Saturday, May 20, 2006

Photographer of the People

"You put your camera around your neck along with putting on your shoes, and there it is, an appendage of the body that shares your life with you. The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera." - Dorothea Lange

Born in Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1895, Dorothea was the first child of Joan and Henry Nutzhorn, both second generation German-Americans; her brother, Martin, was born in 1901. Though her first seven years were likely happy, the following 12 were not. At age seven, Dorothea contracted polio, leaving her with a lifelong limp in her right leg; at age 12, her father, a successful lawyer, abandoned his family, never to be heard from again.

Migrant Mother, 1936

"I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do remember she asked me no questions. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was thirty-two. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. There she sat in that lean- to tent with her children huddled around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me. There was a sort of equality about it." ~ Dorothea Lange (From: Popular Photography, Feb. 1960).

Drought Refugees Hoping for Cotton Work, Blythe, Ca 1936

The insightful and compassionate photographs of Dorothea Lange has exerted a profound influence on the development of modern documentary photography. Lange's concern for people, her appreciation of the ordinary, and the striking empathy she showed for her subjects make her unique among photographers of her day.

Critics and curators, family and friends agree that it was the heart of Dorothea Lange that guided the focus of her camera lens and composition of images. Whether viewing a single image or the thousands that comprise a lifetime's work, one sees that Lange called upon the sheer power of her considerable will to force the medium of photography to obey and respond to the world that surrounded her. Whether this world was the San Joaquin Valley or the Mississippi Delta, the small communities of America's farm belt or countryside of Ireland; the villages of Southeast Asia or the streets of San Francisco, she saw people that needed --- and deserved --- attention. Dorothea Lange responded by documenting their existence for others to see. This she did because she believed passionately that those who were pushed to the margins, whose existence had no color, needed to be heard, as well as seen. This commitment to the colorless and voiceless came from within. Dorothea Lange's public life as a "Photographer of the People".

On October 11, 1965 Lange died in San Francisco at the age of seventy.

Recommended Reading List:

An American Exodus: A Record of Human Erosion by Dorothea Lange, Paul Schuster Taylor, Paul Taylor

Impounded: Dorothea Lange and the Censored Images of Japanese American Interment by Dorothea Lange

Photographing the 2nd Gold Rush: Dorothea Lange and the East Bay at War, 1941, by Dorothea Lange, Charles Wollenberg

N Posted by Rain at 5/20/2006 12:59:00 AM

Friday, May 19, 2006

A difficult day

I swear if I hear any more of this I'll scream!
  • In a minute mom...I am playing a game! Put the game on pause already
  • Honey will you...Sure I can do that and stand on my head at the same time!
  • Hold this for me will you? No problem just put it one of the ten grocery bags that I am already holding
  • I was gonna, as soon as I..You are gonna get my foot up your ass!
  • Mom, can I have some money? For what? You have not done your chores!
  • Mom, what did you do with my... Sorry kiddo, I am not responsible for your ear phones.
  • How much are the monthly bills? Am I supposed to know that figure at the top of my head?
  • Did you pay this bill or that one? Both. Did we not just have this conversation?
  • Again? I just took a shower last night! Yes Rainman, we take a shower everyday!
  • I'll just squish the trash down..Don't do that, you will break the bag. See I told you.
  • Did you call this person or this person? Neither, they are not my calls to return.
  • What do you know? According to my eldest son, absolutely nothing!
  • When will I know?As soon as I know, Asshat!
  • I forgot...I'll do it in a minute. Your minute was over a hour ago, now move it!
  • Ms. Rain, if I could have just a minute of your time? One minute leads to an hour, every single time!

I am PMSing, over worked, in pain and all I want to do is take a long bubble bath. Is that really so much to ask? Geez.

N Posted by Rain at 5/19/2006 01:36:00 AM

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Kidnapping of Aimee

“We are all making a crown for Jesus out of these daily lives of ours, either a crown of golden, divine love, studded with gems of sacrifice and adoration, or a thorny crown, filled with the cruel briars of unbelief, or selfishness and sin."~ Aimee Semple Mc Pherson

Aimee Semple McPherson, American evangelist, symbolized important traits of American popular religion in the 1920s and 1930s. She was one of the first female evangelists, the first divorced evangelist, the first to broadcast her sermons on the radio and the founder of the Foursquare Gospel church.

Aimee Kennedy was born on October 9, 1890, near Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada. Her father, James Morgan Kennedy, was a struggling farmer. Her mother, Mildred "Minnie" Pearce was a former member of the Salvation Army. Soon after Aimee's birth, her mother took her to the Salvation Army and dedicated her to God's service. Aimee's training was particularly geared toward religious work.

When Aimee was in high school, she began to question her religious beliefs. At the age of seventeen she went to a religious meeting and experienced Pentecostal conversion under the guidance of Scottish evangelist Robert Semple. In 1908 she married Semple and followed him to China as a missionary. He died soon after arriving in China, leaving her pregnant and penniless. After the birth of Roberta Star, she returned home and continued her Pentecostal work. She also worked with her mother for the Salvation Army.

Semple married a New York grocery clerk, Harold S. McPherson, in 1913; this marriage ended in divorce five years later. Physically attractive and possessing a dynamic personality and the instinctive ability to charm crowds, Aimee Semple McPherson gradually perfected her skills. By this time professional revivalism had achieved a distinctive style and organization; McPherson was in the forefront. In the cities audiences were often immense, with ten thousand to fifteen thousand people deliriously applauding her. "Speaking in tongues" and successful efforts at faith healing—both practiced by Pentecostal churches—were a part of her ministry. (Pentecostals believe that the sounds made by people while "speaking in tongues" are biblical messages that can be interpreted by another worshipper.)

By 1920 McPherson was permanently established in Los Angeles, California. In 1923 she and her followers dedicated Angelus Temple. She called her new breed of Christian church the Foursquare Gospel, a complete gospel for body, soul, spirit, and eternity. Seating over five thousand people, this served as her center of activity. Backed by a sharp business manager (her mother), McPherson developed a large group of devoted followers. She also became a community figure in tune with the publicity-oriented life of Los Angeles, the film capital of the world.

A popular evangelist, McPherson thrived on publicity and sensationalism (causing an intense and/or unnatural emotional reaction). The most astounding incident occurred in 1926, when McPherson, believed to have drowned in the Pacific Ocean, "miraculously" reappeared in the Mexican desert. Some challenged her tale of kidnapping and mistreatment, claiming she had been in hiding with one of her male followers. The resulting court battle attracted national attention.

McPherson continued her unconventional ways by engaging in a slander suit with her daughter, publicly quarreling with her mother, and carrying on well-publicized vendettas with other religious groups. Aimee Semple McPherson died of a sleeping pill overdose in Oakland, California, on September 27, 1944. The Foursquare Gospel church continues to thrive in America today.

N Posted by Rain at 5/18/2006 12:19:00 AM

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The toilet paper roll

I am grateful for...
  • Toilet paper...imagine life without it.
  • Honey, natures sugar.
  • Babies eating ice cream
  • My pain medications for my knee.
  • Medical Insurance...Covers 100% for meds!
  • My Luva's strong and secure arms.

What are you grateful for today?

N Posted by Rain at 5/17/2006 01:18:00 AM

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Thomas Cole and The Bronck Museum

Thomas Cole's Home

I am back from my trip to Greene County, NY relaxed and ready again to face the world!

I highly recommend visiting this area…absolutely beautiful and so very peaceful. With its scenic attributes and authentic rural amenities, the Thomas Cole National Historic Site is a living memorial to the artistry of its famous resident and the world of romanticism in the Hudson River Valley.

From the first, Cedar Grove and the Catskill Mountain region nurtured Thomas Cole's artistry.
In his “Essay on American Scenery” (1835), Cole said the local landscape had “varied, undulating, and exceedingly beautiful outlines – [the Catskills] heave from the valley of the Hudson like the subsiding billows of the ocean after a storm.”
In this setting, in his “painting room” at Cedar Grove, Thomas Cole created many of the Hudson River School masterpieces that assured his fame.

While visiting Greene County I also visited the Hudson Valley’s Oldest home, the Bronck Museum built in 1663.

The house was built in three phases. Pieter Bronck constructed a single-room stone structure in 1663, a year after he purchased 10 square miles from the Mohican Indians. A large single-room addition was added in 1685. In 1738, Leendert Bronck, Pieter's grandson, built the four-room dwelling to the north of the original house and connected the two with a brick "hyphen." Timber-framed and veneered in brick, the "new" section features characteristic Dutch sloping dormers and parapet gables. The farm remained in the Bronck family for eight generations, undergoing little change.

Family furniture (primarily 19th-century), china, silver, glass, and artwork decorate the rooms, which feature 18th-century woodwork. Outbuildings include the restored 19th-century kitchen dependency and three barns. Two barns house displays of agricultural tools, sleighs, and wheeled vehicles; the third contains an exhibit about the great Catskill Mountain hotels and a collection of locally made stoneware.

Built in the 1830's is the oldest, documented, multisided barn in New York. The weight of the roof of this unusual structure rests solidly on its thirteen sides. The only interior framing, apart from the side walls, is a single center pole.

Visiting here is a life long dream come true, and I am glad to be back home!

N Posted by Rain at 5/16/2006 12:32:00 AM

Monday, May 15, 2006

Hunky Monday

Michael Greyeyes

N Posted by Rain at 5/15/2006 01:20:00 AM

Sunday, May 14, 2006

My Mom


Thank you for the life lessons, good, bad or ugly you are the best teacher I ever had.
You taught me to recognize and trust my basic instincts, to use my brain and not my vagina when it came to making the right choices.
You were my only true cheerleader.
I did not realize that then, and I wish I could have been more appreciative when it was happening.
I remember that you used to tell me, "be careful,one day you will remember those words!

Mom, I remember saying things to you and if I could go back in time, I would have kept them to myself.

It was not your fault and I understand now that you had very little control over your emotions or your actions.
I also understand that there were only two medically approved "cures" and neither of them were acceptable to you or to us.
Self medication.
Drug addiction to both prescribed and illegal drugs.
Alone in a world understood by no one, not even yourself.

Because of your illness...
I learned to deal with all of my fears head on,
How to protect myself in very dangerous situations, using whatever means to get out alive.
To be aware of my surroundings and be alert at all times.
Rules are not always set in stone and that there are exceptions to every rule.
Question everything, read in between the lines and to live life in the here and now.
Stay informed, well read and up to date on current issues.
That trust is never a given, it has to be earned.
Abuse it, poof off with their heads!

That "love" and "like" do not go hand in hand with each other.
Kids need to be kids, not miniature adults.
Babies, toddlers, little kids and teenagers need a parent not a best friend.
Parents "shield" their children, not the other way around.

When discussing sex be open, honest and explain that it is not dirty or unnatural.
When doing the above and to preserve the sanity of my children, I will never discuss my private sex life with them.
Sometimes my mom gave me way to much information, especially when under the influence and that was all of the time.

I understand that you're wanting to die was not selfish act, it was your acceptance of things to come.
Thank you for trying helping me prepare for your death.
Although nothing could truly prepare me for that time in my life.
You tried your very best.
The only way you knew how.

Everyday for three months we prepared for that faithful day,
Cataloged possessions, took pictures and documented deeds.
You made your decisions with your dignity intact and with loving grace.
Mom covered all of her bases, took care of all her personal affairs including leaving instructions on tying up personal loose ends that were to be done within two hours of her death.
She made sure she had a twirl on the dance floor, the last laugh and as always the last word.
Bittersweet Revenge.
Just ask my father. That is a post all by itself.

The night she passed
A sense of calm came over me.
I was at peace with everything and so was she.

I miss my mom. Sigh.

N Posted by Rain at 5/14/2006 03:59:00 PM