Just last week, I passed by a place, a remarkable display, that became the subject for a portfolio that you can see now on my photo website: “The Mansion at 13 Skeleton Drive.” https://www.lawrenceruss.com/index/G0000cX1diIbKkuA
. . .In dejection from all the awful and discouraging news about reactionary political victories, rampant viral sub-variants, catastrophic droughts, and increasing violence (as well as, for me, unhappy views about my own self), I found myself doing something that I’ve done on occasion over the years, especially under stress: I was hand-writing, long past midnight, a list of my favorite artists and mystical writers. That exercise can calm and comfort me. not just as an obsessive-compulsive ritual, but as a reminder of real treasures that I’ve been given, for inspiration and illumination.
In certain of these posts, I’ve put together two stories or quotes that go at one thing from different directions, or whose common ground isn’t obvious on the surface, aiming to spark for you some realization that can’t just be given or explained. This time, the two sets of words that I’ve joined come from two seemingly-almost-comically-different sources. The first is a poem by Juan Ramon Jimenez, the Spanish poet who won the 1956 Nobel Prize for Literature and was a leading figure in what is sometimes called (with good reasons, like the writing of his kinsmen Antonio Machado and Lorca). The second set of words is from a speech by the American comic actor Jim Carrey. Jimenez may not have had the same kind of extremely zany humor that Carrey has shown in his movie and TV career, but Jimenez was anything but a stiff. One of his most wonderful books is a work of prose, Platero y Yo (Platero and I). Platero was his donkey.
In going through some boxes of my books, I unearthed a couple of treasures that I hadn’t seen in oh-too-many years. (Too few shelves, too little time!) One of them, called Dialogue with Photography, is a collection of interviews with master photographers. . . The book is filled with rareties and realities. When Imogen Cunningham is asked if Edward Weston ever bought one of her prints, she replies that he never had enough money to buy anyone’s work. In this and later posts, I’ll share with you some passages that I like especially, beginning with this from the wonderful Robert Doisneau. . . .
Fire has often been not just a symbol of the holy Spirit, but its embodiment. . . Even fewer people will know what faith and fire lay behind the phrase “Chariot of fire.” It refers to certain events concerning the prophet Elisha, told in 2 Kings 6:8-17.
I wrote to you about the story of the cat at the heart of this photograph, but why is the cat wreathed in flames, and why don’t they consume him? I’ll respond to that now, not with pretended analysis or explanation, but with a kind of “Biography of Fire.” . . .
To understand why I show you this carved cat in flames, you need to know that my childhood was plagued by sweat-through-the-night terrors, terrors that could take hold even in daytime. . .
As some of you knew, we in the Northeast received warnings through all kinds of media in the early part of this week about the likelihood that a powerful Nor’Easter … Continue Reading Christmas Reports on Weather of the Soul from Charles Dickens (God bless ‘im!) and Me
A few days ago, I wrote an e-mail to one of my best friends, Rich Armstrong, about a new photograph of mine, which you see above, “The Friend Who Dies … Continue Reading A Pre-Christmas Christmas Card
I recently had three of my photographs chosen for an exhibition called “Strange Times” at the Atlanta Photography Group Gallery . That exhibition was conceived partly with the pandemic in mind. Yet none of my selected images was made since the start of the pandemic, and none was generated by a dream or even a waking fantasy.
In my last post, I made some remarks about the falsity of calling certain artworks “surrealistic.” I want to pursue that further here. Am I saying that we should never use the words “surreal” or “surrealistic”? No, but. . . .
As the title of this post promises, here is the photograph that just last week joined my ongoing, award-winning “Marion under the Moon” series. Its title is “Dream of the Playground Melting into Night.” Several friends of mine, seeing it for the first time, have ha wildly differing emotional reactions to it . . . One male friend said that the image provides “mysteries upon mysteries”. . . .
Dear Readers, I’m sorry to be so late with this “next” post. But you all know that sometimes we seem to be having even more difficulties than we usually do. And sometimes the world seems to give us even more causes for grief than it commonly does.
Today, I read a front-page article in The New York Times about how the “culture wars,” the political divisions in this country, are causing conflicts within church congregations, and driving … Continue Reading “Blessed are those who mourn . . . who thirst after righteousness . . . the merciful . . . the pure in heart . . . the peacemakers. . .”
My earlier sets of clues had to do, you might say, with the nature of reality, of being. This set has a different emphasis, though the same ground. This one … Continue Reading Three More Clues, Turned in Another Direction
The artist’s world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep. – Paul Strand