Monday, December 22, 2008

This is pretty boss

I think this is just great.

What You See

After a slow saunter through The Frist exhibit of George Eastman photographs, I am inclined to speak on the fine line between reality and art. I've been mulling this topic around in my mind and within my fingertips for a while now. I will now attempt to thoughtfully and carefully convey my opinions/pose my questions...

Q: What is a photograph, really?
Q: Is it a depiction of what is real and true?
Q: Or, is it/should it be an artistic expression of what we all really wish the world looked like?
Q: Is it a visual representation attempting to combine all of the intangible sensory experiences?
Q: What should we feel when we look at a pretty picture? At a tragic one?

The museum's exhibit of photographs was brimming over with arguments for both reality and imagination. I think we could all agree to say that the realm of photography doesn't mutually exclude either. Sometimes, cameras record history; other times, they create unrealities. Edward Weston asks, "Why limit yourself to what your eyes see when you have such an opportunity to extend your vision?"

I think he would have been a Photoshop fan.

Below are some of my pictures from the last few weeks. I've posted them, realizing that out of context and without explanation, their meaning could be completely misconstrued. For this exercise, I've taken some liberties. Please...humor me.

In this picture, one might assume that my beautiful roommates are inhumanely tall. But, you know, of course, that it is just a matter of perspective. I took the picture from below, therefore creating the illusion that they are beasts.

It might appear as though I am in the midst of a windstorm. You must know, contrastingly, that I was indoors, and was simply (unsuccessfully) jowling.

Don't be fooled. This picture of my sweet friend, Elaine, is a complete misrepresentation of her disposition. Though she is depicted here as a menacing threat to your safety, she is, in reality, a non-violent type.

In the above, Keith looks legitimately crazed. Possessed, really. Let me put you at ease to say that, he is not, in actuality. Naturally, I just happened to catch him at an innopportune time.

So, you see, the camera can "lie." It can lead you to believe just about anything. Add photo editing into the mix and voila! - you can evoke just about anything you so desire. Manipulation? Sure, sometimes it is - when you see something and are under false pretenses that it is natural and accurate depiction of reality.

But, other times, it is infinitely more. Thoreau said, "The Question is not what you look at, but what you see." What do you feel when you look at a photograph of an orange-sky sunset? Do you experience even a small-twinge of the transcendent beauty of our Creator? Would that change if you learned that the image was amped up with CMYK color? Or, would you know that perhaps, on the day the photo was taken, there was an unrecordable beauty? Perhaps the aroma of the nearby magnolia tree combined with the temperate 65 degrees couldn't be translated onto film? Maybe, just maybe, the photographer just wanted to recreate what his/her camera was incapable of doing justice? Do you feel lied to?

I don't. I think photographs are to their takers as words are to a writer. Sometimes they're not enough. But, they're all we have. They're the only means we have of trying to tell the world what we're thinking; what we're seeing. Even though they aren't always sufficient, they're what we've got.

Friday, December 19, 2008

ex-pect-ant [ik-spek-tuhnt]

The advent season brings with it the anticipation of many things including...
Time with Mama.
Unstructured daaaays off of work.
Pj-clad days, fireside nights.
Coffee dates with long-lost ones.
Lingering at the dinner table.
Couch-cuddling, holiday film-viewing.
Ravenous reading.
While I am jumping out of my skin with the excitement for all of the above, I'd be way off-base not to immerse myself in the expectation of my Coming King. May the coming days be soaked in thoughts of His arrival... Let's, too, proceed as with the bated-breath, Mary-like enthusiasm of a mother waiting for her precious one to join her in the world.
Look! The LORD is coming from his dwelling place; he comes down and treads the high places of the earth. (Micah 1:3)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Ever Before Me

I made this yesterday to be my screensaver, because I needed the reminder...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Talking Up Relationships

If there's one thing I LOVE, it's good conversation with practical strangers. Thankfully, my job allows for me to engage in it all-the-livelong-day. In preparing for the February "I [Heart] Issue," of the magazine, I've been interviewing couples. Without divulging too much information, I'd just like to share a few golden nuggets from several of these sweethearted people. Some of their words were sobering; others hope-givingly romantic. People like these...they are my teachers.

From the female half of a ballroom dancing couple:
"The challenge is not to lead, and to let the guy lead. With couples, especially, it's hard for the lady to do that. If the guy's not leading, it's just instinctive for the lady to try and take over, and if you're both leading, it doesn't work. You're not pulling her around, but you're just initiating the steps. It definitely takes practice."

The male counterpart of a catering duo:
"[Being in business together has] redefined who we are as a couple, because it's put us in a position where we have to fight. For everything that we have, and everything that we are, we have to fight. We put all our effort, energy and time into this. We face different challenges. I think for us, deciding if it's worth fighting for...We're both on the same team; we both want the same things. We may approach it differently, but we want the same results."

And from the marriage counselor about her husband:
"I think there was a time where it was actually brought to my attention that I was over-analyzing everything that we said or did in our communication; how we resolved conflict. It was just overkill. Date nights became, 'We need to talk through this and this and this. Cause if we don't and we let it go for a week, we're going to be like this couple that was in my office in crisis.' There were several months where I was just very overly analytical about us, trying to look at everything through a magnifying glass and it just didn't work at all. It took a colleague saying, 'Ya'll need to have fun. There's other parrts to your marriage besides just making sure you talk through everything.'"

And from a girl with "different abilities" about her boyfriend:
"A lot of the stuff he likes is the same stuff I like. He's funny. He's outgoing. He's got a good personality. And on top of all that, he helps everybody. And I try to help as much as I can. Basically, he's just a really nice person and he takes care of me. He treats like a queen. He doesn't even treat me like a princess. He treats me like a queen. He brings me lunch in. He brings me pie. Like today, I had chocolate pie he brought in for me. And he also helps me sew on my scout badges--my meirt badges--because I don't know how to sew them on. I don't know where half of them go."

Friday, December 5, 2008

Things I'm Digging Today

Number One: This man, and his "Winter Blues." Oh, and his Christmas stuff is pretty jazzy, too.

*Thanks be to the talented Stephen DeVries for the recommendation. I found this picture he took on Google images!

Numero due: This incredible etsy-find. I know just the person who would a) understand and b) really appreciate receiving one in her stocking this Christmas.

Numéro trois: Peppermint Mallows. Can't wait to try this recipe.

And, finally, a Christmas wish.

Here's to a weekend of decking the halls, crafting, baking and merry-making!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Evolution of Song

Over the past couple of weeks, I have had the immense pleasure of witnessing the most glorious unfolding of creativity in my oh-so-talented (songwriter-on-the-side) roommate . (My sincerest apology for not receiving preemptive permission to publish this). Several nights this week, I have come home to see her sweet face lit up in the front window of our house in the room where our new keyboard resides. She has graciously allowed me to sit at her feet as she tickles the ivories (or fiberglasses, in this case). Her repertoire is wide-ranging; her voice a melodic complement to each note played. I've watched as she's scribbled and erased her way through writing a brand new song. The result is both extremely melancholy and profoundly hope-filled. Almost as enjoyable as hearing her song has been learning about its inspiration. Each line has evolved from her own terrestrial experience. She has made quotidian life into poetry. She has filled our home with music, and I am most grateful to her song because it has inadvertently reawakened something in me.

Monday, December 1, 2008

And sometimes... I'm Glad

Well, rats. For 23 years, I've wrongly thought that the Madeline theme song said, "I'm Madeline, I'm Madeline, and sometimes... I'm glad!" I went to YouTube to substantiate my supposition with a cute video posting, and found... that in fact, it doesn't say that at all. Well color me disappointed.

Though my previously-decided-upon post title and graphic have now been proven erroneous, with chin-up, I proceed with some reasons to be glad on this wind-whipping day:

I just went for the most delightful lunch hour. It was (as I prayed my Thanksgiving break would be) a pleasant combination of productivity and stillness. In the span of an hour, I:

a) Made a small, but helpful deposit to my bank account. Thank you, Alabama Dept. of Revenue for a timely reimbursement.
b) Visited a good-old-boy shoe repair shop and made an Sicilian-family connection with the smiling cobbler.
c) Ordered a kid-sized hot chocolate and instead got a free-of-charge size upgrade and a personal drink delivery.
d) Listened to the Avett Brothers.
e) Read my book club book and thought about the narrator's idea of the "Great Perhaps." I'm quite fond of the idea that the rest of my life is one big fat "Great Perhaps."
f) Thought about homemade Christmas gifts, as inspired by this video.