Category Archives: Human and Animal

Fences and bridges













Robert Frost’s poem Mending Wall is based on a tension between two attitudes to fences. The narrator, noting how his stone wall needs continuous repair, is struck by the intuition ‘Something there is that doesn’t love a wall’. When he puts this suggestion to his neighbour, pointing out that the neighbour’s pine trees are not endangered by his apple trees, the neighbour rebuffs him: ‘Good fences make good neighbours.’ Continue reading Fences and bridges

What do you see?

20th May 2016
20th May 2016

For the past few months, since beginning this photographic project, I have been uploading photos every day to an Instagram account. There are now many hundreds there. Every photo is different but every one is also the same.

Take this image. What do you see? A fist? An embryo? A fern? A mother and child? A helix? A shell? A heart in a rib cage? A mathematical formula? Continue reading What do you see?

Everyday Mystery

18th May 2016
18th May 2016

The film Smoke centres on everyday mysteries and on the friendship between Paul Benjamin, a novelist with writer’s block, and Auggie Wren, the manager of a Brooklyn cigarette shop. One day Paul is surprised to discover that Auggie doesn’t just sell cigarettes. He also has a vocation. He takes photographs. More specifically, he has taken a series of four thousand pictures, each of them shot at the same time of day and of the same place: the corner of Third Street and Seventh Avenue, where his shop stands. He cannot explain why he does this. “It just came to me”, he says. “It’s my corner, after all. It’s just one little part of the world, but things happen there, too, just like everywhere else. It’s a record of my little spot.” Continue reading Everyday Mystery

Conversione di S. Paolo

I have written about Caravaggio’s La Conversione di S. Paolo images(Chiesa di S. Maria del Popolo, Roma) before (in The Mystery of Everyday Life, and ‘Falling’), but, in the light of the recent posts on failure, I have been rethinking my previous take on this painting. I happened to see it again at the same time as I was reading these posts. Continue reading Conversione di S. Paolo

Learning Italian

For the past few months, I have been having Italian lessons with a wonderful teacher who has insisted that I just speak – ‘avanti, avanti’ – without thinking about making perfect sentences, without worrying about making mistakes. ‘Keep it simple’, my teacher says, ‘listen’, and ‘ask questions’. This is the way to make contact. If you are thinking about grammar and how to construct your next sentence, you’re likely to lose contact. Continue reading Learning Italian