Tuesday, August 31, 2010

On the subject of anarchy...

by Gabrielle Jones-Price 

After an interesting and lighthearted conversation about rules (personal mostly), I was struck by a statement that my friend offered up about anarchy:

"Anarchists don't build roads or hospitals."

My thought was that anarchists would not build more roads or hospitals by the logic that in this industrial age, we certainly don't need roads more than we need to fix what has already been paved. In the same line of thinking, anarchists would not want to build roads that lead to more strip malls and fast food consumerism that in turn lead more people to hospitals where no one gets proper care, even with expensive insurance policies, adding to more consumption within the pharmaceutical realm where CEO's get richer while people get sicker. Being sick in America is profitable -- it's why there is so much garbage in the food.

It's a system that's flawed because the resource extraction to keep it afloat is inherently violent. That is what an empire looks like and all empires fail. I'm glad others are seeking to build something outside of the existing structure that is more localized and community driven.

Anarchists want to turn that system upside down and sometimes break it, so that we can build a better one than exists. Simply put, if anarchists or revolutionaries did not exist, change would not exist and a world without change does not; cannot evolve. Everything is impermanent. Many anarchists understand this Buddhist philosophy more than most westerners and I feel they embody Gandhi's notion of being the change they wish to see in the world.

They may be unorthodox, kooky, strange or bewildering in behavior but in the end, they do it out of love and a passion for something better than the existing mediocrity of an overly comfortable capitalist society that looks the other way [the left] or cheers for more war [right]. Anarchists believe in the beauty of what lies beyond what most people so easily and too often settle for in this country. Many civil rights pioneers might today be considered anarchists.

Not all anarchists are violent but many are angry because they CARE. Anger is a valid human emotion. Suppressing our anger in the face of injustices puts more people in hospitals due to stress alone.

Hug a local anarchist...they are making changes many Americans are simply afraid to make themselves and those changes will benefit the whole.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Woman's role in creation

by Anais Nin

Woman's role in creation should be parallel to her role in life. I don't mean the good earth. I mean the bad earth too, the demon, the instincts, the storms of nature. Tragedies, conflicts, mysteries are personal. Man fabricated a detachment which became fatal. Woman must not fabricate.

She must descend into the real womb and expose its secrets and its labyrinths. She must describe it as the city of Fez, with its Arabian Nights gentleness, tranquility and mystery. She must describe the voracious moods, the desires, the worlds contained in each cell of it. For the womb has dreams. It is not as simple as the good earth. I believe at times that man created art out of fear of exploring woman. I believe woman stuttered about herself out of fear of what she had to say. She covered herself with taboos and veils. Man invented a woman to suit his needs. He disposed of her by identifying her with nature and then paraded his contemptuous domination of nature. But woman is not nature only. She is the mermaid with her fish-tail dipped in the unconscious. Her creation will be to make articulate this obscure world which dominates man, which he denies being dominated by, but which asserts its domination in destructive proofs of its present madness.

[Learn more about Anais.]

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Journalism, politics and WTF?

submitted by Gabrielle Jones-Price

I'm one of those Gemini's that is addicted to information. I've never met another Gemini that wasn't in some way, shape or form addicted to something information related. Whether it is computer codes, musical notes, books, electronics or all of the above the Mercurial sign of the twins is certainly ruled by communication.

This can be a blessing or a curse depending on how you decide how to use this specific 'gift'. The kind of minds that race with data can be hard to shut off at night without some other sensory distraction like music or white noise. Meditation is incredibly helpful for the sign of the twins so my racing mind isn't a big problem unless I drink a lot of caffeine or read a lot of news.

Yeah...news. Lots of it now and a lot of it not so good. Working on articles to post is a nightmare because it is difficult to know where to start as a jumping off point. Which story to work, what needs more attention, what will do the most good. I suppose you could ask a lot of journalists what their difficulties are and I'd hazard to guess a lot of them couldn't say 'do the most good' from what I've seen lately...unless it's for the 'good' of a corporation or the war...which is the same. I'm beginning my journey as a writer and in the current climate of the press, it is an exciting time to jump in. For an activist it can sometimes be stressful in trying to find the truth. There is simply quite a lot of bull shit to step around out there.

I've been a long time subscriber of Freepress and Fairness in Accuracy in Reporting newsletters, at least since Bush's second term. I was more involved in trying to raise awareness about what this administration was doing by networking with activists and marching, especially after working the polls. People were very frustrated. I had hit a brick wall and experienced burnout along with other friends who were active. Some people moved away, others took on different causes and I was a single mom whose daughter just moved away. I experienced a whole new kind of personal freedom and a lot of things happened during that time. I was working two jobs and trying to get a photography biz jump-started. That summer, I survived an attack but escaped relatively unharmed...at least on the outside. It was also the summer I saw something terribly, terribly wrong with media when Katrina hit the Gulf coast.

After what amounted to a PTSD spiral, I took a break from activism to recoup and regroup. I found I couldn't stay away from it long because it helped me deal with a lot of things. It brought me together with like minded people for something bigger than myself. So any circumstance or event that seemed bad in my life simply paled in comparison to what I saw going on in the world. I went to the big march on DC in January of 2007, which was a life changing experience for me and I wouldn't trade that for the world. But with little to no media coverage on the largest march since Vietnam, it seemed the momentum had gone out of the activism for awhile after, personally. I felt as if I'd reached some plateau of thinking that there wasn't much else one person could do. So I focused on myself and did a lot of reading and reconnecting with my camera. Photography was my catharsis.

I still did a lot of writing, blogging and posting on social media especially during election time, when I wasn't taking pictures. I have always been a cheerleader for the Constitution, specifically the First Amendment and especially after the Patriot Act was passed. It was dumbfounding to me that I might actually be considered an 'enemy combatant' so I found and supported several groups including one that supported third party candidates. Democrats simply left many anti-war activists a lack of choice (which I find highly unpatriotic, Patriot Act be damned). Whether anyone voted for my choice of candidate didn't matter to me, as long as people were involved in the process. They might just be curious enough to investigate on their own.

I don't know...call me crazy...but I still have this idea in my head that people are inherently good and will make good choices if they are presented with good information. Kooky, I know.

Just before the last presidential election, I was following the candidates as closely as I had before but didn't write too much at that time. I simply had some living to do and my brain felt like there had been a perpetual campaign going on (little did I know how correct that assessment was). The big three that were up to bat were Edwards, Clinton and Obama...the current President was my last choice. Edwards called for a pledge from his fellow Dems running against him to join him in declaring that they would not take lobbyist money. I thought that was a courageous play and Obama took the pledge. Hillary did not. Of course I want to see a woman in the White House one day...just not that one. She lost my vote, much to the chagrin of some of my female counterparts but bless 'em, they were resilient and got over it rather quickly. After Edwards indiscretion (still making news...for cry-eye-eye), I decided there was a lot of homework to do on Obama before I cast my vote.

The run up to the election was coming at me through bits and pieces after that time - I was busy moving and getting ready to take a leap in a new house, new studio and a bold risk with the photography. I got rid of my television, listened to debates on NPR radio and got my news via the internet. I remember the day I heard that McCain had chosen a female as his VP running mate and initially thought that was a very smart move...

I'll just say after hearing the debates, it wasn't an option not to try to get Obama in the White House. Any respect I had for McCain dwindled fast during his campaign...all the way up to his concession speech which was a day late and a dollar short. The kind of ugly campaigning they did had taken its toll...and that mud slinging ugliness is still alive and well. The perpetual campaigning is to the point where there is no damn governing going on in DC.

Any respect I had for journalism was dwindling just as fast as Palin's career should have. And now I'm hearing that one of her offspring is going to be on Dancing With The Stars...and that, ladies and gentlemen, brings us to WTF.

There is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there?

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Seeing without a camera...

I've been doing an awful lot of that lately. It's important for photographers who are geeks about their cameras and their craft to occasionally stop looking at life through a viewfinder and actually interact with it. Something about being behind a lens gives a photographer somewhat of a sense of detachment, which can be a good way to learn to be objective. That has its limits, however. 
Photo courtesy of John Brooks

I enjoyed going to live shows to see bands of all kinds for awhile. At some point, I stepped outside myself and asked where this was going. I was attending shows and working seriously (I don't know any other way to shoot) but it seemed the payoff was door cover, beer and seeing my pics on social media. I had a very nice web site for about a year, thanks to a good friend and musician who offered to work a trade. I took on a few projects that were outside my comfort zone and stretched myself. But what I learned was that in making this a business and dealing with attitudes I wasn't used to, it sucked the passion right out of it. I sold enough art pieces to cover the cost of the site, decided not to renew and after a year, went in another direction with a music project. That's when the writing muse returned.

Shows aside, I made money shooting a few weddings, events, parties, and sporting events over a handful of years. When I'm shooting, I'm shooting...I don't talk much when I do so my other senses begin to heighten. I heard a lot of funny anecdotes and stories at weddings. There were shows in particular that I enjoyed and others where I heard a lot more than I wanted to hear. Overhearing conversations can be fortunate (or really unfortunate depending on the club). The unfortunate ones cannot be unheard and that was another kind of burnout altogether. Drama gets old...especially when it's the same play over and over again with the same characters. The word of mouth from my work was good but in the end, door cover and beer wasn't worth the drama or the drive. What leads did come from it didn't pay, so I had to stop and ask, "Am I being taken seriously?" Because for awhile I felt treated like a twenty-something fan grrl with a camera.

Don't get me wrong, trades and backscratching are a good thing for artists to do for each other. It's good for networking and getting your name out there. Perhaps photography is just a different animal. There are a lot of decent digital cameras on the market so anyone can shoot a show and have decent shots to share. But if there is a particular style of photography you would like to use that's outside the realm of auto/point and shoot, you're going to need to find a photographer that knows manual camera settings for that. Point and shoot lacks a lot of feeling and that's not what good music photos should portray.

Being behind the camera is always more fun for me when there is music playing. It has inspired my photography since the beginning and now it's just a matter of getting back to the simplicity of the thing. Whether blaring tunes in the car looking around for a shot or listening while setting up shots in a studio...that's when I'm in my element. I will always be learning to see with my camera. Sometimes, it's just the photographer's vision that gets unfocused.

It's times like these that you just have to go with the flow and abide.


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TRC is run solely on donations from patrons via PayPal. If you enjoy TRC's work, please consider donating. Any amount is generous. Receipt will read The Road Home, Inc. Thank you!