LIGHT/SHADOW

The French word for a camera lens is “objectif photographique,” a factoid I learned in a piece from a series of articles & books called “Object Lessons,” which, surprisingly, has yet to publish any histories of cameras. They’ve published a book on the potato, so… But maybe the story’s too big to tell too quickly; that’s probably why the article only touches on how the 50 mm lens came to be the standard for “normal” vision. Anyway, the French word is perfect because, as the author points out, it encodes much of what we tend to think photography is for: “truth and … Continue reading “LIGHT/SHADOW”

LOOK/SEE

There’s an ethics to looking that takes on sharp relief when one begins writing with light. Photography is the craft of capturing emanations from “out there,” and so, with a camera to look through, the predatory urge to survey and ensnare becomes a very real possibility. But to look is not necessarily to see, and there’s an ethics to that moment as well. Viktor Shklovsky writes: “this thing we call art exists in order to restore the sensation of life, in order to make us feel things, in order to make a stone stony. The goal of art is to … Continue reading “LOOK/SEE”

Trip Like I Do—Seattle, July 4

“Processing” takes a much more visceral meaning when you’re literally waiting for a roll of film to develop. I’ve never really known a time when photography wasn’t instantaneous; I mean, I do remember those days, but they didn’t effect me personally. The gap between holiday and photo album was like the cash my father drove to retrieve from a robot in the wall—someone else’s magic trick. We’ve all been processing something very heavy and very large in the past few months. It rolled in like a summer storm and it just sat there, covering everything with the acid rain of … Continue reading “Trip Like I Do—Seattle, July 4”

Resurrecting The Matrix

I’ve seen some grumbling headlines about Matrix 4 and I really couldn’t care less what the fundamental subject/hyperobject of the film itself has to say, but here’s what I feel like sharing today: this is a film for a very particular kind of person. Maybe you were planning to meet up with school friends at the cinema, but no one had a cellphone so they ended up heading there early and seeing something silly like You’ve Got Mail, or whatever it was, so you watched The Matrix by yourself and had your tiny brain blown. Maybe, some years later, in … Continue reading “Resurrecting The Matrix”

INTRODUCING INCONJUNCT

I want to tell you about a little project called @INCONJUNCT. But first, a few words about “inconjunction,” a technical term from astrology that’s neither “conjunction” nor “opposition.” It might not even be anything at all as, indeed, it wasn’t for ancient writers like Ptolemy who called it a “non-relationship.” To understand the concept, you may want to hold in your mind a certain metaphysic of cosmic influence—as above, so below, etc—but even that is not entirely necessary; you may choose to follow the symbolic geometry instead: “Dividing a circle into two parts creates a diameter and two points on a circumference separated … Continue reading “INTRODUCING INCONJUNCT”

Hexed Writing

I heard about a professional poet who was fired for her poetic rumination on the irrelevance of poetry the other day. I didn’t dig too deeply into the full story; I wanted to avoid taking away from the poetry of that brut fact—a profession, arguably founded on the two-faced angst of expression, closing ranks when foundational angst is expressed, does feel pretty two-faced, to me. The clickbait writes itself: from rumination to ruination—and you won’t believe what happened next. Wild Words, HEQ #5 (Read more…) This is a piece that came to me in a flash a couple of days … Continue reading “Hexed Writing”

The Riot is the Light of the Unseen

“To be yourselfis all that you can do(all that you can do)To be yourselfis all that you can do(all that you can do)” How many of us play amateur detective in some psychodrama when we look back at lives that ended in tragedy? We go over the liner notes and find all the right clues—maybe they were always there. Or maybe the pressure to entertain a certain way was actually whodunnit. It’s hard to put the magnifying glass down; cold cases are kept warm by kinship. A song like “Be Yourself” will do that to you. What at first blush … Continue reading “The Riot is the Light of the Unseen”

Digital Discipleship

I recently enrolled in a class on digital media and Christian discipleship, and the next post I’ll be making will be part of this week’s assignment: “post a picture that reflects your definition of discipleship on your Instagram account.” “Discipleship” isn’t a term I hear used in the churches I go to or the churches I grew up in; I’m more familiar with the “believer” to “follower” spectrum of terms for that general concept of allegiance to Christ. So I had to figure out what’s different about this word before I could define it for myself. Looking up and talking … Continue reading “Digital Discipleship”

Faith Made Flesh

I’ve been thinking a lot about cultures of complaint lately, so it’s comforting to read these words in Sunday’s lectionary: ‘Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.’ Though we may be used to picturing God as patient and willing to listen, to be told that directly—to be reminded that the cosmos was pieced together by a God who not only hears our complaining but also asks us to draw near–well, that ‘hits differently’ when the world around us feels mismatched with that ideal. I come from a country where grumbling about the state of things is … Continue reading “Faith Made Flesh”

And He Was Amazed

The story of Jesus of Nazareth in Nazareth is layered and maybe a little unsettling, but it’s not wholly unrelatable, especially in a city like Seattle; nearly everyone I know here has a complicated relationship with some place they call “back home.”  Years ago, I read a book that summed up the Nazarenes’ reaction to that carpenter kid next door returning all wisened up and doing “deeds of power” with three simple words: “familiarity breeds contempt.” That’s probably the only thing I remember about that book because it seemed to unlock the secrets behind all sorts of mysterious behavior around me–the paradox of being … Continue reading “And He Was Amazed”