There’s been a lot to write about since I last checked in, but for various reasons I haven’t posted in a few weeks. For one, I was knee-deep in final papers, working on my Master Plan. I also wanted to write about the passing of Nelson Mandela. I really tried, but on three separate occasions I couldn’t get more than a few sentences out. I guess that's just one of those things we'll have to talk about in person.
I just spent a week in New Orleans—my first trip to a city that’s been calling my name for a long, long time. On my second to last day there, I visited the New Orleans Museum of Art to check out the Gordon Parks exhibit. The installation, titled “Gordon Parks: The Making of an Argument” provided an interesting new perspective on the landmark “Harlem Gang Leader” photographic essay that appeared in Life magazine in 1948. The exhibit presented the photographs taken by Parks, including those that Life did not publish, alongside contact sheets and proof prints that give insight in the editorial decisions that the magazine made when constructing their argument. For example, they were clearly not interested in photos of Leonard “Red” Jackson that captured him doing anything other than being a gang-leader. Also, seeing the original photos without their editorial captions makes you appreciate how much the “message” of a photograph can be restated just by adding a few words of framing.
So that got me thinking about his post, and I decided that I would do something that I never do in this blog. I made a decision early on that this blog would be about the writing—not just a collage of pictures. But this week I’m making an exception. Below, I offer you a series of pictures that tell the story of my life over the last month. No captions, no explanations. Just the images. I hope you enjoy them…