Tuesday, December 28, 2010

O CHRISTMAS TREE : a little fun

It is amazing what work with christmas trees. These require that you look sometimes hard.

Monday, December 27, 2010

O CHRISTMAS TREE : off on a tangent part 2

Giving is not as easy as it seems,it took four days to give out all the envelopes ... the results were strange and yet pleasing.

I thought I would write details but each time was different some made me sad. There was the guy who look like Santa Claus that kept wandering down the subway platform.turning and waving. Only once was an envelope given where someone could see the observe exchange as one of those pristine envelopes sliced the air very mysterious and dramatic .It was the last and it took place on the subway,it was the last envelope.

Of the people I am sure some, I will never see again then there are others who I have stop to speak to since Christmas eve. I have learn a little lesson about life we all stand and wait that is the human and angelic condition for most of us to quote Milton.

So while we are waiting around let me wish all a joyous healthy and prosperous new year.

sing,laugh and dance


Sunday, December 26, 2010

O CHRISTMAS TREE : off on a tangent part 1

A very merry merry Christmas to all of you as you search the mail box for my traditional Christmas card know it is not there...

This story starts about two weeks ago as I set down to address about 120 envelopes with giddy dread,each
day I eked out a few more until I decided no Christmas cards for you all this year.If I haven't said or showed love to you in the past 365 days do you really think a card and a 44 cent stamp will make a difference.I think I would worry about getting a card where there was no emotions behind it.

December 18 a thought came to me that I would give my Christmas cards that were meant for you away, so I had to figure away to make it right. I decided to put 5 dollars into each card and sign your name and on Christmas eve night and into the next day I would ride the train and walk the street and when some one asked for change I would give them a card.

A simple idea not really because I began to fret details over using names and I felt uneasy using the
word friend when I know I am not.I sign each card "another human ". I guess I should bring in a robber baron about now, John D. Rockefeller use to pass out bright shiny dimes an effect that seem wrong to me,what to do ,rules had to be made for me to follow so I would not chicken out.

My cards all had pictures of angels do you know that more than 80 percent of Americans believe in angels.I
would look at the person say this is for you
Merry Christmas try to stay safe and warm.

On December 21 bank day try getting a bundle of untouched or slightly damage fivers and see how long it takes,in my heart there was a malicious smile because no one in my line knew why it was taking so long for my transaction and the teller appeared to be more than happy to ignore my bitching about the quality of American paper money as we search for near perfect bills ....maybe that is why JDR only gave out dimes.

On December 23 I started giving out five dollar bills when ever someone asked for change ...strangely I
could not place what was missing in the exchange...is there so much empathy that in my many layered heart I know this will not make a difference for even a few seconds in the great darkness that surrounds us,maybe I wasn't wearing the right cloths.should I have been wearing white instead of black.Red was not in the equations.neither was" the coat "
December 24 contemplating going to a midnight mass eating Chinese and watching a Christmas eve horror movie marathon.As I look around the room everything looks right .Tree with 40 years of decoration,a large crystal vase with magnolia leaves on the center table candlelight, incense, peppermint candy. oranges white flowers crystal to blind ironed sheets packages and a pile of cards to open in the morning on my return ...with hot
chocolate now if we only had snow,

Decided mass would be a little over the top decide black with my new favorite scarf courtesy of Elaine and with a little help from above a hit of wind from time to time maybe i will look like an angel from afar ho ho ho. but you know inside of me will burn bright with joy a joy i hope will make the difference that joy comes from each of you ... you keep my faith alive I am warm I am dry and I know you would miss me as I would also miss you.

In a little while I will leave and start my Christmas journey and each time I reach out my hand
with a pristine envelope I will think of you it is going to be a great chain of love then it will be tomorrow and I wish for all ,many wonderful Christmases to come for you and your families

One more note of mush next year I would like to see or hear that each of you will do the same thing even if it is only ten cards maybe it it should be only 10 cards less attention that way so sleep in peace wake up to shiny things and know I will be smiling for you

que" Winter Wonderland "

it snows


Saturday, December 25, 2010

O CHRISTMAS TREE : light and magic

By now everyone knows I am a slut for the holiday.The brightness of it .the crazy songs we sing.the shift ever so briefly in human attitude.I stand in the swirl of all of it like a child.How can you not be seduce by the bright and shiny magic "baby it is not only cold outside" but dark and frighting too.I have walked the streets I know that in my own way I am blessed.

What saddens me is those who no longer can hold on to hope or dreams and those who can not to help guide then back.

These two picture were sent to me a few Christmas ago. The top one was an invitation to a party. I will not reveal the artist names.I would like to say the Christmas tree image inspired this theme O CHRISTMAS TREE postings .It is one of my favorite photographs it is in the zone of Fireflies,when I see it my eyes and heart flit around in happiness that dances from reflection to reflection and then the light.I laugh it is magic it happens when we stop and notice things.

snow a coming

O CHRISTMAS TREE : wonder, joy and hope

I guess it is all about the celebration of the wonders of life. We all know a legend was started with a moment like this . A mother and child Merry Christmas to all and a thanks to M.Barris for this image

Thursday, December 23, 2010

O CHRISTMAS TREE : another day,another tree, another party

Another Christmas party I attended last year. This tree was fabulous more like a hat ,the room was very pink feeling .Yes, that is real snow outside

O CHRISTMAS TREE : memories of friends

This tree was the center of attention last Christmas eve after dinner our host read The Night Before Christmas . The evening was ...

O CHRISTMAS TREE : something to make a smile

I was at a cookie party last weekend and mention this project one of the guests sent me this picture ; less than 25 words .

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

O CHRISTMAS TREE : a quiet one

My first Christmas in New York it snowed.I was alone ,with a new job.I was staying on West 74th Street with a follow Alabamian who went home for the holidays.Like a lot of starry eyed outsiders I did not have plans or money,but.Christmas must be celebrated so each evening on my way from work I would pick up discarded branches from tree vendors around the neighborhood until I had enough to fill the room with the smell of forest.In those days I was so proud that I could not stoop for beauty so with what little cash I had a trip to W.W.Woolworths for a box of 12 silver glass ornaments and a copy of the I Hear A Symphony by The Supremes.

My first Christmas in New York was near perfect there was youth and dreams there was a happiness that come from beginning to become an adult and doing for yourself.Christmas should always be a little bittersweet.

My first Christmas in New York it snowed heavily ,I think maybe 14 inches and the city became very quiet .life was simple needs too.This image is repeated 12 times one for each month while we wait.I love it because it is quiet it is also by Joanna Knox

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

O CHRISTMAS TREE : family stories

The first Christmas I really really remember was a good old fashion one ,somewhere in the beginning of the fifties,on a little farm outside of Birmingham Alabama.(funny thing when I say Birmingham there can be no other).I am talking coal stoves to heat and cook,wells and pumps for water some of the time and that crescent moon box outside.My grandmother and aunt lived in this wilderness and I had to stay with them , this is always a problem for little people who need a lot of attention. The evil of adults and their meaning less rules.My inner Stewie suffered.

Now of course the emphasis was on the food which was right starting with ham , turkey ,corn bread stuffing ,green beans, cranberry sauce ( a favorite,never enough)sweet potatoes and marshmallows, a few cakes the supreme coconut with butter frosting. I am not a winter root pie fan so my aunt made me banana pudding and my grandmother made me lemon meringue pie.I got all dressed up on Christmas eve in cloths made for me by my grand mother (a great regret is that I do not have any of those cloths) to wait for something special to happen.Tiring so my attention and I drifted off.

The next morning a tricycle, Red Flyer wagon,a Roy Rogers outfit with pearl handles and few other gifts of a country unaware of the Korean war was left for me.The one I cling to and has made a part of my traditions along with the tree is a box containing tangerines, pecans and peppermint candy . My Christmas does not start until a few family albums are looked at , carols are song even if I alone .I put out some bright and shiny things. Most of all I have to have tangerines pecans and peppermint stick.I would be lost in the holiday without these things.

A couple asides I sing Christmas song when ever I am down. who would think tangerines were once consider precious

Donna Rosser who has been a great help to me and SlowExposure loves history tradition and loves her family so this post has her tree and details all the ornaments are framed images of her family members. I thought how neat,it looks like her albums exploded across her tree.But I can imagine the fun at her home doing the holidays when people drop in and try to guess who all these friends and family are.Me I love at my heavy silver German ball,well let's just say I kniw that reflection

Monday, December 20, 2010

O CHRISTMAS TREE : a winter collage

This magical Christmas tree photograph was taken by Jo Lynn Still who also took the snowflakes.Jo Lynn work was featured in Southern Memories . The cyanotype is an early image by John Patrick Dugdale. My wish is that you print these and pin them up and maybe smile as you think about the possibilities of Christmas

O CHRISTMAS TREE CAVALCADE : outside my moving window

A Christmas tree and lights is something to share.In the past few years the attention has been focus on the homes that reflect the competition of holiday display.Which has evolved into ways to support charities and make spectaculars for kids and also keep a lot of retired couples busy. The line usually goes something like this " we start in October. " I chose these photographs because they show the surprise of light in the dark.The top image is by Paul Raeside the tree is and is not, maybe it is a tree for the forest that looms around it . What I love is the simple iconic shape and the fact that in that simplicity it stands pure among the great trees in the background .The second picture is by Jerry Siegel taken with a camera phone.I call it the save me moment.There is little going on as you drive down a long stretch of road not even a front porch light and all of a sudden you see this and you smile and feel a little sad but mostly you smile and wonder about the tree inside.I also feel that this belongs to someone who loves Christmas or has the tradition embedded but doesn't have the time to refine his display.Notice the details like the candy canes in the front yard,the reflection in the car windows and that little read light in the yard is that a monitoring device . I think there are young children in this house.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


at heart I am a pagan, I may pretend that I have been seduced by the great flow of thought about what happens after we die.Like most I try to live and be good which can be really boring no really really boring and at the most boring part we are rewarded with Christmas.I wish the winter solstice could just be called the world is having a party for two weeks. There will be lots of canapes and drinks dancing singing being a fool noticing your family and being nice to everyone.Often wonder why can't people be like they are in December all year long ,I think it takes a lot of effort and then it becomes boring too.

You know the Christmas tree is a pagan tradition,it stem from the basic idea of let's sacrifice something maybe the gods will leave us alone or not . So over time people created a ritual to go out into the woods hacking away,dragging the thing back, ending it life and then for a few bright moments making it an object of desire, I love Christmas trees and the rituals behind them

In the following days we will gaze at images of Christmas trees taken by some of the artists who were a part of the Southern Memories : Part I, that was held in Pike County Georgia this past fall as well as images that made me happy that other artist have sent to celebrate the season. The parking lot , a photographs by Tony Stamosis taken ca. 2007/2008 is kinda sad but behind that sign we can see trees to come.The other picture was taken from Donna Rosser's a picture a day series on December 5, I call it On the Way to Zebulon.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Not another rambleing post, well , yes it is

Legend has it that when I started to collect around 1990 I never spent more than a couple hundred dollars at most.In fact the first photograph I purchased was a Christmas present for myself it was by a guy name Mario Z. I had seen it on the cover of a local newspaper the spring before,The paper called the New York Native, now long defunct , helped me find the artist I went to meet him on a gray evening .He was moving into a new apartment .We had a long visit I told him why I liked his work and why he not Mapplethorpe was going to be my very first purchased,I really did stopped in my tracks when I saw his image on the newsstand.It was simple and direct.I could live within the moment he was showing me.There was mystery and there was memory.Mario Z sold me his photograph for 80. dollars I still have it , of course the Mapplethorpe came later but I will never forget the first time let us hope that evening that closeness in discussing a piece of art becoming a part of a conversation some one else had started ,A few month later I heard that Mario had died it was the best of times it was the worst of times.I am stopping for the moment to Goggle and to get myself together
This was going to be a happy up beat Christmas post , It still will be .I am asked a lot lately what am I buying and the answers is usually well made books.I love falling in love with a single image but in my mind and heart I know and feel that most artists make many images that reveal their point of view more precisely in a photo essay or a series
Where have the good photographs under a thousand dollars gone They are still here but more than likely not in a New York Gallery.I have started to purchase a new type of photograph usually 8x10,usually a small run of fifty created by a new generation of artists ,who use their skills /gift to help raise money for causes they believe in . Photographers have over the years directly supported many causes,But I began to notice this newer trend with New Orleans and Katrina and it was used by artists during the last election. I just purchased two images for Haitian relief created by the artist Wyatt Gallery .
A question is need here, Why do we make photographs ,why do we buy photographs ? Just a question
Getting to Donna Rosser whose image is featured in this post who supports not only SlowExposures but among many other causes THe Southern Conservation Trust.I am stopping at this point to let Donna speak for herself.
" These are the photos taken at Line Creek in Peachtree City Georgia. Line Creek is one of the properties managed by Southern Conservation Trust. The Trust is one of the beneficiaries of the photo show I direct -- Nature Undisturbed Everything about this show is on our website" -- www.natureundisturbed.com

Donna has been photographing Line Creek for years -- the first blog she ever wrote was about photographing at the creek. Donna has created a small limited edition portfolio which is limited to 15. The cost is $400 for the set of 6 photos Image size is 12x8 printed on 14x11 sheets of Kodak Endura paper. These sets are available at Dogwood Gallery & Framer in Tyrone, GA --
www.dogwoodgallery.net -- 770-774-3524. The gallery owner is Greg Blair.
I am thinking about getting a set and splitting it up to share with my friends that love nature photographs too.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

This is a Fabulous Book : Wilted Country

I was told to say that this is a fabulous book while in a back -room in Paris drinking champagne and laughing myself silly over the word fabulous,which is to me a thick furry word

Anyway it is near the multi-holiday season which I call Christmas and I love it because it is gift time.What better gifts than books and this one is can be wrapped easily.

I was told to say this is a fabulous book much to my dismay it is not, fabulous, it is better than that . From the poetic common sense introduction by Anthony Bannon head of George Eastman House to the sixty pictures by Roger Eberhard, and the three road stories by Benedict Wells
you get an astute observation of a part of the United States that the coasts sometime forget.That part where the pioneers settled and, the part most of us drive through thinking are we there yet.Where the endless sky and endless land captured in Roger's photographs in a harsh yet soften sunlight evoke memories with a slight droning sound.A place where things and color fades ; where people move on.These are pictures that show the human condition of going to the extreme to find a life even if it has to be abandon to stay alive.These empty buildings, fields and front yards observe over a summer driving on flat tops leaves you feeling a little sad.I have heard some talk saying that they are an indictment about the wastefulness of America.

Not to say we are not wasteful,but I think these pictures are about people all people who have a dream and then realize they have to move on I see these images as a sign of hope of what may be down the road.These photographs make statements about trying, a lush epic about a great country.We do not see the heroes,the pioneers struggling farmers,dreamers the ones who were there before just the bleached bones that stay resisting the pull of nature to finish and be done

We do not see people, we know that a few of them are still there waiting in the few shadows. I think these are successful photographs because I can put myself in this place,I am standing with hand raised above eyes shielding them to see beyond the bright blue white burnout. I can see me trying to peer into the vast space looking for someone to say hi... I could be the person glancing through a window as a stranger goes by.

Mr Eberhard makes elegant and thoughtful images and gives them life with little subtleties that require more than one visit one pass through.He has photograph what we southerners call place and told us stories without words .I do not think this book can be called fabulous,the photographs and concept are too good for that.

Wilted Country is a small run 1500 copies edited by Walter Keller available at Borders Books where they gift wrap.


Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Element : Water

I am sorry that I have not posted lately.I guess part of the reason beside being a little lazy is the awe I felt once there was a blog with my name attached.I was with a close friend recently and they over heard a conversation that included a past secret in my life,which I never mentioned.That is one of my fears about this blog , how to control what is revealed about me in moments when passion,my passion says more about me than intended,

I grew up in a religious and ultra-conservative family on a little rural farm.Church was a big thing but I had within an innate feel for mysticism and spiritualism maybe I was delusional.

Water plays a great part in life it is the single largest component of our body we require it like we do air.Water cleanse and can symbolize rebirth and lord knows sometimes that rebirth just doesn't stick.I actually fear water... as I find it to be fascinating .So me being baptised in a lake is not happening.But I saw this image by Ms Jane Robbins Kerr and knew the moment.She was driving down a road in Mississippi and spotted this group of people. I have heard her story many times about rushing to get this photograph only to find a bunch of other cameramen trying to do the same.What this picture can not show, is the feeling of the boy is it relief at being given a new life or maybe just wanting to get it over. What is also missing are the reaction of the crowd of believers standing on the bank.This is the sweet point,where I want to believe,what they are, that life could be this simple .

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Element : Air

Air : Church fans, all those little churches sitting in the fields or the grand ones in the city had them . They were saviors from the stifling and hot air and message bringers from the local funeral home, dry cleaners or other respectable small community business . So basic a piece of card board a stick and 2 staples a fan for the everyman.On the front usually a portrayal of The Good Sheperd or Christ Knocking At The Door, Suffer Little Children which was always one of my favorites.I think I saw my first da Vinci Last Supper on the front of a fan. The late sixties and seventies came and then it was Martin Luther King or the ever popular Martin Bobby and John a new kind of Trinity.Funny thing I never saw a church fan in a Catholic church ,I never thought of it until now. The power of a fan and the ritual of using it in the south is as exotic as fan use in Asia or Spain or the 17th Century French Court.It is funny watching northerners use fans. Because they do not understand it is used for more than moving air.Seldom used as a flopping contrivance except when reviving a fainting sister.Fans can be exclamation point to let others know you are talking to a greater power.They can signal the end with a quick crisp thrust as if t say I've making a point. There should never be a flopping nor should there swooshing sounds, held close and dignified you are in church and where if there is a moment of desperation and you can not find a fan there is all ways the handy program. Of course we now have central air which is a lot less interesting to photograph . Jo Lynn Still has created an image that brings a flood of memories of hot summers sitting in a wooden room on wooden pews with the rainbow of stain glass light, listening to people moan and pray and sing my mind wandering after reading the message dying to escape out away into the air.The fan can be empowering but we all know who controls the air and he is not fanning

Friday, November 5, 2010

I Will Fly Away

Like a lot of people who grew up in the south, I never thought of leaving. It was home. The land in some ways was paradise for this child. It was magical it was strange it was innocent yes there was darkness but what childhood does not read like a fairytale or a quest.

The only places I visited before I was nineteen were in the south Mobile Alabama, and a number of other small towns in that state, Kentucky where a grandparent lived and New Orleans for one sad and life changing time.

How do you live in a small enclosed community and not just fade the answer of course is with books and magazines and that invention that made pictures move, movies and later television which I think my parents got our first one in 1953. There were three movie theaters for colored people in Birmingham then and when I go home I have to pass by to see if they are still there.One of them was convert to a church fitting in a way

What I love about books is that they are private and quiet. If you have the courage to withstand stares you could go to the library and check out any number of forbidden books filled with ideas and ways of life different than yours. Books share secrets when you are a child. Books with words that confirmed some of those silver and black images that flicker in the darkness. As a child I was a dreamer and books and photographs of a larger world was the fetish to began my dreams of other people,other places...something

On my last trip home I stopped in the little library in Smithfield that I had used as a child not to borrow a book but to check my email, to connect to the world that really is no longer so outside.

Two of these pictures were a from Southern Memories:Part One. The books stacked on the table was taken by Joanna Knox. The path through trees by Brenda Fayard. The third picture is by Jessica Hines for me they work together to tell a little story .I read and read, then I went out. I saw a road I saw beautiful things I flew away


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

On the subway to New Orleans

On a NewYork City subway, on the way to an election night party I was stricken with the idea that I had just started a blog which is like a nine to five in commitment needs and requirements plus you have write too. This idea came to me on a journey across town.

Which made me think about one of the hot words of the moment, journey being used to describe life .You wake up today it is part of the journey.I am rambling so let me return to my thoughts as I sat on the subway.Most of them were about memory , how it is important to us as away to define ourselves and as away to connect with others.Life is a bulletin board which we attach memories to.Life is a collage of serendipity and accident , a scrapbook of passion life is this hour.

This leads me to what I want to share with you,what I was thinking about on the trip, a story about a book set in the Crescent City set in someones heart. More will come so...

Stealing Magnolias A Picture Or Two At A Time

I am a southern with too many words and digressions

This leads me to what I want to share with you a story about a book.A dear friend of mine purchased a home in New Orleans that was schedule to close a few days after Hurricane Katrina.When I received the news that she was getting this home after many trips there and how much she love the Crescent City I had to send a little note to say I was happy for her .I started to look for a proper image and chose one by one of my former students Patrick Cicalo.He had taken a picture on Royal Street in that hour when the glitterings madness of Mardi Gras was taking a rest .A mass of beads were left covering the street,they looked like treasure thrown with decadent abandon they look like plastic beads from China .

Perfect,a happy sad magical image that reminded me of New Orleans a little rainy, maybe but it is quiet .I am having coffee or the dregs of champagne. It is an hour of reverie, that will be forgotten in the harsh sun,but will be recalled with this picture.

Rambling again, my friend decided to write a book about her home and the city she became a part of. I was there at the birth of this idea for a book and the creative journey (he he, remember yesterday ) which is always a marvel .A few years after sending the picture I got a call from Deb Shriver she wanted to know if I remember the artist and I did.Now(wow) what a surprise to see it in the book as a double page spread it always nice to see the connection of things.I will visit more of the book and show a number of the images until the end of the year.I want to say that it is always about humans, memory,touch,smell , connectivity the generosity of spirit and serendipity that makes things happen for artists for us all.

Stealing Magnolias is a oral and visual scrape book which reflect place that is more feeling than most. Histories,stories,tales ,songs and recipes have been repeated over and over until they found themselves collected here.Being part of a love song that doesn't define the city but extends our ideas and enjoyment of what New Orleans is and can be.To my mind's eye this man with the happiest feathers in the world could be the announcer of dawn it makes me want to shake my hips

You know I love music and dance


Sunday, October 31, 2010

A few memories about

Kudzu Is Not

I would like to thank all the artists and blog reviewers that made my show in Georgia this fall a wonderful moment for me and a great way to celebrate my fifth year with SlowExposures and the people of Pike County.I would like to mention a particular post by Ms Elisabeth Bondi which had ten images from the show.

This blog was kinda inspired by the connections made in Georgia at the end of this summer but also by Donna Rosser who worked so hard with me to create a wonderful show Southern Memories:Part OneA great debate has arisen over how I pronounce the word Kudzu an eastern Asian vine introduce into the southern landscape around the thirties.I don't seem to emphasize the first syllable enough or say the word to fast for anyone to hear the kud.The first time you experience Kudzu it frightens and amazes at once how can this happen in the summerit looks like someone covered the landscape every house every tree anything not moving and not able to fight back in a carpet of green.The forest in some parts of the south look like a badly wrapped but intriguing Christmas package.I think of Brian Eno's Another Green World a languid green vision gone bad as little bits of history peek out.The winter come all green goes and waves and loops of vine grey and rope like holds everything down.Nature wins.This strange outsider has become a part of the mystery of the land the place below the Mason Dixie line . Rob Hann from England has spent a number of years photographing this phenomenal growth that is part fairytale part nightmare.Giving each one a place he sees it from the highway I've seen it for 30 years as I travel on the Silver Crescent home