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STUDY OF A CORNER

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  There is certain drama about corners. You never know what’s around the next one. Perhaps this is what adds to their enigma. The word itself surrounded by different meanings ranging from the act of cornering someone to a remote part of the world.  It is our relationship to corners on the street that we encounter the most. Usually these are quick interludes, a fast rounding. Perhaps best when you don’t have all views of the situation. It is rare to see a person occupying a corner, leaning against it or even sitting in a chair. Their positioning key to avoid the constant knocks or interludes of another passerby.  There are rewards for these brave ones. Seeing three sides of the world gives you a feeling of control. It’s an uneasy one though. You still have to be on guard, wary of that the street might throw at you. Still the most successful of these corner sitters can wait for the city to decaffeinate before tackling the day or next corner.. 

THE QUIET POWER OF THE CAMERA

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We sometimes forget what art really is and what it can do for us.  Recently, much has been written about the photographer Vivian Maier, including a documentary. Still her legacy remain enigmatic. The meaning of her art a mystery. The unique story of her life often eclipsing her accomplishments.  Maier worked her entire life as a nanny in NYC and Chicago in the 1940’s and 50’s. She lived a very private life. Few knew she spent all her spare time wandering city streets with her Rolleiflex taking thousands of rolls of film. Lacking the funds and access to a darkroom, much of her work remained in a locker room only discovered after her death. Boxes of her work were purchased in a blind auction by John Maloof in 2007. Discovering the quality, he has made it a personal effort to exhibit and promote Maier. You can draw many thoughts about her work. Some think it best captures ordinary life, sometimes at the cost of the drama of the street. Others point to the richness of her composition a

RIDESHARE IF YOU DARE

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  The rideshare industry can provide valuable gig income. Before you choose this path though, there are many things you should consider, not the least of which is insurance coverage. Often debated is whether rideshare gigs really make any bottom line income. The wear and tear on cars can eat profits. Less talked about is the quandary of protecting yourself with the right insurance. To the rideshare industry’s credit, protections for drivers via liability insurance coverage has made good strides. But there are pitfalls and risks that remain.  You will to be sued individually along with the rideshare company in an at fault accident. Especially ones that injure passengers or third parties. Since you are holding yourself out as a professional driver, you will be held to a higher standard than the average driver, increasing your financial risk. Your personal auto insurance does not cover you, it ends when you log into the rideshare company platform. The only protection you have is the rides

THE FOURTH PLACE

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  You live your life in places. There is your home, your work and if your fortunate a third place where you can socialize, talk with friends and strangers. Examples of these include coffee shops, bars and libraries. But, as Devika Rao points out in her article “The Unfortunate, ongoing disappearance of third places” they are harder to find and fully enjoy as you did in the past. Blame it on the learned social distancing of the pandemic, the rise of social media, the doom loops of downtowns, and the suburb mentality along with a myriad of other reasons. Rao raises a valuable point, one that affects our well being, enjoyment of life, and peace of mind. Life though continues to spin at an ever increasing, confusing, and frustrating pace. So how do you fill the growing void of third places. Perhaps there is a fourth place that should be added to our life mix. One that is just ours to enjoy, one where we can pause, think, and grow our peace of mind. It could be as simple as a chair and a bo

MALL MAN

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  It's probably just a male thing, waiting for your wife at the mall. You've seen all the fancies and been to the Apple Store. Now you just sit and wait, first with anticipation, then concern and finally just growing old while you wait for her to emerge....

THE ART OF FOUND ART

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  THE ART OF FOUND ART - sometimes it just happens, hidden in a corner of an off beat bookstore, discarded torn pages and scraps, $5 for a bundle. You sense there is art buried there. You find old prints forgotten in the bundle. You add a few brush strokes learned from art wandering, a touch of digital magic and imagination. Part from an ever lost book to the world, part from skills found, maybe a view you only see. Maybe art found.

STUDY OF A BARE LOT

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The bare lot stood silent, not saying anything. As if waiting to be called into the wealth on the right side of the tracks. The train though seemed to block its way, lingering on the tracks, seemingly never moving. The traffic rerouted over bridges far from the lot. I wondered would anyone ever want the lot, would people come there. I walked across the street to a small place, The Common Market, ate a sandwich, mingled with people and had a cup of their coffee chip ice cream. All the time looking at the lot across the way, but not worrying anymore…

A STUDY OF DOORS

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  Simple things sometimes reveal special beauty in their detail. Beauty often overlooked.

A FREEWAY SIGN

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 The parking lot half empty, just like the strip mall still painted in dark red. The owner having done everything they could to attract new tenets. But as you turned and looked, a large freeway sign dominated the horizon, pulling your attention away. As if to speed the dying...

LONELINESS OF THE MALL

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Loneliness is at an all time high. The APA (American Psychiatric Association) reported over 30% of adults feel lonely. Malls are one place people go to escape loneliness, but often don’t find it there. You can be with hundreds of others in a modern mall and still feel alone, they lack opportunity for social interaction. Even leaving with an arm full of new purchases can still leave your soul empty for the experience.  Diane Ionescu in her article “The Mall is Dead - Long Live the Mall” points out this is far from the original thinking of how malls should be when they first appeared in the 1950’s. The original designer of malls, Victor Gruen envisioned the mall as a recreation of a European village with a roof. A place to shop, find services and socialize. As malls prospered and grew, space became too valuable to allow room for socializing. When these over commercialized malls suffered big box store failures, they became dying or dead malls. There was noting left to draw people. Now the

TRAILER 53

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  Sometimes the crush of the traffic and city challenge finding the peace you need to take a photo, make a drawing or even think. Still you continue to search for the hidden corners of the city, where things left behind inspire in small ways…

YELLOW BOX TRUCKS

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  Box trucks are as much a part of the city as any mode of transport. Ideally designed for congestion and narrow alley loading docks. Some of the most iconic are yellow colored trucks, often without a name or logo on the side. They conjure a certain mystery as to origin, intent and what they carry. There found parked most anywhere, adding to that mystique. Some of these trucks are 20 years old, usually linked by GMC or Ford chassis. They often play parts in movies such as The Pocket or crime sagas. The moving industry was the first to invent and use the box truck. It sprang from the habit of apartment dwellers stacking their belongings on top of each other before a move. The box truck configuration a perfect fit for such moves.  The yellow trucks you find about are often linked to the history of Yellow Trucking. Originally formed in 1929, by the owner of Yellow Cabs. It grew from one truck to become the largest trucking firm in the US with 22,000 trucks, 600 loading docks and 35,000 em

END OF A RAIL LINE

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  You want to write more about this place. Hard scrabble, sitting along route 521. Write more than there is, mystery lingers here. So much of Kershaw’s fate linked to the soil, How it seems the whole town is headed that way. Fading away except for the distant gold glitter that remains. They say 2,000 live here, but there is no bustle on the streets. Just worn out sides of buildings once used, The place made by the railroad, rail lines that don’t stop here now. Just a few grain cars straddle its tracks. The gold mine a few miles away, digging away at the earth. But crops of soybeans the real gold now. They turn the fields purple and red in the fall,  Unlike gold, they come back time and again. Harvested and hauled by bin trucks that line up. They take little of the earth, need no chemicals to grow. Replenish the soil with nutrients for other crops. The market always waiting for them. The processing plant at the end of town, turning them to oil. You never see the

SOUTHERN CORNERS

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  I could write a lot about the South. How it's more rural and forested than you think, how two lane roads travel to small towns, some forgotten or forgetting. The warmth of the people you meet, the quiet distance they will keep. The splendor of a Southern Spring, the sultry summers that make you pause, deep colors of fall fields, the cold winds of Winters with barren trees. New industry with promise and jobs. Old industry in vacant places with people left behind. Sometimes though, you find a simple shop or store and look in the corners, the story of the South is all there. I could write a lot about the South, but not tell what you will find…

LIBRARY 5

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What is a library today? They seem to exist in some middle ground between tech driven digital media and hard cover books. The later seems heavy and old, but they are the core of any library.   It’s not really called Library 5, more formally known as the Mecklenburg South County Regional Library. It’s just the 5th one I visited trying to find a good group of art books and place interest. This one did not disappoint.  The colors and lights were bright. The library is surrounded by the canopy trees of the Piper Glen District, the windows almost seem like they bring the trees in. I would call the building mid century modern, others might say Bauhaus or even Brutalism. Regardless it is done well with lots of unique room and places to study, read, meet and even craft. Yes, they have a “Makers Space” room with a 3D printer. I stayed there enjoying the place longer than I expected, leafing through photography books and people watching. The decor distinguished the place and provided encouraging

WANDERING WITH HOLGA 120N PLASTIC CAMERA

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  The Holga 120 medium format camera was designed by Lee Ting-Mo in Hong Kong. It started production in 1982 with hopes of it becoming a cheap camera for the masses in China. However, with the advent of 35mm film, the camera never achieved its goal and faded from the market place. In recent years, the camera gained a second life. Photographers became attracted to its imperfections, light leaks and surrealistic images it produces. It’s still cheap usually costing less than $65. You don’t get instant results. You never know what the image shot initially looks like because it’s a film camera. You have to wait for the processing. Once in a while you find art, imaginations and treasures in the shots you get back. All gathered while wandering in the world with your Holga

THE ART KIT (when not perfect is perfect)

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Your personal thoughts and reflections deserve a better place than being buried in your business tools, like your phone. Maybe it’s because business demands perfection, where your thoughts demand freedom.  Being Present Minded is key to getting in touch with your thoughts. Modern electronic devices take you away from that, there are just too many distractions. All this is a reason to craft what I call an art kit. During the workweek, it can be as simple as a small notebook. One you pull out of your brief or purse to jot a hand written note, record a passing reflection, a saying, even a sketch on. I find these marks of your being more frequently resourced than electronic notes. There is an art to them, that art is you. On the weekend, that art kit can be expanded to a small day pack, one that might include that same notebook, but also a plastic camera, art coloring pencils or even brush pens. Perhaps these are defined best by the plastic camera. Film or digital, most are under $65 and s