18 September 2014

Black interspersed


It's the third Thursday of the month: time for September's installment of the ROY G BIV photo challenge. Since we've already gone through the colors of the rainbow, you may recall (after last month's "pink") that we are exploring other colors for the rest of the year. This month it's "black."

Over the past few weeks I've been keeping an eye out for how black shows up in my day-to-day life. A few of these images digress somewhat from black (as does my writing), but that is still the point from which I began.

Black has cropped up in the studio quite a bit lately. Among the hodgepodge of my work space, the first photo (above) shows a recent purchase: a Moleskine address book, which I am using as a way to be more organized in documenting/collecting my ideas & thoughts. Day-to-day, I use a large sketchbook to record my notes & creative process (as well as the usual rescued grocery lists, backs of test prints, receipts, etc.), but since ideas can get lost/buried this way the Moleskine will serve as an index of sorts.

 

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This spring I reread several of Natalie Goldberg's books, an experience that always offers much inspiration and food for thought. (Several of the books have blue covers, and I had actually meant to photograph/discuss them for ROY G BIV's "blue" month.) In Thunder and Lightening, Natalie recalls how she discovered the writing of Wallace Stenger. She had picked up his Crossing to Safely several times, but could never bring herself to buy it. She writes:
"Penguin had done a good job with the cover, a beautiful photo of golden leaves covering the ground and some still on thick-trunked trees, a stone wall through a fieldautumn at its best. And the book had good, clear print inside, made to lure a reader into sinking in. But then I'd turn to the back cover: "A grand, rich, beautifully written novel about a long, not-always-easy friendship between two couples." BORING. I imagined the smug recounting of four upper-class lives. I wasn't interested. I put it back on the shelf. This routinepicking it up, being enticed by the cover and repelled by the backprobably went on for five years."

But, finally, the right person gave her a recommendation she couldn't ignore. I figured if this book had won over Natalie Goldberg after such resistance, it must be good! And it was. I'm not one for "page-turners," and Crossing to Safety is most certainly not one. But it's just the kind of thoughtful, deep, engaging writing that I love, and I am now on my third Wallace Stegner, Angle of Reposewhich has a (mainly) black cover, seen below left, at the front.

On the right is the little slate I use to make to-do lists; I can prop it up on my desk to remind myself of what I am supposed to be working on (often, not surprisingly, I do digress). The forged, black-handled scissors in the foreground are my favorites, and follow me around the house...




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Another black-covered book that's been keeping me company is Italo Calvino's Le Città Invisibili. I am using it as a punto di riferimento for my latest A Letter a Week (ALaW) project. I photocopied the English version and have arranged the brief, poem-like chapters according to the eleven themes Calvino explores in this sublime book (the themes are interspersed, but I wanted to be able to more easily consider the five stories of each theme at once). Below, on the left are the annotated photocopies; on the right are my copies of both the original Italian and the English translation. I love the cover of the translation. As some of you may know, Invisible Cities is woven around Marco Polo's recounting of his travels to Kublai Khan, but in fact all of the stories are describing Venice (and its many facets)I love how the title alludes to this Venetian connection.



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And speaking of ALaW, the copper wire words seen on the Moleskine book in the photo at the top of the post have come about, belatedly, as a response to ALaW 2013's "peace"-themed letters. Though I worked on the project intermittently during the course of 2013, I never did commit to a direction for my alphabet. International Peace Day is coming up on 21 September, so I've been preparing a small installation in honor of the day, inspired by the work I did for ALaW. Incidentally, the wire words have turned out to be more of an "exercise" for the final piece, as I took yet another direction in the last few weeks—or more like returned to an earlier idea. But I liked how the words caught the light as they recede, below. (The explanation for the "x...y...z" will be forthcoming in a post dedicated to the project.)

The photo that follows it, though not black-themed, seemed to carry forward the feeling I got from the wire word one. I just love the effect of the early sun when it's beginning to warm up the roof tiles, and yesterday morning I picked up my camera to capture it (not the first September I have been inspired to do so!)...


 

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This is another photo taken upon waking yesterdaysuch an intense light next to such a strong shadow...



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And this pair came about on different days last month, when the late summer light helped to create such rich contrasts.







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And this final image shows the last light glancing on Borgo La Croce, as the shadows begin to deepen...


 

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The kids went back to school this week and though summer is not officially over, the mood is definitely autumnal. I have been reminded many times lately of how beautifully the month of September frames Florence. There's also the nostalgia factor...my first visit to Florence was eighteen Septembers ago, and it happens to be the month we moved here as well (September 2nd marked ten years). While I sometimes think that ten years is a good, long, time, and that maybejust maybeI might "be able" to live somewhere else, I realize that I actually love living here more and more as the years pass. Even after being in Florence for ten years, I don't think a day goes by that I don't feel grateful that this is where I am...
 

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{The ROY G BIV photo challenge was created by artists Jennifer Coyne
Qudeen & Julie Booth. Each month is devoted to a different color,
and all are welcome to join in the search. Guidelines are here.}


9 comments:

  1. My favorites are the side-by-side silver spoons and blackberries. Both have rich, deep shadows and bright highlights, with many in-between tones. Lovely.

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    1. Thanks, Sharmon...I love those too - especially the spoons. Meaning to give them some attention, I had gathered them into a Prosecco glass, but then forgot about them until I noticed the multicolored tarnish glinting among the shadows. Those little moments of discovery are my favorites...
      I am off to see yours, and the others', "black" findings!
      - Lisa

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  2. The light in Florence is very special! I agree with Sharmon...I didn't know black could be so rich! Thanks, as always, for a beautiful and thoughtful post!

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    1. Thank you, Julie, for your comment as well as for the inspiration to continue this ROY challenge! It is always fun to see "where" it takes us all...
      - Lisa

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  3. Some posts you just like to devour slowly and linger, pause and take delight in. This is one of those - each image a delight, your writing, liplicking. The light, the fruit, the stories you tell - marvellous.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the post, Susan. I wish I could give everyone who visits a taste of the blackberries - they have been amazing this summer... How nice that you all in Australia still have them to look forward to!
      - Lisa

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  4. Beautiful post with so much to think about ... thank you. I'm loving the photos of your beloved
    Florence with these dark shadows.

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    1. Thank you, Mary Anne! I appreciate your kind comment and am glad to hear that you liked the photos of Florence...it is such a beautiful city to have "handy" for daily inspiration!
      - Lisa

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  5. I love those copper wire words and those tarnished silver spoons and the glistening blackberries. Florence in your photographs is very beautiful and inviting.

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{Sorry about enabling word recognition, but I'm hoping it will alleviate the spam.}

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