Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Chapter 14 of my Book Passages series strikes a very deep chord with me and my feelings about beauty, society, perceptions of self both internal and external. The pressures society has put upon us to look a certain way and create this false sense of what is "normal" or expected can make us feel very small and insecure in our own skin. Having photographed all types and shapes of people in my many years as a professional photographer one very significant thread has stood out. It doesn't matter if one is thin, large, tall, short, big nose or small nose; most everyone has insecurities about their outer shell. The most beautiful portraits come from those that have the confidence of their own self.

My visual interpretations for this passage come from Kit Reed's novel, Thinner Than Thou.
When you're alone in your mind you may think you're special, but you're only ever another dumb person driving around inside that stupid body. It's no better than a car dealer's loaner, you know? Forget what the Reverend Earl preaches. The body you are using is no temple, it's a trap for the contents of your head. You want to think about who you are and what to do about it but instead you obsess over the parts that people see. Keep it clean and keep it polished or they'll come for you. Perfect hair, you need. Perfect outfits. Perfect abs and pecs! Image is everything. You grow up with this and in case you don't happen to know, they teach it in all your classes.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Slice of Heaven

Welcome to Chapter 13 of my Book Passages Series. For anyone new to my blog and wondering what this "Book Passages Series" is all about? Please visit my first blog post introducing this idea to readers of my blog. Once you reach the bottom of that first post in February you can click on the newer post link to scroll one by one to the most current blog entry. All the posts do not pertain to the Book Passages series but you will be able to easily recognize which belong to the series. Some good news since my last Book Passages post and that is I received confirmation that the Steenbock gallery in Madison, WI. will be exhibiting this series beginning December 4, 2010 and run through January 15, 2011.

This visual interpretation is presented a bit different than the other twelve chapters. My friend Tom, from college, asked if I would except an audio file excerpt from (wish I could tell you, I've been told to remove it from my blog)? I think it's an interesting request and it really isn't that different than a book passage so I was like, sure. So here is my visual interpretation from a monologue titled (can't believe a creative person would be so petty to request I remove this association from my blog). As always I appreciate honest criticism of the interpretation. It really becomes a forum for us all to discuss, debate and learn so please consider leaving some insight for us all to contemplate. To leave a comment click on the comment link at the bottom of the post. Type in your conversation, highlight one of the choices such as anonymous, enter the encrypted word in the box and click OK. Enjoy! Tough to enjoy this interpretation since I had to remove all references to what the source material was that I interpreted. Bah.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Backyard Soul-O

What I find most interesting and challenging about these book passages is not knowing the context of the passage in relation to the larger scope of the book. So when I would read and re-read the passage from Dreams of Leaving by author Rupert Thomson I was challenged by the details of the passage. Unlike other passages that I have worked on, this passage seemed much more literal with characters and place, making my own personal interpretation a bigger challenge. My solution to a passage that has many descriptive details about a very specific act, the saxophone solo, led me to pick out some key words that I was drawn to. The title, Dreams of Leaving, the words "abandoned mansion, saxophone and solo" around the larger significance of music is what I used to build my visual interpretation.

I grounded the visual interpretation's sense of place with the abandoned mansion. It dominates this passage so much that not including it, I felt, would leave the viewer too disconnected from the passage. The rest of the interpretation deals with the physical and emotional sensitivity that can be experienced through the power of music.

Here is the book passage that inspired my visual interpretation Backyard Soul-O.
"Gloria was introducing the band. If he didn't listen to the saxophone this time, she'd murder him. He only had to wait until halfway through the next song, then Malone unleashed a sixty-second solo, and played with such raw soaring power, assembled such an intricate structure of notes, that listening to him was like being led through some extraordinary abandoned mansion. It was as if Malone somehow knew of Moses's anxiety and was building a house specially for him, a different kind of house, a house where policemen would never appear at the door. The saxophone scaled the facade, dropped into an upstairs room, tiptoed across the landing, opened a door with rusty hinges, tripped, stumbled to the edge of a parapet, peered over, stepped sharply back, ran down flight after flight of stairs, through ballrooms peopled by the ghosts of dancers, through echoing cloisters and claustrophobic passageways, past windows with vistas and hushed rooms no longer used, tore through curtained doorways and out, finally, into the open air, paused to breathe the air, ran on through gardens with peacocks and fountains, along spacious landscaped avenues, past sudden explosions of plants from South America, and back down a sweeping gravel drive to the road where Gloria was waiting with the rest of the song."