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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Richard Estes, American Painter

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Estes

Hyper-Realism painters are exhausting. Exhausting.

In front of this work, which is technically impressive and visually killing you, you wonder : How does he do that???

More realist than reality, right? There’s a “too much” thing here, and it’s also really gorgeous. In an awe : and it’s a good sign.

I chose 10 paintings for you :

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From “Looper” to “Star Wars VIII”

  1. Star Wars: The Last Jedi was directed by Rian Johnson (born in 1973). As I often like to chain the movies I watch with a link, I watched Looper… his previous film, the day after. Looper is a splendid Sci-Fi movie and I watched a long interview of Johnson in the bonuses. I discovered an adorable geek with a fast brain, capable of talking about Casablanca, Akira, who wrote, organized and directed the movie, which “delivers an uncommonly smart, bravely original blend of futuristic sci-fi and good old-fashioned action”, 93% on Rotten Tomatoes!
  2. I really respect and understand that the Star Wars teams wanted this guy, as they wanted Gareth Edwards (born 1975)  for Rogue One. Monsters was a haunting masterpiece (though very low budget), and his Godzilla was… really different.
  3. I have a third example : Joss Whedon. Smart father of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly (then Serenity), a great “space western”. After Cabin in the Woods, he was swallowed by Marvel Studios, directing two huge Avengers movies.

 

OK, here’s the pattern : smart directors swallowed by huge systems to make the biggest blockbusters.

Could it be a special Peter Principle?

Did we lose the guys for good cinema? Why?

 

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Robert Adams, American photographer

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Adams_(photographer)

Robert Adams (born 1937) is an American photographer “who focused on the changing landscapes of the American West”.

I like his photos, and understood I liked it because he works on borders : between nature and men things, between the past and now, he works on where things… rub.

 

Have a nice week end!

 

JP

 

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Approaching thunderstorm,

 

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Peter De Bruyne, Belgian Photographer

http://www.peterdebruyne.com/

Peter De Bruyne comes from Belgium. He takes pictures of his country, or Poland, or USA. And see : he likes to be blurry!

Well, I’m interested in guys who don”t obey. Too dark, too blurry : “mistakes”. Therefore (maybe), there he goes!

You can find you own seeds in this approach (don’t obey rules, do something which seems wrong, insist). You can also think about this : “What does the artist want?”. The mood without the objects? Abstraction? You decide.

Have a nice day!

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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.