Saturday, November 19, 2011

Dark Room with a View

I  have been working on a course that I am developing: The History of Photography. My research began with the camera obscura. I am amazed by the amount of information that I was able to gather on the internet and never leave my chair

 All this research got me thinking about the wonder of this simple  and revolutionary device  that was developed during the Renaissance. Camera obscura - literally, a dark room - that light enters and through a pinhole (aperture) and an inverted image is projected on the opposite wall.  This is the basis of all cameras. Artists and astronomers used the camera obscura as a viewing aid  over 200 years before the invention of photography in 1839.

Now,  I am inspired to make a camera obscura. I have worked with a pinhole camera; it's the same concept - only much smaller. I have never transformed a room into a camera. I chose the bathroom of my apartment. I covered the window with black foil and cut  a dime- sized hole from the foil, blocked any light that could leak around the door frame, closed the door and sat in the darkness, waited for the magic image to appear and ...nothing, just a vague spot of light. It was a gray day and there was not enough light. For the next two rainy days I visited  my bathroom / camera obscura and stared at the wall ....nothing.

This morning was bright and sunny. I entered again, sat and waited for my eyes to adjust to the dark. There it was!  The Williamsburgh Savings Build was projected upside down on my bathroom wall!  To me this is truly a marvel!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Indian Summer

A gift from nature after the frost.
Gentle golden days.
Sensuous and saturated
A souvenir to savor.

These are the days when birds come back,
A very few, a bird or two,
To take a backward look.
These are the days when skies put on
The old, old sophistries of June, --
A blue and gold mistake.
Oh, fraud that cannot cheat the bee,
Almost thy plausibility
Induces my belief,
Till ranks of seeds their witness bear,
And softly through the altered air
Hurries a timid leaf!
Oh, sacrament of summer days,
Oh, last communion in the haze,
Permit a child to join,
Thy sacred emblems to partake,
Thy consecrated bread to break,
Taste thine immortal wine!

Emily Dickenson

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wabi -Sabi Quilt

Last week I was looking through my fabric stash and came upon an old quilt top stuffed in a bag at the back off the closet. It is tattered, stained, worn and torn. It has no special history or memories for me. I don't even remember how or where I acquired it, maybe at a thrift shop or a late night EBay purchase. My first thought was, " I should throw this thing out!”

And then I noticed that this anonymous quilt top was hand sewn. Someone spent hours   stitching bits of scrap fabrics, perhaps from her blouse, a worn-out but favorite dress, curtains that once covered a kitchen window.  Someone cut the shapes and with needle and thread joined the pieces of cloth to create Ohio Star quilt blocks and then stitch-by-stitch sewed the blocks together to make this quilt top.  A labor of love, patience, and determination that did not reach its final purpose, to be layered with batting and backing and quilted together to make a quilt that would provide warmth and security for someone. On no, I couldn't toss this quilt top into the trash without giving it a chance to  a purpose.

After a washing, I hung it on the line, sat down on the steps and watched the tattered quilt top .  As it waved and flapped in the breeze, the words wabi-sabi came to mind.

Wabi-sabi is a Japanese esthetic that finds beauty in the imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. “ If an object or expression can bring about, within us, a sense of melancholy and a spiritual longing, the object could be said to wabi-sabi.” [1]

I watched the   wabi-sabi quilt dry in the wind as the words; nothing lasts, nothing is perfect, nothing is finished, went around and around in my mind. 

[1]Koren, Leonard (1994). Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers. Stone Bridge Press. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

From My Window

It seems that at some point, even the most intrepid photographers have taken retreat inside to view, contemplate and record the world from their window. Stieglitz, Steichen, Kertesz, Sudek, Eugene Smith and Ruth Orkin (to name a few) have made photographs of the world outside while perched by a window with their camera.
In February 2011 I moved from Southern California to Brooklyn, New York. Disoriented by the extreme change of local and   I have  retreated to view the world through a window. inside looking out, contemplating the new urban environment.
My window of choice faces the East. The view includes; apartment windows, brick walls, roof tops, a large slice of sky and a magnificent   thirty four story art deco building, Williamsburgh Savings (now called One Hanson).
 I am mesmerized by this building;  a constant in a continuum of change.   It is my timepiece, anchor and true north as I learn to navigate my new life in Brooklyn.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Darkroom to Digital

I have been struggling with the transition from shooting film to shooting digital. Though I was "brought up" on shooting film and long hours in the beautiful cave of the darkroom, I feel that I must push on with digital to find that source that lead me to the love of the photograph without the silver and chemicals.

Any thoughts?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spring has sprung !

Spring has sprung and it is seems especially spectacular to me after a long, cold and snowy winter here in Brooklyn. Trees are blossoming (sniff, sniff), so are the   daffodils and tulips. Sidewalk cafes bustling, windows opening and   winter coats are in the closet. Today,  I let my winter white legs out and donned a pair of shorts.  Tomorrow, after a pedicure, I’ll get out my sandals,  renew my wardrobe and psyche to lighter hues and lofty thoughts.

April 24, 2011

Friday, April 1, 2011

Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge with its gothic towers and elegant tapestry of steel cable has been an inspiration to many since it opened in 1883. It is a symbol of our country’s  optimism and the entrepreneurial spirit of the late 19th century that still inspires us today. I have only known of this eight wonder of the world through books, photographs, paintings, and film.

Today I actually walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, may I add here that I have a fear of bridges. Yes, there is a name for that, gephyrophobia. My deep-rooted infatuation spoke loader than my fear and pushed me on to this adventure.  If they could build it, I can cross it!

March 11, 2011