“When LIFE magazine’s Gjon Mili, a technical prodigy and lighting innovator, visited Pablo Picasso in the South of France in 1949, it was clear that the meeting of these two artists and craftsmen was bound to result in something extraordinary. Mili showed Picasso some of his photographs of ice skaters with tiny lights affixed to their skates, jumping in the dark — and the Spanish genius’s lively, ever-stirring mind began to race.
Picasso… gave Mili 15 minutes to try one experiment. He was so fascinated by the result that he posed for five sessions, projecting 30 drawings of centaurs, bulls, Greek profiles and his signature. Mili took his photographs in a darkened room, using two cameras, one for side view, another for front view. By leaving the shutters open, he caught the light streaks swirling through space.”
I’m in love with these “light drawings,” drawn by Pablo Picasso and photographed by Gjon Mili, that were recently released by LIFE Magazine. They’re amazing! The photography technique is at once simplistic and mind-blowing, and I find these images particularly magical: the way they tangibly capture the nuanced and transient movements of light, the way they translate a fleeting, flourished motion into art and illustrate Picasso’s creative genius. It’s incredible.
You can see more of Picasso’s light drawings here.
My good friend Bekah has been on a collaging kick as of late, and she invited me over a couple nights ago for a drink-PBR-and-make-collages night. I was a little skeptical at first, but once I got going, I slipped into a creative trance that I wanted to live in forever, cutting and gluing and arranging and rearranging. I was lamenting to a friend the other day how difficult it is to pursue creative projects that are free, but collaging seems an excellent solution to that dilemma: Bekah picked up a couple issues of National Geographic from the 1950s and 1940s from Half Price Books for just a couple dollars each, and I was amazed at how instantaneously and tangibly good it felt to be creating with my hands. I’m a collaging convert, guys.
On a related note, the photographs from the old National Geographics that we used for collaging are incredible. Truly some of the most amazing compositions and subjects I’ve ever seen. And it’s so fascinating to compare these dreamy, fuzzy-around-the-edges photos from the 40s and 50s to the crystal-clear sharpness of present-day photography. It’s what we’ve come to expect from our photos, I guess, but I think I prefer the more approximate old style. There’s a sort of magic and mystery in the diminished detail of the old photos that’s really enchanting because, as Bekah astutely noted, they’re not trying to be so literal. All of which is to say: I’m heading to Half Price Books immediately to pore through more of these amazing NatGeo photo archives, and to bring a few home for another collage night.
Posted in A Year In Amsterdam, Photo, Travel Log, Wanderlust / Locales
Tagged barcelona, euro tour, film, france, lisbon, paris, photography, portugal, spain, stockholm, sweden
Ever since the closing ceremonies concluded the weekend before last, I’ve had an Olympic-shaped hole in my heart. I remember getting really excited about the Olympics as a kid, but these Games were the first that I’ve invested time in watching as an adult, and truth be told, it was a little magical. Everything is so big! And Olympians are so impressive! For the first time, I understand what a simultaneous honor and struggle it is to be an Olympic athlete, to represent your country on a world stage and perform at a consistent level of near-perfection. I would watch the Olympic happenings at Nate’s house with he and his roommates and it was a very communal experience, to sit together and cheer on Gabby Douglas and Misty May-Treanor and Allyson Felix and to all be emotionally invested in their victories together. There was such a latent excitement surrounding the Olympics this year, and it was fun to live in that excitement for a couple weeks.
But what happens when the Olympics are over and the excitement disappears? I came across a series of photos the other day on FlavorWire that attempt to get at that question. The Olympic City, a collaboration between photographer Jon Pack and filmmaker Gary Hustwit, is a photo collection of the ruins of former Olympic host cities. As it turns out, many of the grand Olympic structures built for the Games have faded into obsolescence, and a few have been repurposed for wildly different uses than they were originally intended for. These photos are really beautiful and haunting, and it makes me wonder whether it’s worth it to pour so much money into such a temporary grandiosity if this is the fate that awaits future Olympic sites. It’s an interesting and tricky question to consider.
See more photos from The Olympic City Project here.
Posted in A Year In Amsterdam, Photo, Travel Log
Tagged barcelona, berlin, dalkey, dublin, europe, film, london, photography, rome
“I wish to offer through my photographs escapes into alternative landscapes where the reconstruction of new lands is made possible. The journey inside the image will invite the viewer to enter the space as well as entering the narrative of a ‘make-believe’, bringing him into the game between fiction and reality in which one can identify the fragility of one’s own desires.” – Noemie Goudal
Are these photos incredible or what? I saw them on because i’m addicted the other day and was blown away. I love how Goudal’s installations bring artistic additions to existing locales, blending nature and the industrial and blurring the line between reality and fantasy. They’re like portals opening up to other worlds, like the wardrobe to Narnia: inconspicuous enough, but startlingly magical once you realize what you’re looking at. It’s absolutely inspiring, and it makes me pine to do something creative on a large scale like this.
You can see more of Noemie Goudal’s photos here.
“We adore chaos because we love to produce order.”
I am not a neat freak. Six out of seven days of the week, I leave my clothes on the floor, I don’t make my bed, and there are a myriad of things haphazardly strewn about my bathroom sink and counter. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why I do this, and I suspect that on a subconscious level I create these little messes for myself so that on Saturday morning, when I wake up without an alarm, I can make myself a cup of tea and start my day by putting things in their proper place. It’s a leisurely activity for me, and it gives me great satisfaction to gaze fondly upon my handiwork afterward and pat myself on the back. Because while I’m not a neat freak, I am nothing if not a fan of order.
Would it be too much to posit that order is a universal human desire? I can’t speak for anyone else, I suppose, but I know that for me, the ability to organize and put things in order makes me feel like I’m in control (and who doesn’t love being in control?), but even beyond that, being able to see everything arranged and in its right place is soothing to me. Which is why Things Organized Neatly is my new favorite Tumblr: it captures the aesthetic pleasure of order in photographic form, with subjects ranging from shoes to food to pieces of machinery. If you’re an admirer of the organized, it’s definitely worth checking out. And if you’re anything like me, it may even be therapeutic.
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