Sunday, February 27, 2011

a skill set on the way to sausage - and I'm not talking about the Oscars

post #22
      The month Obama was elected, my neighbor, Phillip, alerted me, per my request, that he and his family would be killing one of their hogs.  Fine by him if I wanted to take some photos.  I was eager to record the event, which doesn't happen all that often any more, though Phillip kills more than one hog every year, sharing the meat with members of his family who in turn help out.
      The main thing to remember is that the chosen doing-the-deed day was bitterly cold, good for the meat but finger freezing cold for me and for my camera battery.  That's why I only made it through the skinning and hanging parts.  Maybe by November 2011 I will have warmed up enough to be able to record the next and longer part of the process.
getting ready to start

leading the hogs with the feed bucket
cousins, checking the kill
preparing for hanging

cutting off the skin
Phillip working with his son

weighing the skin, newly removed -- 50 pounds!
      I also want to give the link HERE for a lively and passionate opinion piece, again about mountaintop removal mining, written this time by writer George Ella Lyon and  printed in Wednesday's Lexington Herald-Leader.  It's a very good read!   Bravo, my friend, and thank you.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

too many cameras? never enough bodies?

post #21    
       A week ago I wrote here that I would post both Frankfort photos AND hog killing photos this week.  What was I thinking!  I guess it's just what I would have liked to do.  But, instead, here are a few of my mountaintop removal mining NOT rally photos.  I promise hog next week.   
The day was WINDY and CHILLY.  Thankfully no ice was on the ground this year.

These young stream savers share their hopes for our future in such a caring and creative way. Thanks!
         Last week I posted a photo of flags on the capitol building, from 2009, and this year I noticed the flags were blowing in a different direction....   Unfortunately, this fact doesn't seem to match the sentiment in the legislature, where the stream saver bill (HB 239) once again won't even be discussed in its committee, per decision of the chair, and Governor Beshear has not had an open dialogue with his many citizens who don't think coal should be ruling the state.   Since when is dialogue on important issues considered a burden instead of a hallmark of democracy??  Commentary on the issue will continue.  (See author Silas House's opinion piece in today's NY Times.)
     This last photo is my favorite from Monday's march and rally.  Great smile, great sign.  If anyone knows who this young man is, please put the info in the comments (where anyone can use Anonymous as the place to make a comment) so that I can send him a copy of the photo.  Thanks!  Ann

      Note: It was hard not to feel superfluous during the march last Monday.  That is, superfluous as a photographer.  I'm proud that my body was there, but am not so sure about my camera.  Doesn't everyone have one?  Yet I can't help myself.  Taking photos is the best way I have to experience any event.  Declare it to be dependence or call it commitment, at least I share this plight/joy with other photographers.  In any case, like the quote by Minor White that my friend John has on his emails, "I'm always mentally photographing everything as practice."

Sunday, February 13, 2011

citizen action and hog killing

blog #20
      The persistence this week of thousands of Egyptians has brought enormous social change there without bombs or guns.  This weekend, here in Kentucky, persistence happened as well.  Fourteen generous fellow Kentuckians have taken their long-term outrage at the continued free rein given to mountaintop removal mining by our governor directly to his doorstep.  As I write, they are spending the weekend camped out in his office in Frankfort.  Two of the things they are asking for would seem to be easy: a civil dialogue and for him to come to eastern Kentucky and actually look around at the physical toll in this region.  Thank you, thank you, Wendell Berry and cohorts.  Listen up, Governor Beshear!
      My photo of a MTR site is in my blogpost #8.
      Many, many of us from all around Kentucky had already been planning to go to Frankfort tomorrow for the annual I LOVE MOUNTAINS day, hosted by the Kentuckians for the Commonwealth.  I suspect even more folks will now be turning out.  Even the weather is inviting.  Why is it so hard for legislators to acknowledge the connection between unsafe water and health care costs?  Or accept that we who hate seeing the mountain tops disappear forever can see that mining jobs are disappearing as well by this practice?   Neither is desirable.   A most informative web site about MTR is at
from Cumberland Gap State Park
concerned citizens, 2008, I Love Mountains gathering, Frankfort

Black Mountain, Harlan County, 1999, coveted over and over again by coal interests

 capitol building, Frankfort, Kentucky

      I did my presentations Friday in two university classes and learned a lot, which is what I like to do.  It was enjoyable and went well, but I was taken by surprise by a few things, such as the students' lack of knowledge about flora and fauna, about the wider world, and by their restrained curiosity.  It was helpful for me to get out and have a chance to present my work to them and see what they might be responding to or not.  
      I found out just before the class that they had studied the hog killing photos by Shelby Lee Adams.  I happened to have included just a few images from my neighbor Phillip's annual hog killing, so I offered to make available my entire pig portfolio for them.  I will share some of my images here, next week, as well as some photos from tomorrow in Frankfort.

     Please noteEver since starting this blog I have wanted to say something about Facebook .  The simple truth is that for many months I have not responded to the many friends requests, for which I apologize, but I have not been able to get past my privacy concerns.  I have my toe in the pond and visit from the edge, but I don't feel comfortable swimming across.  I know, Facebook seems to have been wonderful for Egypt, but just consider me scarred and wary after intrusions in the '60s and '70s into the personal life of my family.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

some favorites

blog #19
     This week I am preparing a power point format with my photos to show during Friday's stint as a visiting artist during a class at our local university.  My approach to taking photos of my neighbors can then be compared to other artists, such as Shelby Lee Adams, whose portraits from eastern Kentucky are stark, posed, and unique.  No one else does it like he does.  No question, he is truly skilled with his camera.  I know that he's an artist whose strong connection to his subjects is part of what makes his art work, even though it is hard to look at those images when we who live here have to deal so often away from here with being misrepresented.  Art vs politics.
      Anyway, as I review which photos to use on Friday, here are some to share now.

tobacco rows

mule team, their last summer of cultivating tobacco, 2009


       Usually if I take a photo it is because of the way the light is -- or because a way of life is disappearing.  Or I am with neighbors and am interested in what is happening there.  

Appalachian spring


storm coming on Mauk Ridge

feathers and threads -- which are matching!
    And then there is the trusty black walnut tree on the south side of our home, which shares  so many facets of itself over the course of each year.

really black walnuts

    I will never be from here, but I am fortunate to live in a place I love and that I continue to learn about, often through doing this photography.   Ann