092718: Paris Revisited

I recently donated a print of the above image to a charity auction to raise money for the Southern Poverty Law Center (a most worthy cause, to my mind). The image, a favorite of mine, was taken on an upper floor of the d’Orsay Museum in Paris.

Digging up that print got me thinking about my other Paris images and that led to a pleasant afternoon rediscovering that photo library. Here is some of what particularly caught my eye. Above is another from the d’Orsay.

Louvre Window Study

Sortie (Exit)

Windows, Gare d’Austerlitz

Grand Palais

Sainte-Eustache

Pantheon

Staircase, Museum of Comparative Anatomy

Sainte-Chapelle

Graffiti

Louvre Entrance

Montmartre

Book Stalls on the Seine

I’ll finish today with this picture postcard image of the Seine as it passes through the heart of the city.

I hope you enjoyed the visit.

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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.

0205: More From the Vaults

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Greetings from the snow covered upper Hudson Valley. The wind is howling as I write this today, giving life to the multitude of chimes I have hanging all around outside my studio. The cacophony of bright, crisp sounds provides a pleasant backdrop to today’s tasks.

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I have chosen once again to dive back into the vaults seeking overlooked images. And this time I settled into my images from Paris. First is a group from one of my favorite museums, the Gallery of Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy. The gigantic ammonite seen above hung in a stairway landing – an odd place for it I thought, but striking nonetheless.

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Next an arachnid, I think, from a time unknown to me (Take me out of the world of marine invertebrates and I am lost!).

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And the last fossil for today – a pterodactyl.

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Aside from the wonderful collections housed in this museum, the building itself is worth a visit alone. Built for the Paris Exposition of 1900, it has wonderful detailing at every turn, such as these three examples of the “natural history” architectural embellishments.

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And then there are the stairwells.

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Earlier posts captured this museum much more fully. For anyone interested, here are those links:

https://artandfossils.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/back-from-paris/

https://artandfossils.wordpress.com/2012/12/07/the-paris-natural-history-museum/

https://artandfossils.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/the-gallery-of-paleontology-and-comparative-anatomy-paris/

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These last few are some random favorites, a somewhat odd mix. The first is a view of the Seine taken from the top of Notre Dame. Speaking of stairs, there are 387 steps to the bell tower and another 147 to the very top (where I shot this picture). And, as I stood there trying desperately to catch my breath, I looked across at the 300′ tall spire – only to see three workers climbing to the top!

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Louvre

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Gare d’Austerlitz

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An odd but favorite image of mine – Voltaire’s tomb in the basement of the Paris Pantheon. His shadow watches over.

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One last image from Paris for today. The wonderfully inscrutable work of one of my favorite artists, Cy Twombly, at the Pompidou.

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A couple of final notes. This Saturday, February 7, two of my images will hang in juried openings:

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“Madonna Erotica” will appear at the Woodstock Artist Association and Museum in the Small Works Show – 4-6pm.

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And this work from my Devonian Drawer series will appear at the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance in Narrowsburg NY. That opening will run from 2-4pm. If you are in either area please stop by.

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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.

0130: More Design

IMG_7549_01a_LR_10Museum of Comparative Anatomy, Paris

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I continue to pour through my libraries, finding new and interesting ways to group various images. One topic that I simply cannot ignore is the amazing opportunity provided by fossils and rocks – capturing the designs in Nature never cease to amaze me. I have put together this selection of images that, I think, is a good example of this thought.

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IMG_0303_01a_LR_10Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, New Haven

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IMG_2306_01c_LR_10Crinoid Ossicles, Chazy Reef, Vermont

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This next group of five images are plant fossils from Schoharie Creek, ranging from one to three feet across.

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These last four are representative of the places I find myself in – fossils or not, these are the wonders I often find myself amongst.

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Schoharie Creek, Gilboa, NY

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Kaaterskill Creek, Catskill, NY

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Trace Fossils, Catskill, NY

IMG_2772_01a_LR_10Ausable Chasm, NY

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Two personal comments on the way out.

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It was exactly fours years ago when I first exhibited my fossil images at the GCCA Gallery in Catskill. Unsure how the work would be regarded, I was ultimately gratified by the response. And I remain especially thankful to my good friend, Fawn Potash, for having faith and giving me that opportunity. Much has happened since that show!

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Much of the upside of being a working photographer, to me, was always the notion that the camera was a ticket (or a pass) that allowed one into a world of experiences that few other occupations could ever match. I have many fine memories of unique and special encounters.

seegerv3_lr_12A number of years ago I had the good fortune of spending a day photographing Pete Seeger at his hilltop home overlooking the Hudson River. I was shooting for Bill Moyers’ production company. Bill was there to conduct an extended interview. As we strolled through the neighboring woods Pete spoke about everything from the Spanish Civil War to the blacklists of the 1950s. But it was talk about the Vietnam protests and their respective individual roles that produced one of the most amazing conversations I have been privy to. While Pete was one of the major figures protesting, Mr. Moyers was President Johnson’s Press Secretary. What each side knew and did not know about the other at that time was fascinating.

Mr. Seeger was a true giant who very few could ever match. You could feel his presence. It was palpable. And it was truly special. Rest in Peace.

Thank you for visiting.