Sunday, October 19, 2014

On Human Connectedness

'How Facebook Makes Us Unhappy'
The New Yorker (Maria Konnikova)
The link in the caption to the left explores the phenomenon of how human attention becomes increasingly forgetful of "the path to proper, fulfilling engagement" (e.g. self-entertainment or more intimate human connectedness), as a result of certain types of social networking behavior, and the phenomenon's potential psychological effects on an increasingly hyper-stimulated and socially networked populace. Where boredom accounts for unhappiness bored people seek to actively engage their attention so to achieve the precipitated state of happiness.

I imagine the behavior is rewarded in the pleasure center of the brain, leading to the release of the "pleasure chemicals" responsible for the ensuing sense or state of "happiness" that can be derived from (and is hence chemically associated with) actively engaging on social networking media. However, in time, people will seek more avenues through which to engage said attention as the threshold for pleasure elicited from each instance of engaged attention is raised (as in the case of an addiction or tolerance). The ever-increasing need for engagement may reflect an accompanying heightened sensitivity to boredom, and is in itself a form of escapism.

Friday, October 10, 2014

A Gentle Reset: 'The Arctic Light' by Terje Sørgjerd


"This was filmed between 29th April and 10th May 2011 in the Arctic, on the archipelago Lofoten in Norway.

My favorite natural phenomenon is one I do not even know the name of, even after talking to meteorologists and astrophysicists I am none the wiser.What I am talking about I have decided to call The Arctic Light and it is a natural phenomenon occurring 2-4 weeks before you can see the Midnight Sun.

The Sunset and Sunrise are connected in one magnificent show of color and light lasting from 8 to 12 hours. The sun is barely going below the horizon before coming up again. This is the most colorful light that I know, and the main reason I have been going up there for the last 4 years, at the exact same time of year, to photograph. Based on previous experience, I knew this was going to be a very difficult trip. Having lost a couple of cameras and some other equipment up there before, it was crucial to bring an extra set of everything. I also made sure I had plenty of time in case something went wrong. If you can imagine roping down mountain cliffs, or jumping around on slippery rocks covered in seaweed with 2 tripods, a rail, a controller, camera, lenses, filters and rigging for 4-5 hour long sequences at a time, and then having to calculate the rise and fall of the tides in order to capture the essence - it all proved bit of a challenge.

And almost as if planned, the trip would turn out to become very difficult indeed. I had numerous setbacks including: airline lost my luggage, struggling to swim ashore after falling into the Arctic sea: twice, breaking lenses, filters, tripod, computer, losing the whole dolly rig and controller into the sea, and even falling off a rather tall rock and ending up in the hospital. As much as I wanted to give up, the best way Out is always “Through”. I am glad I stuck it through though because there were some amazing sunrises waiting. At 1:06 you see a single scene from day to night to day which is from 9pm to 7am. Think about that for a minute.. 10 hours with light like that.

I asked the very talented Marika Takeuchi to specifically compose and perform a song for this movie, and what she came up with is absolutely remarkable. Thank you very much Marika!" - Terje Sørgjerd

Available in Digital Cinema 4k.

Press/licensing/projects contact: tsophotography@gmail.com

Music: "The Arctic Light" by Marika Takeuchi (marika-takeuchi.com)
Please support the artist here: Marika Takeuchi

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Environmental Photography


"Since 2004 I've been researching, working with biologists, and traveling the world to photograph continuously living organisms 2,000 years old and older: The Oldest Living Things in the World.

My practice is contextualized by the multidisciplinary inquiries of Matthew Ritchie and the new conceptualism of Taryn Simon and Trevor Paglen, who likewise gain physical access to restricted subjects and illustrate complex concepts with photographs supported by text. The work spans disciplines, continents, and millennia: it’s part art and part science, has an innate environmentalism, and is underscored by an existential incursion into Deep Time. I begin at ‘year zero,’ and look back from there, exploring the living past in the fleeting present. This original index of millennia-old organisms has never before been created in the arts or sciences.

I approach my subjects as individuals of whom I’m making portraits in order to facilitate an anthropomorphic connection to a deep timescale otherwise too physiologically challenging for our brain to internalize. It’s difficult to stay in Deep Time – we are constantly drawn back to the surface. This vast timescale is held in tension with the shallow time inherent to photography. What does it mean to capture a multi-millennial lifespan in 1/60th of a second? Or for that matter, to be an organism in my 30s bearing witness to organisms that precede human history and will hopefully survive us well into future generations?"
- Rachel Sussman



"Nature transformed through industry is a predominant theme in my work. I set course to intersect with a contemporary view of the great ages of man; from stone, to minerals, oil, transportation, silicon, and so on. To make these ideas visible I search for subjects that are rich in detail and scale yet open in their meaning. Recycling yards, mine tailings, quarries and refineries are all places that are outside of our normal experience, yet we partake of their output on a daily basis.

These images are meant as metaphors to the dilemma of our modern existence; they search for a dialogue between attraction and repulsion, seduction and fear. We are drawn by desire - a chance at good living, yet we are consciously or unconsciously aware that the world is suffering for our success. Our dependence on nature to provide the materials for our consumption and our concern for the health of our planet sets us into an uneasy contradiction. For me, these images function as reflecting pools of our times."  - Edward Burtynsky

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Poetry: Untitled

Amidst the Stygian sky
I see a silhouette of a branch; one of several gnarled fingers
extending furthest into the inky opaque - upward.
An ambitious appendage.
Two feet beneath its niggardly fingertip
is the southernmost point within which a leaf cluster is bound.
The leaves,
you can tell their tops from bottoms;
it is as if they are illuminated from beneath.
Their belly's are pale and infrequent,
amidst the several that are cloaked and entwined.
Here, two feet from the top,
and just beneath the cluster,
there is a bright shape that seems the size of a leaf;
it looks like a leaf.
When the branch from which all others in the cluster stem
is steadiest;

When the wind rests;
I am almost convinced that the shape is in fact a leaf
affixed to a branch;

Monday, February 24, 2014

On Interior Space (Sanctuary)

Words can hurt. However, only to the extent that we allow them to. If someone says something critical or hurtful, ask yourself: Is it true? If so, acknowledge & address this. If not, pay it no mind. In both instances you'll grow.

Sometimes we obsess over what's been said, whether it's true or not. When someone cuts us with words our thoughts might be: "How can they say such things? They haven't the right to do so! How inconsiderate of them to do so! They are a [this] or [that]! They'll get what's coming to them." In this instance we have amplified the effect of their hurtful words.

When we recall and replay such mind chatter we allow the incident to happen over-and-over again within ourselves; we give it a home in our head & heart - the cut deepens and the wound festers. However, if what is being said is not true, let it go. Evict it from both head & heart, and you will not be ruled by it - the cut proves superficial and the wound heals.

Short Story: 'The Lovely Langolier'

I’d grown irritated – perhaps jealous even – by how everyone would always compliment her on her open-mindedness. I asked her, "How can these people think you’re open-minded when you refuse to consider the possibility of any of their ideations being the only true road to their Gods, Goddesses, Sacred, or Source? To this possibility you've clearly remained closed."

She paused, as if to gather her thoughts, and replied, "I have listened to and watched them. I have lived with and learned from them. I've asked and was allowed to do so, and they asked for nothing in return. My openness was welcomed by their openness, and we all benefited from the experience of this openness."

She continued, “As different as people's thoughts and practices might be - as divided as their labels, names, or boundaries might convince you of their being - their spirits are unmistakably adjoined. They love, they suffer, and they live. We all love, suffer, and live...together."