(coming soon!)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Light of the Year

The New Year has dawned, emerging from the Blue Moon eve, a light that at midnight on the 31st illuminated the dark spaces outside with a theatrical light, setting the stage for the transition from the year and decade passed to the new beginning. To start us off with words and images:

The words come from famous quotations about years and about time, for is that not what today's reflections are about? They come as well from my own ramble as, during these years of greater concentration on my photographic career, the words I write are more about the process than about a new book. This blog takes the place for now.

As we think about New Year's Resolutions, from JKF: "In its [knowledge's] light, we must think and act not only for the moment but for our time. I am reminded of the great French Marshal Lyautey, who once asked his gardener to plant a tree. The gardener objected that the tree was slow-growing and would not reach maturity for 100 years. The Marshall replied, 'In that case, there is no time to lose. Plant it this afternoon.' "

From Ralph Waldo Emerson: "This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it."

And from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (I, showing my own "seasoning," remember it from the Byrds):" To every thing there is a season.... "

The season seems tumultuous as has been this last decade. Yet without being simplistic, there is room for us, globally and individually, to change. Let us resolve this now.

On the photography side from Aline Smithson: her blog musings on December 31, speaking about her own work - the value of the single image, not necessarily part of a series, and reflecting upon her own work - are inspiration for me and probably today's blog. Aline's Lenscratch blog in general is a gift to us all. The December 31 blog: http://lenscratch.blogspot.com/2009/12/my-personal-favorites-of-2009.html.

Aline's second gift: in today's blog, evocative, emotional pictures culled by Aline from various photographers (I am one) of their "personal favorite" photo of the year.

My own favorite images come from a spurt of activity, on top of a year of activity, during these incredible Southern California pre-winter months when the light is the clearest and most evocative of each year.

One of the most delightful of the latter: a long afternoon into evening spent on the last Saturday of December right here at Santa Monica Beach as Tyrus Wong, 99 and famed Disney illustrator and amazing artist, once again brings his hand-painted/constructed kites to the beach. The wind was incredibly still and the day started out with a heavy wet marine layer. Not auspicious. However, as we wait and Tyrus brings his handkerchief up again and again to test the wind, at Sunset all changes. The light shimmers. The wind comes up and the remarkable centipede kite is shifted to a new wind direction and... suddenly, it lifts!

A documentary on Tyrus Wong has been made here in Los Angeles and donations are welcome for it to be completed. To help bring the story of this national treasure to the screen, visit http://www.brushstrokesinhollywood.com/. In the interim, Lisa See has written an informative brochure that accompanied Tyrus' retrospective in 2004 at the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles. More photos from the day:

Yesterday afternoon, finishing a photographic project on the Santa Monica Airport for Helen K. Garber's Group SC 2009, (this is from a view at Clover Park)
I feel the need to end the year on a photographic note. Thus I wander over at day's end to the eucalyptus grove in my canyon, historic as the first forestry research station in the US, established in the late 1800's. The rapidly changing light on the eucalyptus trunks offers a poetry of its own. My copyright notice: the first of 2010.

The new year brings us hope always. From resolutions to family to working out the vagaries of inspiration and career, the best is wished for us all.

Light above Palos Verdes at the end of the First New Day.