1119: As Thanksgiving Approaches

 

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Like most sane people around the world, I was shocked and deeply saddened by the events in Paris last Friday. Shocked and saddened but not surprised. Having lived in Manhattan during the September 11th attack and its long aftermath, almost nothing seems to surprise me any more. Let me please tell you, though, that I am far less fearful of foreign terrorists than I am of our own homegrown variety. And by that, I’m not referring to those disaffected young men, usually white, who shoot up movie theaters and classrooms (thinking of them as “troubled mentally”and not as “terrorists.”). Nor am I even referring to the Christian zealot abortion clinic bombers or a whole host of malcontents that peppers the American landscape.

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No, those I fear most are the politicians and a sycophantic press who indulge in an orgy of fear mongering. They twist reality to fit their own self interests. And these days the odor of fear and the chickenhawks’ drumbeat for more war fills the air, or, rather, the airwaves.

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– Haven’t we been here before? “Be afraid. Be very afraid.” Wasn’t that Dick Cheney’s mantra (while he simultaneously made millions for Halliburton as hundreds of thousands died)?

-Now we have the likes of tough talking human embarrassment Chris Christie, who wants us to be fearful of three year old Syrian orphans. I’m sure he sees that as a winning position to garner the attention of the troglodyte base of his party to boost his standing in the polls.

-Now we have the leading Republican presidential candidate, the carnival barker Donald Trump, stating most eloquently and “presidentially”, that “I’ll bomb the shit out of all of them.” And the “Take Back Our Country” crowd growls with delight.

-Now we have the supposed “smart” Bush brother, Jeb!, along with the idiot incarnate, Ted Cruz, say Christian refugees would be welcome, but not the others. “Others” in this case refer to non christians, I suppose. So, to my Jewish friends, atheist friends and non-believers of all stripes, you have no place in the America of the 21st Century.

– Then, of course, we have the NRA, Faustian owners of the souls of much of Congress, who insist that people on the Terrorist Watch List are entitled to buy and own automatic weapons because they have constitutional rights too.

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Etc., etc., etc.

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Just remember the words of Sinclair Lewis who said, “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” Fascism lingers on our doorstep, waiting for that door to fly open. That’s what we should be worried about.

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When you sit down to dinner next Thursday, give thanks for all that you have and all that you are fortunate enough to share with family and loved ones. Think for a moment of the luck of your birth, in this great and fine country of ours. Then think of the sixty million human beings on our planet who are currently displaced. They only want the same that we do, what any human being wants. And then think of the proverb “There but for the grace of God go I.” You could just as easily have been one of them.

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Voltaire

Three years ago, this past week, Cindy and I were in Paris for a show I was in during Paris Photo Week. The image above was a quirky favorite of mine taken in Paris’s Pantheon. It shows the shadow of Voltaire quietly watching over his tomb. I think often of his exhortation to “tend one’s own garden.” Mine, fortunately, is filled with evidence of the history of life on this planet, of which we are a small part.

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Since I usually post on Thursdays I’ll be taking a break next week. So let me offer my best wishes to you and yours for a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

0528: The Joys of Technology

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This morning I got up and drove a few miles down a peaceful country road to my studio as I do every day. But somewhere between I seemed to have taken a wrong turn and landed in Technology Hell! Don’t know how it happened. Maybe some retrograde planets. Maybe some form of karmic retribution. Or just maybe it simply happened to be my turn.

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We all have those days, hopefully not too often. But between the phone company, power company and other assorted interests, my “quiet country road” turned into a parking lot for loud, oversized heavy equipment. And all I wanted was to be somewhere else.

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Fortunately, my photo library was there for me and I was able to calm down by revisiting wonderful places I have seen. So here today is my calmative. From the top are three images from the Adirondacks, Umbria, and Spoleto. The result of my “deep exhale” follows.

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Tuscany

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Fisk Quarry, Isle La Motte, Vermont

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Paris

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Chaco Canyon. New Mexico

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Eastern Montana

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 Florence

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Florence

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Notre Dame, Paris

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Eiffel Tower, Paris

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Rome

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Ithaca, New York

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It worked. I am quiet and content now!

Hopefully, you enjoyed it as well.

Thanks for the visit.

 

0312: Almost Spring

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We hit fifty degrees yesterday – what a welcome relief! Spring is near. For whatever reason, my thoughts turned to the trees that are soon to bloom. So I put together a group of tree images for the post today. No fossils this time. Hopefully melting snow will uncover some and provide me with fresh new fossil pics. Until then please enjoy what Mother Nature surrounds us with. (More on Mother Nature at the end of this post).

Today’s opening image is from an olive grove near the town of Assisi.

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Siena, Italy

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Vermont

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Lake Champlain, NY

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Paris

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Boboli Gardens, Florence,Italy

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Platte Clove NY

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Leonardo da Vinci birthplace, Vinci, Italy

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Cairo NY

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Lexington VA

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Opus 40, Saugerties NY

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These four color images are possible late additions to my upcoming show at Marist College. The opening is set for April 1st, 5-7pm. More on that in days to come. For now I thought they would be a good counterpoint to all the black and white.

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This last one is part of an entirely different project. I had to include it since I just finished it and I think it holds much promise.

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A final note – regarding Mother Nature. I was knocked out by a video that a friend posted on Facebook yesterday, so much so that I needed to share it with you. It comes from the website Nature is Speaking. There are eight brief two minute videos beautifully shot with voiceovers – very powerful statements that need to be considered. Perhaps a donation might be in order.

Thanks for the visit.

1120: “We’ll Always Have Paris”

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A few nights ago I watched (for the umpteenth time) the film Casablanca – easily one of the best films of all time. Sometimes I just watch it with the sound off – just to appreciate all the more the lighting or the framing or the quick-cut editing and close-ups in the climactic scene, etc.,etc.

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This time the sound was on. And when I heard that memorable line “We’ll always have Paris” I suddenly realized that it was exactly two years to the day that Cindy and I were there for a show I was in. It was a memorable trip.

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Yesterday I found myself revisiting my Paris library. And, in doing so, I found a number of fossil images that I had originally overlooked – all taken at the Gallery of Paleontology and Comparative Anatomy.

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So today I have chosen to intermix these new fossil pieces with some of my favorite images of Paris. I hope you enjoy them.

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I’ll leave you now with one of my favorite props set against the shell of a horseshoe crab. Yeah – my studio shelves are full of strange things!

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Thanks for the visit.

Colorless Again

_MG_1857_01_LR_BW_12Before we dropped off into this latest deep freeze I managed to take some pictures of my favorite cephalopods in what is ordinarily a dry stream bed. The brief thaw exposed them and the melting snow had the creek running. Seems like I’m staying in that colorless world that I wrote about last week.

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But before I explore that I’d like to tell you about an opening set for Saturday the 26th (tomorrow) at the GCCA Gallery on Main Street in Catskill. Entitled Visitors, Visitations, Visions, the show will display the works of 21 Hudson Valley artists including the following three of my own.

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IMG_4068_01c_LR_10Enlightenment 1

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IMG_4069_01e_LR_10Enlightenment 2

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And in the upstairs gallery my good friend friend and wonderful painter Elin Menzies will have her work hanging as part of a two person show entitled Animal, Myth, Magic. the opening for both shows will be an early one – 2PM until 5 PM.

ElinElin Menzies, Crow and Crowboy Admire the Giant Poppy

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So here I am stuck in that colorless world again. What I have assembled this week is a mix of images from my library that I hadn’t yet had the opportunity to play with. As you will see, they cover a range of subjects. Their obvious commonality is the lack of color. Are details and patterns more recognizable? Is there a greater purity to gray scale – no distractions? I don’t really have a position on that old argument about color versus black and white. A strong image is about content, composition, contrasting tonality, and a host of other considerations with color only being one. In this digital age, the image may suggest its fate.

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IMG_7688_01_LR_12Eiffel Tower from the Trocodero

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_MG_1128_01_LR_12The Louvre

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_MG_0681_01BW_LR_10The Pantheon

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_MG_0640_01_LR_12Jardin des Plantes

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_MG_0115_01_LR_10Place des Vosges, Paris

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IMG_7348_01BW_LR_10Saint-Eustache Organ, Paris

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IMG_8934_01a_LR_10Route 32, Saugerties, NY

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IMG_8224_02_LR_12Snowy Landscape

________________MG_1844_01_LR_10Winterscape

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IMG_5698_01BW_LR_10Jack & Jill

Thank you as always for visiting. More images at www.artmurphy.com

Subscribe at my homepage  https://artandfossils.wordpress.com

Final Thoughts – 2012

IMG_8154_02_LR_10Back in time from holiday travels to wrap up this blog for 2012. Two recent snowfalls have covered much of the Northeast with a blanket of snow (a return to a more normal winter perhaps?). It is a reminder that indoor projects will be more likely for me into the near future – there’s no upside that I can imagine to hike for fossils in snow!

img_2938_01_lr_12Fourth of July Parade, Saugerties, NY

But, before I get to them, on this last day of the year I would like to offer you my very best wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year! According to my WordPress “annual report” (a great little statistics feature), this past year viewers came from seventy one countries around the world. So, whatever the time zone, have a safe and happy holiday.

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I took some time earlier to scroll through this past year’s postings. There were 46 in all with a total number of images approaching 600! For me, so many of them fall down the “memory hole” once I’m on to the next week’s subject that it’s important to step back and review. You know – see where you’ve been – see where you’re heading. A nod to yesterday and an embrace of tomorrow.

So, here are some images from the past year that jumped out at me for a second view – not the best, not the worst, just some that hit a personal chord that I’d like to share one more time.

img_8015_02_lr_wpDevonian Drawer: Buddha with Crinoids

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img_1064_01e_lr_12Gilboa Tree: Espermatopteris

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img_5543_01_lr_10Trilobite Pygidium, Ithaca, NY

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img_8967_01a_lr_10Brachiopod, Florence Museum of Natural History

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img_9439_01a_lr_wpDevonian Drawer: Brachiopod

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img_5250_01_lr_12Crinoid, Paleontological Research Institution

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img_0097_01_lr_wpRock, Kaaterskill Creek

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img_6372dark_01_lr_10Altamont Fairgrounds, Altamont, NY

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Thank you as always for visiting. More images at www.artmurphy.com

Subscribe at my homepage  https://artandfossils.wordpress.com

Back from Paris

Happy to be home once again after a few weeks on the road. I am faced with the daunting but immensely pleasurable task of editing and working all the images I brought back – far more than I expected. I found that, even on cold and overcast days, Paris is magical. And the opportunities for an exploring photographer are endless. I’ll have much to show and write about in future posts. For now, I’d just like to share some random images that jumped out at me in early editing.

But first, a word about what (and who) ultimately brought this whole trip about. I was chosen as a finalist in an international competition, the Grand Prix de Découverte: International Fine-Art Photography Award. This competition was masterfully produced by Ms Meredith Mullins, and underwritten by the de Groot Foundation. Since this was the inauguration of the program, with no track record I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. But as the date approached and I saw some of the work chosen I knew that this was a serious entry into the field of photo competitions. The events scheduled for us were all terrific. The conversations were stimulating. And the international camaraderie was delightful.

No surprise, then, that our hosts, Charles and Clydette de Groot, were as thoughtful and gracious as anyone could ever hope for. Their foundation’s projects are imbued with good intention and exceptional decency and they should be applauded for their magnanimity. It was an honor and a pleasure to spend time with them. After all, had they not supported this program I would not have gone to Paris. And none of today’s images would have ever been made. So thanks for that too, Charles and Clydette!

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Place des Vosges

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Eiffel Tower

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For some reason stairs caught my attention wherever I went.

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The tight spiral staircases of Notre Dame couldn’t deter me from these classic views.

I huffed and puffed my way to the very top (all 400 or so steps), proud of my accomplishment, only to look out at the worker climbing the spire much further up than me. Ah, perspective!

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The dome atop the Pantheon

… and its lowest level crypts.

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A few more brief glances from around the city:

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One last note to photographers – look into next year’s show. The jury will be top notch as will be everything else surrounding it!

Thank you as always for visiting. More images at www.artmurphy.com

Subscribe at my homepage  https://artandfossils.wordpress.com