Sunday, March 27, 2011

repeating a legacy

post #26
      All year every year I drive past these steps on the way to town, waiting for the daffodils to come up in March.  The photos I print of this place are titled "legacy."  People from out our way all know the photo's location though some are too young to remember the sturdy old house that used to sit on the top of the hill.
      It is one of the places I can't help photographing all over again.  Most years, in fact.  But why!  Do I keep hoping for a better photo?  Or is just a thrill that spring has really come, once again?  I know I think about the constant changes taking place in the country  --  where we may think nothing happens.  I try to see the legacy part of the story.   
      I took the photos last Monday, on a cloudy morning.  Today I'm sharing those shadows of the past and the gift someone gave us years ago by planting those daffodils.

      If anyone wants to weigh in on which view speaks the loudest the him or her, if at all, please feel free to do so.  1, 2, 3 or 4.  I would be interested!  Then here is one last photo that I took this afternoon from the kitchen window while I intended to be working on this blog....Hard to believe it snowed here last night!

mourning dove on the maple tree

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Sideway Views review

post #25
     I started this blog five months ago and have managed a weekly post ever since, almost always on a Sunday night.  What can I say.  The writing part has been more fun and more work than I expected.  I had in mind a photography blog, to share what goes into creating a photo, without much personal info, not even my full name -- so it is not a promotional effort.  However, the photos reflect my life and concerns.  Therefore I am not exactly anonymous either.
    And I haven't sent out a general blog announcement yet, even to far flung friends and extended family!  But I think I can get that done this week.  I am shamelessly using today's blog as a note-to-self to get over inadequacy issues and just do it.  In any case, there are some things to review about blogs, for new readers and old readers alike, most of which I have learned during the past four months.
incense for sale
irrigating, while laughing at having their photo taken
  1. I do realize there are many blogs these days.   Keeps me humble.  Very humble.
  2. If I am posting, you'll know I am alive, even if you don't hear from me in the usual manner!  I dream about writing and sending out notes like Virginia Woolf did, several every day, but, sadly, that's just not going to happen.
  3.  Some folks have told me they couldn't figure out how to leave a comment.  Here's the scoop: click on what is usually "0 comments" at the end of the post. Then, at the end of the "box", choose anonymous!  (This is not "a comment" on who you really are...)  I have my blog set to review comments before I post them, which means I can respond to just you if that is what seems appropriate, IF I have your email address, that is.  I don't receive an email address with the comment, so if you need a response, please help me out.  In any case, your comment won't get posted until I have read it first in the email Google then sends me.
  4. I continue to recommend Google Reader if anyone is following more than a few blogs.  It takes one click to see if there are any new posts on blogs you've listed -- with no need to check each blog individually.  There are probably other such blogging shortcuts out there but I make no claim to understand the whole big picture.
  5. It's easy to link anything cyber to the blog.  When words appear in a different color, then clicking on them can bring up a link.  Hmmm, I wonder if bloggers ever mess with their readers by putting something totally random as the link.  So far I haven't done that.  But it could be done.
Ha Long Bay
         Enough already.  What are these photos, you say?  Well, they were taken in Vietnam, where I traveled one wonderful time, in 2004.  In view of the terrible destruction in Japan from the tsunami, I thought some sea photos would be a reminder of our shared world.  What hurts one of us hurts us all.

fishing nets

    Sunday, March 13, 2011

    new meaning of "shooting in RAW"

    post #24
          I've just returned from a 48 hour 45th reunion!  The occasion was a first for this gathering of community action workers from the sixties known collectively as the Appalachian Volunteers, or AVs.  I had been a VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America) assigned to the AVs.  Friday afternoon fifty or so of us picked up where we left off so long ago.  It was fun, exhilarating, and fascinating. We explored our lives, deeds and the issues then and since then, with some I sure don't remember doing thats thrown in. We met in conjunction with the annual Appalachian Studies Conference held this year (2011) at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, KY.
    Loyal Jones spoke Friday at the reception honoring Appalachian legend Homer Ledford.  Of course Loyal is also a legend!  This photo had its challenges -- the sculpture behind him being a major one.  But with some timing luck and by shifting my location, I am very happy with the result.

              The main thing I ended up photographing were the people at the workshops I wanted to attend myself.  So the following photos show others like me who worked in Appalachia in the late sixties, plus Appalachian scholars and young people working now on important issues like mountaintop removal mining, clean energy, and the devastation caused by Oxycontin and other addictions.
          I took these photos while sitting in those workshops listening.  Being able to record what I see in addition to what I hear makes me feel an increased connection to what I am learning.  It didn't hurt that the light was great!  And no one else was there to do it like I could do it.  (This is sounding perilously like "I couldn't help myself.")
         So what do I mean by "shooting in RAW"?   Well, raw may be primarily a digital term but, during this weekend, just being part of this reunion brought my emotions close to the surface.  I don't think I could have done these particular images without loving our shared bond. It's appropriate, perhaps, that shooting raw means having access to all the levels and information a photo provides.

    waiting and waiting to ask a question in the workshop about Oxycontin
    Sarah, articulate and passionate young activist, daughter of an AV

    Dave Walls, former executive director of the AVs, scholar and professor
    Mike Kline, troubadour, former AV staff, living our history through its music 
    Bill and Claudia, former AVs in West Virginia, now working in DC
         Note: what ended up rising from the weekend's energy was a commitment for older activists to support the younger ones, and for younger ones to reach out to older ones.  Every one of us is needed.   And we need each other.

    Sunday, March 6, 2011

    making art from looking around

    blog #23
              Two university teacher/photographers, who actually know how to explain what they do, and I did a workshop yesterday for 26 folks, part of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI).  It was a treat for me to be surrounded all day by so many others who also love photography.  Of course I have spent the waking hours since then thinking of all the things I COULD have said or SHOULD have said, despite the fact that since we didn't have enough time as it was, whatever I left out was a gift! 
         The photo that I thought of to explain my post-workshop ideas is from last March.  It shows an overnight change in what is usually a fairly standard field, one with ordinary cows,  grass growing or being eaten, and with birds flying over, from one side of it to the other....

           I have lived nearby for 36 years but that was the first time I had ever seen such a design in that place.  I've tried here to capture the amazing work my neighbor had accomplished.  I also thought about those circles.  I get it that our lives and these circles are like a hanging spiral sculpture.  As we try to figure out the truths of our own lives, we often come to the same place, but at a different level, adding the insights from before to newer insights.  So how many times do I have to go around and around until I finally, if ever, reach clearness on something?  Am not trying to answer that one here.  Just want to note that my art also follows this circular model.  I may use familiar visual material, but the light changes, seasons change, the context changes, and I change.  What I bring to my work as I grow helps my photos, even more than any new camera or printer might do.
          In hopes some of the workshop participants will read this blog entry, I'm choosing one thing from my list of what I wished to have said, and it is this: when I showed you my photos, when I spoke about what I see in my own photos, and when I did my PowerPoint about composition, I'm just talking about personal vision, elusive as that may be.  In a more collaborative situation, without each of us set up to sit in front of a computer, we could better share what works for each of us, you responding to my stuff, me responding to yours as part of the practice, practice, practice any art takes as we each travel our circles toward a clearer inner vision.
    This second photo gives an overview of that field's location.
           Maybe you even like this view better, which is cool.  As for me -- now that I am cast as a pundit -- I am simply presenting what works for me.  Getting closer.  Making art by seeing manure or whatever else.  Trusting the process.