Sunday, February 19, 2012


 If I ever decide to work on another spiral bound book with photographs and text, especially if half the text is in Spanish which I don't speak, just because it would be a fantastic opportunity to present the work of a group of non-English speakers, many of whom never had the opportunity to go to school past the 4th grade and all of whom are over 55, who will contribute their recipes, be in charge of the content, a real community effort, that I would support by putting photographs and their text into a useable form since I supposedly have that skill.....I hope I just shoot myself.

It's taken an enormous amount of time, not only for me, but for the woman who conducts their her very inclusive way, nicely moving from Spanish to English and making all of us feel acknowledged. (I'd been going to the class in Conversational English to learn some Spanish.)

I hope I've done almost my last go-round with it, the fourth, or maybe the 6th, but it feels like the 40th...and added the changes that Margaret caught with her sharp eyes... except that there is probably no way to convince Adobe Photoshop to use the same typeface when I add Spanish there will be all those little glitches in the type...which she will notice, but which, frankly, I don't have the energy to care about.

And, of course, two of my three  printers crapped out just as I started this last go-round and needed to print the results. One of them may have been lying dog-oh, pretending it would work if I put in new ink, which I did, and it didn't.

 And the other was a complete surprise -- my good, archival ink, very expensive, printer that was working just last week, gave up...  I have to find a solution to that since I have so many packages of ink for it, so I'll go looking for a repair shop.

But I did spend all Friday shopping for an inexpensive plain-old printer without the capacity to scan in images and to xerox them..I just wanted a printer, not all the new stuff, since I need a very good, expensive scanner...not a cheap version...

I didn't find it but found comfort in going into a construction site and photographing the wrappings of motor boats and then ordered the printer on-line and am waiting impatiently for the arrival.

Today, when I went out to buy more mini-DVDs because I'm starting work on more Bread and Roses interviews in Lawrence for a show in June...and Hunt was out of them, totally....out..........won't be coming in until March. The comfort for that was photographing the wrapping of a building under construction.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Pompeii Exhibit

It's extremely expensive to get into the Pompeii show, so it was worth taking out a membership, I hope. I suppose the fact that a million, maybe a billion, school children herded through in the three hours I was there on Thursday makes it possible for many who can't afford it to see the show... I wonder what impression they will have from it. Surely they will remember the body casts made from the spaces under the debris. Maybe they will have noticed that a woman's tunic was preserved, that a man had held cloth up to his face, that a chained dog still has a collar and that there were ankle bracelets on a slave or a prisoner.

If you have an audio gismo, there are two different signs indicating the numbers to press. The one for children is a circle, the one for adults is a square and contains more direct information about the many erotic images in frescoes or on the small terracotta lamps. You will learn that there were 300 eateries, for takeout or eat-in for a population of 25,000...and that doctors were considered artisans like potters, though they knew that instruments should be boiled after use and did minor cosmetic surgery as well as amputations.

 Though I've hardly traveled at all, I did go to Pompeii when I was nineteen, taken by the man I was involved with, an older Italian. We were sitting in the tiny apartment he shared in Little Italy one Sunday morning when his father called to tell him that he was going back to visit his mother in Rome. As soon as he hung up, Danny asked if I wanted to go and I said no. Not long after he had tickets for a Holland American Line ship. His father, a manufacturer of guitar strings, had left Rome before the war, leaving his wife, who had married him because he had money and her father, a doctor, was incapable of charging enough to support himself, preferring to treat villagers in a small town in the Abruzzi mountains for free. They had two children, Danielle and Violetta. Danny had slept in his mother's bed after the father left and had become a brown shirt, marched with other young boys for Mussolini, and was not going to let his father go back to Rome without his supervision.

And his father was not going to let Danny bring a young American to that large, dark apartment without pacing the floors at night so that he couldn't get into her bed. They spoke Italian and I only knew a bit of it, and so on. It was hardly a joyous trip, but one of the many scrapes I got myself into...which resulted in a few benefits like being taken to Pompeii which was not the tourist focal point that it is now...and having a care-taker show us one of the frescoes of Priapus for a small fee. If I'd been more educated and under less stress, it's probable that all that I saw would have made a bigger impression and I would have been able to put together a larger world view, but that was not the case.

So, I really did want to see the body casts which were not available way back then, in the late 1950s.

Though I met someone yesterday who thought the exhibit was 'thin' and was enormously bothered by all the hovering mothers and their children, having chosen to go on a Sunday afternoon when everyone would be watching the game, I had a good three hours there and went back the next day...for another hour. The exhibit has timed entry, so hoards of  people come in every ten minutes, but they also disappear quite rapidly, having rushed through the show, so I held my ground and concentrated, it was fine for my purposes.
The people in Herculanium were not buried under many feet of ash, but died from the gases, so there is a replica of the twisted skeletons. On Friday I had enough time to see where this installation comes apart in very large sections which must be boxed up for transport to the next venue.
I would have an extremely hard time if I were told, under pain of death, that  I had to come up with interesting photographs of nature. For a number of months, many years ago, I commuted down to RISD to listen to Roman Vishnaic's lectures on what nature photographs show about the way plants grow, in other words the serious information that photographs taken in the woods can offer, rather than the bits and pieces and graphic stuff that some photographers make, using nature as decoration. This photograph of a birch tree is decoration. I couldn't take either informational images or decorative ones since I'm not comfortable in nature. It would be wonderful to want to take long walks in the woods, but I'd prefer to take them in the city.

This dog was adopted from a no-kill shelter at quite an advanced age and has had three, if I remember correctly, good years and will have a few more. I think it's male, but I don't remember, nor do I remember the name. but the woman who owns the dog, or is owned by the dog, has a farm in Vermont and commutes down here for work so they travel back and forth. She had a horse, but now it has a better home with someone who can ride it more often. She plans to breed Thoroughbreds with Quarter horses for a particular set of folks who ride in special competitions once she isn't commuting so often.

She told a long story about Mamie, the dog the owners of the farm had around, always outside, never a pet. It took some years for that dog to accept being allowed in her house, allowed to sleep inside, and to accept any affection, but she managed to slowly introduce the dog to those pleasures. When the farmer drove by, he shook his head at her foolishness.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Transient Possessions, trying again

 These are photograph of two "untitled (transient possession), 2012 which are slightly larger than letter size, tintoretto 300 gr paper, a collaborative project from the Isabella Steward Gardner Museum by Cesare Pietroiusti and visitors who drew on them with ferrogallic ink or dark Boston beer.

Each of mine, two from the iron ink and one drawn on with beer, were given to me by a friend who could not have known how significant her timing is, in light of the class I'm trying to teach. The premise of the iron ink is that "the holder of his drawing commits to give it away to the first person they meet who asks a question they don't know the answer to, and that person also agrees, assuring temporary possession. (I am in temporary possession of #'s 341 and 319.)

The one drawn on in dark boston beer says that the holder commits to give it away, three months after having received it, to a person of their choice who lives south of them...and that person commits to... etc. That is #377.   And is not pictures here.  All three are signed in pencil by the visitor who marked upon them and by Cesare Pietroiusti who designed this project.

The friend who handed them to me, after I asked her a question she couldn't answer (she could define light year), had no idea how relevant they are to the class I'm trying to teach.

Perhaps I will be lucky and able to post two images from the Atheneum where I went with Susan last Thursday. It could be a wonderful $5 day outing, sitting in one of those red chairs, reading and writing, thinking. I'd never been there and was not entirely comfortable, to be truthful. It's very old, old, old money and comfort, plying white gloves, stockings and comportment. I am just too scuffed and dented for that environment, but I delighted in Susan's delight and would, on my own, go back for a day. I did realized how easily I could cheat on the entrance fee merely by turning my back, raising my arm and pretending to deposit my bill into the glass box. Mrs. Mountain would not have been looking.  (I was briefly Mrs. Peacock, during my one and only and, as I said, extremely brief marriage. She hadn't much sense of humor, but I enjoyed teasing her.)

I've given a lot of recent thought to why I can't hear poetry that depends on the sound of language. This became especially clear when a friend repeated his favorite poem to me, waiting expectantly for my response to the beauty which he had just spoken. He couldn't believe it had gone over my head, that nothing stuck. My daughter's diagnosis of auditory discrimination problems seems, to least to me, to describe what I have, though not seriously enough to be declared dyslexic. If I can catch the words, and see pictures from then, therefore find meaning, I can listen effectively. If I don't recognize the words and can't attach a picture, I'm lost. Usually I give up and just sit there, thinking about something else because if I try to follow, I'm so way behind when I catch something visual, that it's useless.

Melissa Green loves arcane words and we joke about the chasm between us...I totally respect and accept her joy in the sound, the sight, the pleasure that these words give her and she might understand that I have a command of a certain number of words, and that I consider even these lying, cheating bastards. She probably doesn't understand the root-cause of my inability to just flow along with the beauty of a reading.        It's the same with music, it goes over me and I can't hold on to any of it. Even Mozart and Bach, which I enjoy for what I assume to be an almost mathematical precision, just flows along, none of it sticking. I recognize one aria, some Satie that I danced to when I was taking lessons, and one other piece of music...they are all particularly mournful, so that's probably the reason, cries of loss that are so plaintive that even I can understand them.

It was wonderful to see Melissa Green read, how well her work was received, how muchly appreciated she and her work were.

Lucky is 14 and went deaf quite recently, quiet quickly. And his owner realized that he didn't know enough hand signals...

No, she won't get another dog. She's 72 and might not outlive it.

transient possession and etc.

Well, this isn't cooperating at all, my images are stuck somewhere.