Subtitle: The Good, the Bad and the Scary. (Cue the greatest movie western theme song here)
THE GOOD Back in February I wrote about the Matsuri Festival and the wonderful young artist Airi and her 1,000 origami cranes. The first week in April, I got an invitation to the opening reception of Airi’s show “Resilience” at the Method Art Gallery in Scottsdale. The show was a combination of the photographs she took in the city of Ishinomaki, Japan, and the 1,000 origami cranes she made to sell as a fundraiser so she could go to Ishinomaki and help with the town’s rebuilding efforts. In Airi’s own words:
“Resilience” is a collection of photographs taken in the city of Ishinomaki in Japan where on March 11, 2011 the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami devastated the area. The reconstruction of the town has been extensive and filled with many obstacles. It is deeply rooted in Japanese culture that if something is worth having it is greatly sought after and requires dedication and perseverance. Rather than just documenting the destruction the tsunami left behind, these photographs symbolize the resilience that the Japanese have embraced.”
It was an invitation I couldn’t refuse. And if my memory served me right, opening receptions usually meant snacks. Of course I accepted the invite.
Of course, the cranes were as awesome as I remembered them. But I found myself equally impressed with Airi’s photographs. Photography is used to capture those moments in time that tell the story in the vision and style of the photographer. Airi’s photographs did a wonderful job of chronicling the efforts and the resilience of Ishinomaki and its people in her unique way.
I also had a pleasant time talking with Airi. I met her sister, mother and father, who are Airi’s biggest supporters and fans. They had been right by Airi’s side helping her put up the show the night before. Her sister, Riho, had also lent a hand with the making of the origami birds. In fact, mother and father have raised a couple of young women with a strong sense of community and humanitarianism. Riho herself had spent 3 months in New York helping with Hurricane Sandy relief.
The sisters shared an amusing story about making the origami cranes. As they were mixing the chemicals for the cyanotype process, Airi discovered they were out of one of the ingredients; hydrogen peroxide. As nothing was open and they didn’t want to wait until the next morning, it was discovered that Airi’s contact solution contained the much needed hydrogen peroxide. Problem solved. One has to admire that kind of ingenuity.
As a gift for those of us that she invited, Airi made each person their own origami crane. According to the tradition, “when someone makes an origami crane, the crane is invested with a gesture of goodwill for the person to whom it will be gifted.” I like that. Airi’s gift to me is hanging right beside me as I type. I can use all the goodwill I can get.
Thank you, Airi, for your lovely gift. I wish you the best of luck as you start the next phase of your artistic endeavors.
THE BAD My first field trip with my brand new digital camera was to the Japanese Gardens in downtown Phoenix. It is quite a lovely place. They have ducks. I like ducks. According to the hostess, the ducks are not supposed to be there. All of the ponds and lakes at the Gardens are for the Koi. I guess nobody told the ducks. I got a couple of really great action shots of a duck coming in for a landing. Several months later, when I was putting together my website and my Facebook business page, I used my favorite duck picture of that day as a featured photograph.
Remember as a kid if you showed your mom a piece of paper with a stick man drawn in grape jelly that drawing was a sure sign of of artistic genius and immediately hung up somewhere in the house? I am happy to say that my wife doesn’t do that. Don’t get me wrong, she likes the artwork and photography that I do, but she doesn’t think everything I photograph needs to be hung in a gallery. But she LOVED that duck picture. Hopefully, I have made it clear. Although she greatly likes the photographs I do, this duck picture was the only one she LOVED. This last Wednesday she came to me and said ” this may sound silly for an anniversary gift, but would you consider getting the duck picture I LOVE printed and framed for me so I can put it my new office at work?” I didn’t think that sounded silly at all. In fact, it was a great idea. I have been wanting to try out some high quality prints for myself. This would be perfect.
The reader might be wondering at this moment “Where is the bad? Your wife LOVES your stupid duck picture, Tim, and wants to hang a print of it in her office.” Good question. The bad enters this story on the Sunday before she asked for the print. On that day, I deleted my original file of that print. Not only that, I had deleted the image from my website. And the topper was, I never posted it on Facebook like I thought I had.
It is never a pleasant feeling starting a conversation with “Dear, I am afraid I have some bad news…”
Yes, I could always go back to the Japanese Gardens and take more duck pictures, but it just wouldn’t be the same. There didn’t seem to be any hydrogen peroxide in MY contact solution. I was defeated.
But sometimes bad has a happy ending. Just this very afternoon I was working on my Facebook business page and I started thinking that I remember posting that stupid duck on Facebook. Just maybe I had posted it to my business albums instead of my personal site albums. I looked under albums and sure enough, there was an album of 2 pictures titled “Japanese Gardens…Ducks” I will be getting the framed order in about 14 days.
THE SCARY A little over a month ago I posted a blog about an episode on the TV show Thriller. The episode was called “Pigeons from Hell”. I finally worked up enough nerve to watch the whole episode on YouTube and I did a full analysis of why this episode scared me so much that I can still see the dead guy coming down the stairs with an ax buried in his head. I came to the following conclusions:
1. It was in black and white. Everything is scarier in black and white.
2. It had scary music. Not just scary music, but scary woman music. Every time the scary woman started singing, it meant someone would go into a trance, go upstairs and get killed. Whenever you heard that, it was time to shut the eyes.
3. The main character’s name is Tim. I was too young to know at the time that in most horror movies the character named Tim usually dies. But I know my dad and my Uncle Ed. I can’t prove it, but I am absolutely positive that they spent the entire show saying things like “they are going to get you Tim!” Not cool.
4. It had zombies in it. Not your Zombie Apocalypse type zombies, but the more traditional voodoo zombies.
Viewing it 52 years after the first watching of the show, I felt it held up well. It was more creepy than scary this time around. And back then, the censorship pretty much meant that the mind had to imaging all the blood and gore. The theater of the mind. For example, in the most famous slasher scene ever, the shower scene in the original “Psycho” we never see the knife penetrate any flesh at any time. The music and the screaming is what made the illusion seem so real, and the chocolate syrup.
I also was reminded that our minds play tricks on us over the years. I can still vividly see a man walking down the stairs of this creepy old house with an ax sticking out of his head. NOT TRUE! He walked down the stairs with the ax in his hand, with the intent of burying the ax in Timmy’s head.
I am pretty sure that is when I heard my first “he’s coming to get you, Timmy!” Muahhahahahahaha!!!