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Saturday, 03 November 2018


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Thank you for pointing me at this article and Ara Guler: I can see I am going to have to buy some more books.

People who obsess endlessly about the newest camera with the best resolution should look at these photographs: visible grain everywhere, not that sharp and how much does any of that matter? Not at all.

The Beth Moon is wonderfull. Thanks for that. You might take a look at microsculpture.net, featuring Levon Bliss' quite extraordinary photographs, unique is an overused word, but in his case just the right one. See what you think.

Orhan Pamuk wrote, "I was consulting his archive of 900,000 photographs … "

How does one consult an archive of 900,000 photographs? How does one create an archive of 900,000 photographs? 50 photographs per day, 365 days per year for 50 years.

Amazing photographs. Amazing story.

2015 documentary "The Eye of Istanbul" available for streaming at various places.

It reminded me another quote from "Roadside Picnic" by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky:

"But why?" he jumped in quickly. "Forgive my indiscretion, but what’s keeping you here?"
"What do you mean? Fond memories of childhood. My first kiss in the municipal park. Mommy and daddy. My first time drunk, right here in this bar. The police station so dear to my heart..." I took a heavily used handkerchief from my pocket and dabbed my eyes.

Sorry, couldn't resist :)

"Detroit, as I knew it"

The problem for most photographers looking at this kind of photography is that there's a missing link: unless you are a pro with an outlet, incentive for doing it in your own neck of the woods remains short. Magnum was a natural home for folks with those appetites.

And it works in the opposite direction, sadly: I have very, very few family pictures - family was just always going to be there, until it wasn't.

You can't fix that.


When Gertrude Stein returned to her old neighborhood in Oakland and found that her old house and everything else that she remembered were gone she famously commented, "there is no there there."

"It is a funny thing about addresses where you live. When you live there you know it so well that it is like an identity a thing that is so much a thing that it could not ever be any other thing and then you live somewhere else and years later, the address that was so much an address that it was like your name and you said it as if it was not an address but something that was living and then years after you do not know what the address was and when you say it is not a name anymore but something you cannot remember. That is what makes your identity not a thing that exists but something you do or do not remember."


Mike, I feel like I am very sensitive to these emotions that come from seeing or visiting important places in my life. But, there is a piece of that quote that I don't find to be that true. I am much more strongly hit when I visit places that were once very important to me, but for one reason or another, I have not seen a in a long time.

For example, if I visit my aunt's house that has been part of the family for decades, that feeling is mostly missing. But recently, I drove down the street of another aunt's house where I spent significant parts of my youth. This house, which was sold about ten years ago, is no longer part of the family. I have not been on the street or in the house in at least a decade. I drove down the street and was bombarded with flashbacks in every direction and butterflies in my stomach. It is the fact that this place was once so important but now not accessible that amplifies that nostalgia - if that is the right word?


As a Cardiff resident, I concur with David Evans but my first foreign film is still there, Chapter Arts centre, although I believe they've just sacked their film curator and it's not the place it used to be but quite a few of the pubs, clubs and even the buildings that held these places have gone and restaurants are like mushrooms in a forest, if you don't pick them in the morning, they are gone by sundown but yes, the city centre and the old docks are unrecognisable these days.

That's a great article. Thanks for the link, Mike.

Istanbul is an astonishing city. I was lucky enough to spend some time there in the '90s. It wasn't easy doing street photography. I was occasionally met with suspicion and low-key hostility. However, I loved it and the food was sensational.

Sadly, Turkey seems to be going through troubled times -like so much of the world.

My favorite short about living in NYC, Colson Whitehead's Lost and Found, read by Alec Baldwin: https://soundcloud.com/marisacatalinacasey/colson-whitehead-lost-and

"No matter how long you have been here, you are a New Yorker the first time you say, ''That used to be Munsey's'' or ''That used to be the Tic Toc Lounge.'' That before the Internet cafe plugged itself in, you got your shoes resoled in the mom-and-pop operation that used to be there. You are a New Yorker when what was there before is more real and solid than what is here now.

You start building your private New York the first time you lay eyes on it. Maybe you were in a cab leaving the airport when the skyline first roused itself into view. All your worldly possessions were in the trunk, and in your hand you held an address on a piece of paper. Look: there's the Empire State Building, over there are the twin towers. Somewhere in that fantastic, glorious mess was the address on the piece of paper, your first home here. Maybe your parents dragged you here for a vacation when you were a kid and towed you up and down the gigantic avenues to shop for Christmas gifts. The only skyscrapers visible from your carriage were the legs of adults, but you got to know the ground pretty well and started to wonder why some sidewalks sparkle at certain angles. Maybe you came to visit your old buddy, the one who moved here last summer, and there was some mix-up as to where you were supposed to meet. You stepped out of Penn Station into the dizzying hustle of Eighth Avenue and fainted. Freeze it there: that instant is the first brick in your city."

Full text for those that want to read it: https://www.nytimes.com/2001/11/11/magazine/the-way-we-live-now-11-11-01-lost-and-found.html?pagewanted=1

Thank you, Mike.

Both the photographs Ara Guler and the writing by Orhan Pamuk are lyrical.

It's an overused descriptor, but I think it fits perfectly here and is true to the quality of the work.

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