I’ve gotten out my tweed jacket for the season, and I’m living it up between visits to the library, museum, and local parks 🍂
What I've been up to
A couple of weekends ago, Madeleine from a few newsletters ago had a rare Saturday free and invited me to spend it with her. We made a picnic to have on the East End and then brought some cameras to Mackworth Island State Park. I don’t think I’ve ever been to this particular park, so I was surprised to stumble across the park’s charming fairy village. I’ve included some pictures at the end of this newsletter 🛖🍄
I’ve often lamented that our local museum (which I love) is often sparse on photography. For the next three months, there’s a massive exhibition of prints from all my favorite photographers—Henri Cartier-Bresson, Eliott Erwitt, Sebastião Selgado, Richard Avedon, Gordon Parks, Inge Morath, Sally Mann, and more. it’s like this exhibition was made for me and I can’t wait to return. One of my favorites to see in person was Inge Morath’s A Llama in Times Square. New York, 1957—whimsical street photography is just a treat.
I made a library trip on Saturday morning when I saw they had the recent book The Future Is Degrowthby Schmelzer, Vetter, and Vansintjan (from the same indie publisher as The End of Policing by Alex Vitale, another important read). It’s refreshing to read a strong critique of near-meaningless neoliberal proposals for “sustainable development” (e.g., politicians advocating for electric cars), while also seeing a thoughtful outline of a meaningfully improved vision of the future with universal basic services, a radical cut in working hours, a departure from car-centric infrastructure, the removal of ‘bullshit jobs’ and unsustainable jobs (like fracking, and the defense industry), and enacting meaningful debt cancellation and redistributions of wealth, not only nationally for workers, but for the Global South from the Global North and international financial institutions. I’ve been interested in researching the Degrowth movement more lately, and I’m hoping the philosophy has enough momentum to catch on globally with the urgency it demands. I’ve also been looking forward to Kohei Saito’s Marx in the Anthropocene English translation coming next month, especially after seeing how popular it’s gotten in Japan.
I also picked up Junji Ito’s 2019 manga “Sensor” and a volume of Archie (2015) comics to lighten the literary load a little this week.
In addition to painting a little more lately, another friend has started nudging me into printmaking with linocuts, and gave me some scrap linoleum and lent me some cheap carving tools (I recently lent her a 35mm film SLR and a roll of Ilford HP5+, so I suppose we’re sort of cross-pollinating, creatively speaking). Not much to share yet, but it’s so much fun sharing hobbies with people you care about, and it’s been a blast to think about how to make art to suit this unfamiliar-to-me process.
On podcasts, I also started listening to Pictorial on Relay.fm. I’ve really enjoyed hearing Quinn Rose here or there on Do By Friday, and while she’s normally been an editor, she started this show in 2019 about enjoying and learning about art as someone who is an enthusiast, but isn’t an expert.
Merlin Mann has been playing with a plaintext blogging platform and created ungainly.me (the name, I think, is a riff off the Ungainly X-Mann Meetup that used to be hosted at a comic shop in San Francisco, the meetup name itself being a riff off X-Men comic naming conventions, in this particular case, “Uncanny X-Men”). It features some wonderful posts like Photos InstaCart Shoppers Have Sent Me, some doodles, and a song he wrote 30 years ago and re-recorded last year (just because). I love silly personal blogs like these. They just feel honest and authentic, and feel like a genuine way to express one’s self for expression’s sake, without trying to sell anything or grow an audience or carefully curate a personal brand.
While I’m plugging silly, niche blogs, the aforementioned Madeleine runs Banh Maine, which is solely about enjoying banh mi sandwiches in and around Portland.
I’m taking a full week off next week for the first time since 2019. The past two years I’ve used my paid time off to give myself four-day workweeks, and I’m largely doing that again this fall too, but I had a few extra days this year, and I’m very much looking forward to a larger break for rest, errands I’ve been putting off, and maybe even some personal projects.
What about you?
Up to anything interesting? Have any thoughts or feelings after reading this? If you want to reach out for any reason, just reply to this email and I’ll write you back ✉️✨
Part of the fairy village at Mackworth Island State Park