Tom MacWright

Monthly Consumption August 2011

portrait of Ellen Terry by Julia Margaret, 1864

Julia Margaret Cameron

mere conventional topographic Photography-map making & skeleton rendering of feature & form without the roundness & fulness of force & feature that modelling of flesh & limb which the focus I use can only give tho’ called and condemned as “out of focus”. What is focus-& who has a right to say what focus is the legitimate focus-My aspirations are to ennoble Photography and to secure for it the character and uses of High Art by combining the real & ideal & sacrificing nothing of Truth by all possible devotion to Poetry & Beauty-

Julia Margaret Cameron to Sir John Herschel

I should have known about her much earlier, but only via The History of Photography did I find out about Cameron, who is basically mesmerizing in terms of output and story. She started with photography at age 48 and had this feeling of personal relationship with the subject - trying to make people look better with soft-focus portraits and the like.

Until We Felt Red (2006, Kaki King)

Videos: (Never Said I Loved You , Gay Sons Of Lesbian Monthers)

Are we to have another century of guitar when the best instrument in the world is still the piano?

Junior is Kaki King’s proper guns-blazing grand introduction to rock music, but this was her first shot at singing on a record, and it’s at that wonderful tipping point where there are clearly still quite a few ideas going, and enough freedom to include both an 8 minute anthem and a 2 minute slide-guitar ditty. And the wittiness of ‘Never Said I Loved You’ is ever-relevant and irreplaceable. As evidenced by the preceding quote - King in Second Brain, singing from her vantage point as the most prominent woman guitar virtuoso of her time.

The Distant Lover (1990, Christoph Hein)

When I was lying there in my old bed, Mother came in. She sat down on the edge of the bed and said we had to talk, there were so many things we never talked about. I said I didn’t understand what she meant. She looked sad and asked why I was so cold to her, so unloving. I protested mildly, but without conviction, simply to avoid a quarrel.

The one-word review on the cover describes this novel accurately: “devastating”. This one takes a different sort of effort on the part of the reader - it’s short and spare, and can be a page-turner at times, but it takes a toll. Hein dispatches boredom, numbness, and quiet agony interchangeably, capturing the mood of a time and the danger of modernity while instilling the urge to call ones parents and hug a friend as soon as possible.