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