POV: Lived In.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

POV ("point of view") is a series that addresses many of the same themes covered in my Equals Record column: growing up, saying yes to adventure, learning to embrace a quarter-life crisis. Each POV entry will include a photograph and a short reflection based on what’s pictured. While my previous column focused largely on ideas, POV focuses on moments - glimpses, glances, tiny stories


According to everyone who lived there, myself excluded, the home my family inhabited during our eight years in Honolulu was tiny. I was tiny then, too, and to me, it seemed just the right size for a family of four, and a rabbit, and an ear-splitting, rainbow-feathered lovebird. The house had its quirks: a bedroom (mine) so small it might have been a hallway, century-old floors that gave us splinters, locks so old they required skeleton keys to open.

Still, it was home. With our things — and us — inside, it looked like ours. It felt like ours.

A few weeks after we moved in, our landlord stopped by and told us it looked like we’d lived there for years. “He meant to say it’s a mess,” my mom said when he was gone, looking at the mess of seeds that had spilled from the birdcage; the books and magazines and knick-knacks everywhere.

 My dad waved this off. “He meant to say it’s lived-in,” he said.

Four Inches.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

I like the idea of four-inch paintings the same way I like the idea of six-word stories — both require making the most of very little, and confronting the challenges of limited space with creativity and care. With their four-by-four-inch works, Michael Dumontier and Neil Farber manage to tell stories tinged with mystery, humor, and darkness, capturing worlds much bigger than the confines of their tiny canvases. See for yourself, here.


I'm also a longtime fan of the brilliant Animals with Sharpies series, which, as it happens, was the topic of one of my very first posts on this site. See more recent work on the blog Personal Message, here.

Recommended Reading / 22.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Every Monday, words to start the week. 

This week, from Humans of New York, an excellent answer to the question, do you remember the happiest moment of your life?: "This one time I was in Hawaii with my family, and we were walking to the beach, and we came to the top of this giant hill. And I said, 'I'm going to take it.' And I put my skateboard down, and started rolling down the hill, and I got going so fast that the board started shake because the trucks were loose, and toward the bottom of the hill I came to this crack, and the board got caught and I was thrown onto the pavement. I got all bruised and scraped and my mom was screaming because she's a total freakout.'"

"That was the happiest moment of your life?"
"Yeah. I was just glad I took the hill."

A few more, just because:
-Turning cemeteries into "sacred forests."
-I saw the band Wolf Alice last week and fell in love. Here they are, and here they are again.
-Warren Buffett on drinking five cans of Coke a day (and eating chocolate chip ice cream for breakfast): "I checked the actuarial tables, and the lowest death rate is among six-year-olds. So I decided to eat like a six-year-old."

More recommended reading, here. Have a happy Monday!

100 Years.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

In a series he calls The 100 Years Project, Danish photographer Keen Heick Abildhauge shares 100 shots of 100 people who range in age from just one year to, yes, 100. Each participant has told him about a dream or a passion — the one-year-old's mother, for instance, says that her son's greatest joy is cars; 15-year-old Sofia dreams of going to space (and if that fails, learning to play the saxophone); 21-year-old Demyan wants to make a home by the sea; and, capping it all off, century-old Evdokiya says simply: "I dream of walking by myself, being independent and alive." 

Find the entire series, here


Visit Keen Heick Abildhauge's website, here.  

People Like Us.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I loved this story, published today by The New York Times, about photographer Shehab Uddin, who — instead of assuming that his relative wealth afforded him the privilege of taking pictures of whomever he pleased — chose to take a different approach to capturing poverty in his native Bangladesh: by getting to know his subjects and asking them how they preferred to have their stories represented. After three years of living among three different families, Mr. Uddin exhibited the final images in their neighborhoods, where they could see them. "Usually when we photograph poor people, they're never allowed to see how we photograph them," he tells James Estrin. "They had never seen a photo exhibit — here I bring the gallery to them."

Later, Uddin adds: "Though all three families are very poor, these families are not always unhappy — they have love and they enjoy their life. Poverty is not only about sadness, not only about sorrow, not only about depression. They are people like us."


Read the story by James Estrin at The New York Times, here. Photographs by Shehab Uddin.

Recommended Reading / 21.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Every Monday, words to start the week. 


This week, a snippet from Alan Light's interview with Patti Smith on Medium: "The thing that bothered me the most was when I had to return to the public eye in ’95 or ’96 when my husband died. We lived a very simple lifestyle in a more reclusive way in which he was king of our domain. I don’t drive, I didn’t have much of an income, and without him, I had to find a way of making a living. Besides working in a bookstore, the only thing I knew how to do was to make records—or to write poetry, which isn’t going to help put your kids through school. But when I started doing interviews, people kept saying 'Well, you didn’t do anything in the 80s,' and I just want to get Elvis Presley’s gun out and shoot the television out of their soul. How could you say that? The conceit of people, to think that if they’re not reading about you in a newspaper or magazine, then you’re not doing anything...It makes me understand why some human beings question their worth if they’re not making a huge amount of money or aren’t famous, and that’s not right." (Image by Annie Leibovitz.)

Find the rest of the interview, here.

A few more, just because:
-On girls and the color pink.
-Advice from Haruki Murakami.
-Play-Doh photos and Legos made of wood.
-From Alain de Botton's The Architecture of Happiness: "It is perhaps when our lives are at their most problematic that we are likely to be most receptive to beautiful things."

More recommended reading, here. Have a happy Monday!

Ordinary/Alive.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

I'll have a POV for you next week (I promise), but while I sort out the wrinkles, I thought I'd share a few words from William Martin, which I spotted here and loved.

Photos by Max Wanger.
"Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself."

Yes. Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

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