January 2013
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Year 2013

Sworn Virgins

Sworn Virgin, or ‘burnesha” elevated a woman to the status of a man and granted her all the rights and privileges of the male population. In order to manifest the transition such a woman cut her hair, donned male clothing and sometimes even changed her name. Male gestures and swaggers were practiced until they became second nature. More photos here.

Junk Boats, River Pirates

These photos are from an excellent photo essay my mother sent me months ago. It’s too good to have been sitting in my unpublished posts que for too long. This project touches so many of my interests these days, street performance, building forts, sailing, traveling the world, river pirates. It’s magic!

Wired featured the same photos with more information on the main artist, who calls herself Swoon. It’s worth a look.

Tod Seelie, a friend of Swoon’s, has been on all the trips so far as a crew member and brought his camera to document the creativity and chaos.

“I can only really speak for me,” Seelie says, “And really it’s a combination of things, but I’d say the main point [of the trips] is inspiration. It’s the inspiration we feel and the inspiration other people feel when they come across us.”

They built this ships out of New York City trash and in 2009 sailed them, uninvited, from Slovenia to Venice for the Venice Biennale. Really, my timing is just right. By the time you read this I’ll be sailing down from Slovenia on the A4 autostrada, blasting past Venice to Florence for another seven months of school at Helikos.

Camping in Bannack

Bannack turned four last Sunday, and I’ve been missing him extra hard lately. Here are some photos from a roll of film I took in Montana this summer. These photos are from two trips, a camping trip to Bannack, Mont. with Becca and Ben and a multi-family trip to Revenue Flats, near Norris Hot Springs.

Bat Embryos

From Reddit.

Suffering in Egypt

My summer in Montana is wrapping up. It has been beautiful. A summer punctuated by hot, pine-scented mornings hiking the loop behind my parent’s house, and big-sky nights that occasionally wink with the streak of a meteor or erupt into thunder, hail and lightning.

Heat and thunder also emanate from the stream of news from around the world: sexual/political scandals, secret  government spying programs and summertime violence across the globe. I’ve been trying to keep up with news of the protests in Brazil and Egypt. These protests show the fragility of the veil that separates the acceptable play of order and chaos in human society from the unbearably cruel and destructive influence of the same forces. Look how quickly the intention to show up and speak your piece can turn to deadly and brutal conflict.

Yesterday, an American photographer in Cairo posted a gallery of his very recent photos to Reddit.

I started taking pictures as soon as I arrived, being the only white guy I got a few strange looks, and some pretty angry faces. A few threatening protestors told me I couldn’t take pictures and to leave immediately. A group of 15 or so protestors started to gather around me and a bunch of angry Arabic flew back and forth. So ya… maybe not the best idea?

Finally someone started speaking English to me! After explaining to the crowd I was there to record and tell they’re story, they welcomed me into their family. They brought me a translator, water, anything I needed.

The photos in the gallery he posted are raw and unnerving, so watch out. They show a much more vivid side of the conflict than I’ve seen elsewhere on the news. The expression of anguish in this particular photograph stood out to me immediately. I recognized his twisted, pained expression from two Rodin sculptures on display at the Art Institute of Chicago. (Here’s a post about my visit there in 2011.)

He was asked a question about the smells he encountered while taking these photographs by Reddit user mineown2020:

Absolutely serious question: What does it smell like in these photos?

His response:

Burning. Tear gas and burning rubber. The hospital didn’t smell to bad, they brought a guy in with a headshot wound, and after a few hours I would get a really eery terrible whiff of decay whenever I went by him. I don’t know if it was in my mind or real.

Worst than the smell was walking around in the mosque (have to take shoes off) with blood sticking to your feet. After a few hours when the floor got bad, everyone was like fuck it we puttin dem shoes on!