flutter by


on a walk in moses cone park last year, i came to a field with a patch of thistle that was humming with butterflies.  i took these pictures and i love them. when i look at them, they bring me back to feel the swirl of the butterflies and the beauty i took in that afternoon. i so much prefer “capturing” them in an image than one of those display boxes where you stick a needle through the insect.


this morning i went on a hike with a couple of gals here. we had a great time getting a bit lost on the web of unmarked trails. we summited to 8577 ft atop Picacho Peak. at the summit there was one monarch butterfly flitting around, enjoying the mountaintop all to herself.  i reached for my camera, but she was moving so much i couldn’t get a shot.

i thought of the butterflies at moses cone. the abundant thistles kept their attention. here in the desert, the solo picacho butterfly had to work much harder to find something to captivate her.

in my southwest lit and film class, we’re reading an article about how the mechanical age of reproduction (think photography, printing paintings, film) changed art. here’s an excerpt:

“By close-ups of the things around us, by focusing on hidden details of familiar objects, by exploring common place milieus under the ingenious guidance of the camera, the film, on the one hand, extends our comprehension of the necessities which rule our lives; on the other hand, it manages to assure us of an immense and unexpected field of action. Our taverns and our metropolitan streets, our offices and furnished rooms, our railroad stations and our factories appeared to have us locked up hopelessly. Then came the film and burst this prison-world asunder by the dynamite of the tenth of a second, so that now, in the midst of its far-flung ruins and debris, we calmly and adventurously go traveling. With the close-up, space expands; with slow motion, movement is extended. The enlargement of a snapshot does not simply render more precise what in any case was visible, though unclear: it reveals entirely new structural formations of the subject. So, too, slow motion not only presents familiar qualities of movement but reveals in them entirely unknown ones “which, far from looking like retarded rapid movements, give the effect of singularly gliding, floating, supernatural motions.” Evidently a different nature opens itself to the camera than opens to the naked eye–if only because an unconsciously penetrated space is substituted for a space consciously explored by man. Even if one has a general knowledge of the way people walk, one knows nothing of a person’s posture during the fractional second of a stride. The act of reaching for a lighter or a spoon is familiar routine, yet we hardly know what really goes on between hand and metal, not to mention how this fluctuates with our moods. Here the camera intervenes with the resources of its lowerings and liftings, its interruptions and isolations, it extensions and accelerations, its enlargements and reductions. The camera introduces us to unconscious optics as does psychoanalysis to unconscious impulses.”  (Walter Benjamin, Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction)

(if that’s not enough for you to chew on, the rest is here: http://www.digitalartsinstitute.org/benjamin/benjamin.html)



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