I stumbled over a few cartes-de-visite recently without realising what they were. I hadn’t realised that Parisians and Victorians (and the rest of the world) exchanged photographic portraits as calling cards.[Read more…] about Cartes-de-Visite
‘Rosebud’ was an enigma: the dying word of Citizen Kane, finally explained at the end of the film. Similarly, there was a Rosmeen question that came to be resolved shortly before our father died. As Orson Welles wrote in 1975, denying that his Kane character was modelled on media tycoon Randolph Hearst ‘There are parallels, but these can be just as misleading as comparisons.’[Read more…] about Rosmeen
I took a photo in August 2012 with a telephone camera whose depth of field and field of view are neither much different to those obtained by whatever device was used by one of my great-grandfathers in July 1888. We’ll call him JLR because it’s easier than John Loftus Robinson. This shot was taken when visiting Hardwick Hall with my father FRR on an excursion following ancestral footsteps documented by a series of photos taken by JLR between 1880 and 1893.
And while we’re abbreviating, so you don’t get confused between JLR, FRR and SLR, I’ll say that SLR is a standard acronym for the single lens reflex camera.[Read more…] about SLR and JLR
I was excited though not surprised when President Éamon de Valera walked down the aisle towards my grandfather’s coffin. Grandfathers can be hugely important and mysterious figures to kids so why wouldn’t the President of our country be showing his respect to my grandfather? The bar had been set quite high the week before with the TV coverage for Winston Churchill’s funeral. I had no other model for my first funeral, so to speak.
I was only ten and knew nothing much of the world beyond my family. Indeed, I wasn’t completely sure of that much within my family. Family gatherings, particularly those agnate, were generally fuelled by drink and thrived on stories of death by various mis-adventures. An oral tradition, the drinking and the storytelling both. The rituals often involved stormy nights under the flickering light of the damnable smokey coal fires of the era. The elaborations depended on the storyteller. ‘It was a late summer evening’ might become ‘One spring morning’ and we accepted such ambiguity because the outcome was assured.[Read more…] about On Persistent Ambiguity
‘Days and months are itinerants on an eternal journey; the years that pass by are also travellers’. – Matuso Bashō (1644-94)
I noted this quotation a few years ago; a dozen in fact. Reading it last night triggered thoughts that spawned a few more. I wish you good luck on this eternal journey.
It’s amazing to me that so many people on different continents came to live in caves carved from volcanic tuff. The Puebloans or Anasazi in New Mexico, Etruscans in Italy, and the Cappadocians in Turkey spring to mind. Each realised, independently, that tuff was relatively easy to carve into negative moulds for habitation. Conversely, the Rapa Nui on Easter Islander chose to cut positive shapes from similar material.Presumably their moai have religious purpose. While time may travel, coeval independent solutions seem to occur quite frequently.
Yesterday, I wrote about what I was doing in November 2010. That retelling was inspired by a receipt that fell from a book. The revisit to 2010 had me looking at some photo albums and there I found a memory of great pain.
By coincidence, this weekend ten years ago we had a couple of our extended American family as guests for lunch. It was Sunday lunch and I decided to go back with them on the train to Howth where they were staying and then walk home. Which is exactly what I did and I got home on the Monday very early AM which was like today, May 31st. It’s a 42 kilometre marathon distance walk and you can read about the blisters here.