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Art

Street Art: Magic Kingdom edition

The Magic Kingdom is a city all it’s own.

Bridges rise and fall. Smooth, paved, concrete roads twist through the four Disney burroughs: Fantasyland, Frontierland, Tomorrowland, and Adventure land.

It has it own barber shop. It’s own Main Street. And the Walt Disney World railroad provides it’s citizens with a well run public transportation system.

Walt don’t play either. All trains run on schedule.

As with any vibrant city though, street art is everywhere.

Hand painted signs. Tiled tapestries. Sculptures.

Walt Disney’s love of art lives well beyond the animation table.

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Art

Facing the Magic Kingdom

They stare at you like haunted paintings.

Faces that are easy to miss among the parents having breakdowns. The kids having breakdowns. The sweet Mickey Mouse eared treats, and brain twisting teacups.

But there they are, waiting to be noticed. Beautiful sculptures that set the atmosphere inside the Magic Kingdom.

I had to document the mystical eyes.

I needed to photograph the creepy skulls.

I wanted to remember the joyful smiles.

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Art Football/Soccer

News eyes to see

I wanted to snap a compelling picture. Bring an old football boot to life.

This picture had hope, so I showed my boo. She gave it the iphone thumbs up, but her text message that followed made me pause.

“It looks like a heart.” she said.

Suddenly, I was no longer looking at a football boot.

Instead of studs, I saw aortas. Instead of stitching I saw capillaries. Instead of fake leather I saw flesh and muscle.

This is the power of sharing your work. The person you share it with, can let you see through their eyes.

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amreading Commonplace Book writer's inspiration

Forgotten Photojournalists: Gerda Taro

Gerda putting in work

Before reading Eyes of the World: Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and the Invention of Modern Photojournalism, I’d never had an interest in photojournalism or photography. Photography was my fathers thing. Not mine.

I’d never read about Robert or Gerda in a text book. Or heard their names in a history lecture. No mention of them in photography class. Hell, Amazon didn’t even list the book in my recommendations.

But Gerda’s story is irresistible, as Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos‘ book proves. The story is a mix of art, love, and living for something beyond yourself. Of stepping forward even when all is unknown. Gerda and Robert’s photography helped usher in a new form of journalism – photojournalism.

But before she became a pioneer, Gerda, then named Gerta Pohorylle, was a Jewish refugee struggling to adapt to life in Paris. Managing the demands of a starting a career. Navigating falling in love. And resisting the rise of fascism in Europe at that time.

As Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos write of Gerda’s early time in Paris:

For a brief while, she and Ruth roomed with Fred Stein and his wife, Liselotte, who had an enormous apartment with extra bedrooms. Fred had originally studied to be a lawyer in Berlin, but when he was unable to practice under Nazi law, he too picked up a camera and was making a go of it professionally.

What good parties they all had there – putting colored bulbs in the lamps, dancing! Fred snapped pictures of Gerta, mugging away. Yes, being poor, a stranger in a strange city, was awful, but to have the solace of friends, all in the same situation, made it easier. Maybe that’s why, as Ruth put it, “we were all of the Left.” That is, they belonged to a loose collection of groups opposed to fascism and in favor of workers’ rights.

Gerta was never exactly a joiner. Her sympathies, her ideas, came from her years in Leipzig. She hated the Nazis and knew how dangerous it was becoming for her family. But she wasn’t one of those who debated every political point. She wasn’t part of the Communist Party, which took its direction from the Soviet Union. But she did care about social issues, about the future ahead. They all did.

For now, there was food and coffee at the Café du Dôme and talk with friends. And photographs. Above all, photographs.

Eyes of the World is an underrated gem. A historic and important book that belongs on the shelf of every historian, photographer, professor, and curious and wonderful soul out there.

Categories
Art

Trippin’ off 7 lines

The Bird scooter’s logo made me do a double take. Triple take even.

With only 7 lines my mind produced 3 three different images.

I saw racing wheels speeding underneath the wheel guards.

I saw a stoned, grinning, robot who forgot to trim his eyebrows.

And I saw wings pressed back against the deck, while a terrified tourist flies towards a stoplight.

What do you see?

Categories
Art

Urban Totem Pole

This piece felt like half cave painting, half totem pole.

But when I did a quick look-up of totem poles, I was reminded they were intricate carvings.

Test your first assumptions.

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Art

Hidden Pieces

I spotted this piece hidden behind an electrical box.

Looking close has rewards.