“Why do you take pictures of buildings?”
Spent most of yesterday at a wedding (and no, I’m not a wedding photographer). My sister ribbed me for taking pictures of buildings. In other words, pictures of abstract things, pictures that don’t always have people in them, pictures that don’t always seem to have any discernible documentary purpose. I’m my sister’s kooky youngest brother, the artsy one who writes poetry, and teaches kids (but isn’t a teacher) and takes pictures and doesn’t yet own a house (or two) and isn’t yet married with kids and doesn’t seem rooted in the real world. I didn’t have the head for constructing an answer about learning my craft as a photographer (though I’m not a “professional” photographer); about proportion, lighting, atmosphere/mood. And I think my “artsy little brother” reflex kicked in, just a little - trained by many years of defending my interest in words and books and poetry. But it got me thinking in the way the best critique can.
When I think back to her question, jokes aside, I’m hearing her say: what are you doing with that camera? What’s the value of those pictures you’re taking? And there’s nothing wrong with asking that. It’s a question I need to keep asking myself all the time, whether I’m behind a lens or a pen, in order to keep myself moving forward, to keep pushing whatever it is that I do.
Back to Brick Lane. I got 5 rolls of B&W (Ilford 400) back from processing yesterday, and it looks like I need to “think different” when my camera’s not loaded with colour.
In other news, I’ve finally fixed my Powerbook G4, and it looks like I’ll be picking up a new iMac during the week. I’ll be taking the weekend out for family business, then there’s a whole heap of catching up to do…
"There is no royal path to good writing; and such paths as do exist do not lead through neat critical…"
- Jessamyn West
Back in the house. Got the old Powerbook G4 up and running last night, DIY. Weekend off for family stuff, then much catching up to do…
The Woman in the Window
"Any text can teach you to read, and any topic can teach you to write. Only literature can teach you…"
Amen to that.
I generally avoid the Facebook list challenges, but this one came from one of my students, and she mentioned me in her list, so it’s only polite to follow through. The challenge:
“Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen authors (poets included) who’ve influenced you and will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes. Tag at least fifteen friends, including me, because I’m interested in seeing what authors my friends choose. (To do this, go to your Notes tab on your profile page, paste rules in a new note, cast your fifteen picks, and tag people in the note.)”
1. Theodore Sturgeon
2. Kwame Dawes
3. Roger Robinson
4. Bob Hicok
5. Stephen Dunn
6. Junot Diaz
7. Stephen Dobyns
8. Dorianne Laux
9. Kim Addonizio
10. Douglas Goetsch
11. Seamus Heaney
12. Jeff Noon
13. El-P (let’s have a conversation about considering the literary value of hip-hop lyricism)
14. Adrienne Rich
15. WIlliam Gibson
(NB Facebook doesn’t let me into the text field for drafting a note via Mobile Safari. Hence the post here.
Barbican Poets: don’t just fail. Fail fully. Otherwise, you don’t learn the full lesson (i.e. don’t give up on a draft – get to the end.)
Two stops trapped in someone’s smelly armpit to get to class – less than pleasant. Glad it wasn’t longer… #fortheloveof #teaching #poetry
Pear Tree Court
In many ways, you’ve been a beast of a year (and I’m not going to go into the many deaths and losses here) but I have to say, you’ve taught me a lot. Through you, I’ve been forced to confront the way I do things and strip back to essentials. And so it was today, when I looked at the ridiculous number of podcasts I subscribe to, that I felt like unleashing a mini extinction level event and starting over. I think I’m suffering from a certain amount of subscriber fatigue, where I can no longer buy into the fantasy that I can keep up with all of the data and content that I’m signed up for, and I’ve surrendered to the realisation that there will be no future in which I’ll ever be able to deal with all of the incoming emails, posts and podcasts, other than through the “I only have two hands” style of information management, which posits that you can only deal with as much as you can hold, and that you really shouldn’t worry about the stuff that you can’t, unless you can grow a bigger pair of hands.
There are a few music podcasts I subscribe to that I probably shouldn’t. Probably more than a few. None of them are particularly consistent in bringing me new things to be passionate about. They’re the first ones I delete when going through the regular cull to recover lost disk space. And yet, finger poised over the unsubscribe button, it occurred to me that there’s at least one good reason for me to keep a few of them hanging around. And it’s the same reason I spend a fair amount of time reading through poetry that does little for me. Because it widens the conversation. Because knowledge of what you like is only half of the story. Because this kind of thinking challenges me to define what appeals to me, what doesn’t appeal to me, and why.
And at that point, this image came to mind.
(N.B. There’s a small fudging of the truth in here. I can’t actually unsubscribe from any podcasts until I can get back into an OSX version of iTunes. For now, I’m still on the iPad. But I was thinking about the culling I’m going to do when I get back into my system, and that’s where this thought was born.)
- Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
Via @GOOD: Balancing work with preferred work (nice reading for the teachers out there…) http://su.pr/AZ73rY
Wow. A couple of my old Roundhouse poets turn 20 this year. Has it really been that long?#imnotthatoldreally #stoptheclock
Anyone else notice a bug in iCal on the iPad now the clocks have gone back (in the UK)? My time indicator’s an hour out. Roll on iOS 4…
I’ve been forbidden from posting any more Carnival photos - saving the rest for a future exhibition. So back to Brick Lane for a bit…
I know I’m a bit behind the curve on this one, but HOLY BIBLIOGASMIC EXPERIENCE, BATMAN!
The best was definitely saved until last - Alice could totally rock my reading world. William Gibson was the first author that came to mind - how immersive could his brand of near-future cyber-punk get with tech like this?
The other thing I start thinking - Alice is great for opening up the narrative experience, but what about non-narrative text - for example, a collection of poems? How could this kind of innovation challenge the way we think about a collected series of poems? And that’s not to say that a sequence of poems can’t be narrative. How’s about pushing Dorothy Porter’s “The Monkey’s Mask” through this kind of treatment?
Oh, happy future. Hurry up and make the iPad apps already. And while you’re at it, I’m about ready for the iPad HD. Or would that be the iMac Touch? Bring it on…