Tuesday, November 1, 2016

portrait varietals

This woman was a quite magnificent sight on the light rail at Phoenix Airport. All in black - including the elaborate saddle bag - including (almost invisible against the dark window) a fascinator, it was impossible to gauge whether she was headed for a very sumptuous funeral (probably with black horses wearing plumes) or to a grand Day of the Dead celebration.  One of the more mystifying things about her was the luggage tag that firmly read Crew.  I would have loved to have had the courage to ask her to pose - but this isn't bad as snatched iPhone images go.

Earlier in the day, I was so happy to be able to go to hear Robin Coste Lewis giving the Visual Studies Research Institute's annual Anne Friedberg lecture - a happy condition of the award of the prize, for graduate travel.  She spoke about this posed photographic parody of Oscar Wilde, "The Wilde Woman of Aiken," about which she's also written a terrific poem (in her National Book Award winning The Voyage of the Sable Venus) - and it was a talk that prompted so many ideas, in so many different directions ... but the Wilde Woman is, ultimately, and challengingly, and intriguingly, no more knowable than the anonymous woman on the light rail, whom I'm extraordinarily unlikely ever to see again ...

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