30 April, 2008

Everywhere and All the Time

I had the wonderful opportunity today to see the exhibit On the Road: Photography of the Soviet Empire. I don't often have the opportunity to see many exhibits, but this one was remarkable. Growing up, as was probably the case with many, though to a much greater extent, the Soviet Union was "the Enemy" and any reference, whether in word or image, made it seem like a very unpleasant place. Semon Fridlyand, the sole artist of this exhibition, showed exactly how much the Soviet Union was like western world. It sounds odd to say that because why wouldn't things be the same there as they were here. I don't feel his work can be considered "propaganda," though I'm sure in some ways that is what it was. (In case you were wondering, I don't consider Norman Rockwell's work as propaganda either, though if you think about it, hasn't it been used in that way at times?) His work is about life and if anything, it is a remarkable example of the "decisive moment," of which I am so fond of. If there is one piece that was exhibited that I would consider my favorite, it would be the image of the crew of a battleship, gathered beneath the massive navel guns, tower silhouetted behind them, and a spot light shining down on a sailor playing the violin (or perhaps a fiddle). At once it showed these men as being men, while maintaining a sense of an industrial nation poised for a war waiting in the wings. I apologize for not being able to proved the image for you, but in some ways maybe that is better. It was one of the images featured in the book "On the Road in the Soviet Empire - Semyon Fridlyand Photographs" and I am disappointed in its reproduction. The reproduction was quite a bit darker than the print, and by that I mean the blacks were much "blacker." This not only sharpened the image by an increase in contrast, but made the tower disappear against the night sky. The atmosphere of the image had changed. Did the meaning change? Maybe not. But for me the image felt wrong. Still, if you have the chance to see the exhibition, I highly recommend it. I caught it on the tail end of the show, so maybe you'll just check out the book.

In other news, while I was out and about, we had gorgeous spring weather, which led me to pull out the ol' Holga and some color film. I'm hoping to getting around to develop the film later this week, and getting some picture up probably next. Also, March of Dimes went well. I want to make sure that they get the pictures before I start showing them around, so maybe those will go up sometime next week as well.

And finally, I bought some wood glue today. I didn't have any and it turns out I needed some. Nice how that works out. Why wood glue, you say? Well, I'm propping a new toy shot and I'm having to construct more of it than all the others. That one will not likely debut within the next week, but who knows?

Ok, so this is the final bit. While out at the exhibit, I had lunch at Jerusalem's, a great little Mediterranean restaurant near the gallery. I hadn't eaten there in just about four years and was very excited to see it, since I had no clue were it was since I did not drive there (I still don't drive, but that's another story, that is apparently very short) . I remembered the food being great, so throwing caution to the wind, I pretty much ordered the first thing I saw on the menu ( the Chicken Shawarmah) and it was delicious. Four years gone and the food is still the best. On the Road may no longer be exhibited, but definitely stop here for some great food!

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