Tuesday, January 31, 2012


At last!  For a few weeks, I've been hoping that the lights would change at just the right moment, and I'd be drawn up more or less alongside one of these perambulating Statues of Liberty.  As I drive down Vermont, I pass two separate branches of Liberty Taxes, who advertise their serves with a number of people dressed up as - well, you get it.  Some of them have placards, which they wave from side to side.  Some have costumes down to the ground; others have jeans emerging from the hemline; others bare legs - and this morning I saw a woman with thick black tights and black shoes, who somehow managed to look like a suffragette.  Some of them just walk up and down with a large flag.  Two, this evening, were dancing to a large boom box.   One certainly notices them ...

And they certainly act as a reminder to get one's tax return materials together - though I'm completely wedded to our accountant in NJ, who is extremely good and whom we have no intention of abandoning.  But - apart from being eye-catching - they are puzzling.  There's the paradox (doubtless particularly puzzling to the Ron Pauls of this world) of "Liberty" paired with "taxes."  There's the appropriation of Lady Liberty by men (men wearing dresses, though); by people of a number of different races; by the short, the tall.  And are they paid to look happy and energetic (for that's what they seem to be performing) - or is it just that there are lots of resting actors in this town?

Monday, January 30, 2012


I know that, over the years, this gloriously golden bowl has featured here once or twice, and doubtless will again (if for no other reason that it's very hard to light sufficiently, without it reflecting flash or light, or without burnishing its Midas qualities).  Nothing Jamesian about it - no sinister cracks.  It's looking especially good to day with a few orchid petals in it.

I feel that I'm in a place where I could do with the zen-like contemplation of a round, but not machine-perfect bowl (complete with a fallen flower).  I'm not doing well at maintaining tranquility at my desk - organized (yes!) I might be, but good at dealing with interruptions - good at dealing with endless chivvying-away-at-time-and-patience interruptions from office staff - I am not.  Other than deep breathing, I would love to have some constructive techniques for keeping my equilibrium and cheerfulness ...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

springtime conversations

Definitely springtime!  New graffiti.  The season's first lemonade stall.  And a poodle with, I kid you not, pink pom-pom fur frills above her paws, a pink tail, and pink dyed ears tied back in a kind of pony tail (looking for all the world like a canine equivalent of a USC student).  Walkers round the Silver Lake reservoir - and runners - were thick on the ground in the high-70s sunshine; the herons are nesting; and people are making plans ("I'm thinking of buying a Chagall").  Yes, seriously, that was an overheard line of conversation.

But what of that drawing?  Is the moomintroll character pretending to be non-existent, in order to get away from the chatterbox woman behind him?  Is he so wrapped up in his own verbiage that she can't get any reply as to whether or not the dress that she's trying on looks good or not?  How to answer those questions without falling into gender stereotypes?  Why do I assume a heterosexual couple?  What difference would be made to the reading if I went along and inserted an "s" before the "talker"?


and very nasty arrow-headed barbed wire it is, too. It's the far side of the vacant lot that lies on one side of our property (ah, the wonders of a telephoto lens - it's really not all that close ...) but is obviously designed to Keep People Out.  Only it isn't doing.  It's been bent downwards, and Interlopers have climbed over the wall, and up the precipitous shaley bank, and have graffited the back fence in a very boring way.  Only graffiti breeds graffiti, as everyone knows - so off we go again, with the cycle of emails and phone calls to the rightful but hapless owner.  

Friday, January 27, 2012

flying over the handlebars

I'm not quite sure where this week's bicycle obsession has arrived from - though they certainly manage to penetrate frequently enough into my daily consciousness (ditto skateboards.  I'd be run over, if this wasn't so).  Here's one staring at a terra cotta carving on the wall of the student union: one of the series entitled "Student Activities." Designed by John Parkinson (1861-1935) and his son Donald (1895-1945) and executed by Gladding-McBean (the builders), these carvings depict "the scholarly and athletic pursuits integral to university life" - or so the official guide tells us.

Only what might these be?  Not anything featured in the James Franco Undergrads program, that's for sure.   This looks like some strange form of pole vaulting, involving a fence post and a bendy longbow, perhaps with some semi-comatose studious monks looking on.  Or perhaps not.  It's one of USC's architectural flourishes intended to convince us that we're in a serious seat of learning (and sport?).  

You will observe the sunshine: warm enough for dinner outside, tonight.  Is it spring?

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I'm very, very glad to see stationary bicycles.  They are - not the first time that I've remarked on this, I know - the most lethal objects on campus, despite some completely unobserved KURT-SC campaign, which makes no apparent difference whatsoever.  All the same, they facilitate some quite amusing sights: this morning, a leggy blonde on a very pink bicycle (complete with wicker basket, of course - although with no white fluffy dog) pedaled elegantly by, wearing a large white t-shirt that said, in big black block lettering, CHICKS DIG DIAMONDS.

I have a grim certainty that students like that may well turn up in the new James Franco reality web-show, Undergrads.  This sounds like a grisly drunken exposee (actually it sounds just like Rutgers, but with fewer clothes, given the weather), and toe curlingly embarrassing.

departmental democracy

How pretty - when there are lots of different things that need voting on - to have lots of different colored pieces of paper.  What one now needs is a shredder, and then to convince the cats that they've always dreamed of using highly colored paper litter.  Maybe that one won't work.  Maybe we could sell the idea to Florida for use in their primary?  This is a supremely good candidate for "when I was young, we didn't used to ..." - in other words, remember when anything like this would have come on plain, boring, white departmental paper?  with, maybe, a few muted beiges and pastel blues creeping in?  The advent of colored paper for boring office xeroxing is one of those social changes one didn't really notice happening at the time - only there came to be colored post its, and colored folders, and then, one day, lo!  Colored paper in the xerox machine.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Christmas card, reprised

Yes, indeed, for those of you lucky enough to receive it, you'll spot a distinct similarity between this year's Christmas card and tonight's campus view.  I suppose I might get tired of how stunningly beautiful the campus can be - but I hope not.  Tonight's sky was a stand-out, and there were whole little crowds of undergraduates taking pictures of the sunset on their cellphones - though they were ignoring all the calendar-photogenic powers of the reflecting pool - which, to be honest, almost makes it too easy.

Monday, January 23, 2012

oranges, again

Sitting there, in the steady rain, is the latest example of whatever mammal has been raid in our orange tree this time round.  Coming back from dinner, we saw a possum scurrying across the road, but there was no way of telling of he was the thief.  The oranges, for me, stand as such a powerful symbol of living here rather than in New Jersey, and I feel powerfully bonded to them (can one feel bonded to a half eaten orange?).  I think what I mean is that in New Jersey, I was very aware that I never walked or drove around and thought yes! This is me!  This is a part of me - indeed, quite the opposite, which is probably why, last weekend, I mysteriously only felt a small whisp of nostalgia for a state in which I spent ten years,  And yet, coming up the stairs to the house, I only have to smell a faint whiff of orange, and I know I'm home.

the one legged bass player

... or, an amazing feat of acrobatics ... sometimes, one is just very glad to have a camera on one.  And before anyone points out that this is a six-string guitar, and therefore not a bass, I'll point out that a Certain Friend of mine who collects (and plays) interesting guitars has recently acquired this spectacular piece (only ten, apparently, of this particular design were manufactured) and no, I didn't, in my ignorance, know that bass guitars could come with six strings, either.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

not my research

In grey, cold, slushy New York, I went on a research trip - not for myself (though I spent a long time at the Weegee exhibition first), but to see the hotel where Alice's grandfather spent his last weeks.  It's not my story to tell, but let's just say that the detective who recognized him from his photograph in True Detective Mysteries (a periodical not in NYPL, irritatingly) arrested him as he was going into or coming out of what was then the Gramercy Park Hotel.  This was a newish building back in 1932 - it may have looked even bleaker and uglier than it does now (see below).  What amused me hugely is that today, the image of the man - or rather, the image of the man playing the man - who was leading the FBI at the time is plastered over the side of a building just up the street.

And as for hotel views - this is what I saw from the Heldrich in New Brunswick this morning.  It looked like they'd all been staying in the hotel; all had red ? carnations in their button holes.  Where were they going at 8.40 a.m.?

Friday, January 20, 2012

hair. And chilly NYC.

Ah, there are, indeed, compensations for traveling on NJT.  Not many, but this woman's hair was one of them (and her fingernails - not shown - alternately deep red and royal blue).  Of course, it would have been lovely to have taken a less grainy portrait of her, but such is the reality of sneaking images on one's iPhone.  This came at the end of a fascinating day reading a periodical from the late 1930s called - yes! - Flash (I've been waiting to get my hands on this for a long time).  Unfortunately the NYPL run isn't complete, but I saw enough to make me want to see more.  It was a photo news magazine aimed at the African American community - very much at the Talented Tenth - indeed, a lot of it consists of graduation photographs of traditional Black colleges, and of society weddings, and balls and dinners, and bridge parties, and fashion.  But then there's showbiz, and sport, and articles of social concern, whether these are about lynching, or police shootings of young Black men in DC, or about workers on the railroad, or about the rural poor, using FSA photographs.  Some of these are by white photographers - I traced a couple, through their locations, in the FSA archives, and they were taken by Arthur Rothstein in Alabama - but overall, almost all the photographs are by major African American photographers of the time - Teenie Harrie, Morgan and Marvin Smith, Larry Grymes, the Scurlocks, and so on.  I knew Robert McNeill had taken photos for the magazine - that was how I'd heard of it in the first place - but here were a whole lot more, with the preponderance of indoor settings demanding that they use flash.

And the interesting thing - or one interesting thing - about that?  With the exception of some carefully posed showbiz shots (which in fact probably used studio lights rather than flash), the tendency of this technology was, in these news photos, not to profit (as many photographers, black and white, have subsequently done) on the aesthetic potential of a dark skin, but was to bleach their subjects.  Flash, in other words, serves as a skin lightener in these images.  Those who get closest to the photographer may look unnaturally whitened by the bright light, their faces deprived of texture and detail.  But, unmistakably, they look as white skinned as they possibly could.  

It's a good job that I was completely absorbed by this, because NYPL was very, very cold (presumably to deter people from coming in there to keep warm).  Outside, I just wished that I was 8 again, and could buy a furry animal hat to keep my head and ears warm ...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

clocking in

If one is talking about University Schlock, I'd like to nominate this clock to go up against the life-size equine statue of Traveler at USC.  This picture doesn't capture the full glory of the Rutgers Red color of the letters.  Curiously, describing it earlier this evening, I pointed out how badly the face was designed ... that there are 12 numbers in 1-12; 14 letters in Rutgers x 2, and that what I would have done is ... well, it turns out what I would have done is exactly what this designer did.  And in fact, it doesn't work - I think because one can't actually read clockwise and counterclockwise simultaneously - it's tantamount to asking time to stand still.  Which is, of course, what it felt like for much of today (back to do orals and meetings) - its familiarity brought home how new USC still seems.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

mosaic fountain

Oh, believe me, there are probably many worse things than arriving in New Brunswick at half past midnight and finding that one's carefully taken Picture of the Day - taken at 8.45 a.m., in a timely manner - is badly blurred (that's what comes of shooting in haste en route to a meeting).  Let's start with the fact that there's no mini-bar in the room - not usually my first port of call, but with only a bag of sesame stick trail mix for lunch/dinner (no foresight there), I had my fantasies focused on vodka and Pringles.  Foiled.  So instead, I'll try and calm my wide awake brain and find some sleep before a very very full day tomorrow ... with apologies for cheating so blatantly with this image.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

star tree

It clearly isn't the holidays any more - unless one's obeying the o.k. until the beginning of Lent decorations tradition - and yet just round the corner, at the bottom of Manzanita, there's a tall tree that is still shining bright with strings and strings of lights that are wound round it, with a big shining star on top.  Really, I would have needed my tripod to do this justice - but I had to snatch a quick picture in the dark, since the Two Sinister Neighbors were standing on the sidewalk discussing a rusty-looking van.

Invisibility?  Ah, the wonders of Photoshop ... ratchet up the exposure, and what do you find?  People!

Monday, January 16, 2012

not about invisibility

... that is, I could doubtless make it be about invisibility, if I put my mind to it: having been re-reading James Elkins's The Object Stares Back for class tomorrow, I'm baffled by his propensity, his desire to see faces everywhere.  To make sense of abstract or unknown forms through the projection of a face or body onto them perhaps makes sense (and indeed, I could well have chosen a spot on the crumpled and lumpy plaster of the dining room wall that looks much like a man-in-the-moon face).  But to see them in forms that are otherwise recognizable?  Do I, can I see eyes looking back at me here?  Even if I enlarge it, and cast my own eyes round it, I just don't have the visual habit of anthropomorphization, of sensing that I'm being stared at by the inanimate world.

This has been troubling me since I read it - but at the same time, it provides a real example of the visual subjectivity.  It makes me realize once again how my viewing habit is one of thinking about representation - of seeing things as planes and textures and shadows and conundrums - conundra? - of lines.  This isn't to say that I actually do turn things into two dimensional art - except through taking photographs of them - as often as I'd wish, but it certainly means that I've self-trained my perception to operate in a very different mode from Elkins's (which is, I think, no bad thing - but I want to see what others in class have to say.  Maybe the only honest way to write about looking is to be thoroughly subjective?).

Sunday, January 15, 2012

the larder

Looking out of the bathroom window, one can see that someone - a raccoon? a possum? - is hiding half eaten oranges deep in one of the cypress trees.   Pretty though the orange is against the green, it turned into a technological feat capturing it more or less in focus - a telephoto lens was most unwilling to home in on a tiny patch of color deep in the tree (probably my deficiency, not that of the lens, but still), and finally I resorted to the finger-on-screen approach of my point and shoot, plus flash.  Even so, it doesn't adequately convey the startling and secret quality of the little stash of fruit.


There was something ridiculously satisfying about this row of seagulls on a campus rooftop this morning.  Actually, they worried me - we were spending the day interviewing prospective art history graduate students, and one of the major, major selling points of USC is bringing people out to sunny Southern California in mid January, when yesterday morning they were shoveling snow off their front steps somewhere in the mid-west.  Obviously there are many other selling points too - but the weather, even before they get to go on their half-day trip to the Getty, is a huge plus, especially for those who've never previously been to California.  But seagulls?  Inland?  That is, twenty miles inland, or whatever we are?  Did that portend a storm?  Happily, they didn't seem to be feathered barometers, but they had me worried.

Friday, January 13, 2012


The most invisible thing today was the memory card in my little camera, which I'd left sticking into this computer (indeed, it would have been good to have had the computer with me, too, but that's another issue ...).  So what did one do before the emergency photographic back-up known as the iPhone?  Here is one pristine hibiscus blossom lying on the edge of the long reflecting pool that I pass every day on the way from the car park to my office.  And yes, I have to pinch myself - it is January ...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

invisibility iii

I'll try not to make all my Invisibility pictures dull ones - but in fact, maybe that's partly the point: a dully ordinary scene hides all kinds of expectations and befores and afters.  For yes, this is a seminar room - a handsome seminar room, even if the combination of chair backs and carpet pattern is faintly nausea inducing (and not unreminiscent of Murray Hall in that respect), with people getting ready for a talk, and a whole lot of card signs reading (not visible from this side) "Reserved".

Reserved for whom?  Ah, that would be Barbra Streisand and entourage!  Attending one of the Streisand Lecture Series, which today was given by Stephanie Coontz, on intimacy and the family.  So of course, I could have extracted my camera, or cell phone, and taken a surreptitious, or even overt, picture at some point, although no way was I going to be that tackily obvious.  Not that photographs didn't figure in her own actions - I saw the guest of honor, just prior to the talk, lean over to our Dean and show him a picture of her fluffy white dog on her iPhone.  So this is the invisibility inherent in anticipation, the invisibility of the event that's about to take place.  Of course, if I'd taken the picture that I actually never would  have taken, it would have revealed the invisibility of Barbra Streisand's wrinkles.  I headed straight home to try and find out (successfully! Wexler's!) what brand of face product she uses ...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

invisibility ii

Invisible people?  Invisible purpose to picture?  No ... invisible blue light, because its bulb is out, or whatever.  A dusk image of a police station on Vermont, which looks curiously sinister (I continue my theme about invisibility's connection to dread and menace), in part because of the absence of any activity, not to mention the unmistakable deadness of the tree in the center.  It's also an image that I like precisely because of its banality, and its complete absence of any pretense to aesthetic gratification.  Ah, but invisibility isn't the same as absence, I know ...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

invisibility i

Today - Day 1 of Lisa Bitel and my grad course on Arts and Technologies of the Invisible - which was an interesting collision of different approaches - she coming from History and Religion, and me from English and Art History (though truly, we need a cognitive psychologist and a magician or two, to).  Next week - we're all bringing in Something Invisible - or that signifies or seeks to represent - invisibility, in order to talk about it through James Elkins's The Object Stares Back.  So it's a week, for me, of trying to photograph invisibility.

So ... one might argue that things here are pretty visible, despite the darkness: a spiky cactus, a geranium, a spiral staircase, the lights of our dining room - very over-exposed, because the picture itself is a long exposure, without flash (my current fascination with flash photographs, indeed, is with what they don't show - with the darkness they produce).  And why could I take this photo at all?  Because the security lights had come on - and yet (and this was true four or five times this evening) I was never quite in time to see the moving presence that set them off.  Last night, it was a skinny cream cat, and earlier - smelt but not seen - a skunk.  Tonight?  Maybe the same, maybe the raccoons, maybe Spotts the evil Bengal kitty, maybe a possum, maybe ... So our first, common or garden, non-metaphysical kind of invisibility nonetheless has a very close relationship to the uncanny - something that unsettles the ordinary; that makes one realize that something is out there, in the darkness, unseen.

Monday, January 9, 2012


At the end of last semester, a plea for help went out from Josh Goldstein, one of our colleagues in History:
I am teaching a course next semester on the history (and present) of waste (HIST 441) and the USCDornsife packets that college faculty all received yesterday seem like a great object lesson to kick off my semester.  If you have not already disposed of yours and would like to, could you please leave whatever part of the packet you would otherwise throw away in front of my office?  I come in daily and hope to have a large collection by next week.  My office is in SOS, second floor, SOS 260.

I am also willing to pick up packets from departments if you collect a few but find crossing campus a bit too much trouble.
Aimee Bender, in our department, was good enough to place a couple of cardboard boxes outside her door to facilitate collection: I was terrifically happy to place my contribution within it.  Context: our College was Named last year, thanks to a very, very generous gift.  And I'm very happy to celebrate and thank the Dornsifes in all kinds of suitable ways, and, indeed, to make sure that the College's New Name gets out there - I think I've remembered to put it on my email signature, and so on.  And when I get round to ordering some business cards - or rather, when I decide if I ought to have ones that place me in Art History, or English, or both (oh, complexity), I'll make sure that they say Dornsife loud and clear - just like the helpful booklet that was included in this package, encased in mock leather like an upmarket hotel room directory and menu, directs me to do.  And of course I'm always happy with a new pen.  But.  Honestly.  What dreadful piece of gratuitous conspicuous consumption is this tacky plastic car number plate surround?  I am going to look at the cars in the car park in seven weeks time, and see if I need more than one hand to count the number that are proudly sporting what I'm quite sure much have provided a tiny boost to the corner of the Chinese economy, and must have added a whole lot more liters of toxic fumes into their polluted air.  Of course, having donated this as Waste, I can't now double check the place of manufacture.  But even if it had been handcrafted from recycled telephone directories in Detroit (which it manifestly isn't), is this really necessary?  Indeed, not.  Indeed, it's embarrassing.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

conference food

or, in this case, lack of it.  Not that I would have been likely to have been tempted.  Conference food is such a strange amalgam - on the one hand, so long as one organizes it, some wonderful meals out and catching up with friends.  On the other - snatched bites (in my case it usually seems to be slices of Starbucks pumpkin bread, which is doubtless not healthy) at times that probably don't correspond with normal meal times at all.   This, however, seems especially suitable for someone who's about to start (co-) teaching a course on invisibility - it's the non-existent croissant!  It's a perfect example of an empty signifier!  Wow - it's a long, long time in conference years, or decades, since I worried about the concept of the Empty Signifier.

walking around

... except I haven't done very much of that, at all - just down the street to get a salad at lunchtime, and then over to a divisional committee meeting in another hotel.  Even the dinner that I organized (for the Society of Novel Studies, and Nancy Armstrong unveiled the splendiferous line up of speakers and panels for our conference in April, and Jonathan Arac and I somehow agreed that the 2014 conference should be at USC) - even the dinner was in a restaurant attached to my own hotel (for the record, Tulio is a tremendously authentic Italian place to eat).  All the same, the last time that I was in Seattle I didn't take on board quite how spectacular all the different collisions in architecture are - and this time I wish that I had more opportunity to look.

The one thing that I've learned from this convention is the monstrosity of having the MLA now colliding head on with the semester.  It was fine, at Rutgers, when we didn't start teaching again until after MLK day.  But I'll be behind a desk on Monday.  Or behind several desks, since I'll be wearing different heads, or do I mean hats, in different departments.  On reflection, probably heads.

Friday, January 6, 2012


Although, of course, one can't actually write about interviewing, can one?  Only to say that this is the view from the position of the Search Committee's Chair, and that despite being truly interested in what every single candidate today had to say, I did spend some stray minutes looking at the way in which they were neatly reflected, in inverted form, on the shiny table top (for yes, I did manage to obtain a meeting room - this is not some item of furniture in my non-suite suite), and wishing I could photograph them.  Instead, here's the reflection of the flat screen TV ... some papers ... and that general interrogative atmosphere that pervades - how could it not? - an interview room.

And here, since my head hurt too much to post them yesterday, are a few belated images from the Art Museum ...

... and the cheese, in vats, at Beecher's Handmade Cheese, at Pike Place Market.  I do wish I felt more like eating at this MLA, and will continue to ponder my ability to get sick, in one form or another, at this annual event ...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

looking at art

Looking at SAM - the Seattle Art Museum - was today's high spot, before a migraine settled in like Pacific Coast fog (too painful to write ... aggghhhhh).

welcome to Seattle ...

Well, o.k., yesterday's wasn't the final holiday picture.  This one continues a theme: strange seasonal decorations in airports.  I guess these supernally illuminated quasi silver birch trunks are meant to suggest the Pacific North West - hell, it IS the Pacific North West.  And, just as it's meant to do in Seattle, it's raining.  I would be happy to be here, were it not for the search committee chair's nightmare - that the Interview Suite one reserved back in the summer turns out to be one very, very large room with a very large bed in it.  So, whatever other plans I might have had for tomorrow, they're going to have to be subordinated to talking to the hotel manager, etc etc.  Perhaps the chilliness of the arboreal welcome was telling me something.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

reindeer. And Santorum.

I think that this must be the last seasonal image that I'm posting - an illuminated reindeer head in Casa, just off St Francis.  Or perhaps it's the first seasonal image of 2012 - a Christmas card candidate that's risen to the top early.  But who knows what things will be like in eleven and three quarter months time?  I'm typing this watching the tail end of the Iowa caucus, with Santorum leading Romney by just 5 votes, and with him having just given his nearly-well-maybe victory speech.  The scary thing about this (over and beyond the "I have a tiny daughter who might well have been aborted if she'd been conceived by some callous Democrat" line at the end - I paraphrase, or read between the lines, of course ...) was that he can make a good speech (Romney is toe-curlingly carrying on right now, Obama bashing - just remember that trip he made with his dog on the car roof).  Santorum, indeed, was credible in his populism; in his appeal to workers by endorsing hard work; in his straightforward energetic cheerfulness.  That is, he looked like a version of Obama four years ago, so far as a conservative Republican could possibly resemble such a thing.  I'm so hooked - have been hooked, I think, since I first went to the polls with my mother in Brampton, Cumberland, in 1959 (effectively Harold Macmillan vs. Hugh Gaitskell) on politics that of course I love every last twist and surprise and even dull political debate. But I don't want this to turn into a scary close election - and I was (oh no, Romney is rambling, and quoting America the Beautiful, at length, and perhaps forgetting he's speaking - another verse! patriot dream! - to a national audience) alarmed to see a half-way to viable speech from Santorum tonight.   Eeek.

Monday, January 2, 2012


In the perfect gold of evening sunshine, even slicing brussel sprouts turns into an idyllic seeming activity.  It's also profoundly hard to contemplate leaving this for the rainy wilds of Seattle - not that I didn't like Seattle on my only previous trip there, but this has been such a travel-filled couple of weeks that I could very happily pass a few more days here and then drive gently back to Los Angeles.  

Sunday, January 1, 2012

celebratory! (three years, and counting...)

I'm quite sure that the occupants of 66 Monte Alto Road didn't put the balloons on their mail box for me - but I'm very happy to hi-jack their celebratory spirit - for today is the third birthday of Forms Traced By Light!  (the very first entries were FaceBook-only ones, before I got brave, so they don't show up in the archive here.  Nonetheless, they exist ...).  So - three years of a daily image, a daily chunk or less of prose, and only a very few of these posted a few hours late, when technological circumstances demanded it.

Some time around October, in particular, I start to fantasize about how good it would be to be liberated from the daily ritual (inevitably, this is about ten o'clock at night on a busy day, when I'm teaching on the following one, and not a single object in the house [or cat] seems to have gone unphotographed or unremarked upon).  But then, as January 1st gallops towards me, I realize that it would be so very hard to stop, or even to be more selective - only posting when I've taken a really good photo, or I have something noteworthy to remark upon.  That, however, would be to forego the dailiness that has come to characterize the practice - and indeed, sometime during the last month or so, I even managed to write that piece on fiction and the everyday that's been haunting these postings for the last year or so, and which has helped me to realize the impulse towards noticing more, or noticing more thoughtfully, or simply taking cognizance of unexpected beauty, or textures, or for that matter street art that comes across my past.  Best of all, though, is having this kind of visual diary to look back on - a public one, to be sure, but from my private perspective, I can easily read between an awful lot of apparently blank lines.   

So - onwards with another year ...