of Martin Magner, pp. 1-2 quoted in Elizabeth Lindquist-Cock. “Marion Palfi: An Appreciation,” in The Archive Research Series Number 19, September 1983, Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, p. 9. [return]

While walking…

Moonlight

What i read…

Exclusive: Nadia Lee Cohen’s Powerful Portraits of Strong Femininity, Ted Stansfield, AnOther Magazine… Nadia Lee Cohen turns the idea of Male/Female gaze into something quite different…

Power is the key word here – these images vibrate with the stuff. They confront you. Command you. Compel you. Meet your gaze head on. And they are full of contradictions, too: simultaneously retro and modern, they draw on a legacy of British and American cinema, but feel new and current. Likewise they are staged and stylised, but at the same time real and irrefutably raw. Meanwhile, the women themselves display both a vulnerability and a strength, presenting a fictional character and also their true self, or at least a version of it. It’s hard to look away and even harder not to feel something.

… i read that this project took six years to accomplish… i admire the discipline of a woman in her 20’s… i imagine they have fierce ambition and incredible focus…

Inside Nadia Lee Cohen’s New Book of Chameleonic Self-Portraits, Ted Stansfield, AnOther Magazine… not a unique idea, but a unique execution of the idea…

Place: Ikea Parking Lot, Anelise Chen, Believer Magazine… i plunge in to reading the article and immediately like it… as i am reading, i get the strong impression that i am inhabiting the thoughts of a woman… i knew, without having seen who the author was, that it was a woman…

For me, extended time in parking lots has always signified an emergency, precise moments of narrative dissolution: one version of the good life has come apart irretrievably, and you must, humbly, construct another. Outside hospitals and motels, breakups and breakdowns. I paced because pacing feels like the good, primal thing to do when a body is penned in. It’s what lions and tigers do in their zoo enclosures. Back and forth, up and around, prowl, prowl, repeat. I organized my movements by row: up and down the parking rows toward the now-dim signs for exchanges, returns, exit, enter. The circularity of the movements, plus the weird, abstract commands, felt cosmic. I was in an undetermined space of pure matter, performing a ritual of eternal reincarnation, living many lives.

… didn’t love the way this piece ended, but i love the idea of pacing in super large parking lots to clear one’s head, and then, beginning to pay attention to what is in that lot, which is way more than one would think…

Stuff I’ve Been Reading: Rickie Lee Jones, Emma Dabiri, and More, Nick Hornby, Believer Magazine… a set of well written and compelling impressions of the books in question… impressions seems the right word, because i don’t read these as critical reviews, just an accounting of a book enjoyed thoroughly… also, in the course of reading these impressions i encounter the author referring to themselves as ‘he’ again… it happened in the article above, which led me to search for information on the author and confirm that they present as female and refer to themselves as ‘she’… so now i am wondering what is going on… is being gender confusing a thing and i am out of the loop? Hmmm…

… and now i discover that Summer Thomad is not the author of the articles i am reading, but for some reason comes up with the byline when the articles feed through to Feedbin… i circle back and follow the links through to the Believer Mag website and find the actual authors and switch credit accordingly and the pronoun mystery continues because it turns out i am right about the parking lot article, written by a (Asian) woman… her bio on Wikipedia refers to them as ‘her’ and ‘she’ while she self-refers as male in the body of the article… hmmm some more…

… by the way, i really like The Believer Magazine

Nietzsche on Walking and Creativity, Maria Popova, The Marginalian… i am a walker… i walk every day… my daily goal is at least 10K steps… right now, my weekly average is close to 15K steps… i walk, i think, i make pictures… this has gotten me through the pandemic in good shape… it turns out that Maria Popova is a walker too…

Almost everything I write, I “write” in the notebook of the mind, with the foot in motion — what happens at the keyboard upon returning from the long daily walks that sustain me is mostly the work of transcription.

Maria Popova’s recommendations on reading are always compelling… i have found so much of what i read through her…

Senator Blumenthal Delivered Speech at Communist Party Awards, Brittany Bernstein, National Review… red bating is a time honored tradition of conservatives… this reads like a political hit job… is there something wrong with what Blumenthal did?… why should his wealth-by-wife be any more of an issue than Mitch McConnel’s?… i am fine with socialist policies… not so much with communism… i also believe in freedom of association and speech…

Gone Too Far, Brendan Dougherty, The National Review… refreshing for this substantially right of center magazine to publish an article stating that:

But the riot at the Capitol happened because President Donald Trump simply lied, and lied, and lied. On that very day he lied about what the vice president’s powers were. “All Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to recertify, and we become president, and you are the happiest people,” he told the crowd.

What i read today…

  • Letters from an American, December 06, 2021, Heather Cox Richardson… a little less depressing than the December 05 post, she discusses the Biden/Harris administration’s upcoming conversation with Vladimir Putin, the Summit for Democracy, and the administration’s comprehensive strategy for combating corruption around the globe which undermines democracy and allows illiberal governments to flourish… she discusses the West’s ability to hold Putin accountable should he invade Ukraine, which a troop buildup along the border suggests he might do… she then circles back to the problems we are having at home with a right bent on authoritarianism…
  • a review of Instructional Photography: Learning How to Live Now… the review is very positive… i am much more interested in I Am My Lover (1978) by Joan Blank and Honey Lee Cottrell, a book on female masturbation referenced in the article… i find i can have a copy for $65… hmmm says primal me… i learn more about Carmen Winant
  • Paradise, by Daniel Dorsa… i like the photography in this spread, excerpts from a new book…
  • my December horoscope by Lorelai Kude on Chronogram:
    • Intensity is still the name of the game this month, which starts out with a literal bang when Mars sextiles Pluto December 6, with Capricorn Moon square your Sun. Unless you are an active-duty combat soldier, resist all urges to engage in battle. The spectrum of aggression ranges from petulant pugnaciousness at best to punitive pyromania at worst. If power is your priority, Mars square Jupiter December 8 will supersize the struggles and their consequences. Align yourself with higher thoughts and broader horizons when Mars enter Sagittarius December 13. To whom do you owe your fiery allegiance, after all?
  • A Look Back at Art News in 2021, From NFTs to Restitution… in reviewing the art stories of the year presented by Hyperallergic, i found myself more hopeful… in many ways, the art world seems to be progressing and promoting liberal causes better than the discouraging mainstream news would seem to suggest… from protesting the Sacklers to unionizing museum staffs to repatriation of stolen cultural heritage, the news seems good…

What I Read Today…

  • Letters from an American, December 02, 2021: the government got funded last night and Heather Cox Richardson explains why that strengthens our hand on the international stage…
  • Ridley Scott’s Dyspeptic Disposition: a review of Ridley Scott’s film making career… a promise that Raised by Wolves will be released winter 2022…
  • my journal entries from weeks 5 & 6 of 2021… i am trying to review my journal for the year… two weeks a day should get me through the entire 2021 journal by Christmas… certainly before the new year… i am making sure everything is tagged so that i can filter content into significant people, reading and thought trends… in weeks 5 and 6 i continue to make my way through Simone de Beauvoir’s _The Second Sex_…
  • Dinaya Waeyaert Come Closer: i read the review, written by Brad Feuerhelm and glean that it is a photobook about two women who love each other… one is the photographer… it is a book about intimacy which BF’s hyper-intellectual style barely is able to crack into… i go to the photographer’s website which has a full presentation of the project, opening with a short film… it is a beautiful testament of one young human being’s love of (obsession with?) another young human being, with it’s all enveloping sexual attraction, action and reaction bubble… how well i remember those days in my own relationship with H… this appears to be a beautifully done project… i put it on my to get list…
  • A Conversation With 10x10 Photobooks: in which i am reminded of a book i would like to own, What They Saw: Historical Photobooks by Women, which Colberg points out was in part put together to address the dearth of women in The Photobook: A History, volumes 1 and 2, which i own copies of… what they saw is also on my to get list…

Photography - A Feminist History, Emma Lewis

Photography by Pria Kambli

Photograph by Priya Kambli

When Emma Lewis first discovered the work of artist and activist Joan E Biren (known as JEB) in 2016, she describes it as a “lightbulb moment.” Biren – who began documenting the lives of LGBTQ+ people in the 1970s, and used her camera as a revolutionary tool to advance social justice for lesbians – was well known in the States. So why had Lewis, a curator at Tate Modern, never heard of her?1

… part of an ongoing effort in the art and museum world to give greater recognition to women in the arts… in this case, photography… read this article in AnOther Magazine about it… because of my oft stated interest in women in photography, i have purchased the Kindle version of the book… my library of unread books grows… how does one set aside enough time for all the books one wants to read?…


  1. Florence Skelton, From Dorothea Lange to JEB: Feminist Histories Captured on Camera, AnOther Magazine, November 30, 2021 [return]

First Thoughts

… happy to be back to routine… that first hot cup of coffee in the morning… cat, dogs, and then the quiet of the house… bliss…

… HCR meter, justice?… remembering Boss Tweed and his inevitable fall into disgrace… a few contemporary characters being brought to justice?… bankruptcy?… i suppose she is offering some hope… i have been gloomy about the prospects for life as we have known it continuing… the fascists are winning right now and it boggles my mind that they are… most of the news personalities couch their assessment in hope and optimism that the fascist juggernaut will get turned around… maybe that is what HCR’s post is about, signs that it might get turned around… i don’t feel the optimism because the individuals that matter in this are not being brought to justice, not suffering consequences and are buttressing their position for the midterm and and 2024 elections…

… the Democrats could do something about it, but so far have been unable to because of a couple of senators unwilling to part with the filibuster in a meaningful way… there is time, but not much… i am not optimistic…

… i have begun to figure out how we might leave the country if the worst happens… my most recent idea is to live just over the Canadian border where we could get to medical facilities in the US… research is needed…

… thanksgiving tomorrow… as usual, we have been relegated to the cheeses… it saddens me that i am never able to cook for TG… but, family is priceless… i won’t be able to drink alcohol as we will have to drive back… we are planning to bring the dogs and let them stay in the car… it will be cold though…

… the first snow predicted on Monday… winter is here…

… frustration with my photography… with not being able to make anything more out of it than a huge collection of images made day after day after day… i lack the conditions to pull them together into something… at least i tell myself that… what i really need is a way to focus them into presentations… for a while i was doing image poems… small sets of related images… should i try that again?… i think too of the model of Museum Bhavan, Dayanita Singh… as i write the preceding i look up the proper spelling of Bhavan, and then find my way to her website which hasn’t been updated in some time… she talks about her process, how, the museums came about, developing over time to what they have become… something like them is what i need to be doing… i decide i should read everything i can find about Ms. Singh and the Museum Bhavan project… it is the model for what i should be doing…

Eva Donkers, Photography

Eva Donkers, from What happens when nothing happens.

an article on Eva Donkers in Booooooom… i admire this photographer’s intention possibly more than her work, which i think might be overly romanticized… it’s all about the color of places that have existed forever, suspended in the late afternoon sun, populated by the occasional human doing nothing consequential…

… she claims inspiration from Georges Perec’s novel An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris, and this quote from it:

What happens when nothing happens, other than the weather, people, cars and clouds.(?)

… this, i think, is a perfect statement for my Notes blog… perhaps i should adopt it… i look up Georges Perec and realize i have encountered him before… i install a tag filter dedicated to him among my tag filters on people, which is becoming extensive…

… i order a copy of An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris from Amazon… i once said about my daily photo walks that i would keep doing them until i got bored… that was seven or eight years ago… boredom has never set in… meanwhile, my to-read list grows faster than my rate of reading…

… we celebrate veterans today… thank you for your service…

My Photographs

… a selection of edited images from the past ten days…

First Thoughts

… this morning it starts to feel like the downhill race to Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year… the middle of Week 46, less than seven weeks to go…

HCR meter encouraging… the case for holding 45 accountable is being built, slowly, steadily… the Trumpublicans get crazier and crazier… Representative Gosar only the latest iteration of bat shit crazy with his tweeted anime wherein he decapitates(?) AOC… there is justifiable outrage… all the Trumpers in congress care about is disciplining the 13 congress men and women who voted for the infrastructure bill, a broadly popular bill that their states all desperately need… absolute loyalty to the party is all they care about… it is a necessary condition for authoritarian rule… this quote from Liz Cheney is amazing:

 “In this time of testing, will we do our duty? Will we do what we must? Will we defend our Constitution? Will we stand for truth? Will we put duty to our oath above partisan politics? Or will we look away from the danger, ignore the threat, embrace the lies and enable the liar?” she said. “There is no gray area when it comes to that question. When it comes to this moment, there is no middle ground.”1

… i am in love with Liz Cheney… a politician with strong integrity… i suspect i disagree with most of her politics, but on the issue of where we are and what we need to do she is bang on…

… i continue to struggle with refining what i am doing photographically… struggle is probably too strong a word… i am evolving and refining what i am doing…

… oh my, did i finally turn off autocapitalize?… it seems i did!… so exciting… no more having to escape capitalization!…

… back to what sort of photographer am i?… i have begun to center on the iPhone as my camera of daily choice… easier, lighter, and damn, image quality is getting so good!… this, coupled with the very easy workflow of native camera app to Ulysses to Micro.blog has pushed me in the direction of publishing photos as i go, without editing, without careful selection of images to include… photography (and writing) of-the-now… i am publishing photographs in color, some of which i later import into Lightroom, turn to black and white and edit more careful in general… i have decided to be increasingly selective with that group, while maintaining a broader selection on the iPhone photo app… in color… part of me wanted to share color photographs with the Salon last night… instead i prepared a selection of images in black and white from the past ten days… i did not present them as there were an abundance of photographers wanting to show their work, but i reviewed that set several times and i feel good about it…

… so, the practice is evolving as both an of-the-now practice and one that then filters the of-the-now body of work into a more considered body of work with a focused and edited sensibility to it… this is the body that will coalesce into portfolios, book projects, photo poems…

… H wound up in a much better mood yesterday afternoon and evening… they went for a walk with Chas, an idea they sneered at when i suggested it in the morning… “it’s boring, my back hurts” they told me… they did the dishes while i was Zooming with my Salon buddies… i have this nagging question about yesterday morning… did they, for some reason, conscious or not, feel the need to torpedo my good mood and high spirits?… they did an excellent job of it… i can’t help but wonder…

… on the alcohol front… last couple of nights i have limited myself to beer… this seems to be working out… no mildly debilitating effects the morning after… for some reason, perhaps its volume of liquid, i am not as prone to overdoing it with beer… and last night’s meal was kielbasa roasted on a bed of onion, red pepper and red cabbage, glazed with peach preserve and mustard, served with mashed potatoes… beer was a perfect accompaniment, though Corona might not have been the perfect beer for the meal…


  1. Via Letters from and American, November 09, 2021, Heather Cox Richardson. [return]

Jonathan Blaustein, This Week in Photography

… one of my favorite photography review writers… he rants about life and politics then reviews photography books and portfolios… he shares some of his own photography too…

… this week there is no review… just the sharing of a crazy experience when he trespassed on property and wound up with a loaded gun in his face…

… trespassing is something i rarely do… i don’t care if the photograph will be magical… mostly it is because i am a live within the boundaries sort of guy… if it is someone else’s private property, i don’t cross the line unless invited to do so… it makes me nervous even to point a camera across the line, but i often do…

… i am the same way about photographing strangers on the street… i am anger and rejection averse…

… at any rate… glad you survived JB… may you keep posting for years to come…

Photographs

📷

Photographs

Francesca Woodman

Catalog cover, Francesca Woodman: Alternate Stories, published by Marion Goodman Gallery

… awesome talent, tragic story… this exhibition runs from November 02 to December 23 at the Marian Goodman Gallery in New York City… the exhibition catalog is for sale here.