Category Photography

Seventh Annual Holiday Photo Gallery

I’ve noticed something of late: In both my work and my blogging life, I pore over so many thousands of photographs through the course of a day and a year that I have sometimes begun to feel jaded and not all that impressed. “Another 9,000-shades-of-orange sunset, yawn…”

That of course, is when I need to give myself a not-so-slight whack on the head with my vintage edition of “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind,” and remind myself—yet again, and again—how truly magnificent the world is, and how much we owe to photographers who help us see and think about it more attentively, with greater appreciation for its depth and breadth, detail and wonder.

So! Welcome to Traversing’s Seventh Annual Holiday Photo Gallery, guaranteed to bring you, if not great luck and fortune, at least a smile and, I trust, an involuntary “Wow!” and “Ooh!” or two. The pixels, please…

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Good to the Last Drop, by Joel Valve

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Cootie and C...

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Sixth Annual Holiday Photo Gallery

“Recently, photography has become almost as widely practiced an amusement as sex and dancing,” wrote the culture critic and free-range intellectual Susan Sontag in 1973. Were Sontag alive today (she died in 2004), she would surely be slapping her forehead and bemoaning her abysmally inaccurate “almost” qualifier, given today’s specter of nearly everyone in the industrialized world carrying high powered cameras that sit snugly in their pants pockets or purses, mere add-ons to the smartphones that power their 24/7 connectedness to the world.

Surely, no one anywhere can possibly be having sex or dancing at even a minute fraction of the rate we pull out our cameras to amuse ourselves.

For better and for worse, we are awash in photography, perhaps the greatest democratizer of all art forms, a chance for most anyone to scratch a creative itch and record for at least his or her own posterity a moment in t...

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The Solace of Rainbows

Don’t know about you, but I feel myself wearying of being in the dark thrall of a mad man. (Making that two words was intentional—he’s just angry, and thus engenders none of the empathy and understanding due someone who may be mentally ill.)

Knocked off balance by such brazen amorality and conniving, I have joined millions of others in groping toward a prudent response, but no amount or vehemence of thought or critique seems to suffice. Resist, yes, a solemn duty, but ultimately, it will likely be less outsiders’ resistance and more his self-immolation that will be the defining moment of this—and his—time.

Once again, Icarus flying high in his own fathomless self-regard, too close to the sun. It is a story as old as the first storytellers told.

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Meanwhile, what other stories might we access in this time of trial? How might we break free, toward brighter lights and better angels within and am...

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A Visit to Duke Gardens

Like a lot of aphorisms, “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder” has such perfect pitch and rhythm that we rarely question whether it is altogether true. It is no doubt partially true, given that cultural constructs of the beautiful vary as dramatically as they do in this world. Not to mention the individual sensibilities that can see two people focus on the exact same thing and leave one swooning and the other cringing and backing away.

But whatever one’s unique tastes, some things seem to strike a universal chord of sensory appreciation, causing us to dreamily exclaim, “Oh, that’s beautiful!

Sunrises and sunsets, swans afloat and geese in flight, a perfect plump strawberry.

Ecclesiastes 3, and when it was set to music.

All these seem to elicit universal agreement that they are good and beautiful things.

And, of course, gardens.

“God Almighty first planted a Garden...

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Bringing Joy to “The Snow Man” by Wallace Stevens

THE SNOWMAN

One must have a mind of winter 
To regard the frost and the boughs 
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time 
To behold the junipers shagged with ice, 
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think 
Of any misery in the sound of the wind, 
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land 
Full of the same wind 
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow, 
And, nothing himself, beholds 
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

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The snowman in this well-known Wallace Stevens poem from 1921 presents as a rather bleak figure. As we read in the 15 meticulously crafted lines above, he’s been “cold a long time,” immobile and inert, devoid of any thought linking the winter landscape in front of him to feelings of “misery,” barrenness and other ...

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