Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Convergance: A photo essay

Convergence - Disparate elements coming together at the same point. The fracturing of sunlight at the hard edge. Fingers connecting to a hard edge of stone.. The super moon falling closer in the sea of sky... A coalescing, a promise in the making. 

It has been a strange couple of weeks for me. Creativity, pain, hope - all colliding in more intense ways than I might ever have imagined. My own satellite finally escaping it's internal corporeal orbit, a stone from my kidney that's final release coincided with this super moon. A star wars style laser finishing it. 

Tuesday I wandered the pier at twilight as the sun rose and the giant moon set. My kidney and bladder and ureter still aflame, my mind a jumble from heavy narcotics. Alone, in the company of sea birds, I released a red stream of bloody urine into the hissing sea, said goodbye to bits of blasted stone, to blinding agony. 

I kept quiet company with the resting birds as the morning drew on and the golden light crescendoed. My camera, this ocular eye of eye, grounding me and setting me free. All voice, vision, breath - caught, held, exhaled. Again. And again.

all images ©Bennett Barthelemy November 2016

Saturday, November 12, 2016

High Octane: A photo essay

Thomas Jefferson is said to have chosen to leave abolishing slavery to the next generation. He was wrapped tightly in it's coils and not ready to fully engage it mentally or morally - but clearly he believed it was inhumane. The same attitude is still alive in dominant society today - especially here in the US. For generations we have put emphasis on freedom to wander and that has gotten us entangled in fossil fuels because cars are the modus operandi for this. And like Jefferson and his slaves, we are not ready to let our cars go, though we know we should/must as fossil fuels and the continued extraction will seal our collective doom. Infrastructure, economy, romanticism, cultural identity - $$$ to roads, contested gas pipelines, dumping serious $$$ into vehicles with terrible MPG to express and experience this eternal myopic American Dream that is propelling us toward oblivion - it is difficult to think too deeply about it but we must...

We visited the Petersen Automobile Museum in Los Angeles a few days ago. I wasn't quite sure how I would relate to this glorification of seemingly innocuous but monstrous machines, being inherently repulsed by this nationalistic love affair but at the same time living it. Part and parcel to the expressed reality - owning a car and driving ridiculous distances for work and for pleasure. This would express/magnify my contradiction and inspire guilt - this generally creates discomfort.

There is definitely art, beauty and amazing ingenuity expressed in this machinery. The idea of cramming the power of 900 horses into a 12 foot long rectangle of gleaming chrome or graphite is surreal. As is seeing on display a vehicle built in 1914 that was all electric - and hybrids from the same decade. Steam powered, hydrogen, solar... So much eclipsed ingenuity throughout the decades with so much $$$ entangled in the fossil fuels. So much emphasis on high octane at the expense of all else...

all images ©Bennett Barthelemy November 2016

A James Bond Car and the Batmobile

The van from Little Miss Sunshine... I have owned two VW vans, a 72 and 78. The "People's Automobile"

Car that appeared in ZZ Top videos

Carbon fiber, 900 horses
The Petersen did a decent job I though sharing the comparisons of technology and fuels
I had no idea that the Buggati family had such a legacy in the automobile world

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Grand Perspective: Photo Essay, Grand Canyon

Looking across to the North Rim at hikers on the South Kaibab. The Zoraster pink granite (gniess) and the black Vishnu schist as backdrop beneath the pancaked layers of Tapeats sandstone. The bottom layers of igneous/metamorphic rock are much more impervious to river cutting and rain/ice/wind erosion then the upper sedimentary layers above the sweep of the Tonto Plateau

"It's so massive! How can you capture it all in a photo?" Nearly every Grand Canyon client I have taken to the bottom has exclaimed this as we drop through layers of stacked time - venturing back into the earth's twilight with stone at the river depth nearly 2 billion years old...

Perspective is always a curious thing. Camera lenses all "see" a bit differently. Our eyes take in somewhat equivalent to a 50mm... A 300mm will compress things in the distance and often bring them closer then they might actually appear to the eye in person. A 14mm, approaching a fish-eye lens, will grab close to 180 degrees of perspective in one frame... Even with these tricks the span and depth are difficult to fathom. A bit more appreciation comes when a trail from rim to river is traversed, and with head moving like an owl's to experience it all.

images ©Bennett Barthelemy October 2016

Backpackers just beneath the Tapeats Sandstone layer, about 2/3 of the way to the bottom
Heading into the "basement"
Always fun to send a postcard from Phantom Ranch at the Bottom. They come up by mule - the Grand Canyon is the last place in the US that sends mail out that way, in the Park and from Havasupai

When the Spanish Conquistadors were taken to the rim by Hopi guides they thought they could step across the river, not realizing it was often over 400 feet across- thus they made a 250 mile detour on their route north.
Rafters from Montana - another way to see/experience the Canyon. This crew of 16 packed 2700 cans of beer for the journey, about 10 per day. John Wesley Powell (name of raft) was one of the first to float this section of the Colorado River and with just one arm they tied him into the wooden raft for "safety" in the rapids.
It is rare to get rain and cloud but when it happens it really allows for seeing the myriad canyons - adding depth and perspective that is difficult to see without the known height of buildings and trees
Sunset light is another great way to get a greater sense of the vastness as certain features stacked along the horizon catch the light.