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The Guerrilla Girls strike again! (See the post below and read the whole thing to find out what.
Isn’t this great? Love it!
I was waiting for my father-in-law to have his Doctor’s visit at Lutheran Hospital in Sunset Park Brooklyn. So as usual I walked around the neighborhood. The sky had been threatening all day and now clouds of enormous proportions came together. I walked out on the Sanitation Department’s pier on a public street but past many no trespassing signs and got out to the chain link fence closing off the pier. Only had my iPhone — forgot to bring a real camera. Note to self — iPhone is great but sometimes you need a real one. I stuck to lens of the phone between the links and got a few decent shots. The sky deserved a better photographer and camera but I am happy with my results — considering.
I think my online friends Vladimir Brezina and Johna Till Johnson were out in the water heading from Manhattan to Coney Island the same day. They recorded some really great images from their kayaks — posted here in their wonderful blog — Wind Against Current.
Later that day there was a double rainbow back at my in-laws home in Gravesend —
It was a great day for photography and I’m glad I didn’t miss it entirely. Next time I hope to have both my iPhone and a real camera. Or at least an iPhone 4s upgrade!
To see these images in my online gallery please go here and look in the Brooklyn gallery.
The moon was full over Brooklyn last night, more specifically over the Gravesend neighborhood. It cast a lovely, ghostly light as always. Spiritual or macabre depending on your mood.
Gravesend is a unique place, the spot in Brooklyn where immigrants tend to first settle. It was settled in 1643 by Lady Deborah Moody and a merry band of English Quakers – the first of many immigrants to follow. I know this because of the plaque at the historic cemetery nearby (fitting).
Fifty years ago it was an Italian neighborhood. Now it’s Russian, Chinese, Korean, and still has some Italian residents. My in-laws’ neighbor is from Albania – he is a Muslim and a wonderful neighbor – something my Italian in-laws thought was an oxymoron.
Gravesend is a no frills place. There are no fancy expensive shops. Ok – there is a pretty fancy liquor store, run as many of the liquor stores are by Russians. When our 25 year old hip daughter visited last year she was tickled by the proprietor who was quite suave and elegant with a cultured Eastern European accent. Asking me to swipe my credit card he simply gestured and said “pleez.”
The avenues are for shopping. Avenue ‘U’ and ‘X’ and 86th street – ok not an avenue but under the ‘EL’ it functions like one. 86rh has many shops of all sorts – including a very large and well stocked oriental market. (86th street is probably in Bensonhurst officially anyway.)
On Ave ‘X’ there are a few blocks of mostly utilitarian shops Bagels and Beyond, a corner connivence store with a perpetual hot dog special – $1.50. But my favorite is a new coffee shop – Amore & Baci – very pretty and unlike it’s surroundings.
The Rite Aid drug store just announced that it was renovated and new – we did some shopping there today – Tucks and nasal spray. The store seemed a little cleaner but we couldn’t see any renovations.
Cuccio’s was another story. Completely renovated, it’s an old Italian bread store and pastry shop. Until recently it was pretty dirty and run down but over the holidays it was redone. And the result is much nicer. But the display cases weren’t full and they didn’t have any sfgyadelles – tomorrow the baker said . We think might always be tomorrow for sfgyadelles at Cuccios. The biscuits I just had with espresso where great though so we’ll give them another go.
I’ll continue this post when I’m back at my computer and can post photos more easily. The one of the moon is a photo of the screen on my camera taken with my iPhone. It’s still a picture of the moon thou, eh?
Do we need God because the universe is just too strange, empty and frightening without Him? Do we know enough to decide about what created the universe? Isn’t the discovery of the cause of creation a continuous process for us?
Eric Stetson, a Facebook friend, entrepreneur and visionary, wrote a stimulating post the other day. It was Eric’s reaction to this article.
Eric wrote: Thoughts upon reading this article:
1. These people need to start calling themselves Unitarian Universalists, rather than Christians.
2. That realization just reminded me of what the UU brand has become — i.e. “the church for people who don’t believe anything religious” — and why I’m somewhat uncomfortable identifying with it, just as I also have mixed feelings about identifying with the “Christian” brand as it’s defined today.
The article quotes Rev Klass Hendrikse:
“Personally I have no talent for believing in life after death,” Mr Hendrikse says. “No, for me our life, our task, is before death.”
Nor does Klaas Hendrikse believe that God exists at all as a supernatural thing.
“When it happens, it happens down to earth, between you and me, between people, that’s where it can happen. God is not a being at all… it’s a word for experience, or human experience.”
I believe some members of UU, maybe most, do not believe in God the way more traditional Christians do. UU is much less a Christian organization that it was years ago. What I find interesting is that many people feel they need to pick either belief in God or atheism. Faith or no faith. For me the question of God is unanswerable. We simply don’t have enough knowledge or insight to know. That’s why belief in God depends on Faith. Defined by Mark Twain Faith is believing in something you know ain’t true. At the very least its believing when you have doubts or not enough information. So people choose Faith or no faith. Of course lots of folks don’t care where we came from, why we are here or where we are going so they don’t raise these questions for themselves. (Do you think there are many people like that?)
Here is what I posted on Eric’s FB page:
“God is not a being at all… it’s a word for experience, or human experience.”
Some people experience something they call God. The creative force of the universe some call it. Or the echo of the big bang. Or our Father in Heaven. But whatever we call it it is a phenomenon for some people — an observable occurrence. The infinite – anti-chance – the first cause. Science and art seek to understand these terms. Abstract terms that we can’t get our minds around because we are finite (at least I think we are!). This phenomenon, whatever word we use to describe it, is a reflection of the mystery of creation and existence. Striving to grasp a small measure of understanding of this mystery is included in the work or art and science as well as religion and philosophy. In this striving we have two extremes — those who say they know God and can therefore know the unknowable (the paradox of some Western religions) — and the atheists who say they’ve got it all figured out — there is nothing beyond what our 5 senses tell us nothing transcendental nothing super-natural. Any time I read that there is no more mystery no more to discover in any field including religion I reject the notion. We are born from mystery, die in mystery, and are surrounded by mystery during our lives. If we try to cap that mystery and put it in a ‘NO’ bottle I think we shut off an important part of being human. Religion claims that periodically the mystery around us speaks. Emerson wrote “God has not spoken — He speaks” now and continuously. I don’t know God or god but I do feel surrounded by mystery and I sometimes pay attention.”
So that’s my answer — its a mystery. Sounds lame — like what a priest tells a parishioner when the priest is stumped. But it works for me. No religion speaks to me very well right now. The traditions and dogma of religion makes them confusing to me. But they all have wisdom and beauty as well as dogma so I might change my mind at some point. I am sure that in the next few hundred years people will learn much more about the mysteries. I think learning about black holes and the holographic universe may reveal much about the nature of creation and reality. Meanwhile the importance of staying in touch with Nature if you are a human being presses on us to a greater extent as we put pressure on Nature. Thoreau had it right — “In wildness is preservation of the world.” Nature is the tool of creation as well as the result of it. Nature is also where the clues to the mysteries lie. Let’s not calcify our thinking with dogma or emptiness.
I love to take photos in art museums (almost as much as I love to eat lunch in them!). The atmosphere, architecture, people, and of course the art provide a splendid background for photography.
Sometimes I find the art lovers augment to works of art in a thrilling way. They posture, gesture and stare in ways that is often subconsciously consistent and/or complimentary with the art. They extend it or comment silently on it or create a new piece simply by being there.
Here are some examples of my art museum photos (I’ll post more after a while):
The image above is simply a shot of the lobby in the Brooklyn Museum. It makes a great architectural image because it is a beautiful space.
This is one of my favorites from museums. I call it Phoning Motherwell — that’s Robert Motherwell’s Elegy to The Spanish Republic # 108 the art lovers are studying. In their intensity and body language they have created another work for my camera to collect.
The one above is less striking but the person has almost become another sculpture, a taller, more slender person in black would have worked as well or better. (If anyone knows the identity of the sculpture please let me know)
This has architectural elements but also attempts to capture some of the atmosphere — the spirit of the New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Did I succeed?
Here are some examples of street art that I found in Brooklyn and Manhattan over the last few years. Some of it is true graffiti — just young people writing on walls — other examples were done by groups to commemorate something. But anyway — I love to come across street art (don’t like tagging tho — just scribbled initials usually).
Here ya go – let me know what you think.
Lee Lozano was discovered by me at the MOMA last week. I was there with my daughter Maria and we wanted to see the huge de Kooning exhibit — which we did and enjoyed muchly.
And I was intrigued by this Lee Lozano piece — musings about form and content. Mathematical and Escher/Godel like it causes the brain to light up a bit. In case you can’t read it, here is what it says:
“I can’t be interested in form for form’s sake. Form is like mathematics: a model which might be applied to various sets of data. Form is seductive: form can be perfect.
But there’s no justification for form (in the experiments and investigations) unless its used to expose content which has meaning. The result of an experiment is the meaningful content.
Information is content. Content is fictional. Content is messy, like the universe its unfinished and furthermore it becomes obsolete so quickly when multiplied by time.
Form is reduplicable, content is not reduplicable.
Fiction has meaning but only in a given instant of time.”
Is form then the structure that we live in? We create messy, impermanent content information and it is fiction. Perhaps because it is impermanent? Fiction/content has meaning but briefly. Form is perhaps eternal.
Powerful, useful thoughts distilled into an 8 by 10 inch sheet of paper and hung in MOMA — I’m glad I saw it there on my visit with Maria.
Joel is a visionary photographer, and in more ways than one. Here is another page from an old publication — this time Aperture magazine and this time an ad. Its an ad for Photoshop and its in Aperture number one hundred forty-four, Summer 1996. The ad makes a simple but at the time revolutionary claim: “Adobe Photoshop did a much better job than my darkroom in expressing everything that naturally occurred in the original negative. Especially in bringing out the subtle colors and details of the photograph.”
In 1996 almost no one was using digital imaging for straight photography. When I joined the local photography club in 2004 and told the members I would be using digital technology — they thought I was very strange. Of course at that time they were being backward. For Joel to be so clear in his support of digital darkroom technology simply demonstrates that he is one of the true leaders in the world of photography. I’m so glad that he is continuing to push his personal visionary envelope!