Monday, December 29, 2014

All That Work...And It's Over

After Christmas Day dinner, I overheard a family member comment "All that work and it's over." This Christmas season I think I took more pictures than I have ever taken. An afternoon in Chesapeake City, an evening on 34th St in Baltimore, plus documenting every decoration in my own home has filled my December picture file. None of my pictures are particularly wonderful. I've seen far many more that I liked. One of the sites on Facebook to which I belong says to post your best picture on the 31st. 

I don't know what my "best picture" would be for others. In my photo club, I chose four pictures as representative of my favorites. One of them was of a colorful carwash in Philadelphia. Nobody liked it. It could be because we live in an area that is still semirural in spots. When I said to one of the members that I much prefer city photography, she was surprised. 

My vision of what I find compelling is changing. I still like rural settings, but every time we go back to the city I feel invigorated and interested in everything around me. My favorite coffee shop is a tiny place in what was an old row house on 9th Street near Christian in south Philadelphia. I met the owner 18 years ago when we spent some time talking as he described his vision of what he wanted to create. He's done a great job. Then there's this food truck. I loved the colors. I would have loved to hop out of the car, but there was no place to stop. We also went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see the Paul Strand exhibit. He was a photographer who inspired so many photographers after him. It was a fascinating and wonderful look one person's legacy.
This is another photo that most people wouldn't like. I liked the juxtaposition of the old Chinese setting ( a room in the Philadelphia Museum of Art) with the modern kid checking his cell phone. In the book "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance," the author talks about Chautauqua. Before movies, television, and the internet, traveling groups would go to different towns to present plays, music and lectures. Lectures! How many people go to lectures anymore? The author talks about what we've lost - and the original book was from 1974. I'm only part way through the book, but I decided it was one of the books I had to make my own. It's on my Kindle. I'll finish reading it for my book discussion group, but I'm going to probably talk about this more in other posts.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Light In The Darkness

A blog that I follow was a bit sad this month. The writer talks about her despair at this crazy world. As photographers, she suggests, we need to show some light. So here's a start. 

It's December. The days will get shorter and shorter until December 21st. Then, slowly but surely, the days will get longer. It isn't really that noticeable until February - at least to me. Right now I find myself looking at the clock at 5:00 and wondering why I feel sleepy. I'm very much a day person who responds to light and warmth. We're not getting much of either lately with so much rain and clouds. 

Winter celebrations go back probably to almost cave man days. People needed to find the light in the darkness. The story of Hannukah is all about lighting a candle in the darkness. Christmas, Winter Soltice, Yule - they're all about bringing the light. 

So I'll probably get more into light this month starting with these pictures. Every year the people of one block of 34th street in the Hampden section of Baltimore light up the block. Every house is ablaze. One house has a hubcap tree, wheels and more. The houses sit very high so there's lots of room to decorate. They all have porches too. The very first picture is the end house that decorates with not just lights but trains, stuffed toys and music as well as a video showing the story of 34th street. 

Crime has been a big problem in Baltimore. A resident of 34th street was assaulted on his front porch. Some people there threatened to refuse to decorate their homes. However cooler heads prevailed. Thank you, 34th Street for not giving in to the darkness.