Sunday, July 29, 2012

All Things Pass

Today, instead of writing much, I am sharing a picture. I took the photo at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in Berlin, Germany. I was there this time of year, four years ago. During those days, I wandered across the city, camera in hand, prepared to meet the unexpected, and thriving on chance and surprise to fill me with awe.

The photo is mysterious, in that the angles are sharp and clear, but a blurred figure is running among the rows of concrete slabs. You the viewer do not know it, but he is pushing a baby carriage with a little child. It is strange to be at this memorial, and find people playing games there. Little children dart in and out of the rows, playing tag, and hide and seek. You can hear their laughter. They seem unaware that during the holocaust, over 11 million innocents were killed, including 1.1 million children murdered.

Underneath the stone slabs are exhibit halls that detail the slaughter of Jewish people during the reign of the Nazi’s—1933-1945.

“All things pass...Perhaps the passage of time is a kind of healing, or a kind of salvation granted equally to all people.”
― Mizuki Nomura, Book Girl and the Suicidal Mime

To see more artistic photography by Steven Boone, go to Graphixshoot

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Thank God For Beauty

May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun
And find your shoulder to light on,
To bring you luck, happiness and riches
Today, tomorrow and beyond.
~Irish Blessing

Lately, I have been waking up from sleep with some anxiety, since my gallery is floundering under the poor economy. Especially difficult is that during the last four months, a large investment was made preparing for and installing a critically popular and well attended show of portraits by twenty-five artists, called HEADS UP—but the sales have been negligent. So I am scrambling to survive.

This morning, I arrived at my gallery to open, and noticed across the street that a garden is in bloom. I took my camera and walked over to take pictures. Right on cue, a beautiful butterfly landed on a flower and opened it’s wings to share with me it’s beauty before it fluttered off, not a care in the world. 

Thank God for beauty.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Faces of Innocent People

At the Jewish Museum, in Berlin, Germany
Janice and Delphine walked together across the campus of their University in the fall of their freshman year. They were assigned the same dormitory room and decided to go for a walk and get acquainted. Janice came from a working class Jewish family in the boroughs of New York City, while Delphine, a Christian, came from an upper class family from Tulsa, Oklahoma. As they walked, they looked around at their new surroundings and talked of their interests as well as the lives they were leaving behind. 

While Janice’s father had been bringing suitcases and boxes into the dormitory, Delphine had noticed a peculiar tattoo on his left forearm. It was simply a string of numbers, rather crudely etched. The vision had stayed in Delphine’s mind and haunted her, since she had a vague notion that it might be from a dark past. As they walked across a grassy lawn, strewn with fallen oak leaves that rustled underfoot, she got up the nerve to ask her friend what the numbers meant. Janice was slightly taken aback, but spoke solemnly, saying, “My father was a teenager when Germans took over his little village in Poland. They summoned all the Jews to the central square and made them begin walking out of town. The people that resisted or tried to hide were all shot to death."

The two continued strolling, but Janice slowed, and kept her eyes down. "A long line of people—whole families, including the elderly and mothers with babies were marched to a nearby village, and the German’s shot anyone who could not keep up. Eventually, the survivors were herded into freight train cars and taken to Auschwitz concentration camp. My father, when he arrived was in good condition, and received his tattoo. Many unfortunate souls never received a tattoo—they were intended to be killed in the gas chambers."

As Delphine listened to Janice speaking in a sorrowful tone amid the gayety of their first days at University, her heart sank and she struggled to comprehend the incomprehensible. Her footsteps, that had been light earlier, became heavy, and the leaves that crinkled underfoot seemed too brittle and she felt embarrassed by their sound, as if they were clinking iron, and the faces of innocent people were staring up from the earth that had become their grave.

This is a story I wrote to go with my photograph, seen above. To see more of my artistic photography, go to Graphixshoot

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Ambience, Intrigue and Warm Hospitality

The crowd filled all the rooms
People poured onto the street. Here, some artists are chatting.

As art openings go, our show of portraits, called Heads Up, set records for attendance, generating great excitement and praise. The Steven Boone Gallery began planning four months in advance and worked every day to reach a high level of professionalism.

Lori and I
Twenty-five artists shared their work—all the pieces selected by a skilled curator, Geoffrey Laurence. The gallery offered food service and the combination of fine art, ambience, intrigue and warm hospitality assured success.
Sculptor Ted Fleming in front of my self-portrait

HEADS UP, The Art Of The Portrait, runs from July 6 – August 5.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Inhabited By Ghosts

A dark story to go with the picture I made, above, which is a composite of photographs:

As a child, a young woman, who we shall call Jill, lived in a chaotic household with her younger brother and parents. The father had a violent temper and drank heavily, especially while home from his job as a mailman. Jill’s mother was prone to depression, and numbness of feeling, so barely kept the household in order. In earlier days for the family, some happiness existed, but the home went into a downward spiral with the father’s anger and drinking. He could become abusive when he was drunk, hitting the other family members and cursing. The mother once found John, Jill’s brother, had taken old photographs and a recording of his father, speaking affectionately to his wife during happier days, out of a drawer. She walked in to a room where the boy, entranced, was playing the recording to a friend, and became hysterical, crying and furiously scolding at once. John, even at an early age, dreamed often of leaving home.

Jill too, especially as she reached her teen years, thought of escape. But when she dreamed, terrible fear eroded her heart. She felt responsible for her mother, and wondered, “Who will protect her and be her aide?”  Yet she hated the house and its dark energy. It felt inhabited by ghosts.

Jill felt unworthy of finding someone to take her away. Although a teen, growing into a woman, she still played with dolls, alone in her room. She sat them up beside her and talked to them. And she dressed them in pretty outfits . . . better than anything she wore herself. 

After high school graduation Jill stayed at home and made small efforts to find work. She did not have a sense of style, so could not know how hopeless she looked. More and more, she stayed in her room and fantasized, so to escape the anxiety that gripped her chest and the dark thoughts that invaded her mind—thoughts that would suddenly come upon her out of nowhere, like a flock of dark birds, circling her very soul.

The Surgeon General's report estimated that 20% of the United States population was affected by mental disorders and that 15% use some type of mental health service every year. Community surveys estimate that as many as 30% of the adult population in the United States suffer from mental disorders.

Read more: Mental Health and Illness - How Many People Are Mentally Ill?