Monday, August 29, 2011

quarante-deux: Lessons Learned

Diana F+
Fuji Neopan (I think...)
Antelope Island State Park, Utah
Summer 2009

A lesson from each class, so far.

Environmental Literature: Gabriel Garcia Marquez', A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings. A short story of magical realism so worth reading. The epitome of how easily human greed can turn curiosity into spectacle, and then trample all over it.

French: Nous sommes des animaux sauvages. :)

Open Space Design: New York City's High Line. A raised railway built in the 1930's that, after undergoing threat of demolition in the 1980's, was retrofitted into a breathtaking park in the air. What a beautiful idea. There is hope afterall.

Friday, August 26, 2011

quarante et un: The View From Above

Fisheye 2
Agfa CT Precisa
Summer 2010
Salt Lake City, Utah

Sometimes, the view from above really opens your eyes. If it weren't for the mountains that surround us here in Salt Lake City, I wonder how far we'd let the sprawl go. But then again, the mountains can't even stop us. I guess in my mind, just because humans have the powerful ability to build whatever and wherever we see fit, doesn't necessarily mean we should. Birds need a home too. And I think most prefer trees to concrete.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

quarante: Suddenly I Realize

Fuji Provia
Arches National Park, Utah
October 2010

Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

trente-neuf: What A Feeble Thing You Are

Kodak Tri-X & Agfa CT Precisa
Seal Beach, California
March 2008
Long Ago Photos of Me by Bransen Samuelsen

I have come back, and still the sea
keeps sending me strange foam.
It does not get used to the way I see.
The sand does not recognize me.

It makes no sense to return
to the ocean without warning -
it does not know you return
or even that you were away,
and the water is so busy
with all its blue business
that arrivals go unrealized.
The waves keep up their song
and although the sea has many hands,
many mouths and many kisses,
no hand reaches out to you;
no mouth kisses you;
and you soon must realize
what a feeble thing you are.
By now we thought we were friends,
we come back with open arms,
and here is the sea, dancing away,
not bothering us.

I will have to wait for the fog,
the flying salt, the scattered sun,
for the sea to breath and breath on me;
because water is not just water
but a hazy intrusion,
and the waves roll on in the air
like invisible horses.

- Strangers on the Shore by Pablo Neruda

Last night I had a dream that I sailed all the way round this blue planet.
Today I'm seasick.

Monday, August 22, 2011

trente-huit: Denied To The End

Fisheye 2
Agfa CT Precisa
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
July 2010

Living   in the earth deposits   of our history

Today a backhoe divulged   out of a crumbling flank of earth
one bottle   amber   perfect   a hundred-year-old
cure for fever   or melancholy   a tonic
for living on this earth   in the winters of this climate

Today I was reading about Marie Curie:
she must have known she suffered   from radiation sickness
her body bombarded for years   by the element
she had purified
It seems she denied to the end
the source of the cataracts on her eyes
the cracked and suppurating skin   of her finger-ends
till she could no longer hold   a test tube or pencil

She died   a famous woman   denying
her wounds
her wounds   came   from the same source as her power

- Power by Adrienne Rich

Friday, August 19, 2011

trente-sept: What Frees You?

Fuji Provia
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
June 2010

"One cannot always tell what it is that keeps us shut in, confines us, seems to bury us, but still one feels certain barriers, certain gates, certain walls. Is all this imagination, fantasy? I do not think so. And then one asks: My God! Is it for long, is it forever, is it for eternity? Do you know what frees one from this captivity? It is very deep serious affection. Being friends, being brothers, love - that is what opens the prison by supreme power, by some magic force."

     -Vincent van Gogh   

School is on the horizon for me. And I am feeling so ready to be back up on that hill. It's been a nice break - don't get me wrong. A very nice, much needed vacation. But soon I will be immersed in Open Space Design, French and Environmental Literature. Three things that I absolutely adore. Who could ask for more?

trente-six: Infinity In The Palm of Your Hand

Fuji Provia
Uinta Mountains, Utah
Summer 2009
To see a world in a grain of sand and a heaven in a wild flower,
hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.
- William Blake

Thursday, August 18, 2011

trente-cinq: Where'd All The Time Go?

Fugi Provia
Salt Lake City, Utah
November 2007

Four years ago yesterday, I moved to SLC. Fresh out of high school. Knowing no one. Literally. Or what exactly I was doing. Much less where I was going or where I would end up. So much has happened since then. If someone had told me this is where I would be today, that this is what my life would look like, I probably wouldn't have believed it. I am an entirely different person than I was when this year began just eight months ago. Four years seems absolutely foreign. It's so strange to think about. How much life can change so quickly. Did all of that actually happen? Was that who I was? I think so, yes - but sometimes it all just feels like snapshots with space in between. Some moments you remember so well, and some seem to not even feel like a reality anymore.

Where did all the time go? 
It's starting to fly. 

The summer is winding down. You can feel it walking away. At least I can. And soon, our city will look like this again. The past three months have been nothing short of amazing. And they came at a time when I needed it more than ever. I can only hope that those who I've become close with this summer know what they have done for me. In the case that they don't though... Here are a few thank you's I have been itching to get out.

Spencer: For Saturday morning's at The Rose. For Midnight in Paris. For Escalante. For everything, really. I owe your grandma.
Brooke: For being just about the only person I can talk to when I'm bummed out. For the June Gallery Stroll. For going slow on your bike for me sometimes. For the best summer ever.
Pearl: For sharing my love for sweet things. For fixing my hair. For being one of the funniest people I know. And for being one of the greatest.
Josphen: For having the best dance party of the summer. With the best iPhone videos ever. For the way you take compliments. For your name and the way you tell the story. For your beautiful hair. 
Ryan: For poetry. For late nights in the park. For the letter to Ben & Jerry. For Flowers. For knowing so many facts. And for good conversation. 
Casie: For sharing my love for dance. Even though I know you're way better. For laughing as much as me. For making me laugh. For your feelings on The Tree of Life. And for headstands. 
Jeffrey: For giving me the middle name of Aphrodite. For waffles and for frites. And for sharing the stars with me.
Sarah: For Michael Jackson break downs. For being so giving. For lunch breaks. And for massages. 
Drew: For being there after the two most traumatic events of my summer - thorn to eyeball and car crash. For being so much taller than me. For Black Lips and crashing on the couch with me. For Fleet Foxes too.
Justin: For helping me learn to slackline. For fixing up my bike basket. For actually having the same bike as me. And for how much you care about your friends.

Sentimental, I know. But I mean it all. A lot, actually. And more.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

trente-quatre: Monumental

Fuji Astia
Escalante, Utah
July 2011

"This is a beautiful planet and not at all fragile. Earth can withstand significant volcanic eruptions, tectonic cataclysms, and ice ages. But this canny, intelligent, prolific, and extremely self-centered human creature has proven himself capable of more destruction of life than Mother Nature herself.... We've got to be stopped."

- Michael L. Fischer

Don't know who Mr. Fischer is, but he wrote this in response to an article titled "Only Man's Presence Can Save Nature" that was published in Harper's Magazine in 1990. And he's right. It seems a lot of people want to believe that we can continue living our five-planet lifestyles and that technology will solve this mess we're in - a new way to sequester carbon, artificial water creation, biodomes for food production - whatever requires the absolute least amount of effort from the species that is quickly becoming the cancer of the earth. And sure, maybe these things would work. But is that the world we really want to find ourselves living in? Call me crazy, but I prefer the monumental walls of Escalante to the monumental consumption that threatens them and the rest of this beautiful planet we get to call our home.

trente-trois: Au Revoir Ancien, Au Revoir Nouveau

Kodak Tri-X
Fillmore, Utah
June 2011

When I posted this photo on Flickr two months ago, this is what I wrote:

"Sold the VW Jetta that I've had since I was 16 for a Toyota Yaris last week. Tried not to be sentimental about it, but 7 years creates a lot of memories in a car. And I can't say that I wasn't sad to say goodbye. Lovin' the new car though. It definitely marks a new era in my life."

Well, I killed that new era Sunday night. (More on that two posts down.) Never really been in a legit car crash before. And never want to be again. My body still aches as if I were hit by a train. It's funny though. Despite the fact that I just bought my Yaris two months ago, I was already considering selling it and trying the sans-auto lifestyle for the first time since I was 16. Guess it's happening now.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

trente-deux: Trade Offs

Diana F+
Kodak Portra VC
Salt Lake City, Utah
May 2011

"Our modern industrial economy takes a mountain covered with trees, lakes, running streams and transforms it into a mountain of junk, garbage, slime pits, and debris."
     - Edward Abbey

A shot from inside Kennecott's Bingham Canyon Copper Mine, the world's largest manmade excavation. In fact, the mine is so large that it is visible with the naked eye from space - a feat shared only with the Great Wall of China. Rio Tinto certainly has the practice of capping mountains down. But the movie they play inside of the visitor's center would prefer you to think of them as angels.

Monday, August 15, 2011

trente et un: No Parking

Kodak Tri-X
Portland, Oregon
March 2011

August 14, 2011 Outlined in 14 Events:
     1. Laundromat.
     2. Grocery store.
     3. Lunch with Patsy and the Wild Animals.
     4. Laundromat again.
     5. Kickball at Lindsey Gardens.
     6. Bake fruit pizza for Joshpen's birthday party.
     7. Try to bike with fruit pizza, grudgingly turn around for car after one block.
     8. Celebrate Josphen, work out cattle loans, dance in the rain, etc.
     9. Get in car to go home.
     10. Drive two blocks.
     11. Crash into two trash cans (the owner of which was very upset).
     12. And instantly after, a parked car (the owner of which kept apologizing to me).
     13. Go to sleep feeling like I've been drop-kicked in the chest. Thank you, airbag.
     14. And have two very clear realizations:
          1. Automobiles suck worse than I had already previously imagined.
          2. Life truly can change in nothing more than a split moment.

Friday, August 12, 2011

trente: More From Wonderland

Fuji Astia & Fuji Superia
Escalante, Utah
July 2011

     Oh, Escalante. My heart belongs to you.

vingt-neuf: Nation of Amnesiacs

Fuji Sensia
Zion National Park, Utah
August 2009

"To people who think of themselves as God's houseguests, American enterprise must seem arrogant beyond belief. Or stupid. A nation of amnesiacs, proceeding as if there were no other day but today. Assuming the land could also forget what had been done to it."

- Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams

Voluntary amnesia probably accounts for much of mankind's behavior these days. But the land has no need for forgetting. It exploits nothing.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

vingt-huit: In the Soul of Man

Fuji Astia
Escalante, Utah
July 2011

"We have always had reluctance to see a tract of land which is empty of men as anything but a void. The "waste howling wilderness" of Deuteronomy is typical.  The Oxford Dictionary defines wilderness as wild or uncultivated land which is occupied "only" by wild animals. Places not used by us are "wastes." Areas not occupied by us are "desolate." Could the desolation be in the soul of man?"

- John A. Livingston

vingt-sept: When Gravity Holds You Down

Diana F+
Kodak Portra VC
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
June 2010

Watched a bit of the meteor shower from Big Cottonwood Canyon last night. The moon was rebelling with brightness, but we were still able to witness a few absolutely beautiful shooting stars. The fact that, as the ultimate source describes, those massive, luminous balls of plasma held together by gravity exist out there, in the vast arena that we call space, and that one of them is hugely responsible for life on our planet, is a hard concept for me to grasp. Makes me feel insignificant, really. And although I enjoyed the view from Guardman's Pass, I kept wishing I was sitting on the moon instead. Looks peaceful up there.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

vingt-six: You Are Part Of It

Fuji Provia
Escalante, Utah
July 2011
Photos by Mr. Spencer Davis

If you haven't been to Escalante, you should not waste any more time waiting. This place is incredible beyond description. Go there. Walk in the river. Breath it in. And remember, you are a part of it.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

vingt-cinq: Where Are We Going?

Homemade Matchbox Pinhole
Kodak BW400CN
Salt Lake City, Utah
May 2010

Lots happening with the economy. It all seems so untouchable, devoid of actual meaning. In my mind, this is probably the leading cause of our stagnation - the fact that none of this mess seems like a reality. But how do we gauge anything when we're dealing with numbers that don't even really exist? Does anyone understand what's actually going on? And where are we going anyway? What comes after trillions?

From Adbusters again:

There is very good reason to believe that, in a generation or so, capitalism itself will no longer exist - most obviously, as ecologists keep reminding us, because it's impossible to maintain an engine of perpetual growth forever on a finite planet, and the current form of capitalism doesn't seem to be capable of generating the kind of vast technological breakthroughs and mobilizations that would be required for us to start finding and colonizing any other planets. Yet faced with the prospect of capitalism actually ending, the most common reaction - even from those who call themselves "progressives" - is simply fear. We cling to what exists because we can no longer imagine an alternative that wouldn't be even worse.

 And Lester Brown's World on the Edge:

No previous civilization has survived the ongoing destruction of its natural supports. Nor will ours. Yet economists look at the future through a different lens. Relying heavily on economic data to measure progress, they see the near 10-fold growth in the world economy since 1950 and the associated gains in living standards as the crowning achievement of our modern civilization. During this period, income per person worldwide climbed nearly fourfold, boosting living standards to previously unimaginable levels. A century ago, annual growth in the world economy was measured in the billions of dollars. Today, it is measured in the trillions. In the eyes of mainstream economists, the world has not only an illustrious economic past but also a promising future.

Mainstream economists see the 2008 - 09 global economic recession and near-collapse of the international financial system as a bump in the road, albeit an unusually big one, before a return to growth as usual. Projections of economic growth, whether by the World Bank, Goldman Sachs, or Deutsche Bank, typically show the global economy expanding by roughly 3 percent a year. At this rate the 2010 economy would easily double in size by 2035. With these projections, economic growth in the decades ahead is more or less an extrapolation of the growth of recent decades.

How did we get into this mess? Our market-based global economy as currently managed is in trouble. The market does many things well. It allocates resources with an efficiency that no central planner could even imagine, much less achieve. But as the world economy expanded some 20-fold over the last century it has revealed a flaw - a flaw so serious that if it is not corrected it will spell the end of civilization as we know it.   

The market, which sets prices, is not telling us the truth. It is omitting indirect costs that in some cases now dwarf direct costs. Consider gasoline. Pumping oil, refining it into gasoline, and delivering the gas to U.S. service stations may cost, say, $3 per gallon. The indirect costs, including climate change, treatment of respiratory illnesses, oil spills, and the U.S. military presence in the Middle East to ensure access to the oil, total $12 per gallon. Similar calculations can be done for coal.

We are facing a situation in economics today similar to that in astronomy when Copernicus arrived on the scene, a time when it was believed that the sun revolved around the earth. Just as Copernicus had to formulate a new astronomical worldview after several decades of celestial observations and mathematical calculations, we too must formulate a new economic worldview based on several decades of environmental observations and analyses.

Monday, August 8, 2011

vingt-quatre: Thoughts For Thought

Fuji Superia
Escalante, Utah
July 2011

Some thoughts for thought.

1. Henry David Thoreau said: In wildness is the preservation of the world.
2. John Muir said: When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.
3. George W. Bush said: The days a man spends fishing or spends hunting should not be deducted from the time that he's on earth.  In other words, if I fish today, that should be added to the amount of time I get to live. That's the way I look at recreation. That's why I'll be a big conservation, environmental President, because I plan to fish and hunt as much as I possibly can.

Mmm... Right, George. Right.

Friday, August 5, 2011

vingt-trois: Repeat Forever

Fuji Sensia
Salt Lake City, Utah
Summer 2009

Humans are a one-of-a-kind species for several reasons.

1. We have mouths that form words and sentences.
2. These words and sentences are sometimes confusing, sometimes misleading and sometimes outright lies.
3. Then we get angry.
4. And mouths form more words and sentences.
5. Confusion, dilusion, dishonesty.
6. Anger.
7. Repeat forever.

I don't think this hillside could cause so much trouble.

vingt-deux: Under the Drewtree

Fisheye 2
Agfa CT Precisa
Escalante, Utah
July 2011

Double exposure of Drew and I in one shot, Spencer in the background on the left in the other. These two boys are in search of a cattle loan if anyone can help them out.

visit me here too.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

vingt et un: Lo-fi Glory

Diana F+
Kodak Portra VC
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
June 2010

Because some Yellowstone visitors can't seem to stop themselves from heaving trash into this geothermic pool named Morning Glory, you now find it with a sign titled "Fading Glory". The trash thrown into the pool becomes embedded in the sides of the spring, which alters water circulation and decreases water temp, consequently causing the yellow and orange microorganisms on the outside of the pool to spread towards the center of the pool, encroaching on the blue area. Another Truth in Nature moment for me.

vingt: You've Blossomed

Fuji Provia
Salt Lake City, Utah
May 2010

This photo is for one of my very best friends, Mr. Justin Troyna/JT/Jay Chuck. He says it reminds him of me, but funny thing is that it reminds me of him. JT is bursting at the seams with creativity and is most possibly the greatest craftsman I know. I am a fan. (Oh. And yay for Kurt Vile tonight!)

you've got a best friend
you don't know how
you've got a best friend now

you've got a best friend
you don't know how
you've got a best friend now

you can take them out for drinks
and if it stinks
makes you think
maybe baby
i love you more
but i gotta have some friends
when you don't wanna hear me cry
don't i

you've got a best friend
don't know how
you've got a best friend
monday morning comes
don't leave me now

woke up this morning
don't know what i said
now i'm walking around in circles
baking bread in my head
you say ocean city is the place to be
but can you get me there for free

cause there's always a tunnel
at the end of the line
even way back in 1929
well if you never see me again
i'll leave all the cash that i can

buy yourself a drink
and if it stinks
makes you think
maybe baby
i love you more
but i gotta have some friends
when you don't wanna hear me cry
don't i

you've got a best friend
don't know how
you've got a best friend now

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

dix-neuf: In The Rearview

Fuji Provia
Salt Lake City, Utah
July 2011

Kendall, Travis and Brian are the gentlemen you can spot in this photo. Three very talented gentlemen, in fact.

Natural World by Jim Harrison

The earth is almost round. The seas
are curved and hug the earth, both
ends are crowned with ice.

The great Blue Whale swims near
this ice, his heart is warm
and weighs two thousand pounds,
his tongue weighs twice as much;
he weighs one hundred fifty tons.

There are so few of him left
he often can't find a mate;
he drags his six foot sex
through icy waters,
flukes spread crashing.
His brain is large enough
for a man to sleep in.

On Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania
thousands upon thousands
upon thousands of hawks in migration
have been slaughtered for pleasure.
Drawn north or south in spring and fall;
merlin, kestrel, peregrine, gyrfalcon,
marsh hawk, red-tailed, sharp-tailed,
sharp-shinned, Swainson's Hawk,
golden eagle and osprey
slaughtered for pleasure.

They say hindsight is always 20/20. But I'm pretty sure we know what's going on as we speak.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

dix-huit: Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'

Fisheye 2
Agfa CT Precisa
Santa Monica Pier, California
January 2009

I hope somebody out there, at least one somebody, is stumbling across this and enjoying my bullshit without even knowing me in real existence. Ultimate goal.

dix-sept: Serenity

Fuji Neopan
Panguitch Lake, Utah
July 2010

A wonderful human being shared this poem with me not so long ago. Kind of different than my usual banter. But I guess everyone needs a break from the environmental gloom every once in awhile. So, here's to some love gloom instead, via Richard Brautigan's It's Raining.

I don't know what it is,
but I distrust myself
when I start to like a girl
a lot.

It makes me nervous.
I don't say the right things
or perhaps I start
to examine,
what I am saying.

If I say, "Do you think it's going to rain?"
and she says, "I don't know,"
I start thinking: Does she really like me?

In other words
I get a little creepy.

A friend of mine once said,
"It's twenty times better to be friends
with someone
than it is to be in love with them."

I think he's right and besides,
it's raining somewhere, programming flowers
and keeping snails happy.
That's all taken care of.


if a girl likes me a lot
and starts getting real nervous
and suddenly begins asking me funny questions
and looks sad if I give the wrong answers
and she says things like,
"Do you think it's going to rain?"
and I say, "It beats me,"
and she says, "Oh,"
and looks a little sad
at the clear blue California sky,
I think: Thank God, it's you, baby, this time
instead of me.

seize: America!

Fuji Provia
Salt Lake City, Utah
Independence Day 2011

The 4th of July is a good day to ride around on a bicycle, expressing your feelings for America, by well, yelling in a semi-hick accent "America!" at every unsuspecting passerby.

It's also a good day to contemplate what it feels like to be part of the generation that is watching the "greatest" country (I always preferred Costa Rica, personally.) in the world slowly move down the list. America!

Monday, August 1, 2011

quinze: Suburban Nation

Diana F+
Kodak Portra VC
Salt Lake City, Utah
May 2011

"We shape our cities and then our cities shape us. The choice is ours whether we build subdivisions that debase the human spirit or neighborhoods that nurture sociability and bring out the best in our nature." 

- Andres Duany, Suburban Nation

Is it time to reevaluate priorities when the system you're a slave to is paralyzed by the mindset that quantity is better than quality at all costs? It feels like we threw it all out the window when sprawl became the new American Dream.