© Katharina Hesse. North Korean activist. From her essay “Borderland.”
Love After Love
by Derek Walcott
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
Photo: Robert Frank, Charleston, South Carolina, 1955.
Not sure why the poem should go with the photo except for the fullness and estrangement I see in both.
An Old Cantonese Woman
by John Thomson
From the Wellcome Collection:
“This is perhaps one of the most interesting photographs Thomson took during his travels. It can be regarded as a street photograph, but it is at the same time a beautiful formal portrait. Thomson wanted to show all the hardship and toil the old woman had endured, and also her resilience “The old woman still busies herself in the lighter domestic duties; she is skilful with the needle, and invaluable as a nurse in time of sickness. Her hair has grown thin and white, but she still dresses it with neatness and care”.
(and you can tell the Wellcome Collection is British b/c they put the final period outside the end quotes)
More on John Thomson’s travels and photos here.
Sweet lullaby. “Mother’s Love” by Emahoy Tsegue-Maryam Guebrou (b. 1923), pictured. She is a brilliant Ethiopian musician/nun.
Her bio: She was sent as a child to Switzerland, where she studied violin and piano. She continued playing the piano when she returned to Ethiopia, and then continued her studies under a Polish teacher in Egypt. When she was prevented from studying music in Britain, she chose the life of a nun.
The photo above is from 1937 when she and her family were taken prisoners of war by the Italians and deported to the island of Asinara, north of Sardinia, and later to Mercogliano near Naples.
~ Dance Study ca. 1912. For years, I kept a postcard of this image and today discover, it is most likely of a member of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes from when the Nijinsky ballet L’après-midi d’un faun was presented in Paris in 1912.
Another of de Meyer’s photos, called “Dolores - Follies + frolics,” dated 1918, is here:
And the lovely contrasting “From the Shores of the Bosphorus:”
~ Edna St. Vincent Millay. Love how her knees disappear off the bed. And her claw of a hand, how it’s extended.
I typed out a letter she wrote back home, which I found in Savage Beauty by Nancy Milford. It’s early in Millay’s career, and though she’s published Renascence at the time of this letter, she’s still at Vassar, on the graces of scholarships and other support. She’s grown up poor in Maine with her two younger sisters, no father, rarely a mother—and no comforts, which makes the letter all the more delicious. It is written from the home of a Mrs. Thompson who has invited Millay to stay with her for three weeks so that Millay can write and not worry about rent or other living expenses.
“It is eleven o’clock in the morning. I am still in bed. At nine o’clock Anna, my personal maid—(for all I ever see her doing for anyone else) awakened me with my breakfast. She came in with the tray—silver coffee-things, & fruit, & bacon and an egg—(God forgive me if you are even now hungry!—I will send you five no, one dollar I wish I could send ten)—and little sticks of toast rolled up in an embroidered napkin, & a vase of hot-house flowers. This she set down on the bed. Then she closed the windows, saw that the register was open, brought me my negligee & helped me into it, propped pillows behind my back, brought two hair-pins from the bureau for me to pin back my hair with, put my cigarette-case, holder, & matches within easy reach—all this without a word from me except Good-morning—then asked if there were anything I would like, & left me, softely closing the door behind her.—I swear to you I am not inventing a word of it; & that is the way it happens every morning!”
~ Balazs Gardi. From left to right: Members of the national female boxing team Fahima Rahimi (20) posees for a photograph with her sisters Shabnum (18) and Sadaf (17) in a gym at the Ghazi Stadium in Kabul, Afghanistan on February 19, 2011.
This and the following photos are from the Flickr stream for Basetrack, a web site that connects five or so photographers — ‘mobile media operators’ — embedded with a platoon in Afghanistan with the the public and their families. The photogs take pictures with iPhones and other mobile media devices. The photos are gorgeous.
A veiled Afghan woman carries her child in Kandahar, Afghanistan on February 23, 2011.
Afghan men stand along the highway between the city of Kandahar and the airport in Afghanistan on February 24, 2011.
Afghan men ride bikes in the center of Kandahar, Afghanistan on February 23, 2011.
Gul Mohammed Akhund, a refugee from Helmand’s Sangin district poses for a photograph with his grandson at the Charahi Qambar refugee camp in Kabul, Afghanistan on February 14, 2011.
More about it in a cool piece in Foreign Policy, here.
~ Alice Boughton (1865-1943). Going through Wikipedia’s Women Photographers list A-Z, and have come to the wonders of Alice Boughton. Her entry in the Focal Encyclopedia of Photography, 4th Ed. is below.
BOUGHTON, ALICE (1865-1943) American
Trained in Gertrude Kasebier’s studio. Highly regarded portraitist known for her illustrative and romantic images, often celebrating the beauty of young women. Member of Photo-Secession. Exhibited at 291 and published in Camera Work (1909). She wrote that good portrait photographers must have tact, social instinct, and infinite patience. Her book, Photographing the Famous (1928), included portraits of notables such as Maxim Gorky, Henry James, and William Butler Yeats.
Gertrude Kasebier - I posted some here, but she was a heavy and worth looking at further than what I’ve got.
Photo-Secession - The Stieglitz-led push to make photographs that could stand on their own as works of art composition-wise, light-wise, feeling-wise—even to the extent of manipulating the texture of the photos. More here.
Camera Work is Alfred Stieglitz’s magazine whose aim was to elevate photography to a fine art on par with painting and the like. Done, Alfred!
291 was Stieglitz’ gallery in Manhattan at 291 Fifth Avenue.
Photographing the Famous - cannot find this online which makes me lust a bit more for it.
“All my writings may be considered tasks imposed from within; their source was a fateful compulsion. What I wrote were things that assailed me from within myself. I permitted the spirit that moved me to speak out.” —C. G. Jung
~ Ilse Bing, ‘Me in the mirror with Leica,’ 1931 (taken) 1992 (print).
Ilsa (1899-1998) is my second entry of artists from Wikipedia’s “Women Photographers” category. I’m going through it alphabetically and posting what I like. (Anna Atkins was the first post I did for this.)
Ilsa was known as the Queen of the Leica because during the 30s, she was apparently the only photographer in Paris shooting exclusively with the Leica. I like to imagine her standing there in a dress, with a Leica, and this serious lovely face you see, figuring out light and angle.
Read a nice obit here, whose last line grabbed me: “Ms. Bing was, Ms. Whitson said, ”very sharp, very funny and very active — she took up the motorcycle when she was in her 70’s.’”