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Posts Tagged ‘photography’

Providence has to be the New England capital of playful graffiti. After PVD Fest a week ago, I caught three new bits of cheerful vandalism around town — new to me anyway.

Pasted on a wall near my office was a duck in a suit, which a younger friend informs me should be understood as “ducktales” because the suit has tails.

I especially love graffiti sayings, like the one about being blessed where you stand and the one about explaining to a friend that you are not a Virgo.

Artistic adventurism is not new for Providence. Take a look at the exotic Fleur-de-lis Studio, for example, on Angell Street.

In other Rhode Island photos, we have the playhouse that Farmor gave her Providence grandchildren. Erik put it together, with help from Suzanne and the kids. The 18-month-old now thinks she’s in charge of screwdrivers.

The picture of berries has a robin eating them. You may have to take my word on that. And if you walk around looking up all the time, you’re sure to see interesting tops of buildings.

I’m winding up this photographic array in Massachusetts, with the herb garden behind the church, the sexton’s bonsai trees, and another tree that reminds me of a line from a hymn: “roots, hold me close.”

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Here are some recent Rhode Island and Massachusetts photos. (Connecticut is also considered Southern New England, but I haven’t been there in ages.)

I wonder if other people have preferences for seeing certain kinds of photos on certain kinds of social media. For example, unless it’s a picture of one of my grandchildren, I really don’t like seeing people pictures on Instagram, but on Facebook, people pictures are the only kinds of photos I want to see. I’m still figuring out Ello, which is more likely to have art or gifs. I like almost any kind of photo on twitter or on blogs.

My own pictures are mostly from my walks. I’m starting off here with the plant sale at the New Shoreham library fundraiser and a typically short-lived scene on the island’s famed painted rock. Also in Rhode Island, an intensely serious heavy-equipment operator in a sandbox, the alley beside the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, fancy church architecture, and a plaque commemorating H.P. Lovecraft, a popular Providence-based horror writer with some regrettable character flaws.

From Massachusetts, yellow iris in a meadow that is more often than not under water — or ice. Also a clematis, a remnant of a once-spectacular garden at a house that got sold. (Too spectacular for the new owners to live up to. Kind of like the garden in Woolf’s To the Lighthouse.)

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Are you familiar with the “Lens” blog at the NY Times? It focuses on “photography, video and visual journalism.” Here David Gonzalez writes about the photos of Putu Sayoga.

[Hat tip: Asakiyume on twitter.]

“If you live in a far-off place, a library may be something you’d only read about in books. That is, if you had books to begin with.

“That became the mission of Ridwan Sururi, an Indonesian man with a plan — and a horse. Several days a week, he loads books onto makeshift shelves he drapes over his steed, taking them to eager schoolchildren in the remote village of Serang, in central Java. ..

“Mr. Sayoga, a co-founder of the collective Arka Project, had seen something about the equine library on a friend’s Facebook page. It reminded him of his own childhood, where his school had only out-of-date books. Intrigued, he reached out to Mr. Sururi, who offered to put Mr. Sayoga up in his home while he spent time photographing Mr. Sururi on his rounds. …

“Mr. Sururi made a living caring for horses, as well as giving scenic tours on horseback. One of his clients, Nirwan Arsuka, came up with the book idea as a way of doing something to benefit the community, specifically a mobile library. He gave Mr. Sururi 138 books for starters. Most were in Indonesian, and the books included a lot with drawings.

“Children at the schools he visits can borrow the books for three days, and demand has been so great that he now has thousands of books.” More here. Check out the slide show.

Photo: Putu Sayoga

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Recently I read that there is a 5,000-year-old tree at a location in the United States that rangers won’t reveal for fear of too many curiosity seekers. Is that even possible to know — 5,000 years?

At National Geographic, Beth Moon has published photographs of other trees that are old, if not quite that old, and they look amazing.

Becky Harlan provides some background.

“Over three trillion trees live on planet Earth, and yet we know so few of their stories. Of course all trees play an important role—purifying the air, hosting the feathered and the furry, teaching kids (and kids at heart) how to climb—but some have spent more time doing these things than others. Quiver trees, for example, can live up to 300 years, oaks can live a thousand years, and bristlecone pines and yews can survive for millennia.

“In 1999, photographer Beth Moon took it upon herself to begin documenting some of these more seasoned trees. Specifically, she sought out aged subjects that were ‘unique in their exceptional size, heredity, or folklore.’ …

” ‘I am always amazed at the way trees have the ability to endure and adapt to severe conditions. Some ancient trees hollow out as they age as a survival technique. The tree will send an aerial root down the center of the trunk, which will continue to grow from the inside out.’

“In her book Ancient Trees: Portraits of Time, she explains that these ancient individuals ‘contain superior genes that have enabled them to survive through the ages, resistant to disease and other uncertainties.’ …

“Many of the real trees represented, however, face hard times ahead. ‘Quiver trees are dying from lack of water in Namibia. Dragon’s blood trees are in decline and on the endangered list, and three species of baobab trees are currently listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List,’ says Moon. …

“She hopes sharing her wonder will begin a conversation about the conservation of these arboreal treasures.”

Click here to read more and see magical photographs of ancient trees in Cambodia, Wales, Yemen, England, Madagascar, Florida, and Namibia.

Photo: Beth Moon
Rilke’s Bayon,
Tetrameles nudiflora, in Ta Prohm, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia

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Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers! This mother is indulging her interest in photography today (the simple kind: pointing and shooting with a phone). So here are a few recent pictures and explanations for the less obvious.

For example: I went out for a walk one evening and was surprised to encounter Morris Dancers on the steps of the library. They seemed to be practicing, not performing. Where would Morris dancers be performing in late April, after Patriots Day? That was a mystery. Another mystery to me was how young men and boys get drawn into performing Morris Dance. I’m sure it’s good exercise, but …

I include shots of a clay bird’s shadow on my wall and hedge shadows on a sidewalk. The fence with the stage coach and other old timey images painted along the railings is in Providence — easy to overlook when walking past.

Providence plaques and memorials. The one of Martin Luther King Jr. is on a bridge with a view of Water Place. The monument to an event Rhode Island celebrates as the real first engagement of the American Revolution — the colonists’  clash with Brits on the HMS Gaspee — is partly obscured by bushes.

Little old Rhode Island gets no respect. It was also the first colony to sign on for independence, May 4, 1776. Who knew?

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I love thinking about sunlight and shadow. Dickens uses them a lot for Richard and Ada’s story in Bleak House — maybe my favorite book of all time.

“So young, so beautiful, so full of hope and promise, they went on lightly through the sunlight … So they passed away into the shadow, and were gone.”

Many of you know what the decades-long case of Jarndyce vs Jarndyce did to Richard and Ada’s bright hopes. I’ve come to think that it was not so much Richard’s fevered expectations of an inheritance that brought the most sorrow, but his need to fix blame. Blame is corrosive.

When I interviewed a formerly homeless Marine last week and he started telling me about how upset he was that something bad had just happened with his benefits, I was touched by how he kept reminding himself how to cope, saying, “I believe in fixing the problem — not the blame.” Words to live by.

The first three photos were taken early Saturday morning, when the effects of sunlight and shadow were especially breathtaking. (I can never resist that old graveyard. You’ve seen it here in all weathers.)

The next three were taken at the playground near John’s house. Every few months, new creatures appear on that tall tree stump. (You’ve seen previous creature photos, too, on this blog.)

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This batch is all Rhode Island. First I have a couple pictures from the mall. If you don’t call the mall Providence Place, people aren’t sure if you mean the Arcade. I’m having a hard time keeping track of the local names. You have the Rhode Island Convention Center, which is not the same as the Civic Center (is that the Dunkin Donuts Center?), which is totally not the same as the same as P-PAC (Providence Performing Arts Center), which is not the same as the Veterans Memorial Auditorium …

Back to the photos. Lady Godiva hangs out in Providence Place, as does PF Chang restaurant’s fine-looking Tian horse. Next, I’m posting a glimpse of  some old brick buildings that were merged and renovated to house my new workplace. I love the view out this conference room window.

The archway is from a different renovated building, the historic Heating & Cowling Mill, which has beautifully repurposed to house formerly homeless veterans.

Several homeless people were watching me from the steps of the cathedral early one morning like wary deer. I took an unobtrusive picture around the corner, where the sun was warming a quiet nook.

The Modern Diner is in Pawtucket and serves breakfast all day, but not breakfast only. It was recently featured on the Food Network show and made a list of top diners in New England. Check out the Providence Journal report.

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