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PAM1975005W00028-34ASummer has arrived in our part of the world–long days, heat on your back, first morning coffee on the front step, dinner out on the back deck–so let’s talk about rain, lest we forget.  Where we live, no one complains when the sky suddenly turns bright and fills with sunlight, but being surprised by a splash of rain, caught unexpectedly, under-equipped, predictably brings a cry of “no fair!”. This photo by Martin Parr from Bad Weather.

When it rains on your parade, some of us handle it better than others.

caught in th rain_glastonbury-85-ely-wet The music may have stopped, but the beer is just as tasty and mud between the toes can be quite lovely.. sometimes.

Caught in the Rain flower standThe flowers are still lovely too, and these two know that although the rain may keep some customers away, in the big picture, it’s fundamental to life, isn’t it luv?  Eau de vie as they say.

If flower sellers and festival goers tolerate rain, some photographers seem to absolutely adore it–a gift from the sky every bit as precious as light.

caught in the Rain ruipalha11 This Rui Palha photo above is an ode to geometry and rainfall.

caught in the rain Z_DWagner_Rolleiflex_64Beautiful image by Z D Wagner depends for much of its eloquence on the presence of rain (and wind)

 

caught in th rain New York Museum of MN117383-2 New Yorkers, of course, find ways to not just persevere in the rain, but to make something memorable of it, such as this wet-footed pas de deux.

caught in the rain james dean boweryAnd if you are James Dean, a rainy day gives you another part to play, another iconic image you’ll leave behind.

On the other hand…

caught in the rain_LOndon_voting day100180103_People_are_caught_out_in_a_heavy_rain_shower_in_Westminster_London_PRESS_ASSOCIATION_P_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqvzJnqpVGpnfyf5cbbtTpCfeont4dPw4tRGY Unexpected rain isn’t just a photo op, is it?

caught in rain HK 2012 typhoon 600_qpyxyat2jcj1nznmtmwptmdgoka6yhaxSome of us caught in it will face nasty and possibly dangerous conditions.

Caught in the Rain Medicine HatFlood is more than an inconvenience.  It can bring daily life to a stand still. Immobilized. The very water that gives life to us all can take it away.  Without much warning.

We are the water planet in a thousand different ways.  Try as we might, we cannot (yet) control when or how much water will fall from the sky.  What we can control is how we react to rain.  If the warnings go out to take cover, then by all means run for shelter and batten down the hatches.  But otherwise, look up, be grateful, we are born water babies.

caught in the rain downpour Katherine Australia r1073_788_2991_2630_w1200_h678_fmax

FRANCE. Paris. 1989.Joie de vivre/eau de vie caught by Elliot Erwitt, Paris.  Salut!

 

 

 

 

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Sometimes the best discoveries don’t require meticulous planning, a long journey, or special shoes.  Sometimes you just have to see what’s in front of you.

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This is some of what Belgian photographer Harry Gruyaert has been seeing and recording for the rest of us over the last 40 years.

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He is credited with helping to prove the point that European photographs could be in colour and still be taken seriously.  Not that there is anything wrong with black and white.

ITALY. Sardinia. Near the town of Cagliari. Poetto beach. 1998.

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SOUTH KOREA. Seoul. 2007.

Mr Gruyaert claims that he doesn’t think much about all this, and he avoids talking about it if at all possible.

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The British Journal of Photography did manage to get a few words out of him, which can be read here

All images © 2015 Harry Gruyaert / Magnum Photos

 

it’s always amazing to see what nature is up to when we aren’t there

white sands national monument john hunterup there in the wildest places, the farthest places from our small lives, that’s where you’ll see what can happen without us.  it is always original, never trivial, never trending.

ice greenland nyteven when these farthest places change because of the accumulated effects of our daily lives. the result is all nature’s own–spectacularly un-human,  beautifully bereft of our precious cliches.

We can’t help but drop our jaws and shed some tears of admiration before we go back to our day job.  But some have chosen to find work, put down roots and raise families right up against the raw originality (and harshness) of remote places. La Rinconada Peru REMOTE-6This is upper Peru. Life unplugged from everything except life.  It isn’t easy of course, but the miracle is that it exists at all.  Found here

Frozen-Ittoqqortoormiit-GreenlandAnd this village is on Greenland in the upper middle of nowhere looking bright, cheerful, remarkably at ease.  Part of a collection here

The only rival to the remoteness of the highest and coldest places on earth are the oceans where, we are told, you might sail for weeks without seeing any land at allocean-yonaguni-ring-shape-oxygen-ascending-risingThe only mark on this part of the Pacific is an air pocket…

landsat image of antarcticaThe remotest places have many lessons to teach us, if we will only listen and look, lessons about beauty, humility, responsibility…

hiroshi sugimoto-seascape-north-atlantic-cape-breton-1996Just look .

Image by hiroshi sugimoto (seascape-north-atlantic-cape-breton)

Music, good music SOUNDS good, of course.  But we’ve noticed that the best music also LOOKS good.

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That’s Edythe Turnham and her Band up there, lookin’ good.     photo Dorothy Hilbert Collection seen here

Music five_musicians china

Small music groups, particularly, seem to have great visual appeal.  This is something like a family portrait–the resemblance is there–but where everyone has their own special piece of equipment and job to do. Found here.

When we go to see live music, we go to watch as much as to listen.  What we experience at the time, and what we take away, has a lot to do with what we looked at, what we saw.

music leger images

Artists of every era have used musicians as subjects.  It’s just natural.

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Fernand Leger, two performances, same band, new look. See here.

music Jan_Miense_Molenaer_004

Jan Miense Molenaer painted this portrait of a family musical event in Haarlem, Holland, in the 17th century.

Lots of paintings of musicians at work here

music egypt MET

This scene of how to walk like an Egyptian while playing a tune is from the Metropolitan Museum collection, found here 

In our time, some of the most eye-appealing performances, we think, are given by the string quartet.

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Bretano Quartet.

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Borodin Quartet.

music Kairos chamber music-a

Performers at the Kairos chamber music festival, go here.

But for our money, nothing quite beats the genius solo performer deeply in tune with the music and the moment

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Miss  Holiday, the song, the look, none before or since quite like that.

music hendrix Tom G

Mr Hendrix was an eye magnet as well as an incomparable musician. Fine photograph by Tom Gundelfinger O’Neal, lots more here

 

Glenn Gould recording the Goldberg Variations in 1955

music Joni

Glenn Gould,  Joni Michell.  Music like no one else.  Looking like no one else.

 

Listen up and look on.

 

 

outsider photo nhung dang badger

The world is (still) full of wild things, plenty of them pretty weird in appearance and habits.  Yet we humans have never been satisfied with nature’s menagerie.  Since way back when, we have imagined things even more wild and more weird. Like this unnerving critter photographed by Nhung Dang (spotted here).

 

Outsider-Art-in-London-by-Cody-Ross-for-Contra

No surprise the Japanese have been heavily into conjuring up unusual creatures from the imagination.  There was a whole show of them in London.

 

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The USA can claim many  producers of eye-poppng imaginary animalia, sometimes under the banner of Folk Art, sometimes Outsider Art, sometime…Art.  This wild dog was here.

 

ousider exhibit new-york-outsider-art-fair

And in the USA, there is no shortage of well produced, well attended shows featuring objects and  drawings of creatures who have never actually roamed the earth, but which are very much alive in the minds of some artist.

 

outsider victorian_bug_1403723c

And then there is England, which might hold the all time record for the number of its citizens who have turned their imagination and their natural skills to the rendition of new life forms.  The above drawing is a collaboration of two sisters born in the 1840’s with time on their hands and wonderful, playful minds.  Here’s the story.

 

outsider kate b dsc_0048

Kate Bradbury, a current artist from England, emerged late, blossomed quickly, makes things no one else could never dream of.  This is her  Angel.  More

 

 

outsider ornamentum_eun_mi_chun
Let’s give the last word and image to the Asians. Eunmi Chun is Korean, and she makes animal figures out of dried intestinal skin and human hair (sometimes gold-leafed), beautiful forms sewn together, see here.

Wild.  Thing.  You make my heart sing.

Nature is the crucible, churning out an infinite variety of living things.  And still, some of us turn our heads and minds to the invention of things that, so far, never were.

Wild.

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