Quotidian sublime, late again

© Mary Ellen Bartley

A day late on Quotidian Sublime Thursdays again, obviously because of Thanksgiving--and particularly due to the fact that family is in town staying with us. (I also have a wretched cold and am subsequently very cranky, apologies to my in-laws.) I'm off to collapse into bed, but before I do I present you with an image by Mary Ellen Bartley, whose work I discovered on the CD that Photolucida sent to all of us who submitted work to Critical Mass. The above photograph is from her series "In the Woods," see more here



Turkey I & II, 2001

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday--no presents to buy, simply a time to reflect on the things we're grateful for and be together and eat. The one contradiction is the thought of the poor turkeys--next year I plan to forgo the meat; I have my sites set on vegetarianism in 2009. But as a currently lactating mom with a propensity for boniness I have to stick to a high-protein diet for now. Our turkey is organic free-range at least, but these days that seems to simply mean ten minutes of fresh air and organic corn pellets for the birds...Looking toward the future one of my new-year's resolutions is to try to feel less guilty, but for now I'll have my usual struggles, recognizing the contradiction in my sincere gratitude for all that I have, coupled with the knowledge that others will always have less. Above it all I'm extremely thankful for my girls and for James, my family and friends, my art and my writing and those out there who keep creating so that I can enjoy their work, not to mention my sweet dog and my cozy house. Now I have to go change the sheets before the in-laws arrive.

Happy Thanksgiving.



I was going through some old photos and found one of me at June's age. The resemblance is incredible I think. Which one is me and which one is her? You guess.


Semi-recent images

Images that I hadn't posted because I was saving them for this joy + ride. In case you haven't checked out the site see it here; I thought I'd quickly post the photographs included on Tethered so you'd have another viewing opportunity. Titles, top to bottom: Ship, Planets, Baba, Static, Rash.




Above is a detail from Rest During the Flight to Egypt; thanks to my dad for noting the resemblance between Caravaggio's painting and the image of Edie and me below--I always love an art history reference.


Happy Birthday, Edie

A very happy birthday to my Edie, who turned five on Tuesday. The top image is moments after her birth, the second is me as a new mom with my days-old baby, and there's my girl looking quite proud of herself, I must say, at her tricked-out gym party. What strikes me is that she has almost the same expression on her face at a few minute's old as she does in her tiara and feather boa. She really did enter this earth fully herself in many ways--she's always been Edie: creative and full of passion and quite tuned in to all the details of the world, absorbed by a leaf as much as a book as much as the making of one of her drawings; imaginative and stubborn and one of the best things to ever happen to me.

Quotidian sublime: Laura Noel

© Laura Noel

I couldn't pick just one--plenty of quotidian sublime going on in Laura Noel's work, see it all here.


this joy +ride

Many thanks to Sheri Reed for asking me to be part of her new venture, this joy + ride. It's a lovely site and Sheri is one multi-talented lady: she's the co-editor of mamazine, she blogs at happinest, and shows off her photos at today is pretty, in addition to raising her two young sons. You can see the other founder of this joy +ride Shari's blog the glass doorknob here. I have all new never-before-seen photos up so I hope you'll take a look.

More about this joy+ride: "[it's] the brainchild of shari + sheri, two friends who share the same name with different spellings. each issue features a poet, photographer or other creative, their original work + an interview. our goal is to honor simplicity + beauty + to provide our readers with a small burst of inspiration."


Quotidian sublime, one day late

© Liz Kuball

I just saw this wonderful photograph by Liz Kuball on her blog, and I'm glad I did--not only is it a great image, but it immediately reminded me that I forgot to post yesterday for my new "Quotidian Sublime Thursdays," so here it is a day late. See more of Liz's work here.



Top: Gram; bottom: Shadow

I was on my way to make tea and have a break with some Alice Munro short stories when evocative late-afternoon light filtering in necessitated an impromptu photo shoot (though aren't they usually? Impromptu, I mean). The image on the bottom is the result, and the photograph above it is a portrait of my great-grandmother and namesake Elizabeth Lindhardt--it seemed to fit well with the eerie ghost-like feel of Shadow (working title for now).

Time flies, always

Images from the tail end of summer that I never posted because I thought about using them for an upcoming website project I'm involved in. I finally chose the work to send, and these photos didn't make my final edit, so I thought I'd share. How can it be that Thanksgiving is almost here, and December is close behind?


Colleen Plumb

© Colleen Plumb

A couple of weeks ago James and I went to the opening for Amy Elkins' series "Wallflower" at Yancey Richardson. It was wonderful to view the work in person, and if you haven't seen it yet I recommend heading over to check it out, along with Sharon Core's "Early American" photographs which are in the front gallery.

A nice surprise that evening was having the pleasure of being introduced to Colleen Plumb, whose work I've long admired. She was visiting from Chicago and we had a nice chat about motherhood, photography, and the like. I can't remember where I first saw her images, but they really stuck with me and her website has been in my bookmark folder for a while now. Her series "Animals Are Outside Today" examines, in her words "the essence of our connection, as well as our fragmentation from the natural." She goes on to say "I am interested in the ever increasing disconnection that exists between humans and the natural world. The work explores simulation, consumption, destruction, and reconstruction as well as notions of endurance and the reality of loss." She also recently added a section of new work, which contains some great new shots, including a few pictures of her daughter Ruth, be sure to take a look.

My little sister

If you watch Saturday Night Live you can catch a glimpse of my beautiful little sister Annie Fleming and her lovely smile in the opening credits. She's an intern at SNL and NBC, and is completing her final year at NYU's Tisch School. I'm quite proud of the amazing job she's doing making her way in the film business, and keeping up with the Fleming/Worrell family trend she has also just launched her own blog, The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters, see it here.



Last month Jörg Colberg wrote a post called "Being critical vs. being negative" on Conscientious where he talked about the lack of critical discourse being engaged in regarding photography within the blogging community. Noel Rodo-Vankeulen offered his own take on the situation at We Can't Paint, which you can read here.

Having been up since 6:00am dealing with a kid who has a stomach bug (she seems to be just fine now) I don't have the wherewithal to offer a truly nuanced take on the facets of the discussion, but I did want to touch on it here briefly because it's something I've struggled with since the launch of this blog. While I know that I'm capable of offering constructive criticism without resorting to negativity, I also find myself being wary. Certainly I agree with Jörg when he states that "a critical discussion is something you can disagree or agree with, something you can engage with." And years of art-school critiques--where you have to offer your point of view while looking the person right in the eye--train one to have a certain amount of diplomacy. But I have to agree with Noel that, as he says, "opinions expressed through the Internet (which are read and not heard...) can be taken in absurdly different directions, often appearing negative if not outright rude." The web is a truly small world as well, and it's true--I worry about my career, as I'm sure all of us who create art and also write about the process do. So while we certainly want to engage in a dialog, our personal blogs may have to suffer for it, for better or worse.

Unfortunately another major potential downside is that I am a passionate person, and I do have very strong opinions--both positive and negative. But because I've chosen to generally only write the positives, for the reasons stated above (and because I recognize that I also tend to wax hyperbolic when I praise the work I do connect with) I worry that I'll come off as a Pollyanna. All told it's a difficult line to toe.


purpose magazine issue 8

Issue #8 of purpose magazine was released on Tuesday and I'm very happy to have my work included in such a beautiful publication. Overall Tuesday was an emotional day due to the anticipation brought on by the election, the general nostalgia I always feel in the fall, a fervent and ultimately constructive conversation with my parents the day before--all of this led to me being high on the vulnerability scale, in a good way. Sometimes it's nice to feel everything right on the surface, and when the email about purpose arrived from editor Paul Demare I clicked on the link and was transported.

© Wilma Hurskainen

One set of images in particular really got me due to my frame of mind: It was Wilma Hurskainen's series "Growth," which recreates family photographs taken when she and her three younger sisters were little, staging present-day replicas. The images above spoke to me so much--of loss, of the passage of time, the grandfather no longer in the picture, the girls' feet now able to touch the floor. I thought about my own grandfather, and about my father's new role as grandfather to my children, and about how someday Edie and June will be young women--about how quickly they will no longer represent the small, sweet toddlers in Hurskainen's images but rather the grown women. They will move away from me, beyond me, changing imperceptibly from children to adults. "Growth" as a body of work has the potential to be gimmicky--instead it is anything but. It is tear-your-heart-out sad, and funny, and bittersweet.

I also found the inclusion of amateur astronomer François Debricon's images of space to be ingenious--they added an entirely new and welcome dimension to my viewing experience. We are all so small, the universe is so incomprehensibly enormous, and yet our individual relationships and our individual children are the singularly most important things within this vast unknown. Our pasts and how we remember our youth through our own children can create a microcosm of comfort within the often overwhelming mystery. Similarly, the images from the archives at The Musée Carnavalet toward the end of purpose point to history, and the vastness of time. All of the children in those photographs are now dead, have lived their lives and been all they will ever be, and there is something tragic in witnessing their ghosts, sitting on those benches.
© François Debricon
© Eugène Atget/Musée Carnavalet

On the flip side, Robert Knight's current portrait Evan (age 5) from the series "My boat is so Small" has the most touching specificity: crusts of bread placed on a shelf, next to a toy car. The beauty is in the details.

© Robert Knight

The theme of purpose #8 as a whole--its presentation, and the added layer of the evocative and emotional music paired with the images--creates a true sense of childhood, and by the end it had this viewer admittedly weeping. If ever I berate myself for toiling in isolation, wondering if I should stop creating and do something purportedly "useful" like joining the UN or volunteering at soup kitchens I'll remember what the artists in this magazine were able to provide for me, what insights into my own story of growing up and my relationship to my children were generated through such a moving, wonderful set of photographs.

Below are some of my other favorites:
© Todd Deutsch
© Alessandra Sanguinetti
© Robert Knight
© Evan Baden
© Thekla Ehling
© Joakim Eskildsen

Quotidian sublime Thursdays

stray bead on marilu's table © Kevin J. Miyazaki

I've decided to make Thursdays a tribute to the quotidian sublime. To kick us off I saw this image today by Kevin J. Miyazaki and I love it: It's simple, quiet, and transcendent, just what the beautiful in the ordinary has the potential to be in the hands of someone like Kevin. His series within reach examines the environment of home in detail, see more here and read his blog here.


We did it

Wow. I am in awe: Barack Obama will be the next president of the United States. After all of this time--all of the anxiety, all of the hoping that it would happen and the fearing that it wouldn't--we're here on the other side. And the other side is good. After what happened in 2000 and 2004 I do find myself slightly unable to to fully believe that it's real, that this time there is someone in the White House who I feel deserves to be there. But last night, lying in bed with the radio, when his win was officially announced at 11pm, I did cry like a baby. And today, I'm in shock. And happy. And in shock. It's real, we know the outcome, America has spoken. When Obama and his family walk through the door of the White House in January it will be a beautiful symbol of just how far America has come.



If you do nothing else today, vote. I am so hopeful, and so anxious, and so full of this crazy vulnerable feeling--I have such a heightened sense of appreciation for this democratic society that we live in. Go make your voice be heard. Vote for change


Things Are Strange

© Hannah Witaker
© Amy Stein
© Matthew Porter
© Dan Boardman



Exhibiting Photographers:
Matthew Baum, Dan Boardman, Michael Bühler-Rose, Gerald Edwards III, Emiliano Granado, William Lamson, David La Spina, Alison Malone, Rachelle Mozman, Eric Percher, Cara Phillips, Matthew Porter, Amy Stein, Christian Weber, Hannah Whitaker, Sarah Wilmer, Ofer Wolberger

ON VIEW: Tuesday, November 4 – Saturday, November 15, 2008
OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday, November 6, 2008

New Century Artists
530 West 25th Street, Suite 406
New York, NY 10001

I'm hoping to go to the opening, but after the sleep strike June has been waging this week we'll see how with-it I am come Thursday.