To Plunge Head Foremost

Photographers Unknown, A Collection in Black and White, (To Plunge Head Foremost)

“Who then was the orthodox, who the freethinker? Where lay the true position, the true state of man? Should he descend into the all-consuming all-equalizing chaos, that ascetic-libertine state; or should he take his stand on the “Critical-Subjective,” where empty bombast and a bourgeois strictness of morals contradicted each other? Ah, the principles and points of view constantly did that; it became so hard for Hans Castorp’s civilian responsibility to distinguish between opposed positions, or even to keep the premises apart from each other and clear in his mind, that the temptation grew well-nigh irresistible to plunge head foremost into Naphtha’s “morally chaotic All.” 

—Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain

Seated with Flowers

Photographer Unknown, (Seated with Flowers)

“I ran into pagodas, and was fixed for centuries at the summit or in secret rooms: I was the idol; I was the priest; I was worshipped; I was sacrificed. I fled from the wrath of Brama through all the forests of Asia: Vishnu hated me: Seeva laid wait for me. I came suddenly upon Isis and Osiris: I had done a deed, they said, which the ibis and the crocodile trembled at. I was buried for a thousand years in stone coffins, with mummies and sphinxes, in narrow chambers at the heart of eternal pyramids. I was kissed, with cancerous kisses, by crocodiles; and laid, confounded with all unutterable slimy things, amongst reeds and Nilotic mud.”

Thomas de Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium Eater

 

The Earth Swirls Down

Photographer Unknown, (The Earth Swirls Down)

“The Earth swirls down through the ominous moons of preconsidered generations.”  

—Mervyn Peake

Born in July of 1911, Mervyn Laurence Peake was an English writer, poet, and illustrator. He is best known for what are usually referred to as the “Gormenghast” series of books. The three works were part of what Peake conceived as a lengthy cycle, the completion of which was prevented by his death. Sometimes compared to the work of his older contemporary J. R.R. Tolkien, Peake’s surreal fiction was influenced by his childhood love for Dickens and Robert Louis Stevenson rather than mythology and the structure of languages. 

Peake also wrote poetry and literary nonsense in verse form, and short stories for adults and children, including the 1948 “Letters from a Lost Uncle”. He also wrote stage and radio plays, and in 1953 “Mr. Pye”, a relatively tightly-structured novel in which God implicitly mocks the evangelical pretensions and cosy world-view of the hero.

During the 1930s and 1940s when he lived in London, Peake made his reputation as a painter and illustrator, receiving commissions for portraits. At the end of World War II, he received commissions by newspapers for illustrations depicting war scenes. 

Peake gained little popular public success during his lifetime; however, his work was highly respected by his peers and friends which included Welsh poet and writer Dylan Thomas and English novelist Graham Greene. Peake’s works are now included in the National Portrait Gallery in London, the Imperial War Museum in London, and the National Archives of the United Kingdom. In 2008, the British daily newspaper “The Times” named Peake among the list of ”The Fifty Greatest British Writers Since 1945”.

Ram Shergill, “Aaran Sly”

Ram Shergill, “Aaran Sly”, Photo Shoot Entitled ‘The Proust Ball’

British-born Indian fashion photographer Ram Shergill was severely visually impaired as a child. After having his eyesight corrected, he discovered the work of artists such as Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton, and Irving, whom he credits as important inspirations and whose influence can be seen in his works. Shergill often uses the iconic images of previous fashion photographers and Old Master painters as inspirational starting points for his images, transforming them to create new effects for his contemporary models and settings. 

During his studies, Shergill initially worked with Philip Treacy on a project and, as a result, starting to work with Isabella Blow and Alexander McQueen, becoming a force within the fashion and art world himself. Shergill has became one of the key imagists of the avant-garde ‘Cool Britannia’ fashion scene and one of Britain’s leading fashion photographers and has since progressed into fine art photography.

Ram Shergill often designs his fashion and art photography toward the Indian Subcontinent, a region. often overlooked, with which he maintains a strong relationship. His works often show models exploring the culture and landscape of India’s culturally diverse provinces. A selection of his work of singer songwriter Amy Winehouse has been acquired by the National Portrait Gallery and are now part of the permanent Collection alongside artists such as David Hockney and Cecil Beaton.

Ram Sergill’s image above shows English model Aaran Sky in a setting with an atmospheric reminiscence of the Proust Ball. This gala occasion was considered socialite Marie-Helene de Rothschild’s greatest triumph, a 1971 ball thrown in honor of the 100th anniversary of Marcel Proust’s birth. Around 350 guests attended the extremely rich dinner at Château de Ferrières, her home outside of Paris, with 350 more guests arriving in time for a second, later dinner. Among the guests were Princess Grace of Monaco, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, and French model and actress Marisa Berenson. The photographer for the event was the renowned Cecil Beaton.

Ram Sergill’s website is located at: https://www.ramshergill.com

Twelve Portraits

Photographers Unknown, A Collection of Twelve Portraits for a Midsummer’s Day

“The only safe rule, therefore, is that which Aristotle mentions in the last chapter of his ‘Topica’: not to dispute with the first person you meet, but only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to cherish truth, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong, should truth lie with him. From this it follows that scarcely one man in a hundred is worth your disputing with him. You may let the remainder say what they please, for every one is at liberty to be a fool—desipere est jus gentium.” 

–Arthur Schopenhauer, The Essays of Arthur Schopenhauer: The Art of Controversy

 

Fauna et Flora

A Collection: Fauna and Flora

“Now it is very striking, and well worth investigating, that such trifling, nay, apparently childish, means as meter and rhyme produce so powerful an effect. I explain it to myself in the following manner: That which is given directly to the sense of hearing, thus the mere sound of the words, receives from rhythm and rhyme a certain completeness and significance in itself for it thereby becomes a kind of music; therefore it seems now to exist for its own sake, and no longer as a mere means, mere signs of something signified, the sense of the words.

To please the ear with its sound seems to be its whole end, and therefore with this everything seems to be attained and all claims satisfied. But that it further contains a meaning, expresses a thought, presents itself now as an unexpected addition, like words to music – as an unexpected present which agreeably surprises us – and therefore, since we made no demands of this kind, very easily satisfies us; and if indeed this thought is such that, in itself, thus said in prose, it would be significant, then we are enchanted.” 

–Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation: Volume Two

Every Craving

Photographer Unknown, (Every Craving), Photography / Digital Art

“To crave and to have are as like as a thing and its shadow. For when does a berry break upon the tongue as sweetly as when one longs to taste it, and when is the taste refracted into so many hues and savors of ripeness and earth, and when do our senses know any thing so utterly as when we lack it? And here again is a foreshadowing — the world will be made whole. For to wish for a hand on one’s hair is all but to feel it. So whatever we may lose, every craving gives it back to us again.”
Marilynne Robinson

Life in Many Colors

 

Artists Unknown, (Life in Many Colors), Computer Graphics, Film Gifs

“खो देना चाहता हूँ मैं अपनी रंग ,
तुम्हारे रंगों में ।
होली तो बस बहाना है,
अपनी “अहं” रंग छोड़ के,
बस तेरे रंग मे रंग जाना है ।
आओ चलो बैठते हैं ,
फिर से एक साथ ,
की ख्वाइस है,
की मैं तुझे देखता रहूँ , की बस तू मुझे देख रहा है ।
तुम्हारी “बराभय” अदाओं से ,
मुझे देखती तुम्हारी दोनों नैनों से ,
मेरी तो अपनी “अहं” रंग खो जाना है ,
बस अब तेरे रंग मे रंग जाना है।”

“I want to lose my color, in your colors Holi is just an excuse, leaving your own color, all you have to do now is paint in your color.

Let’s sit down together again, my desire is, that I keep looking at you, that you are just looking at me.

From your blessings and offerings, seeing me with your two eyes, I have to lose my own color, all you have to do now is paint in your color.”

–Ananda Shailendra

Ananda Shailendra was a popular Indian Hindi-Urdu poet and lyricist. He is considered to be the first to combine Hindi and Urdu poetry traditions. Shailendra won the Filmfare Best Lyricist Award in 1958, 1959, and 1968 for his songs in films.

Born on August 30, 1923,  at Rawalpindi, now in Pakistan, Ananda Shailendra was brought up in Mathura, a city in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.  He started writing poetry during the time he began working as an apprentice with the Indian Railways workshop in Bombay in 1947. Shailendra became involved with the Indian People’s Theater Association, the cultural wing  of the Communist Party of India, writing songs and socialist-themed poems set in a post-Independence India. 

Actor and film maker Raj Kapoor first met Shailendra when he was reading his poem “Jalta hai Punjab (Punjab Burns)” at a poetry symposium in Bombay.  Kapoor offered to buy the poem for inclusion in his upcoming movie “Aag (Fire)” to be released in 1948; however, Shailendra refused , being wary of mainstream media. When Kapoor was filming “Barsaat (Rain)” in 1949,  he was able to purchase two songs from Shailendra:  “Patli Kamar Hai (My Slim Waist)” and “Barsaat Mein (In the Rain)”, with the composition work being done by notable composer Shankar-Jaikishan.

The team of Kapoor, Shailendra, and Shankar-Jaikishan produced many hit songs during their time together. Shailendra’s song “Awara Hoon (I’m a Vagabond)” from Kapoor’s 1951 film “Awaara (Vagabond)” became the most popular Hindustani film song outside of India at that time. All of Shailendra’s songs from the 1955 “Shree 420 (Mr. 420)” became super hits and are still sung on popular occasions. 

In 1961 Ananda Shailendra invested heavily in the production of director Basu Bhathacharya’s film “Teesri Kasam (The Third Vow)”, released in 1966 and starring Raj Kapoor and Waheeda Rehnam. Although the film won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film, it was a failure commercially. Failing health resulting from tensions with the film’s production and its financial loss, coupled with alcohol abuse, resulted in Shailendra’s early death in December of 1966 at the age of forty-three.

Invisible Cities

Photographer Unknown, (A View of the City), Photo Shoot

“What he sought was always something lying ahead, and even if it was a matter of the past it was a past that changed gradually as he advanced on his journey, because the traveller’s past changes according to the route he has followed: not the immediate past, that is, to which each day that goes by adds a day, but the more remote past. Arriving at each new city, the traveller finds again a past of his that he did not know he had: the foreignness of what you no longer are or no longer possess lies in wait for you in foreign, unpossessed places.”
Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

The Parts and Pieces Making a Whole: Set Eight

The Parts and Pieces Making a Whole: Set Eight

“If human nature were not base, but thoroughly honorable, we should in every debate have no other aim than the discovery of truth; we should not in the least care whether the truth proved to be in favor of the opinion which we had begun by expressing, or of the opinion of our adversary. That we should regard as a matter of no moment, or, at any rate, of very secondary consequence; but, as things are, it is the main concern. Our innate vanity, which is particularly sensitive in reference to our intellectual powers, will not suffer us to allow that our first position was wrong and our adversary’s right.

The way out of this difficulty would be simply to take the trouble always to form a correct judgment. For this a man would have to think before he spoke. But, with most men, innate vanity is accompanied by loquacity and innate dishonesty. They speak before they think; and even though they may afterwards perceive that they are wrong, and that what they assert is false, they want it to seem the contrary. The interest in truth, which may be presumed to have been their only motive when they stated the proposition alleged to be true, now gives way to the interests of vanity: and so, for the sake of vanity, what is true must seem false, and what is false must seem true.” 

—Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Always Being Right

We Travel

Photographer Unknown, (We Travel)

“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.”

—Anais Nin, The Diary of Anais Nin, Volume 7: 1966-1974

Anais Nin was a twentieth-century essayist, author, and diarist, born in France in 1903 to Cuban-born parents. Her father, composer Joaquin Nin, abandoned the family, prompting them to sail to America for a new life. This event at her age of eleven prompted Anais Nin to begin her life-long work of writing in her diary. 

In 1923, Nin married a young banker, Hugh Guiler, and moved to Paris. She continued her education by reading contemporary literature and writing analyses of controversial novels, Nin met writer Henry Miller and his wife June in 1932, beginning a period in her life of socializing with artists and becoming more liberated from society’s mores. She achieved some literary success during this peiod with fictionalized portions of her diary, including  the 1939 “Winter of Artifice”, a one-volume series of three novelettes published in Paris.

With Europe on the brink of war in 1939, Nin and her husband traveled back to New York, where she struggled to publish her highly stylized fiction. Experiencing many frustrations in the publishing world, Nin purchased her own printing press to self-publish her books, many containing artwork of her husband under the name of Ian Hugo. Beginning in 1947, she met and embarked on a secret relationship with Rupet Pole, marrying him eight years later in 1955 without divorcing Hugh Guiler. During these emotional years, Nin wrote a one-volume novel series of five books that fictionalized her experiences, publishing it in 1959 under the title “Cities of the Interior”

While living a dual life in New York and Los Angeles during the 1960s, Nin made the risky decision to allow her diary to be published, though she chose to remove the most private details of her romantic relationships.  The first installment, published in 1966, was titled “The Diary of Anais Nin” and it was an immediate success.  Though it was a profoundly personal work, it hit a universal vein of experience,  especially with women.  Nin found herself, then in her sixties and seventies, playing the part of an international feminist icon.

While Nin traveled the world speaking about her writing and meeting fans, subsequent volumes of her edited diary were published.  They covered the period up through the end of her life and totaled seven volumes.  In 1977, Anais Nin died of cancer in Los Angeles with Rupert Pole by her side.

Before she died it was Nin’s decision to have her early diaries published, as well as erotica she’d written in the 1940s.  As a result, “Delta of Venus”, “Little Birds”, and  the childhood diary “Linotte” were released. Also, in a decision that generated much controversy, Nin asked Rupert Pole to publish the “secret” parts of her previously-released diaries.  The first of these diaries is titled “Henry and June”; it includes the material removed from Nin’s first published diary and was made into a feature film.

Image reblogged with thanks to : https://ottersatplay.tumblr.com

The Black and White Collection: WP Set Ten

The Black and White Collection: WP Set Ten

“. . .In short, I often found myself in situations different from others, looked on as if I were some strange animal. I do not think this harmed me: one gets used to persisting in one’s habits, to finding oneself isolated for good reasons, to putting up with the discomfort that this causes, to finding the right way to hold on to positions which are not shared by the majority. 

But above all I grew up tolerant of others’ opinions, particularly in the field of religion, remembering how irksome it was to hear myself mocked because I did not follow the majority’s beliefs. And at the same time I have remained totally devoid of that taste for anticlericalism which is so common in those who are educated surrounded by religion. 

I have insisted on setting down these memories because I see that many non-believing friends let their children have a religious education ‘so as not to give them complexes’, or ‘so that they don’t feel different from the others’. I believe that this behavior displays a lack of courage which is totally damaging pedagogically. Why should a young child not begin to understand that you can face a small amount of discomfort in order to stay faithful to an idea? 

And in any case, who said that young people should not have complexes? Complexes arise through a natural attrition with the reality that surrounds us, and when you have complexes you try to overcome them. Life is in fact nothing but this triumphing over one’s own complexes, without which the formation of a character and personality does not happen.” 

—Italio Calvino, Hermit in Paris: Autobiographical Writings

The Stone Cat and the Man

Photographer Unknown, (The Stone Cat and the Man)

“The greatest and most important problems of life are all in a certain sense insoluble…. They can never be solved, but only outgrown…. This ‘outgrowing’, as I formerly called it, on further experience was seen to consist in a new level of consciousness. Some higher or wider interest arose on the person’s horizon, and through this widening of view, the insoluble problem lost its urgency. It was not solved logically in its own terms, but faded out when confronted with a new and stronger life-tendency.” —Carl Jung

Manuel Estheim

Photography by Manuel Estheim

Born in 1992, Manuel Estheim is figurative photographer currently based in Linz, located on the Danube in northern Austria. He received his BA in Graphic Design and Photography from the University of Art and Design in Linz in 2015. Three years later, Estheim earned his MA in Visual Communication from the same university.

In his work, Estheim deals with such topics as identity, intimacy, gender, the construction of sexuality, and the connection of the ‘self’ with nature. He treats the human body as a sculptural object in the expressive and personal medium of photography, placing his nude subjects in serene, natural settings or in rooms with soft, carefully positioned lighting. 

Going back to one’s roots is a prevailing concept in Estheim’s work, within which he draws a thin line between the concepts of man, animal, and even object. He presents the natural world as the real root of our existence, with all its inhabitants being of the same inherent qualities. Put in Estheim’s soft interiors and serene settings, his subjects seem to exist in a space of their own making, using their time to explore the personal relationship with body and ‘self’.

Manuel Estheim has exhibited his work at the 2017 Sony World Photography Exhibition at Somerset House in London, the 2016  Fotografie Trifft Architektur Exhibition in Linz, the Museum of Preception MUWA in Vienna in 2015 , and at the “Facades: Neo-Noir Portraits, Parallel Planets” exhibition in Singapore in 2015. His work also has appeared in both print and online publications.

Blood Meridian

Photographer Unknown, (Blood Meridian)

“They rode on and the sun in the east flushed pale streaks of light and then a deeper run of color like blood seeping up in sudden reaches flaring planewise and where the earth drained up into the sky at the edge of creation the top of the sun rose out of nothing like the head of a great red phallus until it cleared the unseen rim and sat squat and pulsing and malevolent behind them.”
Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West 

Image reblogged with thanks to https://thouartadeadthing.tumblr.com

Parva Scaena (Brief Scenes)

Parva Scaena (Brief Scenes): Set Eighteen

“Of all the means of expression, photography is the only one that fixes forever the precise and transitory instant. We photographers deal in things that are continually vanishing, and when they have vanished, there is no contrivance on earth that can make them come back again. We cannot develop and print a memory. The writer has time to reflect. He can accept and reject, accept again; and before committing his thoughts to paper he is able to tie the several relevant elements together. There is also a period when his brain “forgets,” and his subconscious works on classifying his thoughts. But for photographers, what has gone is gone forever.” 

—Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Mind’s Eye: Writings on Photography and Photographers

This is a Moment

Pjotographer Unknown, (This is a Moment)

“A destiny that leads the English to the Dutch is strange enough; but one that leads from Epsom into Pennsylvania, and thence into the hills that shut in Altamont over the proud coral cry of the cock, and the soft stone smile of an angel, is touched by that dark miracle of chance which makes new magic in a dusty world.

Each of us is all the sums he has not counted: subtract us into nakedness and night again, and you shall see begin in Crete four thousand years ago the love that ended yesterday in Texas.

The seed of our destruction will blossom in the desert, the alexin of our cure grows by a mountain rock, and our lives are haunted by a Georgia slattern, because a London cutpurse went unhung. Each moment is the fruit of forty thousand years. The minute-winning days, like flies, buzz home to death, and every moment is a window on all time.

This is a moment:”
Thomas Wolfe, Look Homeward, Angel