Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Remembering those who have served and sacrificed. Below are photographs from the Veterans Hospital campus in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Siempre Fidelis.

Friday, May 22, 2009


In the ongoing debate about torture versus the rule of law, constitutional values, and American identity and values, the media seemed to miss the mark, not surprisingly again.

Jon Stewart still wins.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

NOLA Diary - Fragments

It was too brief a trip. It was my first trip to the Crescent City and I only got a small taste. NOLA was in good spirits when I arrived. Jazzfest was in full swing, along with some ill-advised consumption of deep fried foodstuffs and crawdads. Yeah, I said it. Crawdads.

Some fragments of my impressions:

1. Time is measured by BS and AS. Before the Storm. After the Storm. The Storm holds weight. It is matter of fact. It is reality. It is not imagination. It is lived and it is real.

2. The fleur de lis has three points. It is symbol and totem. It is ubiquitous. It is an act of defiance. The phoenix that rises from the ashes. NOLA is rising.

3. Gentrification presents paradox. Rebuild, renewal and rebirth challenges the traditional neighborhood fabric and urban design. The communities of the 9th Ward, Mid City, Esplanade are in transition.

4. There's nothing French about the French quarter. Jackson Square is Plaza Mayor, Madrid.

You come to really know a place through the passage of time. Sure, I'd seen films about 'Nawlins' as well as the documentaries about Katrina. But it provides a limited point of view. It frames the narrative of communities and the people who live in them. You can see a picture and connect to place and feeling, but you're only looking at the object through a narrow prism of the photographer/filmmaker. You hope it evokes an awareness of space, sound and feeling that you may have felt when you took the shot. And in the sequencing of those images and sound, the filmmaker hopes to construct a larger narrative for her audience. It's still two dimensional. Memory works like that sometimes. It's spotty, fragmented, fractured and magic all at once.

Nonetheless, I've included some images from my travels.

I don't presume that my photos tell the whole story. I don't think that was the point in my taking them. It really says more about me as photographer. And all of this is a really long way of saying that I plan to go back as soon as I get the chance.

Friday, May 8, 2009


H/T to Crucial Minutiae blogger Jennifer Gandin Le for this one. If you have time to watch this short film featuring TJ Thyne of 'Bones' fame, please do. And if you're not smiling by the end, then there must be no love left in your heart.

Happy Friday.

Mirror Error

Some other thoughts on the 'T' word from Andrew Sullivan and blogger Hussein Rashid.

Literature has often been a teacher of humanity for me. As this subject is debated over various outlets, my memory takes me back to IB English in 11th grade. Our reading list included Arthur Koestler's Darkness at Noon. For those of you unfamiliar with the story, Wikipedia has a decent synopsis.

My memory of the novel is fragmented. It's sort of a mash-up between other things I was reading, junior and senior year of high school. I was also reading Kurt Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron, Edgar Allen Poe's The Pit and The Pendulum and Elie Wiezel's Night. These stories stayed with me. They were stories of the individual versus the state. Maybe it was my first literary encounter with torture and why I think of it now. The Pit and the Pendulum, Night, and Harrison Bergeron along with Darkness at Noon form this dystopic nightmare for me. The lines where these stories overlap in my brain comes to this point: totalitarian regimes suppressing the rights of individuals and systematic murder of citizens. The Spanish Inquisition was torture. Rubashov in Darkness at Noon was tortured and was compelled to fake a confession. Harrison Bergeron was murdered for not conforming to the rules of the State that suppressed his individual freedom. Elie Wiezel survived living in a concentration camp while Nazis methodically murdered Jews, gypsies and others.

Isn't it odd that the conservative movement fears Obama Administration's policies on social entitlements and tax code versus the Bush Administration's sanction and codification of a torture program? Where's their fear of losing the rule of law?

Not everyone has read these stories. They've read others, perhaps. Maybe it didn't affect them as much as it has affected me. Maybe they can't see how these stories were written so that we remember to do better. Maybe they can't see how at this moment, art and life are thisclose. That is not a typo. We still have time. We're the ones we've been waiting for.