The recent events that have taken place here in the United States, resonate deeply with me as the mother of a biracial teenager, as a resident of Staten Island as a citizen of the United States but most importantly as a human being. Although I briefly studied the events that took place at Kent State many years ago, I don’t think the situation or Filo’s image touched me as deeply then, as it did when we viewed it this week in class. The photograph by Filo and the many by Olsen, for me represent an imagery of our Federal and State governments that simply should not be. An attack on citizens of the United States by military and militarized police is extremely difficult for me to fathom despite the photographic evidence shared by both photographers and my personal experiences here in NYC this past week. Further troublesome, was to learn that there is a desire to remove the topic of Kent State from our textbooks as if an instance of sheer brutality, inflicted on American citizens by the very people sworn to protect them, can simply be erased from our history books. It only makes me wonder what will be written in the textbooks about the protests of 2014, forty-five years from now.
Matt Black’s photographs documenting the California drought and the effects it has had on the “Fruit Bowl” of America is extremely reminiscent of the FSA photographs of the dust bowl, the dry and dire conditions are near identical. Scarier still is the fact that American farmers appear to have learned little from the destruction over farming caused to the Great Plains during the 1930’s.The depletion of the Central Valley’s aquifers (the natural wells that sit underground) has been a topic of conversation among government officials and farmers for many years, yet little to nothing has been done aside from the more conscious farmers who converted their farming practices into sustainable ones. The fact that the problem existed, was discussed and still ignored allowing the drought to only further complicate a terrible situation, I fear that it will not be until the faucets run dry that the people of California will pay attention.
While Whelan’s argument is certainly a lengthy one which includes quite a bit of research accompanied by quite a bit of speculation, it just seems to scattered and presumptuous to be convincing to me. I think that it is important for photojournalism and documentary photography to not only be accurate but to be factual. I am certainly no expert on such matters but I do not believe the photograph Falling Soldier, considered to be the greatest war photograph of all time, to be authentic. Because of other photographs that exist with the same back drop which includes identical cloud positioning, supposedly taken at different times of day, along with the inconsistent alibis interviewed by Whelan, I do not believe enough solid info exists to verify the photographs genuineness.
Early photography differs greatly from early film in that photography was not able to record movement due to the necessary exposure time needed to capture an image. Early film however, evident in Georges Méliès A Trip to the Moon, was not only able to capture movement, but allowed the incorporation of an extensive amount of special effects. In watching Méliès’ film, I recognized the fact the film camera, like the camera used for photography, remained stationary and focused, forcing the actors to move in and out of the frame while remaining in focus. I must admit that I was surprised at the both the quality and creativity of this film.
In an antique shop a couple of months ago, I came across some variously shaped vintage pastry molds. So last week I decided to take them out and put them to use. I made lemon buttermilk bundt cakes. While all of them are made from the same batter, I chose to finish them differently for some added appeal. I think there are several factors that make these cakes look delicious, the combination of the three shapes together, the contrast between the color of the powdered sugar and the golden brown baked color of the stars, as well as the contrast offered by the design of the glaze against the sprinkling of powdered sugar. When serving these, knowing that the taste of each would be exactly the same, everyone reached for a different cake, only proving to me that “delicious” doesn’t necessarily look the same to all.
While I do not consider breakfast an important meal for myself, I do consider it to be important for my son. I sometimes have some bread and cheese or a yogurt with my morning coffee but always make sure that my son eats before leaving the house. Most weekday mornings do not leave enough time to put together a proper meal, so he usually has leftovers from dinner or might grab a piece of homemade bread or cake (there is always something freshly made) as he has little interest in sugary cereals, waffles, eggs or any of the other common breakfast foods.
On the weekends however, we try to do it right! This is a photo of one of our recent family breakfasts. Smoked white fish, salmon and sable, pickled herring, pickled beets, olives, egg salad, white fish salad and bagels.
I understand the desire of Walker Evans to capture pictures of people in a sort of raw state and how he perceived this to be his very own style of art. Certainly taking pictures of unsuspecting individuals on New York City subways allowed him to do exactly that. I’m sure his decision to wait twenty five years to share his photos had much to do with his knowledge that on some level, his photographs were an invasion of the subjects privacy. That being said, his work certainly serves as a documentation of history. While the attire of today’s subway riders has somewhat changed since the 1940’s, the looks on the faces of the commuters are still very much the same. Today, with the use of modern technology, I’m sure it would be much easier to snap a secret photo of an unsuspecting individual, however the immediate consequence if you were to be caught could be pretty awful.
Spiritualism as a religion is interesting, as many people find comfort and solace in their beliefs and religious practices, or within their religion of choice. As is the case of Shannon Taggert, who first started photographically documenting the practices of spiritualism and eventually found herself a believer. While I find the concept of the religion fascinating, as I do with most religions and their ability to gain and maintain followers, the photographs are simply not enough to convince me of anything. As we have already seen in regard to early photography, pictures are easily manipulated and often staged in order to tell a story. A story designed by the photographer and not necessarily belonging to the subjects. Bent spoons on a table that have supposedly been bent by the power of the mind, a blurry picture of an enlarged hand and pictures of smudges of people mixed in with people in perfect focus are just not enough to convince me that photography has been successful in capturing the nature of this religion.
Texture is an important part of food and is something I take into consideration when deciding whether or not I like something that I have prepared or tasted. This photo is of an ambitious creation I was asked to make by my sister called a Cherpumple. The cake is the perfect example of multiple layers of texture, as well as flavors. The bottom layer is an apple pie baked inside of a vanilla cake, the second is a pumpkin pie baked inside of a spice cake and the top is a cherry pie baked inside of a chocolate cake, all put together with butter cream frosting. Seven very different textures all in one extraordinary cake.