Friday, December 12, 2014

On Self Love

There comes a time when you finally understand what it means to be yourself, and that to do so requires above all else a love of self. Perhaps until then you had thought it a struggle; grappling to define or find your self amid the expectations of others, social roles, and norms - the ever elusive you. All the while there you'd been, and all that was ever needed was for you to remain still enough to recognize and appreciate yourself. There you had been, where there was never anything to strive for to begin with. There, chasing approbation, status, and wealth. It's like pursuing a phantom, expecting to seize what does not exist in the hope that you will some day be handsomely rewarded with fulfillment in any or all of its imagined forms. But, true fulfillment, if such a thing even exists, might only by realized through self-understanding because it is only with such an understanding that we can engage honestly and meaningfully with life.

I occasionally compare myself to others despite knowing better. I have embellished things for shame of my shortcomings both perceived and real. Awash in self-loathing and tormented by a fear of rejection my life has been a cycle of happiness for people & their accomplishments, covetousness and disappointment.

Now I realize that covetousness is a reflection of a lack of self-acceptance. My covetousness is based on the desire to be happy and mistaking happiness for being that when I am this. Sometimes, when I hear people speak happily about their interests & preoccupations I am unnerved  because I am reminded of my baseless dissatisfactions. Such times are best addressed by exercising gratitude, that is, being mindful of (and perhaps acknowledging aloud) the good in ones life.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Poetry: 'Sediment & Sepulcher'

Let us burn our dead in furnaces for fuel
Like the carbon-rich corpses
of the plankton lost at sea
that drift downward deft & steadily
From their epipelagic throne
- deposed, entomed in sweet repose -
'til Earthen throws or We obtain
by dint of drain we'll reign
In warmth the plankton thrive,
but for their insatiability
None to check their rampant bloom
Their very lives and those they fed
await in dead and fix them room;
a sedimentary tomb; 
a carbon coffer womb

The carbon age upon us
The carbon cage surrounds
A prison which adorns those
found bound by such compounds
A warmth that we've enjoyed
Soon a heat to scald the skin
We bathe in oil; this perfect foil
Much to man's chagrin
a carbon tale is told us
The earth prognosticates
With nothing to restrain mankind
from razing at their pace

While what we're here to service

lay dead beneath our feet
When all that we rely upon
is gone or very scarce
Like dead decaying plankton

which sink and settle down
This ship: Exceptionalism
will also run aground

We, as oil & shale, may live to tell the tale
In coming times when future kind
unearths us in their wells
Mayhap they'll blaze our children's graves,
ignoring precedent,
to reap the warmth of ancient sunlight
trapped in sediment.







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;

Enlightening the few.
It is radiant and particular.
It must be a flower!
Upon further inspection
there is an X atop it, perhaps beneath.
Like a fine felt tip marker of similar brilliance
drew this X - coalesce - not atop or beneath, but as spokes.
Four points
Furthest from center
Diffusing in to the night sky
like the raised arms and spread legs of the Vitruvian man.
It is a flower!
The wind picks up;
The branch moves
The fingers twitch
The shape is steady, but not affixed.
It is not a leaf,
but still a flower. It rules the night sky.