Wobneb Newsletter - March 30, 2021

When several things all line up, cosmically that is, it’s easy to connect the dots and find patterns. Are the patterns really there, or is it merely hindsight? Regardless, recently a couple of things lined up in my corner of the universe. 

There is a day each spring and fall when the sun lines up perfectly in the late afternoon, and it shines straight through the house from West to East. I call it the kitchen & bathroom equinox because I like the sound of it, not because it is entirely accurate from a scientific standpoint. It was sunny on this particular day of the event, so I captured it. Again.

On the same day, the first blooms came out on the forsythia hedge in the back yard. The bright yellow blooms pop out and announce the oncoming season, until the entire hedgerow is painted in little pops of yellow from end to end. Nothing earth shattering about this, just one of the annual markers I’ve kept in mind over the years. This year it happened two days earlier than in 2020.

Last year in mid-March, we had to shut down the my wife’s family-owned business, a movie theater, and we had no idea what to expect in the 5 months to follow. We planted potatoes, onions, herbs, tomatoes, strawberries - and tried not to get overwhelmed at the prospect of a million different bad things that could happen. This March is different; I don’t feel impending doom and I don’t worry each day about news about the residents in the White House. I am worried about our community heading back to pre-pandemic behavior too quickly, but I am thankful my family has remained healthy. I am guarded, but optimistic about the future.

This past week I had the wonderful opportunity to be a guest speaker for an online event with the Welsh photography group Ffoton Wales. Their bi-monthly social events invite people interested in photography to attend a Zoom meeting for discussions with guest presenters. It was wonderful to be able to share my experience of writing on photography and talking with folks who were interested in how to share their projects with writers, journalists, or publications. The 90 minutes flew by, and I loved the experience. It occurred to me a day or two later that I now have a presentation to talk about writing on photography, photo books, and interviews - this is something I can do again with other groups or in a photography classroom. Hopefully I will get a chance again soon.

Photo Books on My Radar

‘Vale’ by Robert Darch, and ‘The Boys’ by Rick Schatzberg are both waiting in the wings for reviews. Both books are personal in nature and I am reminded of the concept that one’s work can reflect how we see ourselves even if the artist isn’t captured in the image. The way Schatzberg photographs his friends from his youth, now in portraits as middle aged men, speaks to the way he might feel about his own existence. Darch creates narrative fictions which explore ideas and feelings based on his early adulthood after suffering a stroke. The sense of loss he experienced, as expressed in eerie or spooky scenes, with or without figures, is tied directly to his life experience. In this way, I’d call the project a self portrait. I’m looking forward to wrapping up these reviews and sharing them over on F-Stop Magazine very soon.

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