Like many, I’ve spent considerable time reacting to the thoughtlessness with which our elected officials in Washington ignore the truth. Most recently, we were told by our Secretary of Energy that carbon dioxide has nothing to do with the warming of the planet, which is fine because he also feels the planet isn’t warming. But of course it is. The growing season is longer, ice out is earlier and far worse things are happening to places like Tangier Island in the Chesapeake Bay (it is disappearing) and all over the world. Carbon dioxide and methane are the two gases in our atmosphere responsible for the warming of the planet. That is not a particularly controversial scientific statement. I could go on and on but the bottom line is that the assault on reality seems overwhelming. What does it mean to “resist” that assault?
I have always experienced the power of nature as inevitable which explains my interest in erosion among other things. On a recent trip to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, thanks to the advice of a friend, we drove along Ocean Blvd., Rt 1-A, new Odiorne Point State Park. New Englanders are pretty used to two kinds of coastlines: sandy beaches and granite. This beautiful stretch of highway has both, in the same location. You can see eroding sand, and massive granite formations touching one another. That granite isn’t going anywhere. Sure, granite can be moved, by glaciers. Anybody, other than the Secretary of Energy expect to see one of those in these parts anytime soon? Probably not. It will indeed erode over very very long periods of time, but so slowly, the water doesn’t represent a tremendous threat. It faces into the sea and the wind, regardless.
I remember once hearing Pete Seeger talk about resistance. He was reflecting on all of the painful times and threats he had witnessed over the course of his life. He didn’t seem to be the least bit deterred by the persistent nature of the forces with which he was engaged. He also didn’t seem fearful or likely to succumb to hopelessness. “We shall not be moved.” (based on the Biblical text, Jeremiah 17:8-9.) Perhaps we expect it to be easy.
I’m grateful to be able to announce a soon to be published portfolio in Black and White Magazine. My work “Lost in the Water” was chosen for a portfolio merit award and will be published this summer. For those who don’t know how such things work, in a portfolio competition, you submit one or more portfolios of as many images as the publication requests, grouped around a particular theme. The interesting question for me has to do with what the editors actually end up choosing to publish. It is almost never would I expect, reminding me once again just how subjective art really is. But no matter, as I said, I’m grateful. Here is my selection of a four favorites from the submission.
These are from a location that has become very special to me, the South Natick, Massachusetts Dam along the Charles River. I was able to work there even though I was pretty ill at the time. The River helped me a great deal and I’m also very grateful for that assistance as well.
If you want to see what the editors chose, you can find their take in Black and White Magazine (the U.S. publication), Issue 177, August 2017. Alas, photography magazines can be hard to find but Barnes and Noble is probably a good bet.
Congressman Jim McGovern and colleagues did a nice job of nurturing hope and resistance at today’s March for Science held in Elm Park, Worcester, Massachusetts. I have studiously tried to avoid launching into rants on this blog in recent years, largely on doctor’s orders. But, as McGovern said, and I have to paraphrase rather than quote, if you asked me twenty years ago if I would have to help stage a march in favor of science some day, I’d say, ‘what are you, nuts?’ But here we are.It is worth reminding ourselves that the E.P.A. was created during the Nixon Presidency. You remember Nixon, the well loved republican. Oh, wait…. Even that guy, expletive deleted that he was, couldn’t hold a candle to our current expletive deleted. Trump’s efforts to lower the collective IQ and fire up the coal industry have left me feeling a sense of deja vu and I have finally figured out why. He’s building up an industry for which there is little or no market. It reminds me of the golden days of the U.S.S.R., which is probably no coincidence. In that centrally planned economy, they would crank out concrete that wasn’t ever going to be shipped anywhere. No customers. So we mine coal and further screw up an already vulnerable planet while the UK celebrates their first day of using no coal, anywhere, for anything. I would not call the UK a bastion of liberal thought. Perhaps they just know how to do business. But, here we are.
It was encouraging to join the assembly today. The weather was dreadful. There is a far bigger march taking place in Boston. No matter. Sometimes you just need to rant. Sorry doc.
I’m pleased to announce that one of my “Holding Back the Water – Quabbin Reservoir” images has been chosen for inclusion in the Providence Center for Photographic Arts upcoming Exhibition, “Unseen Photography Beyond the Visible.” The Exhibition features work from the infrared and ultraviolet ends of the visual spectrum, revealing structure, shape and light that we don’t normally see. I was drawn to this kind of photography particularly in my efforts to understand the interaction between the great dam and dike that hold back the waters of the Quabbin Reservoir, and the New England countryside. Engineering melds into foothills, and beyond. This is the spillway through which overflow water from the Reservoir flows. You’ll note that there wasn’t much flowing when this image was created, and there still isn’t much flowing now. The level of water in the Reservoir is higher, but still not at 100%. We will have to learn to live with more uncertainty about what keeps us alive, particularly in the current political, dare I say, climate. There will be a opening reception at the on April 20 from 5 – 9 PM. You can get directions from their web site, by clicking the link above. Thank you.
View of the lookout from the north, dry spillway below
I want to invite any readers in the central Massachusetts area to an group exhibition and opening to be held at the Sprinkler Factory Gallery this coming Saturday, April 8 from 6 to 9 PM. The exhibition includes the work of eleven photographers who are all members of Ron Rosenstock’s Sunday Night Group. Ron’s Sunday night group has quite a history, going back three decades. Ron was a student of Minor White who taught the importance of what to me is a more contemplative approach to the experience of looking at and taking photographs. One tries to look at the image in a completely nonjudgemental fashion and experience what the photograph provokes in you. It is actually a disciplined process that is I have to say easier said than done. My recent series, “Lost in the Water” will be on display as well as the work of a terrific group of photographic artists. Stop by if you’re interested, refreshments will be served (Though I think it’s a cash bar. Hey, nothing’s perfect.) You’ll find directions at the link above.
The Sprinkler Factory Gallery by the way is a fascinating place, a wonderful repurposing of an old mill. My hat is off to the developers and proprietors. Well done. Note the closing reception April 30. You’re invited to that too!