Saturday, January 9, 2010


Given the continued freezing conditions outside much of the time, I suppose it's predictable that I should have found some Ice to record. No longer the thick cracked and bubble-filled surfaces in the plastic tubs that used to pass as waterbutts under our canales - New Mexican downspouts - for we bought ecologically sound waterbarrels this summer in quadruplicate, that are now wintering in the garage and, we hope, haven't been colonized by mice. No, this is the frozen watery residue at the bottom of one of the plastic bowls that I purchased for the birds (no new sightings in that regard today, only the juncos seem to have discovered, at last, that they like stalish pecan nuts.

This spattering of Ice, like frozen seafoam, neatly sums up some of the greatest satisfaction that I sometimes find in the pictures that I take: colors and shapes that approach abstraction. I've been reading Elizabeth Hutchinson's The Indian Craze: Primitivism, Modernism, and Transculturation in American Art, 1890-1915, which does a wonderfully good job in exploring the enthusiasm for some modernist artists of the abstract style and form to be found in Native Arts - a couple of decades before, I'd argue, abstract properties within photographs started to be fully recognized as having value. One of the things that I like the most about this image is the absence of any sense of scale by which to locate oneself. In actuality, this shape is about four or five inches across, but this could be a splash, a sightless eyeball, or a glacial hole seen from a plane.

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