Art & Music On the Origins of Time

Woah, this is a pretty lofty goal from some members of one of my favorite bands, The National.

The Long Count at BAM

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Photo Friday Introduction

As part of this brand new experiment, I’m going to test-drive a possibly regular column (in addition to the likely randomness): Photo Friday. Foto Friday? Photo Phriday?

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Cymbal-clanging monkey, Wisconsin Historical Society

I love photography, always have. As a kid, I’d spend hours going through albums in my grandma’s attic (museology-nerd note: don’t store photos in your attic or basement- too much temperature flucuation= bad.) This interest propelled me into a career path involving history and photography: getting my MA in Museology. At my current job at The Wisconsin Historical Society, I spend a lot of time taking photos of sometimes bizarre (see left) historical collections. I have had also had a couple interesting internship experiences working with photography collections at The Henry Art Gallery (where I learned a lot about recognizing a variety of photographic mediums) and Museum of History and Industry (where I worked on a project relating to the 100th anniversary of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition). I also love to view artist portfolios in person and on flickr- I guess it’s my inner curator that loves the sorting, the possible themes and combinations. That said, this feature from flickr is something I need to take the time to try.

Since I’ll be posting some photos here in the upcoming weeks for Photo Friday, I’ll just list a few elements that will likely show up in my future posts:

Interesting Use of Color: Just straight-up aesthetically speaking, color draws me into a photograph. Black and white minimalist photographs can be stunning, but my brain just initially responds more to color photographs. I have lately been into washed-out palates, similar to Polaroid-type color. If you are looking for particular colors, this website is a great tool – you can search for flickr photographs based on color combination.

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David Hlynsky, Military shirts, Moscow, 1990

Backstory/context: I love both the aesthetic and story behind these photos of Cold War Eastern Europe store-front windows. When there is such a sense of detachment in photographs, usually the response in the viewer is something very different. In a photo like this, it is what it is- a photograph of a store-front window doesn’t beg for a response from the viewer, but yet this one is unnerving. The backstory of the photo is what makes one feel that way, which can be very powerful.

Right place at the right time: Sometimes you plan for this, sometimes you don’t. Could be a completely set-up scene, like a movie (David Lynch often takes photographs this way), or could be a serendipitous moment. You definitely have to be in the right place at the right time for “manhattanhenge” – when the skyscrapers on the Manhattan street grid pattern line up with the setting sun. Ever since I visited New York a few years ago, I’ve loved looking at photos that capture the view into the cave-like streets. Adding a natural phenomenon just makes the ordered street grids even more visually compelling.

Look for some more photos next Friday.