Joachim Hildebrand : Wild West

It’s a book. I smiled because of the photographer’s simple knack : showing a shock between the “wild west” and the… civilization. It shows something…

Tamed nature, right? Hmm… It at least show how Americans are conscientious.

 

 

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Steel Taxes’s Wrong Way Up

I don’t do politics, but this one is too good…

There’s a Google search you can do : “Trump Steel Bush”.

In 2002, G. Bush imposed taxes on imported steel and aluminium, and it’s been a big disaster.

The lesson was : “Things are much more complicated than we think”.

It became hard to find some steel to buy. The prices increased and impacted customers. There were like 20.000 more jobs in the steel industry (yeyyy!) AND 200,000 LOST jobs elsewhere (in the car industry, for example). The taxes on imported steel had to but stopped quickly before it harms the industry too much.

Trump just re-did it. He just did it harder. Read the articles you found with Google, it’s interesting! The typical wrong idea…

And by the way, it’s very interesting that a GOP president uses a socialist protectionist tool (where’s the invisible hand of the market here?) on a market which is on the decline in the USA since… 1953.

 

This is a great little pattern to study. The wrong way up : when does it happen?

  • When you ignore the complexity of things.
  • When you mix words (labels) and reality.
  • When you ignore the past.
  • When you wrongly insist.
  • When you don’t listen to people who know.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

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Greta Gerwig & Sacramento

My daughters were delighted : they went to the theater and watched the first Greta Gerwig movie : Lady Bird. They loved it!

So I told them about the director, Greta Gerwig, who wrote a movie with her boyfriend, a film about New York, a film I love so much, in the middle of Woody Allen (around Annie Hall) and J.-L. Godard. This freedom, this black & white…

We watched Frances Ha together and it was fantastic!

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In Frances Ha, a 27 years old woman, is living a bohème life in New York city. She’s a dancer, changing roommates all the time, meeting people, trying to live and find her path and dreams.

At one moment, she has to go back to Sacramento, her parent’s home. Lady Bird, indeed, takes place there. It’s (or course), where Greta Gerwig grew up…

In both films, we see something :

The character tries to “fit” where she’s from. California wealthy all-the-same little houses, with an American flag on the front porch, right? It’s christmas. An uncle plays the trumpet (or another instrument). Everybody is religious (and probably have guns), and the grass is well cut.

Horror.

You can see her TRYING to fit, though. She’s from there, after all!

She doesn’t fit and has to go back to NYC quickly. There she meets wealthy people (a lawyer, etc), and doesn’t fit at all!

 

Well, that’s all. It made me think a lot about this kind of people, who are absolutely BORED in front of “normal persons”, normal life, the “house and car and husband” choice, and commuting, etc. They would die quickly. They need to be in their element, sophistication and exploration, opportunities and art. ART. Out of it, they wither.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Lady Bird : “In 2002, an artistically inclined seventeen-year-old girl comes of age in Sacramento, California.” – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4925292/

Frances Ha – “A New York woman (who doesn’t really have an apartment) apprentices for a dance company (though she’s not really a dancer) and throws herself headlong into her dreams, even as the possibility of realizing them dwindles.” – https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2347569/

 

 

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Harper Lee has a little pattern for you

In “To Kill a Mockingbird”, there’s a character in the background.

Adolphus.

A white man who lives with a black woman, and has mixed-blood children.

This man explains that he lives as if he was an alcoholic.

He says that he had to do it, like a “give the dog a bone” thing.

He had to invent a “flaw”.

Without it (“Meh. He’s a drunk.”), people wouldn’t have accepted his way of living.

Adolphus doesn’t care about race very much. He has a relationship with a black woman and has “mixed” children. He puts a coke can in a paper bag which the town suspects is alcohol. He lets them believe that it’s alcohol and acts drunk because he says it gives the town a reason to understand the way he is. The town couldn’t accept race mixing and mixed children, so he needed to give them a reason. He honestly is not much of a drinker and coca-cola really is in the bottle.

What’s that pattern? To invent a flaw you don’t have to be in peace? Nowadays, when do we need to be Adolphus? To have peace? Where, how?

 

Thanks for reading!

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The Depth of the Air is Warm & Birds are Swarming like before the End of the World

My working day finished at 6 PM today and I was surprised to find a little daylight when I was outside in the streets of Lille : “Hey, the days get longer…”.

Walking/smiling in the city dusk, I stopped suddenly : a big frightening swarm of birds was crossing the sky-street-cut over my head, like in Hitchcock’s “The Birds”. Waow!

They didn’t attack.

I had to bike for like 20 minutes to go the the animal-hospital to get my Bidou diabetic cat 2 bags of his crusty catfood I ordered this week-end on the web. The night was coming and the air was strange.

Some days, it’s COLD but you feel the air is WARM, oui? I don’t know how to say it. In France we can say “The depth of the air is cold” (“Le fond de l’air est frais”). The contrary today : Cold but with a warmy depth.

I’m sure half of you understand this concept. Not if you were born in California or Florida. Kansas? Maybe.

And indeed, the birds felt it. As I was crossing a street I passed along a big set of trees. They were CROWDED with hundreds of screeching birds, invisible in the dark shadows. Frightening. Haunting. Big sound!

The night was there almost and I biked along, thinking about this chilly chilling thing in my chin : The End of the World is for soon.

In a way, we have a retained desire for catastrophes, right? One loves the cities-in-disasters scenes, from Godzilla to explosions, meteors or earthquakes. BAOUM!

Then I thought about Marguerite Yourcenar. She was a Belgian writer, and a great thinker. She says two things about romanticism. I rebuild this from my memory because I don’t need, here, to be exact.

ONE :

One must be very romantic to dare calling for reason

TWO :

Sometimes we’re romantic enough to hope for a disaster, and we don’t realise that it has already begun

See?

I love thinkers, because they always find new ways to open a problem.

I met very few real thinkers in my life!

As always, luxury is insular : you are alone if you can’t talk about these. Only a few will be interested in questions like “For an artist, do you have to be a rebel and invent your rules, or do you have to know all the rules before going over them?”. Most of human beings think it’s fly’s masturbation, right?

I wrote many articles about Paul Valéry and writing, typical-this.

OK.

The Polar Vortex (the big pocket of icy air above the North Pole) just split this week-end (as predicted – it’s global warming doing its thing). It’s a very big mess for the weather (and weathermen are hilariously excited and in a awe). We expect to have cold and shitty weather in Europa. Maybe we’ll be frozen next week? Gasp!

For America, it’s not sure. Half of this beasty continental pole-air pocket will attack the USA in ten days. But will it go to the East like in January? Or will it attack Washington, Oregon and California, letting the East in an Early Spring paradise? No weatherman knows today, it’s too early.

It WILL be a mess, though.

Watch the birds, guys! They know.

Thanks for reading!

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“Why do you live in this place?” – Shore & Depardon

Bonjour tout le monde !

In the preface of a French photography book called “Habiter en France” (“To live in France”, by Raymond Depardon), the writer says that it’s one of the most intimate question : “Why do you live in this place?”.

Indeed, I think he’s right. It comes from the deepest of the deep. Parents, roots, the sky, people around. We stay “here”, but why? What’s the bond? What do we like? Why do we live here? These questions seem to put us in a thoughtful silence…

Today, the 23 December 2017, I got this huge, heavy, mythical book from Stephen Shore, one of the best American photographer ever : “Uncommon Places”. It’s a present I made to myself…

Both books, one in the USA, one in France, like to show what is rarely showed. Not the Eiffel tower. Not New York. But little roads, normal houses, parking lots. And certainly not in a bad way. Uncommon places in America, and where do people live in France.

They both “insist” on photographing these places until we feel the mood, the sky, the silence or the little winds…

I remember this friend from Kansas, feeling the summer air here in France, like… “Ohhhhh… There is something…”.

 

I LOVE to have these two books together. In this blog, it’s because I found a common structure, a pattern, of course. Pictures of normal life. And as usual :

The pleasure comes from “finding the subtle differences” within these cousin works…

 

Merry Christmas! Thanks for reading!

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Originally published in 1982, Stephen Shore’s legendary Uncommon Places has influenced more than a generation of photographers. Shore was among the first artists to take color beyond the domain of advertising and fashion photography, and his large-format color work on the American vernacular landscape stands at the root of what has become a vital photographic tradition over the past forty years. Uncommon Places: The Complete Works, published by Aperture in 2004, presents a definitive collection of the landmark series, and in the span of a decade, has become a contemporary classic. Now, for this lushly produced reissue, the artist has added twenty rediscovered images and a statement explaining what it means to expand a series now many decades old.