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Friday, February 6, 2009

Bryan Graf

from Walden Swamp © Bryan Graf

Of course no one needs to go to school for photography, especially not to grad school. However I found the structure useful. I have no regrets. And when I look at the many great talents that come out of Yale, I am impressed. I love the work of recent Yale Grad Bryan Graf - in particular his "Walden Swamp", "Roadside Wildflowers" & "Time Traveling" series.
His work embraces the medium fully and it made me newly connect to my favorite painter: Gerhard Richter. You can see more of Bryan's work at: www.bryangrafphotography.com.
And talking about 'Yalees', go visit www.katherinewolkoff.com, always a good site to visit.

from Roadside Wildflowers © Bryan Graf

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Good Stuff

My favorite cheap wine remains the Australian Shiraz Whoop Whoop. Incidentally our Australian friend David (husband to culinary master Andrea)brought over another good and well priced red the other night: a Cabernet Sauvignon from California from 2006 by Cannonball. Very full bodied, but tasty and a good deal.
I am adding it to my list of wines to buy by the case --this one is great for (dinner) parties.

Canonball Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Back to Photography

Big Magazine Issue 30 © StefanRuiz/Big

About time for me to blog about photography again.
Stefan Ruiz is an artist I greatly respect. Several years back Stefan Ruiz photographed a series titled "Our Town" for BIG Magazine's 30th issue. 'Youth American Style' was the theme that time. I first saw this work at my friend Emily's house and remember talking with her about how much we loved those images. They were just right on.
Right now if you head over to 20x200 you can purchase two beautiful landscapes (one depicting Cairo, the other a landscape in Bolivia) prints by Stefan Ruiz.

Race Hose Resting © Ellen Rennard

And speaking about photographers, if you head over to the Nymphoto Blog you can read a (re)post by the formidable Ellen Rennard. And if you haven't yet, check out Ellen's series "Racetrack Lives" at her site: www.ellenrennard.com (which I was first introduced to by Cara & Amy via WIPNYC).
Horses are the ties that bind ;)

Monday, February 2, 2009

World We Now Live In

Returning to the city is always somewhat of a culture shock after Belize. Not just the density & the urbanity make for a jarring re-entry, going through immigration also contributes.

When I was a child and I would travel inside Europe with my parents, I remember passing borders, stopping the car, showing passports. Or custom and border officials coming onto a train, let's say a train going from France to Germany, to check documents.
And my hometown of Hamburg was only a mere 50km away from the Iron Curtain -- something that I was at the same time used to and blissfully ignorant of its full implication.
But today to travel within Europe more and more people do not take the train anymore (but that is a whole other post) and the days of having to show your passport while traveling inside Europe are long gone. Germany is (re)united and no (physical) wall remains.
Of course when I fly home to Germany from the US I do have to go through customs & immigration upon landing. It is always an amazing experience because while I am in many ways very much an American (while not technically than at least culturally), nothing makes me feel more at home or German than passing through German Immigration. There is no worry and I completely feel at ease and filled with (perhaps naively) trust. Simply because I have that burgundy passport in my hand. Predictably my sister who holds a blue passport finds entering the US more pleasant than entering Europe.
Saturday night I experienced for the first time what so many non-US citizens go through when entering the US: I was finger printed (well, finger scanned) and photographed upon returning to America. Really not that big a deal, especially since the US government has had my fingerprints & picture on file for close to two decades, ever since I became a Permanent Resident.

However it is an utterly unnerving reminder of the times we live in. My husband who was right beside me (who holds both a burgundy and a blue passport) thought so too. And the two blue passport holders behind me mouthed "sorry" as they saw me get processed, which I thought was sweet.

I do completely understand that the new procedure of fingerprinting all foreigners when entering the US is meant to protect the US and everyone (including me!) in it. I live in New York City. I know we (as in New York City) are the number one terrorist target and experts believe that there is a real possibility for something much worse to happen in the near future than 9/11. (And not just America has to worry about this awful scenario).
Thus I appreciate all the measurements taken to protect this amazing city and by extension the country, the globe and even me. Nevertheless I think I will never loose the uneasy feeling about how easily all that data could be misused and more importantly I don't think I will ever get used to this new world we now live in.

Remembering Songha

Songha Thomas Willis
May 2, 1972 - February 2, 2000

portrait courtesy Hank Willis Thomas

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Love Song to the 8700g

I heart my Blackberry 8700g.
I rock it old skool like that.
That thing is indestructible & reliable. The keyboard is so comfortable. The speakerphone is awesome. And I love the track wheel . I love the track wheel so much that I am have been writing letters to RIM asking them to please bring the track wheel back (while of course singing the praises of the 8700g over all).
Often people tease me about my old smart phone, and yes perhaps it could use a camera or a better resolution, and it certainly is not as pretty as the i-phone, but ultimately it does all I really need and it does it well (worldwide mind you).
Users of newer blackberry models mostly halt their mocking once I remind them what a workhorse the 8700 is. If you have used the 8700 series you know it is good stuff.
My husband told me yesterday that President Obama also is/was an avid user of the Blackberry 8700 series.
I wonder if his new more secure Blackberry has a track wheel and whether a track wheel on the left would be more comfortable for someone left handed?
Either way I like that President Obama stuck to the phone that worked & suited him, and felt no need to purchase the newest gimmick. Perhaps we have entered a new age of reason.