Monday, November 16, 2009

On Travel...

I recently finished at book called The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton. Unlike many travel memoirs, this book is divided into sections (Departure, Motives, Landscape, Art, Return), and goes chapter by chapter inspired by varying artists (or "Guides" like Van Gough, Edward Hopper, Charles Baudelaire, Gustave Flaubert, Alexander von Humboldt and more), and place they traveled. An interesting compilation of essays by Botton, complete with pictures of the paintings, photographs, writings of the artists and pictures of the places they loved.

Some excerpts to share:

"Unexpectedly poetic travelling places--airport terminals, harbours, train stations and motels."
"It always seems to me that I'll be well where I am not, and this question of moving is one that I'm forever entertaining with my soul." -Charles Baudelaire

"Baudelaire honored reveries of travel as a mark of those noble, questioning soulds he described as 'poets,' who could not be satisfied witht he horizons of home even as they appreciated the limits of other lands, whose temperaments oscillated between hope and despaire, childlike idealism and cynicism. It was the fate of poets, like Christian pilgrims, to live in a falled world while refusing to surrender their vision of an alternative, less compromised realm."
"Carriage, take me with you! Ship, steal me away from here! Take me far, far away. Here the mud is made of our tears!" -Baudelaire

"What we find exotic abroad may be what we hunger for in vain at home."

"I'm obsessed with inventing stories for people I come across."
"I think I must have been transplanted by the winds to this land of mud; surely I was born elsewhere-- I've always had what seem to be memories or intutions of perfumed shores and blue seas." -Gustave Flaubert

"I am a soul brother to everything that lives, to the giraffe and to the crocodile as much as to man." -Flaubert

When asked where he came from, Socrates said not 'from Athens' but 'from the world.'"
"L'infinie immensité des espaces que j'ignore et qui m'ignorent." -Pascal
"The night is even more richly colored than the day.." -Vincent Van Gough

"The most effective means of pursuing this conscious understanding was by attempting to describe beautiful places through art, by writing about or drawing them, irrespective of whether one happened to have any talent for doing so."

Ah, the words are so tasty to gobble whole.

Mexi en el Otoño

I made two trips to Tijuana, México this fall to visit my beautiful babies at the orphange Cuidad de Angeles. Every time I go down I never want to leave. The kids bless my heart so much, so much more than I could ever bless them. Each child is literally a miracle; their stories are crazy yet they are alive and well. 
The young girls are soon entering their tween years which is apparent from their sassy selves. I lent Liliana my camera the past two visits and was shocked at how grown-up they pose in their photos. It's great with the juxtoposition of the things they take pictures of in their lives-- teddy bears, trash cans, backpacks, bed sheets. The pictures are a unique look at their world from their own perspective, not mine as a relative outsider, an older girl, an American, a visitor. They maintain their childhood while shooting Myspace-esque photos of themselves in the mirrors. I was intruiged when I got my camera back. I wonder, where did they learn the vanity of mirror self portraits? How did they learn to pose with sexy lips with the camera above their heads? These girls do not have abundant access to the internet; I don't even know if they are computer literate. Is it from TV, which they can and do freely watch? I was slightly disturbed that they are already learning to make suggestive faces and pouty lips at their age. It's too much a Lolita complex with their underlying naivite beneath the model posing. I don't want to ruin their childhood more by over analyzing their photos, but they had to have learned the sensual performance of picture posing from somewhere, it cannot possibly be innate. What could be innate is the desire to be beautiful-- both a cultural and universal construction. It seems like young girls are being taught earlier and earlier how to be desirable to the opposite sex, and the social networking sites seemed to have fed this in recent history. But these girls seem to be affected by the styles and inner culture of these sites by diffusion, not even having a Myspace or Facebook at all. I didn't start caring as much about my own personal appeal in photographs until about 13, and then even more at 15 when I opened my Myspace account. These girls are barely double digits.

Are they just having fun taking pictures of themselves or do they know what they are implying? Are they trying to be older? Are they trying to be sexy?

Style Like U

My good friend Lily began this aweseome site on personal style that I am obsessed with. Check out my post (with my best friend and roomie Rachel) and the other creative, amazing artists: