This photograph currently appears in “The Portrait 2022” issue of the online journal, F-Stop Magazine. Let me tell you its story.
On April 25, 2019, just before noon, I was walking in downtown Bridgeport, Connecticut with a Canon 5D Mark III and the old “nifty fifty” (50mm f/1.8) lens. At McLevy Green, next to the Bridgeport Town Hall, a couple of people were playing chess at one of the concrete tables on the edge of the Green. . . .
. . .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.
The poet, essayist, translator, and magazine publisher and editor, Robert Bly, died toward the end of last year. I think it’s unfortunate that he became best-known as a father of the “men’s movement,” because in the public’s mind that overshadows his tremendous contributions to American literature. His literary work in all the capacities that I just listed had a tremendous and priceless effect on me and others, opening up the cloistered world of an American poetry controlled excessively by stiff-minded academics to the timeless and global world of a poetry of imagination and spirituality, of what Bly called “news of the universe.”
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.
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
I’m thrilled to be able to tell you that Keith Carter evidently read my three-post “Keith Carter and the Cloud of Mercy” on this site, and he posted this comment … Continue Reading A Surprise Bright Spot in My Confinement
I didn’t know, when I started my three-post “Keith Carter and the Cloud of Mercy,” how many new reasons we would have now, in this pandemic, to pray for mercy. … Continue Reading Angels of Love and Sorrow
First: I love Keith Carter’s photographs. Let me say that again: I love Keith Carter’s photographs. That has nothing to do with opinion or analysis, but rather with the grateful, … Continue Reading Keith Carter and the Cloud of Mercy, Part 1 of 3
I’ve written posts before about the inspirations or events that come to us, without our having planned or willed them, to spur or add force to artistic works (you don’t … Continue Reading We Don’t Know How
With President Obama’s imminent departure from office in mind, I thought of a photograph that I’d taken back in 2003, before I’d ever heard the name “Barack”: “Mr. Lincoln’s Sympathy … Continue Reading Suspicious Minds: My Farewell and Regrets, for President Obama
For his wonderful collection of short, imaginative poems from world literature, called The Sea and the Honeycomb, Robert Bly rewrote Frances Desmore’s translation of a Chippewa poem. And I think that it’s … Continue Reading A Poem for 2017 and Every Year That Follows
I drove by the site late one day and took a few photos for my final-stretch planning. After dinner, when I looked at the photos on my computer, I did … Continue Reading Who Really Made That Photograph? – Part 2 of 2
There is a virtually-unkillable part of us that, when anything we’ve touched is considered successful, wants to proclaim to everyone in earshot (even if that’s only us), “Mine!,” “I did … Continue Reading Who Really Made That Photograph? – Part 1 of 2
Photographers, or artists of any kind, are probably more aware than most people are of fortuitous coincidings, of happy or regrettable appearances and disappearances: “I could kick myself for not … Continue Reading At Home in the Secret
I wish you all for thanksgiving what, in a sense, but only in a sense, we already have — a world of wonders. Or, rather, I wish that we would all enter … Continue Reading Wishing You a Wonderful Thanksgiving
Society works to make us believe that we’re small, insufficient, that we have to run on the fumes of worldly ambition, that we’ll be doomed if we don’t buy what … Continue Reading Summoning the Genie’s Power – Post 3