The Symbolist Poets

A parallel revolt against the traditional modes of expression took place in poetry under the leadership of the Symbolists, who strove for direct poetic experience unspoiled by intellectual elements. They sought to suggest rather than describe, to present the symbol rather than the state of the thing.

Arthur Rimbaud (1854 – 1891)

My Bohemian Life by Arthur Rimbaud

I went off with my hands in my torn coat pockets;
My overcoat too was becoming ideal;
I travelled beneath the sky, Muse! and I was your vassal;
Oh dear me! what marvellous loves I dreamed of!

My only pair of breeches had a big whole in them.
– Stargazing Tom Thumb, I sowed rhymes along my way.
My tavern was at the Sign of the Great Bear.
– My stars in the sky rustled softly.

And I listened to them, sitting on the road-sides
On those pleasant September evenings while I felt drops
Of dew on my forehead like vigorous wine;

And while, rhyming among the fantastical shadows,
I plucked like the strings of a lyre the elastics
Of my tattered boots, one foot close to my heart!

Symbolism as a literary movement came to the forefront in the work of Charles Baudelaire (1821-67) Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-98), Paul Verlaine (1844-96), and Arthur Rimbaud (1854-91). These poets were strongly influenced by Edgar Allan Poe (1809-49), whose writings were introduced into France by his admirer, Baudelaire. They experimented in free verse forms that opened new territories to their art, achieving a language indefiniteness that had hitherto been the privilege of music alone.

I Am (Was) A Camera

Here are some old analog photography notes from days gone by. Still relevant, but without the techno terminology and the acronyms associated with today’s modern digital cameras. In fact, you might be interested in the analog definition of photography. Then, following that are some more analog notes on photography. To digitize the text, just substitute the word sensor where appropriate.

The Analog Definition of Photography

The fundamental physical principle of photography is that light falling briefly on the grains of certain insoluble silver salts (silver chloride, bromide, or iodide) produces small, invisible changes in the grains.  When placed in certain chemical solutions known as developers, the affected grains are converted into a black form of silver.

When a photograph is taken with a camera, light reflected from the object passes through the shutter, diaphragm, and lens to form a real inverted image.  For the brief period during which the shutter is open, this image falls on the surface of a film or plate sensitized by silver salts and causes an invisible latent image to be recorded on it.

An Analog Explanation of the Camera

A camera consists essentially of a box carrying a lens, diaphragm, and shutter that are arranged to throw an image of the scene to be recorded onto a sensitive film or plate. The lens is usually made up of several components. It forms a real, inverted image of the object. In the popular 35-mm cameras the focal length is typically 50 mm (2 in), but it can be shorter or longer according to the size of the camera. In the focusing mechanism provision is made for moving the lens backward or forward to focus the image on the film. Three main methods are used to determine the position of the lens for correct focus: focusing scale, range finder, and reflex finder.

Two types of shutters are commonly used. The between-the-lens shutter is mounted between the components of the lens. The focal-plane shutter consists of a roller blind containing a slit that moves rapidly across the plane in front of the film. In popular cameras the shutter provides a range of exposures from about 1 second to 1/1,000 of a second. The diaphragm may also be placed between the components of the lens. It provides a circular hole of variable size that regulates the amount of light that reaches the film.

If the light is weak, or if a short exposure is required, the diaphragm is opened wide to admit sufficient light. Under good lighting conditions with moderate exposures the diaphragm is set to a smaller aperture, thus reducing the amount of light reaching the film. The smaller aperture can also reduce effects of aberrations and of any error in focusing, thus producing a sharper picture (i.e., depth-of-field).

Memorial Day 2017: Observe & Remember

Memorial Day is a holiday in the United States that commemorates the men and women who gave their lives to their country while serving in the U.S. military. The holiday was first observed in honor of the Union soldiers of the American Civil War.

After World War I, the holiday was expanded to include the casualties of any U.S. war or military action. The holiday is observed on the last Monday of the month of May. The holiday was formerly known as Decoration Day.


This vintage photograph shows this author’s grandfather marching in a parade, circa 1931. He is the drummer who is second from the right in the photograph.

Awful Food: Tuna-Eggplant Poseidon

Cut an eggplant in half lengthwise. Scoop out the pulp, leaving a thin shell. Spoon in some tuna and look what you get! Apparently, the god of the Sea, Poseidon, likes eggplant with his tuna. He has the power to cause earthquakes but not the power to stop this awful dish of food.

Bon appétit!

From The Renaissance To The Baroque

The stylistic changes that mark the shift from the Renaissance to the Baroque are very dramatic. The Baroque era spanned a turbulent century and a half. Roughly, the Baroque era started in 1600 and continued until around 1750. The term “baroque” probably came from the Portuguese word barroco, which was an irregular shaped pearl that was used in the jewelry of the time. The Baroque period was a time of adventure and much change.

The Triumph of the Immaculate by Paolo de Matteis

he discovery of the New World cause imaginations to soar and filled
the coffers of the Old World. The middle classes gathered wealth and power in a struggle with the aristocracy. Empires clashed as each tried to become master of the New World. Appalling poverty and wasteful luxury, magnificent idealism and savage oppression – against contradictions such as these revealed the pomp and splendor of Baroque art. An art of bold gestures and conception, Baroque art is exceptionally vigorous, highly decorative and very monumental.

Stop Making Sense And Interview Yourself

Stop Making Sense is a highly praised concert film that features the Talking Heads live on stage in 1983. The film was directed by Jonathan Demme and was shot over a period of 3 evening concerts in December 1983. The Talking Heads album that was being promoted during this concert tour was Speaking In Tongues. The movies is most known for its 100% use of digital audio recording techniques.

In this rarely seen video for the promotional video for Stop Making Sense, David Byrne pulls off the impossible and interviews himself as only he could manage. Please note that Mr. Byrne is wearing his signature “big suit” so constructed as to “make his head appear smaller.” David Byrne’s style and delivery is reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s clever but seemingly disinterested interview style from the 1960s. Just stop making sense…please.

“Never underestimate the power of a good hairdo.”

Some Thoughts On Balance

“Objects are immediately seen as having a certain size as well as having a location in space.  No object is seen as being unique or isolated.  A scale of size, a scale of brightness, or a scale of distance is always present in the total visual/perceptual field.”

“To be seen, an object must be assigned a place in the whole. Perception involves not only the placement of objects, shapes, colors, etc. but an interplay of directed tensions.  These tensions are not created by the viewer but are inherent forces within the image.”

Negril, Jamaica May 9, 2017

“Balance is a state wherein the forces acting upon an object compensate for the presence of each other. A pure state of balance causes all action to cease.”

“Balance does not require symmetry.” [repeated 3 times]

“The properties of weight and direction are always dynamic.” [always not maybe]