Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Make new friends

I've been taking a photography course, and one of the technical aspects that we've discussed is "depth of field." Small f-numbers allow a lot of light into the aperature -- which limits/allows the photographer to capture a narrow range or close-up view. You want a small f-number if you are trying to capture the intricacy of a flower, for instance. Large f-numbers let in less light, but you can include a much wider range of subject matter and maintain the clarity. If you want an entire field of flowers, plus some sky, you would want to increase your f-number.

It's not a bad metaphor for blogging, really.

When I first started blogging, my f-numbers were pretty small. I had a tight circle of friends, and there was definitely a feeling of intimacy. There was time to check in every day, and I never missed any of the posts of my regulars. Over time, my blogging circle has become more like a complicated web of interconnected circles. My f-numbers are expanding all the time! And although I love the greater reach, I sometimes have trouble maintaining a focal point. I miss the close-up view in the attempt to see so much. I am constrained, not by space, but by time.

In the past couple of weeks, I have been very touched to be the recipient of several awards. (I apologize for being so tardy in acknowledging these kind gifts!) Although one of them is from a well-established blogging friendship, the others come from relatively new acquaintances. Even though I occasionally make a time-preserving vow of "no new mates" (as a Northern friend used to say), I don't actually stick with it. Truthfully, one of the chief pleasures of blogging is the discovery of a fresh voice. You never know which link, casually or curiously followed, will become your new favorite person. So in that spirit, I offer linkage to some friends of mine -- some old, and some new.

Thanks so much to Dancing Doc Design for the Excessively Diverting Blog award. Like so many, I'm an Austen fanatic -- and being compared to one of my favourite authors (even in the smallest of ways) is a great honour. The Dancing Doc is an American living in the south of France, and her blog celebrates beauty -- and the occasional serious issue -- in turn.

The aim of the Award is to acknowledge writing excellence in the spirit of Jane Austen's genius in amusing and delighting readers with her irony, humor, wit, and talent for keen observation. Recipients will uphold the highest standards in the art of the sparkling banter, witty repartee, and gentle reprove.

Jane Austen famously described her work as: the little bit (two Inches wide) of Ivory on which I work with so fine a Brush, as produces little effect after much labour. Some blogs remind me of the portrait landscape setting on a camera in that they narrow in on the author's life -- and yet encompass so much.

Just a Plane Ride Away -- because she writes with such warmth and humor about her expat life in England with Mr. DJ, Roxi and Trudy (her beloved dog). Also, because she loves Persuasion -- one of my favorites, too.

Whittering On -- because, like Jane, Janey writes every day amidst the bustle of family life. Her writing has an eye-twinkle and a cosiness which I find incredibly appealing.

Nimble Pundit -- because she has an elegant turn of phrase. Although she might seem shy and retiring, she has Austen's sharp eye.

The irrepressible, warm and witty woman known as Fhina at A Woman of No Importance bestowed the following award on me. As Fhina is known for breaking into French, I will say Merci Beaucoup and Je t'embrasse. Although the award is meant for 15 people, I don't have Fhina's energy -- plus I have to do the school-runs soon. Therefore, I will bestow it in my turn upon two worthy bloggers who have the output of at least 15 people between them.

This award acknowledges the values that every blogger shows in his/her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary and personal values every day.

The rules to follow are: 1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person that has granted the award and his or her blog link. 2) Pass the award to another 15 blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment. Remember to contact each of them to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

Julochka at Moments of Perfect Clarity -- because she is smart, funny, and creative . . . as is
Julie at Tangobaby. The two Julies (one based in Denmark and the other in San Francisco) have also embarked on The Julie Project together. Fairly recently, Julie has been thrilling me with her personal portraits at I Live Here: SF. Both of these women hold down full-time jobs and have creative projects all over the place. Clearly, neither sleeps much.

One of my new finds, Catherine at A Thousand Clapping Hands, also gave me a Premio Dardos.

I vividly remember the first post that I read at Catherine's. Let me just say that she lays a beautiful table -- in more ways than one.

Another blogger who hooked me from the very first post is Tessa at AN AERIAL ARMADILLO. Tessa, like me, lives in England . . . but originally came from a warm climate. Tessa is a wonderful artist, with a treasure chest full of memories and pictures. A visit to her blog is highly recommended for armchair travellers.

Muchos gracias to Barrie Summy for this stylish badge!

Barrie, whose Book Review Club I participate in every month, is the author of I So Don't Do Mysteries -- and the upcoming I So Don't Do Spooky. She also manages to mother four children, attend a lot of sporting events, and regularly update her blog.

Barrie has passed on a challenge to discuss five obsessions . . . and then pass it on.

In general, I would say that I'm not a particularly obsessive person -- but there are a few areas in which my behavior is not entirely normal or restrained.
  1. Buying books. I cannot go into a bookstore without leaving with something -- or some things. I should use the library more, but I love to buy books.
  2. Baking. I was telling a friend that I had been out of my baking groove lately, and my oldest daughter butted in (as they do) and reminded me that I had made butterscotch brownies, sugar cookies, oatmeal/cranberry/white chocolate cookies, honey cake, gingerbread and butterscotch rice pudding . . . all in the last two weeks. I'd like to set up a charitable concern which distributes baked goods.
  3. Flowers. In my garden and in bouquets all over the house. The spring bulbs are my favorites -- except for roses, of course. And peonies.
  4. Ironing. I find ironing very soothing. I iron almost everything, and it has been commented upon as unusual behavior. I will concede that it doesn't make sense to iron clothes before you pack them, but I cannot bring myself to pack wrinkled clothes. (This may fall under the rubric of obsessive behavior, actually.)
  5. Cards. I love to buy cards and postcards. Sometimes I even send them to friends! (But a lot of them get tucked into books or stacked on my desk.)

I offer a short-list of five fabulous friends -- who don't mind the occasional meme. Please collect your awards!

Traveling Through Time and Space

Beyond Ramen

That's Why

Bon Bon


Now someone send out the vaudeville hook! I think that this acceptance speech has gone on way too long . . .

Sunday, 22 March 2009

On mothering

Little daughter

A couple of weeks ago, on one of the first warm days of the year, little daughter and I were hitting tennis balls back and forth in the back garden. Suddenly, she cried: Mommy, I figured out how to climb the willow tree! Watch me!!

When she had settled into her perch, she said (with real satisfaction): In the summer, I will come up here to read. This will be my secret place and no one will be able to see me.

Although she meant it innocently enough, I couldn't help but wonder: At what age will she want to start hiding from me?

The next day, my youngest daughter left for a week's school trip to France. Although we could see pictures of our children on the website, we didn't get to speak to them. It was a strange feeling: for the first time, she was experiencing a new world that I couldn't access or be privy to. When she returned, I was afraid that she would be changed in some way . . . although she wasn't; not in any apparent way at least. She was still excited to see me; still wanted to share every detail of her week. Change is always a more gradual thing, isn't it? It has an imperceptible, but inexorable, creep.

Oldest daughter

Yesterday we were having a picnic outside -- our first of the year. Minstel was stretched out so fully and lazily in the sun . . . his abandoned pose made us all laugh. I quickly snapped this picture of my oldest daughter stroking our funny cat -- and later, while studying it, it struck me that she is completely obscured to my eye. It often feels that way. She is still here, still in our house -- but we don't know what she is thinking or feeling most of the time. Politely, but firmly, she has erected an emotional wall. If we are lucky, and catch her in a light mood, we get to see through one of the chinks.

Sigmund sent me a funny card which makes fun of the difference between mothering and fathering children.

A mother knows all about her children.
She knows about romances, best friends, favourite foods, secret fears and hopes and dreams.
A father is vaguely aware of some short people living in the house.

This is true enough to elicit a laugh; but his message inside added so much more to where we are now in the parenting cycle. We no longer "know" our oldest daughter -- not as much as we'd like to anyway. I still know what she reads, and likes to eat, and who she talks to on the phone (or rather, texts), but I don't get a look in to the really important stuff. I think that's what defines getting older. A shame, fear and reluctance to share the hopes and dreams.

Today is Mothering Sunday in England, and I'm struck by the different emphasis of the words. In America, it is Mother's Day -- the biggest restaurant day of the year, and it's all about the mother. But here, but today, I feel that I have been doing the mothering and the emphasis has been entirely on the children. But isn't it always that way? It's the emotional responsibility that never stops. I sometimes tease my mother-in-law that when you have five children, at least one is bound to be in a crisis. If I really need to talk to someone, if I need unconditional love, my own mother is still my first port-of-call.

When my youngest daughter was a much smaller girl, she somehow picked up on the jargon of "quality time." Today, as we took a long walk/bike ride together at her request, she said: This counts as five chapters of quality time. (I owe her several days' backlog of bedtime reading because her father has been demanding his own quality time.)

Begging for attention

This puppy isn't part of my family, but I saw him on Friday afternoon and his expression has stayed with me. He was in the trunk (or boot) of a car, gazing wistfully out of a dirty glass.

Even in the most loving families, someone is looking for attention and someone isn't giving it. Someone doesn't want to be looked at, and someone else is doing their best to see through barriers seen and unseen.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Payback time

At the moment, I'm trying to keep track of two different financial meltdowns -- and frankly, I'm not sure if that is such a good idea. I may need to seek counseling for excessive media exposure.

On the one land we've got Sir Fred Goodwin, and on the other, we have the AIG bonus reapers. And although both stories have been bubbling along since the early fall, the pots (of gold, that is) have bubbled over this week.

For those of you not entirely familiar with Sir Fred, he is the guy who nearly bankrupted the Royal Bank of Scotland through his aggressive bank (and debt) acquisition. The UK government may soon own a 95% stake in the bank, having used billions of tax-payers' pounds to shore up the substantial losses. On his way out last fall, Goodwin made good on his name -- and somehow managed to win an infamous £693,000-a-year pension. More salt in the collective public wound? He gets to draw it, starting now, at age 50 -- for life, and despite the fact that he only worked for the bank for 10 years. Although our Prime Minister has repeatedly asked the deposed banker to give back some of his ill-gotten gains, Sir Fred has declined to do so. (Perhaps he is planning on decamping to the Cayman Islands or the Bahamas sometime soon?) Apparently, he doesn't even need a tax haven -- because the latest word is that he has withdrawn 3 million pounds from his pension pot AND RBS (i.e, the taxpayer) has paid the 40% tax on it for him. Somehow, I find that bit most galling. He gets the full 3 million, while it costs the government twice over. If he does leave Great Britain, it will probably be because of all of the people, little and large, baying for his blood. The man is going to need a fortress of self-justification to protect him. I do wonder if he feels like a glorious picnic was spread before him, only to be ruined by swarms of midges.

In American news, AIG has finally managed to unite the Democrats and Republicans -- who are falling over themselves to condemn the recent bonus pay-out of 165 million dollars. Although this amount is mere chump change compared to the overall 200 billion bail-out given to the American International Group, it has become the lightning rod for collective anger. Two main points, really: the 165 million was distributed amongst only 418 people, 52 of which had already left the company; and, it was said to be a "retention bonus" for certain employees in the financial products unit -- the very unit whose dicey derivative deals brought the company down. As Maureen Dowd put it so pithily, Isn’t that like giving bonuses to the arsonists who started a fire because they alone know what kind of accelerants they used to start it?

Although various people are still going on about the sacredness of contracts, Sigmund was taking the firm view (in our kitchen last night) that the time has come to renege. Surely bankruptcy changes the rules a bit? Thomas Friedman suggests, in a very measured The New York Times editorial, that the best way out is for the A.I.G. bankers to take one for the country and give up their bonuses. But is that likely? Are the bankers suddenly going to discover a conscience and do the right thing? Do they actually think they've earned this money, or are they so deep into "wealth without work" thinking that they have lost of all concept of "fairness" and "equality?" Auto workers and teachers -- surely modestly paid professions, at best -- are now agreeing to compromise their individual contractual rights in order to benefit the greater whole, but the rich are looking mighty reluctant to come off their gilded perches. Mrs. Madoff, I'm talking to you. The gulf between Haves and Have-nots has grown apace -- and not been helped a bit by that showy new category: Have-mores. Has our society become so skewed that we are beyond anything but the survival of the most selfish?

There was an interesting editorial in this weekend's paper: Look no further than inequality for the source of all our ills. Author Will Hutton suggests that "more unequal societies are socially dysfuntional across the board." Drawing from a recently published book called The Spirit Level, Hutton suggests that human beings are "social creatures" foremost: the "esteem of others is central to our well-being" and "we have a deep inbuilt sense of fairness." When the rich are beyond regarding the poor, the poor become less inclined to want to play along with any kind of social contract. The conspicuous consumption of the rich and the knife crime of the poor are two sides of the same coin. Or, put another way, is there any real difference between a rich man's tax dodge and a poor man's benefit fraud?

I read this editorial as I was finishing the 2008 Booker Prize winner, The White Tiger, and the fierce and filthy descriptions of the deep inequalities of Indian society seemed to illuminate the points that Hutton was making. The narrator of that story describes himself as a "social entrepeneur." Although he does build up a small business -- in the traditionally entrepeneurial sense -- Balram believes that his true accomplishment is escaping from the mental "Rooster Coop" which enslaves the majority of his countrymen and women. Balram presents his revenge on the social norms as a victory, but the novel does a brilliant job of exposing the perils of living for nothing but extreme self-interest -- no matter what the size of your bank account.

For years, it seemed like we were more or less inured to the increasingly more competitive and surreal bonus culture . . . but now it appears that the bankers, with all of their self-justifications, are looking a bit unclothed. The payouts are leading to paybacks . . . and the bonus reapers better watch theirs.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Monopoly Money

Build or Go Bust

I stumbled upon a blog brouhaha.

A certain Anonymous criticized a blogger for writing about a party thrown by some artistic friends. In addition to concluding that the vast majority of bloggers were self-absorbed and self-indulgent, Ms Anonymous contended that writing about parties was a slap in the face to struggling Americans.
Do you people know there is a recession? wrote Anon.

Well, yes Anon; I think that we are all very much aware of the general economic decline around us. How could we not be? But perhaps -- and this is just a thought -- blogs are a place to get away from the front page and the sliding stock market?

I am the fretting sort, and I can't seem to stop myself from endless speculation and worry about it all. Just as the ancients scrutinized animal entrails for clues to the future, I listen to conversations and scan my own middle-class landscape for signs of economic health or sickness.

Although we know a mostly affluent group of people, the overwhelming majority of them are involved in finance and property -- two occupations which have suffered from a dizzying reversal of fortune. Nobody is talking -- well, not much -- but yesterday I was with a woman who burst into happy, relieved tears when she found out that her son had just won a major scholarship. (Her husband has been out of work for months.)

This weekend, when my husband and I endured a family bout of Monopoly, I couldn't help but draw parallels between the strategies of this game and the real-life financial world.

I taught my children to play Monopoly using Ganny's Rules -- as instituted by my game-loving grandmother. Perhaps Ganny was a trader at heart, because she liked to emphasize the elements of risk and reward. Wheeling and dealing were encouraged, and so was incentive -- in the form of a big pot of money. We always kept a $500 bill tucked under Free Parking, and any tax/penalty money got deposited there, too. If you were lucky enough to land there, you ended up with a fat bonus that could potentially save your bacon. We all speculated wildly, plowed all of our funds into development, and suffered from the dramatic windfalls and declines which made the game a tad more exciting. My brother ALWAYS wanted Park Place and Boardwalk -- the most expensive properties. He would trade for anything in order to get his hands on them. He often went broke trying to develop them, but if he succeeded, he would inevitably drive everyone else out of the game.

Sigmund wasn't having any of that. He made us play by the rules: no extra money; no borrowing; no trades. For most of the game we played in a state of boring gridlock. Everyone owned something that someone else needed, and all property development was thus stagnant. It reminded me our banking industry, frankly. I finally caved in and traded youngest daughter what she needed . . . in a deal that had no benefit to me. Although I had built up a sizeable fortune through the conservative investments of railroads and utilities, I eventually lost it all. There's always that one expensive hotel stay too many.

Our financial world has lurched, sickeningly rapidly, from the first "strategy" to the second -- and now we are in the widening gyre. (This famous phrase of Yeats' suddenly occurred to me, but a financial writer had already gotten there first.) Everyone's instincts are to rein back on spending and tuck any surplus under the mattress -- people are being criticized for having parties, for goodness sake -- but that will just drive more businesses into bankruptcy. (My friend whose husband lost his finance job? She's in catering: mostly weddings and parties.)

Who could possibly forget, even for an hour, about this strange, shaky new world we live in? There is never more than one degree of separation between a person who is still okay -- and a whole bunch of others who aren't. My list of friends and acquaintances read like News items. A friend of a friend lost all of her money with Madoff. A friend is stuck with buy-to-let tenants who are months behind on their rent. An acquaintance had to lay off nearly all of their employees when the Royal Bank of Scotland called in their loan. (Perhaps they needed the money for Sir Fred Goodwin's £703,000-a-year pension pay-out?)

Why shouldn't we occasionally want to read or think about something else?

Woolworth's: gone, but not forgotten
Our local storefront is drawing the musicians who play for small change

Saturday, 7 March 2009


Snowdrops mixed with autumn leaves

Purple crocuses

Daffodils lit up from the glow
of a temperamental sun

Lots of sad news this week, tempered by some blessings:
  • The 50th birthday lunch of a good friend ("well, it is better than the alternative")
  • Clean lymph nodes; is there anyone still innocent of the importance of that news?
  • Spring flowers; even though they come around every year, doesn't it seem like we especially need them this year?

Every day, the good and bad and mundane all mixed together. This poem -- with its irresistible title -- spoke to me particularly loudly.


by Jane Hirshfield

In every instant, two gates.

One opens to fragrant paradise,

one to hell.

Mostly we go through neither.

Mostly we nod to our neighbor,

lean down to pick up the paper,

go back into the house.

But the faint cries—ecstasy? horror?

Or did you think it the sound of distant bees,

making only the thick honey of this good life?

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Capturing Paris

Please visit Barrie Summy
for a full listing of other March book reviews.

Photographer: Olivier Ffrench

I have an almost-reverance for the idea of the right book for the right reader at the right time.

A few years ago, when I was doing a lot of reading research, most of boiled down to this idea: Anyone can become an enthusiastic reader if they are introduced to the right book. Enthusiastic reading = frequent reading = better reading . . . and on and on in a circular equation.

Of course, all books aren't created equal -- nor will they be loved equally by those who read them. At any given time, I will have a number of books on the go -- and some will be read avidly, some fitfully, and some will (truthfully) eventually be abandoned. But no problem . . . because I am always surrounded by books and my book-reading will probably never catch up to my book-hoarding.

If I am away on holiday, though, my book choice is far more crucial. I just cannot stand to be without a book -- even if it is only ten minutes of solitary waiting time in a restaurant. (That happened to me yesterday, but it was fine because I had Clotilde Dusoulier's excellent Chocolate & Zucchini cookbook with me.) When an avid reader is isolated from bookstores, libraries and their own personal stash, it is extremely important to get the book right. It is a delicate, complex, nay even mysterious, process.

A few notes about holiday reading: I don't like trash, but the reading level shouldn't be too challenging, either. (Being away from home/routine has many inherent stressors anyway, and you don't want to be tussling with inpenetrable reading material.) The right holiday book is thoughtful, but not inponderable, convoluted or nonsensical. Some people like escapism, but I like a book which will bring me back to myself. I think that travel has a tendency to open up cracks in a person . . . and so I want a book which might shed some light on whatever issues I am grappling with at the moment.

All of this is lengthy, but necessary -- to my mind, at least --preamble for introducing Capturing Paris, by Katharine Davis. For me, it was the perfect February Half-Term (visit friends in New York and go skiing) novel. It was easy to become absorbed in, and to pick up and put down again, and it contained lots of food for thought -- but only the easily digested kind. I finished it in the late afternoon, lying under a quilt, bathed in the soft blue light of lamplit falling snow. My setting had a quiet beauty, and so did the setting of the book.

The protagonist of the novel, Annie Reed, is a middle-aged wife, mother and poet -- and I'm going to suggest that this novel will probably mostly appeal to middle-aged women. Its subject is mid-life crisis: not the sort of crisis where you want to go out and buy a Porsche, but the kind of crisis which is brought on by mostly unavoidable life shifts. A husband loses a job, a child moves away, emotional certainties are threatened. Of course, anytime there are cracks there will be opportunities . . . as I mentioned before. This is a novel about having the opportunity to redefine yourself. Even as Annie loses pieces of her old life and sense of self, she is gaining interesting new ones. Another theme is the process of discovering, or rediscovering, one's creative self. Annie is emotionally attached to the idea of Paris as the source of her creativity, and part of her journey is figuring out to what extent that is true.

One of the chief pleasures of the novel is the Parisian setting -- and it is obvious that Davis can describe Paris from an insider's point-of-view. There are many delicious descriptions of Parisian life -- particularly of food, and its place of importance in this culture. Perhaps I will enlarge the book's intended audience a bit: middle-aged women will like it, and so will Francophiles, and so will foodies.

I cannot separate this book from another kind of provenance: it was given to me by my dearest friend in Houston. I had a hunch that dear friend had found this charming book at her favorite book-buying place, and it turned out that I was correct. River Oaks Bookstore: It is the kind of independent bookstore which earns the loyalty of its readers, partly because of its carefully edited selection and partly because of its personal service. You can describe the reader to Jean, and she will make thoughtful recommendations.

Monday, 2 March 2009

A new perspective

Learning to see:
looking out of The National Gallery
Nelson's Column anchors the picture
The London Eye centers it

For most of my life, I was the person who always forgot to bring her camera on holiday. My family used to joke that by the time we got a roll of film developed, we had no idea what we would find on it: a bit of Halloween, somebody's birthday, a random school event, everyone dressed up for Easter. We took a decidedly casual approach to our recorded memories . . . and now I'm starting to wonder about all of the things that we've forgotten.

I've almost always owned a camera -- but something just basic; something that I didn't really know how to use.

One of the many unexpected things that blogging has brought into my life is a fledgling interest in photography. Although I've always had a reverence for words, I've just begun to appreciate the possibilities of images.

It has also occurred to me that my notoriously unobservant eye needn't remain that way. We can actually teach ourselves to see -- not just with an eye for more detail or better recall, but with an expanded sense of possibility for what seeing actually means.

At its best, blogging is a reciprocal dialogue. Lately, I have been noticing a fascinating confluence of ideas.

A flowing together of two or more streams.
The point of juncture of such streams.
The combined stream formed by this juncture.

As an example, on Friday I visited The National Gallery in London. As I was exiting the museum, I noticed how a glass hallway made an interesting vertical frame for some of the most iconic images of London. I truly don't think I would have noticed this view if I hadn't had a camera in my hand. Even just a few months of trying to record -- not just what I see, but something much better -- has started to expand the lens I look through.

I was thinking about this idea when I read Reya Mellicker's essay: Photography Changes How and What We See. I strongly urge you to read Reya's essay in its entirety-- and also her thoughtful and wonderfully inspiring blog The Gold Puppy -- but in the meantime, I'm going to share some of the thoughts that jumped out at me.

The more we look at photographs, the easier it is to perceive what we’re accustomed to ignoring.
Not long ago, Lucy (a brilliant photographer) happened to mention how photographs tend to show up all of the power lines/signage/trash bins that we are accustomed to just visually tuning out. It was one of those random confluences, as I had just had that realization myself. My attempts to take pictures of the countryside have made me so aware of the signs of human encroachment: power lines everywhere! (More confluence: As I went back to find the link, I discovered that Lucy had mentioned this again.)

In photographs, we are given a glimpse of the world through the eye, and in many ways through the heart, of other beholders. Suddenly we are able to see things and people, situations and landscapes, perspectives, angles, colors and shapes that we might never have noticed on our own.
This idea is all mixed up in blogging for me. The personal aspect of blogging -- the fact of being able to participate (through commenting) in what you see and how it makes you feel -- has transformed the idea of "the world" for me, both shrinking and expanding it. I've also realized that some people will find what I see (whether it is Trafalgar Square or the view outside of my window) exotic and interesting . . . just because it is different from what they see. Somehow, this enables me to appreciate my life in a different way: To think of it as something that I am crafting everyday.

Photography creates a bridge between what we expect to see, and all there really is to see.
How profound is that? And it makes sense on so many levels. Yesterday I was reading an interview of David Lynch and he mentioned -- with much excitement and awe -- that his highly pixilated camera could capture "something like 4,000 pieces of information per photograph." I don't even have 20/20 vision or artistic vision . . . much less the pixilated kind. Strangely enough, this mechanical device actually reveals so many mysteries.

The truth is that visually, we scan for what we know, for what we expect and for what we value, ignoring all the rest, which is a pretty narrow view when you think about it. But put a lens between the human eye and the world, capture an image, and many possibilities open up. Photography presents us with a way to see the unseen, to notice what isn’t usually obvious, and in so doing, opens the mind’s eye in many ways.