Monday, May 22, 2006

Lost and Found places...

Burned car, south of town in the DMZ by the river.
Party area being poisoned by trash and violence.
A wonderful and terrible place to photograph. I am
drawn to these kinds of 'blasted' sites.

I did my entire BFA show as a documentary project,
large black and white photos of abandoned buildings
interspersed with mysterious, poetic objects I'd found
in and around the buildings. A good show, I still think
ten years later.
Note: no one buys this kind of photography.
Too grim for the average art buyer.

My love of abandoned places is very similar to
my love of any kind of post-apocalypse fiction writing.

"Into the Forest" by Jean Hegland is excellent. Two
sisters surviving alone after some kind of societal/world
breakdown or catastrophe which is hinted at but
never fully explained---and doesn't need to be.

Of course, there is the famous, "The Stand" by
Stephen King---most of the population of the earth
is killed off by a super-flu...good and evil battle
it out across the empty highways of America.

"Blood Music" by Greg Bear. A master hard-sci-fi
writer who is an expert at beginning his novels with
the microscopic and ending in the macro. Human
beings turn into flappy brown sheets of genetic material
during the long, strange course of the story. Totally nifty!

"Housekeeping" by Marilynne Robinson is more along
the lines of apocalypse on a personal scale. The most
hautingly beautiful book I have ever read in my
ENTIRE life....and I read prodigiously.

Just finished, "The Rift" by Walter John Williams.
A really good read---ends rather abruptly, but a
good storyteller. He wrote a great short story, "The
Green Leopard Plague" in which a not-to-distant
new kind of human detective researches how the
human race crossed it's event horizon.

Also a short story, "Dear Abbey" by Terry Bisson.
Time travel and the last human. Simple and
gorgeously written. Pared down to it's essential
details. How can ten billion years of history be
written into a 20 page story? I loved it.

Know of any good books in this genre? Tell me! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Phyllocnistis up close and personal

Here it is! A good shot of the actual size of my
art research subject: the white blob is
Phyllocnistis populiella, only 2mm long with a
possible 5mm wingspan. Penny for scale!
I took this photo with my Canon Powershot A95
while butting the lens up against the eye piece
of an 8x Agfa lupe (for photo negatives).
Clever me.

Leaf miner moths deposit their eggs on the surface
of quaking aspen leaves, the larvae hatch, and a
miniscule caterpillar chews its way through the
spongy mesophyll of the leaf interior. In the photo
above, you can see where larvae have begun to
make mine tracks originating from their eggs.
Talk about exciting stuff.

The small dots on the leaf are Phyllocnistis populiella
eggs. All of these leaves were collected in my
driveway, the first fallen leaves this spring.

An even better image of the eggs. Interestingly, they
appear to be light blue on all of the leaves I've examined.
The Aspen around my house just began to leaf out and leaf
miners are already at work on them. Every evening, drifts
of tiny white moths are spiraling in the air around my house.
A bumper crop...due to our mild winter? It did get to -55 in
The Aspens will glow with the new, healthy green of spring...
and then they'll all turn a dun silver because their leaves will
be heavily marked with mines. Posted by Picasa