Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Year of Increased Self-Sufficiency.

This year, more than ever before, we took advantage of our natural resources here in Scenery Hill. We harvested blackberries and raspberries in the spring, apples in the summer and gathered dead or downed wood to use as firewood. Our little garden yielded a healthy crop of tomatoes--six varieties--as well as potatoes, peppers, and corn. Our deck container garden gave us even more tomatoes and a season-long supply of basil, mint, tarragon, parsley, and chives.

Last weekend I spent part of a day splitting some of the wood I had harvested, and accumulated a good supply of apple, cherry, and elm wood. Hard work but tremendously rewarding.

Copyright Nazism

Hey, let me start this by saying that I am a big proponent of artist's rights when it comes to copyright law. I lecture my clients all the time about the intricate details of who owns what, and that just because they hired an artist for a job (photography, illustration or design) does not grant them the inherent copyright attached to the work of art.

But yesterday I encountered what I believe to be the most extreme example of copyright enforcement that I've ever encountered—a form of copyright nazism. Margaret & I went to visit Fallingwater, the Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece in the Laurel Highlands east of Pittsburgh.

We were given a brochure after paying to tour the grounds that reads: "...All photographs, paintings, and sketches generated during your visit are for personal use only and cannot be sold, published or posted on a website without permission of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy..." OK, so this is an architectural masterpiece done by Wright, and any art created from it would be derivative—maybe I can buy that, but it's a real stretch.

But the really galling part is that they have works of art for sale in a special gallery with art done by members of the Associated Artist's of Pittsburgh. So, obviously these folks have been granted papal dispensation to produce art and profit from it. Selective absolution. Geez, this kind of thinking would have played well in the Germany in the 30's. Oh, that's right, it did.

So, yes, I am pissed. I think artists have the right to intrepret the world through their art: including the world that may or may not include architectural masterpieces. Should we prohibit Andy Warhol's use of iconic soup cans? Any and all artist images of the Chrysler Building? The Flatiron Building? The Hancock Building? Transamerica Building? Charles Demuth's many architecturally inspired works?

This is copyright radicalism taken to the extreme. And yes I do believe it is a form of nazism. Photos above are for sale by the way, all profits will be turned over to the Conservancy.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

No Clue.

Approximately 100 miles from the nearest body of navigable water, on a small country road, in a community of less than 1500 people, many of whom are farmers, ranchers, and coal miners, a lonely boat has been sitting "For Sale" for over 18 months. It's not a particularly attractive boat: it's old, wooden, outdated, and in poor repair. The sign advertising it's sale constantly blows over. And I've never seen a single person stop to look at it. Then again, there is no phone number nor information about the boat either. It's sits on a piece of property where any one of three possible houses could be the owner who is selling the boat.

So, what's at work here? Is the seller so truly attached emotionally to the boat that he just can't quite part with it, even though his wife, or accountant, keeps urging him to sell? Has the long drive to water finally caught up with him?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Artifact Narrative

A slideshow with images that I've been working on as part of a collection called Artifact Narrative.

We surround ourselves with artifacts, sometimes the meaning and value of these things is unclear—but there is often an unspoken narrative that plays in our head regarding the importance of the things we save. This photographic study looks at a few of my personal artifacts—each has great personal meaning.