Monday, January 31, 2011

Mosaic Monday: Prayer for Egypt

The Temple at Dendara © 2009, 2010 Meri Arnett-Kremian

holding in my mind and heart
the image of greater freedom and opportunity
for the people of Egypt
and the hope that they preserve and protect
the treasures of their ancient civilization

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sepia Saturday: Egypt

featured in press coverage and on my mind,
I thought I'd present some historical photos

from the Library of Congress
G. Eric and Edith Matson collection.

Dating of these photographs is uncertain,
with dates between 1898 and 1946
all in the range of possiblity.

Strangely, many things haven't changed
all that much in the last 65 years.

Here's a glimpse of more recent Egypt
from my trip to that beautiful, historical land
in 2009.

Along the shore of the Nile, between Aswan and Luxor.

The Sphinx is no longer easily accessible.
There is a walkway around the perimeter
for viewing. To access the area between the paws,
a special permit is required.

The facade of the Temple of Horus at Edfu,
shown in the vintage photograph above from the air.

Along the road between Luxor and Abydos. 

In the villages outside of the Cairo metropolis,
 people live much as their parents 
and grandparents did, except that they have
mobile phones and satellite dishes,
often with generators to power their tv-watching.

Most women in rural areas do their laundry
in the waters of the Nile.

Men fish and farm as they've done for generations.

It's not an easy life 
living in one of the treasure chests of civilization.

May there be a speedy, peaceful resolution
 to the current protests
with no further loss of life or freedoms.

Haiku My Heart: Imagine

Haiku My Heart with Rebecca and gang.

weave a web of peace
across the vast universe
all we need is love

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mosaic Monday: Blue Lady

How about some red roses
for a blue lady?

A pretty folk art cross?

Putting hands together in prayer
or around soft balls of yarn?

Floating through life?

What's your pleasure?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sepia Saturday: John Grabill, Wounded Knee, and Plenty Horses

It always amazes me to see photographs taken
more than a hundred years ago.

And it makes me feel like a little part
of a longstanding tradition,
capturing moments in time via camera.
Of course I don't have to haul around big cameras
with heavy plates or worry about the harmful chemicals, 
just tripods and spare batteries and extra memory cards.

But once upon a time, a man named 
John C. H. Grabill (1866 - 1934)
made his way around the American West - 
circa the late 1880s to the mid-1890s 
and took photographs
of a way of life that's disappeared.

He sent a portfolio of images to Washington, D.C.
to obtain copyright protection for his works.
And then he seemed to disappear into the landscape.

But because he copyrighted those works, way back then,
the Library of Congress has made them available
to photography aficionados everywhere.

I searched census records, 
but never discovered Mr. Grabill.
Online sources have scant info, 
though one art site said he died in 1934. (*) 

One of the things he was famous for
was having photographed people on both sides 
of the massacre of indigenous peoples 
at what has been called Wounded Knee.

People like General Nelson A. Miles, 

who led the Cavalry Troops on their raid
to quell the outpouring of mysticism and religious fervor
led by a Paiute shaman named Wovoka.

Many Sioux followed his teachings, 
which included instructions to dance the Ghost Dance, wearing shirts that were believed to provide
 supernatural protection from the white man's bullets. 
The whole thing spooked the troops,
some of whom were determined
 to put an end to these rituals
by any means they deemed necessary.

The Sioux leader of this religious threat
was called Little.

Understanding and acceptance had no place 
in the Cavalry's world view. They, like Grabill,
saw native peoples as "hostiles."

On December 29, 1890, U.S. troops attacked and left  
some 300 native peoples dead, 
including mothers nursing infants. 

To read more about the shameful event, 
click HERE.

About 10 days later,
 a young Sioux man known to the whites
 as Plenty Horses and to his people as Senika-Wakan-Ota,

 decided to avenge the deaths 
by killing a young Cavalry officer.

He was tried twice for the murder of Lt. Edward H. Casey.
The first trial ended with a hung jury.

He was acquitted after the second trial,
 in which the judge gave instructions to the jury
 that the U.S. Army and Sioux nation were at war,
 rendering it impossible to convict Plenty Horses
 of murder or manslaughter. 

To read more about this sad case 
and the impact of growing up estranged
from your cultural heritage 
because of the values of the dominant group, 
click HERE.

(*) Interestingly, I did find stories from Bozeman, Montana
about a John Grabill who was convicted in 1924 for moonshining. He apparently skipped town before his trial
and was convicted in absentia. 
He was sentenced to six months and a fine of $1000.
And apparently he wasn't dissuaded, 
because he was busted
on similar charges 
(possession of alcohol and nuisance) in 1932.  

Don't know if they're the same guy or not.
If they were, I wonder what caused the downfall?

All photos from the Grabill Collection 
in the Library of Congress Photography Collection. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Weekend Reflection: Close to Home

Camera play close to home. . .

"Repose" © 2010 Meri Arnett-Kremian

my little piece of heaven.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mexico Monday: A Question

Isn't it time to close the door on political extremism,
on acts of senseless violence?
Time to let in the light of compassion and wisdom?

Let's get to work.

Buenas dias, Mexico Monday.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Mosaic Monday: Little Bits

Something a little different today for your viewing pleasure.

These are all bits and pieces of artful images
I created with mixed-media collage,
digital collage, or prints created from  altered digital images.
There's even part of an artist trading card pictured here.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday: Enigmatic

"Enigmatic" © 2010 Meri Arnett-Kremian

oh spectral image
draped in billowing whiteness 
you're an enigma

Friday, January 7, 2011

Sepia Saturday: Junius Booth

The subject of this dageurreotype is Junius Brutus Booth.

Daguerreotype of Junius Booth from the Library of Congress Daguerreotype Collection.

He was born in London in 1796 to Richard Booth, a lawyer, and Jane Elizabeth Game Booth. He displayed remarkable acting talent quite early in his life and committed to a stage career by the time he was 17.

Just after he turned 19 in 1815, he married Marie Delannoy.  They had many children, but only one survived infancy.  Meanwhile, his career was thriving.

He gained acclaim for his performance as Richard III in London at the Covent Garden Theater in 1817. He performed in several Shakespearean productions with Edmund Kean, the foremost tragedian actor of the time.

In other words, Junius's career took off. . . . and so did he, leaving his wife and sole surviving son behind in 1821. He and his mistress Mary Ann Holmes left for the United States.

They settled in Bel Air, Maryland and purchased a house which they remodeled and called "Tudor Hall." It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. Though its name made it sound grand, it was actually quite modest and Mary Ann -- and eventually their 10 children, six of whom survived -- lived in fairly primitive conditions.

Junius's wife, Marie Delannoy Booth, got wind of the mistress and family, and traveled to the U.S. to confront him. He ignored her pleas to return to the marriage. She finally gave up and divorced him, but not until 1851 (some 30 years later). Thereafter, he married Mary Ann Holmes when their youngest child was 11.

Junius had a successful 30 year career on the American stage, acting in Baltimore, New York, New Orleans, and Washington, D.C.  He became the manager of the Adelphi Theater in Baltimore in 1831. Two of his sons, Junius Jr. and Edwin Booth, became actors as well and sometimes toured with him.

Portrait of actor Edwin Booth from the Library of Congress Collection

In 1852, Junius, Edwin and Junius Jr. toured California, performing in San Francisco and Sacramento. On the trip back to the East Coast, they ventured to New Orleans for some acting engagements. On the steamboat trip up the Mississippi to Cincinnati, Junius Sr. drank river water and became ill. There was no doctor aboard to treat him, though there wouldn't have been antibiotics available in any event. He died five days later.

Junius, in life, was likely not easy to live with. He was an alcoholic and a bit of a hothead. In 1835, he wrote a letter to President Andrew Jackson, demanding that he pardon two pirates, in which he also threatened to kill the President. The letter was thought to be a hoax until handwriting analysis done a few days later proved the letter was authored by Booth. He apologized to the President and apparently nothing further came of it. 

The threat against the president was a foreshadowing of things to come. A family legacy was passed on. 

His son, John Wilkes Booth, assassinated President Abraham Lincoln the following decade.   

John Wilkes Booth portrait card from the Library of Congress Collection.

Weekend Reflection: Self Portraits

The self-portraits I like the best
are usually reflections,

especially ones where I can't see
all my imagined (and real) imperfections
too clearly.

Monday, January 3, 2011