23 April 2008

Vanishing Farms

vanishingfarm640 I like farms. I have never lived or worked on one, but that’s just because my life didn’t take me in that direction, not because I didn’t like them. I was up in Indiana, in what used to be a rural area, and saw this scene. I had to stop the car and shoot it: a beautiful old farm sliced up and sold off to build more suburban sprawl. While food prices double and triple, our destruction of farms keeps pace. I know people need a place to live, but we also need food and fresh air.

America seems to be very short-sighted right now. We kill off our farms and ship our jobs overseas so that we can buy cheap crap at Wal-Mart. Where do you think that takes us? It isn’t to greater prosperity and security; I can tell you that. If I had a bunch of money, I would be buying farm land and I wouldn’t be dividing it up for subdivisions and strip malls. I have yet to see a strip mall I couldn’t live without.

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11 April 2008

Bread Kitchen at Shakertown


This is one of the most cosmic places in all of Kentucky. It's the Shaker village at Pleasant Hill. The Shakers were a religious group who believed that the end of the world was coming soon. They built communities which were beautiful and austere where they lived lives of celibacy and devotion. The interesting thing is that the men and women got together for ecstatic dances, and some of their spirit-filled movements gave them their name, Shakers. But there was no sex. They danced, but no romance was allowed. The Shaker communities were like co-ed monasteries. Predictably, they died off. Their buildings are still here, and we're still here, but the Shakers are gone.

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07 April 2008

R.I.P. Philip Jones Griffiths 1936-2008

IMAGE: ©2008 Alice Smeets

There is not much to say other than read on, and view his work. It is pretty much covered in this Spring 2008 interview with Aperture: here, and a tribute on Magnum's blog, here. Many thanks for the image of PJG from Alice Smeets.

"Not since Goya has anyone portrayed war like Philip Jones Griffiths."
-Henri Cartier-Bresson
R.I.P. Philip Jones Griffiths 1936-2008
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03 April 2008


$834,000.00 is just a lonely bead of sweat on the brow of "Monopoly-Bill, The Boy Genius". It may be a small and inconsequential as far as money goes, ($834,000.00 for 67,640 lost images, the defendant being Corbis, (wholly owned by Bill Gates), and the plaintiffs being Arthur Grace and Chris Usher), but the real significance lies in the message the judgment sends to those who have lost, cheated and stolen images from photographers since the beginning of time. Forever, individuals, corporations, and agencies like Corbis, have underpaid, minimized and abused photographers, while maintaining that their images are common property, have little value, or not really "intellectual property"at all. Read about this stuff, here.
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02 April 2008

"Fuck You. The Law Doesn't Apply To Me"

Memo: Laws Don't Apply to Interrogators

Justice Dept. Official in 2003 Said President's Wartime Authority Trumped Many Statutes

By Dan Eggen and Josh White
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, April 2, 2008; Page A01

The Justice Department sent a legal memorandum to the Pentagon in 2003 asserting that federal laws prohibiting assault, maiming and other crimes did not apply to military interrogators who questioned al-Qaeda captives because the president's ultimate authority as commander in chief overrode such statutes. [It is assumed, that this is precisely what Spc Alyssa R. Peterson's orders included.]

Read the entire story: here. (See also: Madness In The Desert, from March 21 & 22, on this blog)
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