Friday, February 5, 2010

Rime-ridden icy morning, like living in a Christmas card, each branch, every surface covered with rising spirals of layered, sparkling crystals.  I once did a sermon about belief, and opined that the ability of snow and crystals to pile themselves into dizzying, gravity-defying forms was to me the very essence of faith.  And so it was yesterday, and again today. Only today the cold is biting and serious. Time to hunker down and investigate the left brain. 

Photographed a whole lot yesterday, some with my normal self in charge, wordless, intuitive, and others with my New Brain go-here-move-there-oh-that's-the-kind-of-thing-I-need-to-take Dialog With Self that I'm not used to having.  Enlightening in some ways, like learning to function with my dominant hand tied behind my back. 

Then I send it all to a photographer friend who comes right back at me and says that she likes my Right Brain stuff the best, of course, but that The Other Stuff reminds her of Studs Terkel, which is a complement I accept with humility, because of my endless admiration for Terkel's work.  And also because it brings me from the 30's, where I seem to have been born visually, up to the late 60's and early 70's, a leap of about 40 years.  Not bad for a day's work.  In 1970 I briefly met Terkel in a neighborhood bar and learned of his work for the first time. I was living in Chicago, my first child was a year old, and I was working with Saul Alinsky's group of socialist labor community organizers.

Studs knew the current penchant for exposure but chose to remain on the side of gentility.  This gave him access to truths about his subjects, whether actual or metaphorical, that still allowed them to retain their dignity, even as the country was tilting away from labor and laborers, sensing, perhaps, the explosion a decade later of automation in every field, including machines that premix animal feed, turning a skilled laborer into a formulaic button pusher.
This is what I wrestle with as well.  Yesterday these men were fine with me nosing around, though, moving in and out, putting the camera inches from their faces or over their shoulders.  Even the short order cook at Spud's, Kim Miller, gave me permission to catch her in motion, her dignity intact.

Ah, to have it meld together, the lovely and the not, and make Winter out of it all.



  1. Hey Jill,
    I just love being able to catch a glimpse of your day, your work is really telling, so beautiful there...the hay bales my favorite. I liked your comment about faith...I have always thought that way...looking at ice crystals...

  2. I'm kinda digging the Tim Burton-esque colorful Ranch homes with carports. Just me being weird, probably. Keep shootin', lady!