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I have a cool thing for you today!

Neat, huh? This is an image by Jean-François Rauzier, a Paris-based photographer who creates hyper photos. What’s a hyperphoto? Well, it’s a image made of a lot of little images and put together to create a work of art that is ten thousand times the resolution of a normal photograph. Why do this? So that you can make a photograph that is the size of two school buses and retain perfect crispness.

Seem too fantastical to be true? Check out this linkHere you will find more of his images, but if you click on them you can zoom in to look at the detail. And then you can zoom in again. And again. Did you see the two people walking through the door to the left of the left-most statue at the bottom of this picture? No? Zoom in.

A screenshot to prove it!

How cool is that?

These are awesome on a technical level, but they are also beautiful. I love the surrealist quality of the images. They are beautifully haunting and I want to crawl inside them and explore!

For more images, visit Rauzier’s website. It’s in French, but Chrome translates it pretty well, and if your browser doesn’t translate, the pictures speak for themselves.

Which image is your favorite? Did you find any cool stuff while you were zooming around?

Have a happy, happy weekend!

<3
DH

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Remember in my last post when I said that I was looking forward to my life settling a bit? And remember how I was excited that it probably would because I had just started a great, new, grown-up job?

I was laid off yesterday.

It’s a fact of life these days, but nothing like this has ever happened to me before. No one has ever even wanted to fire me, especially after only three weeks of work. It feels like I’ve had the air knocked out of me, or like when a tablecloth gets pulled out from under place settings at a dinner party, only not in the cool way where everything stays on the table, unbroken.

The Dinner Table (1897) Henri Matisse

However, I have realized in the last twenty-four hours that I am still on the table. I’m a bit tipped over, and there’s a whole mess of broken stuff scattered around, but I am still here and there are some great people, some of whom I barely know, who do not understand the choice that was made yesterday any more than I do and are helping me pick up the pieces.

I feel a lot better today than I thought I would be able to at this time yesterday. I am still stressed and scared, but I feel like I’m going to make it.

And who knows? Maybe getting laid off will end up being the best thing that could have happened.

I don’t know what’s next, but I believe in myself a little bit more than I did this morning and a hell of a lot more than I did yesterday at five in the afternoon.

We will just have to see what happens. And keep on living.

<3
DH

I cannot believe that June is almost over. So much has changed in the past two months — graduating, moving, constant work and job hunting, finding new balance — and despite all the stress, life is pretty awesome.

There’s also some pretty awesome stuff in the world, so I think today is a good day to write up a favorites list!

— I love art nouveau and I’m a bit of nerd, so finding Alexandra Douglass‘ website was pretty cool. It’s some fun stuff! This Mucha inspired piece would be amazing in our game room.

Game Nouveau — Alexandra Douglass

— Turns out moving to a new place inspires an awful lot of DIY. The next project I want to tackle is this art-map from Apartment Therapy.

I’ll make one of Atlanta for me and one of Pittsburgh for The Boy. It’ll be cool.

— Speaking of DIY, I’m trying to decide if I want to do this to frame some of my photographs. Real frames are expensive!

— These are amazing. Anybody have ninety thousand dollars I can borrow so I can use these to journal? No? Me either.

Montblanc Skeleton Pens

— Favorite thing about our new neighborhood? The farmer’s markets! We have two awesome local farmer’s markets that set up each week with local people who bring vegetables from their gardens, bread from their kitchens, and crafts from their tables. It’s super awesome. If you’re in the Atlanta area, I highly recommend the Tucker Farmer’s Market on Thursdays and the Lilburn Farmer’s Market on Fridays.

Did you find any awesome stuff in June? Tell us about it! And if you want to see more stuff I think is cool, follow me on Pinterest! Stay tuned for Found Photo Friday and some photos I shot at last weeks’ farmer’s market.

Have a happy Wednesday!

-DH

I didn’t think FPF was going to happen today. I hadn’t found anything particularly interesting to share and I’ve been enjoying a day off from work, and right this minute I ought to be getting ready to go to a wedding (congrats to Shelby and Josh!), but then The Boy had a super helpful moment.

The Boy: “Hey, look at this.”

Me: “Wow! This is really cool!”

The Boy: “Have you written your Found Photo Friday post yet?”

Me: “Nope.”

The Boy: “Well, there you go.”

Best helper.

What he showed me was a slideshow from The Telegraph with rare World War One images. What makes these images special is that they are some of the only color images from the war.

Hans Hildenbrand was one of nineteen German photographers who documented the war, but he was the only one to create images in color. He was assigned to a platoon and documented their day to day activities.

The photos are fascinating and a bit surreal. It’s difficult to keep in mind what time you are looking back into when looking at the images because so much of what we are used to seeing captured from the war is in black and white. The vivid colors are not all that make the images engaging, however: it is plain that Hildenbrand was a skilled photographer with an eye for interesting composition. I plan on looking at more of his work as soon as possible (he became a photographer for National Geographic after the war, apparently) and I will, of course, share what I find!

Take a look at the slideshow. There are seventeen images and some neat information about the work. And, as always, let me know what you think in the comments below!

Have a beautiful weekend!

-DH

I was not feeling well yesterday.

There was a lot of laying about, Being Human on Netflix, and cuddles with The Cat and The Boy. The Boy was kind enough to take care of me — making tea and fetching crackers and things — and by the evening I was starting to feel better, but I was starving. I wanted real food. Comforting, home cooked, wholesome, healthy, delicious food.

I took stock of the ingredients available and my raging tastebuds and decided that since I had been sickly all day that I needed soup.

So I made soup. In the middle of summer. In ninety degree weather. Because I’m ridiculous.

Despite some conflicting feelings, I have decided to share the recipe with you today. The conflict arises from the fact that this is an art blog with a focus in photography. What business do I have posting recipes regardless of how delicious the dish turned out to be?

I’ve been justifying posting recipes because part of the purpose of this blog (see header) is exploring reality. I also tell myself it is okay because I photograph the recipes that I post. Also because it is something I care about.

But then I realized that I was being silly. Yes, those reasons are fine justification for including posts about cooking, but honestly, if I want to write a well rounded arts blog, what business do I have excluding recipes? Cooking is an art, without doubt. It is one of my favorite arts to practice. And when I cook I use the same level of creativity that I do with any other project I work on. I rarely use recipes, except as inspiration or for help with ratios, and so all of my cooking is as original as my images, my characters, or my prose. Since moving into my new home, I have been reunited with food and it feels just as wonderful as picking up a camera again after a long break.

That said, I have no intention of turning The First 10,000 into a food blog. I will probably post original recipes from time to time, but I will strive to keep the blog well rounded and informative about lots of art.

What are your opinions of cooking as art? I’d love your input. Comment below!

Now for the soup:

Spicy Feel Better Soup

I have decided to call this a chowder. It is not a cream based soup, but it is thickened with potatoes and has onions and corn. Also, the definitions of chowder I can find are vague enough that this soup fits just about perfectly!

I made up this recipe as I went along, so taste as you cook to tailor the balance of flavor to what you like. As it is, it made enough soup for two good sized meals for The Boy and me. I should probably mention, however, that The Boy ate three bowls of it in one sitting, so it probably makes more like six servings, depending on the size of your bowls and your appetite. It is also fairly spicy. It won’t burn your mouth off, but you can definitely feel the heat. A spoonful of sour cream on top would be lovely and balance some of the heat, if you’re concerned.

For vegetarian readers, this soup is vegan if you get rid of the chicken! Feel free to replace the chicken with tofu. Just saute small slices or chunks of extra firm tofu, well seasoned with salt and pepper, until very crispy and add the tofu to your bowl! Don’t put it in the soup pot or it wil get soggy. Unless you like that. Beans would also be a delicious protein replacement. Black beans would be good, but maybe consider a milder bean, like a garbanzo or great northern, to avoid overpowering the corn as it is already competing with a lot of spice. If you use beans, add one can, well rinsed and drained, or an equivalent amount of cooked dry beans at the point in the recipe where you would add the chicken.

Spicy Corn Chowder (original recipe)

Olive oil for sauteeing
1.5 c corn kernels
½ large onion, chopped
1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
1 tbsp Oregano
2 tsp cumin
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Chicken breasts, Bite sized pieces
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup water
3 medium potatoes, cubed
Salt
Pepper

— Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in your soup pot. Add onion and corn and sauté until onion is soft and corn is beginning to brown. Don’t undercook at this step! The char on the corn makes a huge difference in the flavor. Add cayenne pepper, oregano, and cumin.

— Season chicken well with salt and pepper after cutting. Add chicken (or beans) and garlic to the pot. Cook until garlic begins to soften and chicken is at least seared on the outside. If using beans, feel free to allow them to brown a bit before moving to the next step.

— Add vegetable broth and water. I used part water because the broth was a very dark color and I didn’t want the soup to be that dark. Feel free to just use broth though.

— Add potatoes. Cover and allow to come to a slow boil. Cook until potatoes are fork tender.

— Uncover, reduce heat to a simmer, and with your wooden spoon break up some of the potato chunks so that the potato helps thicken the broth. Taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if needed. You should expect to need to salt the soup to season the potatoes. Add more of the other spices if desired. At this point, if you want the soup to be creamy, stir in some cream or milk. About half a cup should do, and than let it simmer a few minutes more for the flavors to meld.

Serve as is, or with a spoonful of sour cream, a sprinkling of grated jack cheese, or a slice of crusty bread. Enjoy!

Let me know how you like the soup and if you decide to make any creative changes!

Have a happy Wednesday!

-DH

I really am going to start posting regularly again. Seriously this time. Oy.

Adjusting to my new schedule (or lack thereof) has been more difficult than I anticipated and I am STILL unpacking and organizing the new house, so blogging had to take a backseat for a bit, but I’m back and here to stay!

Speaking of the house — It’s amazing. We are settling in nicely and I have been doing quite a bit of cooking to break in the kitchen. I was even able to start hanging artwork the other day, so it is really starting to feel like home. Photos will probably happen within the next few weeks, if all goes well.

Today we are getting back to the art. In the depths of the archives, you might remember this post. I spent a long time working on the Big Question and now I’d like to share with you the first completed stage of my exploration. I call it the first stage not because the piece is unfinished, but rather because the Question is far too involved to answer in a couple thousand words. Scholars in every discipline could write tomes on this topic and never reach a perfect answer, but I hope that you will accept my simple contribution and enjoy the photos. The links within the text will take you to more images from the exhibition and information about the artists.

Why Do We Care?

I do not remember ever being without some appreciation for art. I remember looking at illustrations in children’s books that my parents would read to me and being able to tell, in my toddling way, why I liked them more or less than the ones in the book we had read the night before. I remember how I felt as I watched my first professional stage play, a performance of Woody Guthrie’s American Song, and exited the theatre full of awe and inspiration at the talent and creativity that I had witnessed. I remember reading Macbeth for the first time, sitting with my mother and taking turns reading aloud, and just feeling. I could feel the words that reverberate in your mouth no matter how softly you speak them, feel the tension that grew with each scene, swelling until there was nothing left for the characters to do but self destruct, and feel the emotion that makes each of those characters so human.

When thinking about art and “appreciation”, I tend to be drawn to empathy to explain why art matters to people. Empathy with the artist, his motivations to create, and the subject matter, are all reasons for an audience to care, but is this the only way that art can connect? If the audience doesn’t experience empathy, has the artist failed? What about art that is viewed without any knowledge of the circumstances of its creation? If I don’t know that Wheatfield with Crows was the last painting that Van Gogh created before he committed suicide, does that mean that I will not care about it? That it will have no meaning for me?

Wheatfield with Crows (1890) – Vincent van Gogh

Perhaps, then, empathy is not the only, or best, answer. The ability of art to make a person feel, to evoke emotional, intellectual, and physical responses, must be more than an audience simply understanding where an artist is coming from or what the topic is about.

The Exploration

The photography exhibitions, Lust and Longing, at the Jennifer Schwartz gallery are deeply personal. The first is an exploration of sexuality through the eyes of several different artists. The second reflects the mind-scape of an artist suffering from depression. In Lust, the personal quality of the subject matter is highlighted not only in the individual images, but in the structure of the show itself. Being a presentation of several artists’ work, the photographs vary widely in method and style with some pieces having more traditional sensibilities, while others are more abstract. From the capture to the processing and presentation, each image allows the artists’ individual voices and approaches to the idea of lust to come through. Images depicting lust are juxtaposed with photographs that find interesting ways to evoke it: there are nudes, images of full lips blurred as if seen from behind fabric or frosted glass, photos of inanimate objects, and even food. Objects of desire and why we desire them are explored at every turn. When you see a large image of a hamburger hanging on a gallery wall, you are forced to ask yourself why it is there, and then realize as you feel a twinge of hunger that it, too, is something that can be lusted after. The artists experiment with ideas of lust through their own preferences, as with Mary Ellen Bartley‘s diptych image of a nude woman seen past pages of a book. An unfocused glimpse is all we see of the woman, as if our faces are hidden behind this book as we peek at her undressing. Bartley’s artist statement explains that she chose this approach because she finds books to be sexy, and she showcases this well: there is an element of mystery as neither the woman nor the book are completely recognizable, but the sexuality of the image – in the softly curling pages, enticingly parted, mirrored by the model’s curves – is undeniable.

Untitled Diptych (Hip) – Mary Ellen Bartley

Longing, though just as personal, is a very different viewing experience from Lust. This exhibition showcases the work of a single artist and, where the images in Lust are tied together only by their shared theme, Longing is a cohesive and consistent body of work. Rounding the partition wall in the middle of the gallery, the viewer moves from the varied and somewhat chaotic selection of sensual imagery to a different world. There are only a few photographs in this series, but their size fills the space as the the pristine images transport us to a tranquil beach environment. The colors and simplicity of the images evoke a sense of calm, but this is not just destination landscape photography. There is deeper feeling living just under the surface, a profound feeling of loneliness, that is conveyed through the composition and content of the shots. These large images are highly detailed but very empty, with each one having a very small subject shot from far off, as if the photographer is unable to interact or make a personal connection and can only watch the world go by. The subjects, though dwarfed in the complete image, do not only convey this distance, but also depict escape and evoke a sense of hope. The individuals in the photographs are all pictured moving away from the photographer into the expanse of empty beach around them or flying through the air on hang gliders. This, along with the escapist quality vacation images can have, seems to offer a solution to the confining loneliness that fills the images. Such a solution undoubtedly offers hope, and what better than the freedom of flying, being lifted up and soaring on air currents into the sunlight, to depict such a feeling.

Untitled No. 0357 (2010) – Kerry Mansfield

The personal nature of these two exhibits and their themes seem to correlate to the personal response that is evoked in the viewer. The themes and feelings depicted are easily relatable, but become more relevant when presented in a genuine way that shows how a real person, the artist, actually thinks and feels. In the case of Longing, Kerry Mansfield was in a state of severe depression at the time that she captured the images, so the visual tension between the open spaces and the feelings of lonely separation, as well as the hope for escape, may have been inevitable as it can be difficult to prevent such strong feelings from bleeding into the work. The viewer feels these emotions because the work is permeated with them. Just as when someone can tell without asking if a person is upset, it’s as if the feelings have a life of their own. Lust explores not only the photographers’ feelings on the subject, as with Mary Ellen Bartley, but also their thoughts and commentary. Michael Grace-Martin, for example, has an thought provoking artist statement for his photograph Emerge. He puts forth the argument that his model, though beautiful, is not doing or wearing anything particularly seductive, so if the viewer picks up on a sense of lust he should consider whether the photograph or his own feelings toward it are the cause.

Emerge – Michael Grace Martin

But where does this leave us on the topic of why art matters? Empathy, I think, still plays an important part – after all, why would there be any study of art whatsoever if viewers did not have a desire to understand it? – but, again, there is more to feeling than just understanding. Feeling is not always rational. We often feel before we think. Perhaps all of our art study is actually an endeavor to justify the feelings that art evokes.

To really get to the root of this, I think we must examine both parties, the artist as well as the viewer. I do not doubt that art will always exist in some form, even if there is no one who wants to look at it. Artists tend to create because they feel a need to do so, whether to organize their thoughts, to vent their emotions, or because they have something that they want to say to or about the world. This need is what we see when we view their art. The passion of the artist for his subject, and his own empathy for it that allows him to see it in all of its detail and know what to highlight about it to communicate his message, even one as simple as “look how beautiful spring is”, are the mental states that allow an artist to create. Art made to satisfy such a need has an immediacy and urgency that highlights the passion with which it was created. Communication of such passion requires an artist to open up and make himself vulnerable to the world, and this may be why art is so universally relatable. We feel first when we can see the emotion and the passion that is being shared because we know the dangers of opening up in such a personal way, either because we have experienced them before, or because we avoid them, lacking the courage for our own expression. Art is capable of inspiring and exposing our emotions because, intentionally or not, it has been infused with its own by the artist, and making a person feel something – whether love, hatred, happiness, or sorrow – is undoubtedly the most effective way to forge a connection.

I hope you enjoy the piece. As always, I love to hear your thoughts, so comment below!

-DH

I am working on something new today. It’s a writing project that I have been planning for a few weeks, but today I am trying to dive into it head first. I wanted to post about it here, partly to get my motor running, but also because I’d love to know what people think about the question that I am exploring:

Why do we care?

From Grounded: Untitled No. 0077 -- Kerry Mansfield

More specifically, why do we care about art?

I have always been a lover of art of all kinds – visual, performance, music, etc – and I can usually find and understand some value in any piece that I see, even ones that I do not particularly like or enjoy. I guess that means I have a sort of empathy when it comes to art. An empathy with the artist, perhaps, and his or her feelings about the art that is being created. I’m not sure if that’s it, but it is a start to how I’m feeling.

But what I’m not sure how to explain is why art touches me in the way it does, why it is able to affect so many different people in a variety of ways, evoking emotional, intellectual, and physical responses, and how. Is it a function of the artist taking something that matters to him or her and capturing it in such a way that displays their personal passion for the subject? Does seeing someone else’s passion make us care? Is it because “art” has some sort of magic property that has been acquired from social constructs? Why are we able to relate to art and why does it elicit such strong and uniquely human reactions?

From Lust: Erin -- Heather Musto

I began my exploration by visiting the local Jennifer Schwartz gallery (which I highly recommend if you happen to be passing though Atlanta). There I saw two exhibitions: Grounded and Lust. I spent a very long time looking at the images, taking the time to really study them, but also to step back and enjoy. I left excited to write up a review of the exhibitions and the gallery, and I am beginning to see how to approach my Big Question, but this is definitely going to be a case of needing to “write my way in” to decide how best to answer it. Hence the blog post.

From Lust: Pomegranate Seeds -- Wynn Myers

And this is where I’d love some help from the world-at-large! Oh lovely readers, what are your thoughts? Tell me, please:

Why do you care?

Comment below if you have a little something to say. Share with people you know and encourage them to comment as well — the more voices, the merrier. Let the conversation commence!

-DH