Showing posts from December, 2023


  I always wanted to photograph winter, trying to capture its light and color. Its hidden places. The trees though have so much to say from their spring, summer and fall spent. All filling my lens. I step back realizing I can’t capture all of winter, just a few lines from what the trees say…

TO ART OR NOT (Art as an Economic Engine)

Artists and art culture represent 4.5% of the GDP and 5.1 million jobs in the country. If you stretch the definition to include allied skills such as designers, architects, game makers, the economic contribution rise to over 10% of GDP. It’s not surprising that communities are attracted to using arts as an economic engine and springboard to renewal. The reality though is, it doesn’t always work!   David Mildner discusses this in his study and article entitled “Lets Get Real About the Arts.” The problem Mildner points out is that some communities trust into the arts by building theaters, performance halls and museums. These by nature are non profit and suffer overtime as cash drains. Worse, many people now consume art via online resources making it tough to attract people to these facilities. Having said this, investments in the arts can be a winning strategy for renewal. Mildner and other experts like Katherine Mesik who wrote “How Art can Revitalize Neighborhoods” suggest the support


  Buried by digital photography, film had almost died. Once again though interest in it has grown, reigniting the debate is film better than digital. The rebirth is fragile as witnessed by the only new film cameras being made right now are plastic including the lens.  I got involved because a photographic colleague purchased an inexpensive Kodak Elgar 35mm film camera. Of course, I had to get one too. The first results were as expected, not as clear as digital, but unexpectedly more artful and colorful. I was hooked, searching for even more camera options I found the HOLGA 120 camera, famous for art shots, light leaks and double exposures. Not to mention the tendency to forget taking off the lens cover before shooting. If you want a camera that takes sharp shots, you have to dig through thrift shops or pay steep prices for ones refurbished at film stores. Even then, the reality is the camera is likely 20+ years old and foreign in use todays digital ones.  Adding up the total so far, I


  720 ELM STREET - The garage on the corner of Elm. Owned by a simple man, liked by neighbors who brought their cars there. His demeanor a touchstone for people. His work and being something they could count on, when there was little else in the world you could. He lived around the corner in a small craftsman and still did, even though the shop closed. It all had changed, car computer codes and technical tools. His kids off to bigger lives in far away places. People would still park cars on the garage lot. Maybe expecting him to open up again. He kept fresh paint on the garage, colorful. Maybe to let people know life still flowed in him. Now just a quiet part of the neighborhood on Elm..


  In the midst of AI’s promise and fear, I was fascinated by a friend who has a great side gig of stringing tennis racquets by hand. Most racquets are mass produced and strung by machine. Tennis professionals though still seek out craftsman who string by hand, citing a special quality they add to racquets performance. Cathal Kelly in a Globe and Mail article referred to this as “The Dark Art of the racquet stringing.” A unique talent of the stringer that gives the player additional confidence and edge on the court of competition. We see this same unique talent in business. Where the professional with all the technical skills is bested by another person having a special undefined approach to winning that goes beyond the basics. Maybe that’s the great salvation about dealing with AI. It might produce the framework better and quicker than us, but the magic is still added by the human touch. Call it dark art, call it genius or just call it irreplaceable…


  She liked things found out of place, often feeling much the same about herself. Sitting by the window, she took out her notebook and wrote about it. Everything else in the museum seemed perfect, the art all lined up. An artist once told her, to get into a gallery or museums your work needed to be definite in pattern, like little soldiers in a row. So why the yellow book left on a long side seat near the window. Everyone passing it moving from room to room at the museum. They all glanced at it, but it was apart and did not fit. No one wanted to be the one who sat and opened it.  A feeling she knew well having moved through life that way. No one stopping her to pull back the cover to really see who she was, not that she knew that completely herself.  She looked at the last few words she had written, taking a final sip of coffee. wondering if the yellow book was still there, if anyone opened it. Closing her notebook, she started walking back to rescue it...