My daughter Tobey was telling me about tiny houses. These alternative homes are often no bigger than 500 square feet and are an attractive option for those with the intention to live with a smaller footprint. That’s Tobey and Porgy in the picture above as we walk to Claire’s house, about a mile down a mud road.
Here are Claire’s feet as we stand in her kitchen. She painted the floor with leftover house paint.
Tobey admires the kitchen. The house is off the grid. Claire has solar power backed up by a generator. Her stove is a combination of wood and gas and her refrigerator is propane powered.
Claire’s water system is solar powered. She says she has to drain the pipes if she is away overnight in the winter.
This is Cinderella, she got her at FAO Schwartz in New York when she was a child.
The house is beautiful and well swept.
It could be a museum.
The pictures on the walls are amazing, and she does her own wallpapering.
I don’t mean to give you the idea that Claire lives as if in an earlier century. She has a laptop and today’s New York Times.
Claire doesn’t even have a tiny house. She simply has a small footprint. Her choice of life style reminds me about intention. We all live with intention. We simply don’t ask ourselves what our intentions are. When you think about your intentions, dive past the layers and daily reasons for doing what you do. Look into your root aspirations and you may find that your deepest intentions should not be overlooked.
These pictures from Cape Cod, Massachusetts were made on the morning after my Taunton pictures of the last post. These landscapes are from the Upper Cape, which is actually the lower Cape geographically. Sandy Neck Beach is where my high School sweetheart and I would drive to whenever we had a car for a few hours.
The beach was a target range for the Navy during World War II. We would walk the dunes searching for big bullets and such.
It seems that I am taking the same picture over and over again. Some days are like that. Especially when the pictures are about roads not taken. To get it out of my system here are more Cape Cod walkways, pathways, roadways, etc.
The road not taken in my life upon graduating from high school was my choice not to enroll in the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and not to join the Merchant Marines. I love the ocean, but I’m not a sailor. As a teenager, my idea of being a sailor was based on what I read in Kerouac’s On the Road. Upon visiting the Maritime Academy I immediately discovered that sailors were not a gang of beatniks. I then read Kerouac’s Dharma Bums and had a much clearer fantasy of what I wanted to be.
I decided to follow my girlfriend to the University of Massachusetts. That is where I became a dharma bum, a filmmaker and a photographer.
Back to the photography part, some days it is difficult to get things out of the center of the frame. It’s like walking on a road. It is empowering to simply walk down the middle. The Buddha encouraged the “middle path” of life. My life has been slightly off-center, but I think centering is a good idea in general. I’ll close with the off-center picture below.
For over twenty years I have been concentrating on photography projects outside of the United States. A week ago I returned to my hometown of Taunton, Massachusetts to see what had changed since I left there to go to college in 1967.
The Roseland Ballroom was on the second floor. The first floor was a bowling alley where I would hang-out almost every night of my high school years. Now, the first floor is a restaurant and the upstairs is a banquet hall. The parking lot abuts my old backyard.
The last day I went to this church was the day I was baptized at age 13. I did not feel transformed as I was lifted out of the baptismal water. A year or so after, I began reading about Zen Buddhism and sitting in my version of Zen meditation.
Downtown Taunton has changed immensely since I left. I didn’t remember this building on the corner of Winthrop and Cohannet Streets. I also didn’t get a chance to look for the soda shop on Cohannet where I got my first job as a soda jerk.
The Taunton Green is my standard reference size for an acre of land. I don’t know if it really is an acre, it’s just something my mother told me.
The landfill portion of the Taunton dump has become a methane field.
Across the street from the methane field and the town dump is the stretch of road where teenagers with cars would go parking (AKA “necking”) in the 50s and 60s. Maybe they still do.
I’ll close with another picture from the town dump. My family moved out of Taunton when I went off to the University of Massachusetts. They moved to Cape Cod. I hope to add some pictures from the Cape soon.
The Vermont Center for Photography
Friday, Nov. 2, 5:30-8:30, 49 Flat St., Brattleboro
Above is a picture of Vivian and a friend from the US Embassy in the desert looking at a Soviet mining accident from the early 1970s.
This week, all hell broke loose in New Jersey, New York and elsewhere in the devastating wake of Superstorm Sandy. Time Magazine called on 5 photographers to use Instagram to document the storm and its aftermath.
Time Magazine’s photo editor Kira Pollack says that using Instagram was an experiment born out of necessity. Read the Forbes article here.
Today from Time’s LightBox comes a portfolio and short interview with Joel Meyerowitz. I first fell under the spell of his 8X10 view camera work from Cape Cod. He is best known for his work at “Ground Zero”. Some of both portfolios are in this slideshow.
Meyerowitz says, “I’m really out there to feel what it feels like to be alive and conscious in that moment. In a sense, the record of my photographs is a record of moments of consciousness and awareness that have come to me in my life.” Read more: http://lightbox.time.com/2012/11/02/joel-meyerowitz-taking-his-time/#ixzz2B5ONfwJW.
I second Meyeowitz’s quote. The camera keeps me aware. Carrying a camera helps to wake me up. I hope my students figure that out.
The Drunken Bicycle—Travels in the Former Soviet Union
An Exhibition by Frank Ward
Presented by the Vermont Center for Photography
At 49 Flat Street, Brattleboro, Vermont
From November 2 – December 2
Opening Friday Evening November 2 , 5-9pm for the monthly Brattleboro Gallery Walk. Please check http://www.vcphoto.org for the VCP’s daily schedule.
Kiosk, Karakul Animal Market, Kyrgyzstan, 2012, All photos by Frank Ward
The above picture is the only image in this post that will be in the show. Below are pictures that didn’t fit.
Lenin, Irkutsk, 2008
I first came upon a drunken bicycle in Irkutsk, Siberia. I didn’t get a good picture of it. There was a crowd and a lot of drinking, neither of which is uncommon in Siberian city parks on the weekend.
Dance party in the park, Astana, Kazakhstan, 2012
A drunken bicycle is a conventional bike outfitted with a reverse steering gear. The owner/ operator demonstrates how easy it is to ride and awards a beer if one can travel a few meters without falling. This entertainment always attracts a crowd but, I have never seen a customer navigate the counter-intuitive bicycle successfully.
Twins, Irkutsk, Siberia, 2010
The drunken bicycle is an apt metaphor for life in the Former Soviet Union. The bureaucrats appear to sway on a drunken bicycle; the hapless traveler spends his days confused by the swing of it; and this photographer is continually influenced by its contradictions.
Destruction of the Angara River waterfront, Irkutsk, Siberia, 2010
Curious pleasures accompany my confounded expectations. The security guard repeating, “I love you,” as he gestures for me to delete pictures of a destroyed habitat (above). Or the policemen who accuse me of stealing strategic military secrets because I photographed a World War II tank on display in a city park. Or the graffiti scribbled on a high school desk: “Stalin is gay.”
Marilyn Monroe, Vladivostok, Russian Far East, 2008
The publicly dour Russians think we Americans always have a foolish grin pasted on our faces. Well, I do, but I am not laughing at the former Soviets. It is the joy of seeing a painted wall mural of Lenin blowing a kiss to Marilyn Monroe (above), or my surprise at a grandmother asking me to photograph her in a bikini at the beach (below). The FSU is a paradise of paradox, where the landscapes are limitless and the people are full of passion and pain.
Babushka at the beach, Odessa, Ukraine, 2005
I don’t think I’ll have room for any pictures from my trips to Ukraine in 2001 and 2005.
All readers are invited to the opening so please come if you can.
Otherwise, the VCP Gallery is only open on Fridays and Saturdays 1-6 and Sundays 11-3.
I finished doing the selection and framing of my upcoming one person show in Brattleboro. I printed the pictures at 24X30 or 24X36 inches on fiber and baryta papers. Half the show is from my work in Central Asia this past spring and summer. In all, three quarters of the pictures have never been previously exhibited. I have published some, but only one of the 2012 pictures has appeared in this blog. I’ll blog later with more information about the location and opening (evening of Nov. 2nd) of the exhibition.
To celebrate the labor intensive end to producing my show, I went to the unrenovated Victory Theater in Holyoke, Massachusetts to see the wonderful installations offered by our areas remarkable artists.
Blue light seems to be a recurring motif in the dimly lit Victory Theater.
I hope artists don’t get mad about my detail pictures. Plus, I left several artists out because I didn’t get a picture of their work. This is a blog about photography so I hope Chris Willingham, Angela Zammarelli, Joshua Vrysen and Torsten Zenas Burns understand.
The exhibiting artists were quite sensitive to the beautiful decay inside the Victory. Their work often incorporated the tattered surroundings as if a wand was waved to let something glorious rise from the rubble. The Victory is due for renovation this June. I hope to photograph there with my classes before the reconstruction begins.
I saw this billboard outside our hotel in Tashkent. It reminded me of our digital lab at Holyoke Community College. The good news is that our digital photo lab is running with the fewest problems of its short history.
My students are the best part of the new semester. I am teaching two small Digital Fine Art classes and a huge Basic Photography class. Students love working with classic black and white film. The joy of seeing one’s picture appearing on the surface of a previously white piece of paper still cannot be matched. Well, actually, iPhones are amazing too.
I’m sure my digital/film students will rise to the challenge of making fresh pictures in a world where millions of pictures are made every day.
There is a good reason to pick up a camera and point it at the world. We do it to as a response to all that is happening around us and inside us. A photograph is a personal gesture that tells others about our world view. A photograph is the dance of light and shadow frozen in time and space. I don’t think any other art can stop the world so we can contemplate it for as long as our heart desires.
The photographer’s first challenge is to find the light.
Of course, photography isn’t just about sunlight and windows.
A rainy day is a great time to make pictures. Both light and shadow are soft and beautiful. If you like people pictures, soft light is often the best. It’s true for landscapes too.
Our first assignment in Basic Photography is to photograph light, form and texture. Once you find the right light, form and texture usually takes care of itself. Well, you do have to have interesting forms. Fortunately, the world is full of them.