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About the Flaneur
I walk through my blindness the way I wander down streets in Paris: unfettered and alive, alert to the raw material of the senses. I am a flaneur. Come along with me. Just don’t try to take my arm, unless I ask. What’s a flaneur? Read the first post, Return of the Flaneur to Galerie Vivienne. After that, try Foot Rage and the Blind Flaneur. Then stay tuned.
Letting Go of Sight
I’ve canoed on Lake Superior for almost as many years as I’ve been losing eyesight. I return year after year like a migrating loon to learn the other side of a slow, uncertain process that we could call “going blind.” After 35 years with the lake as my teacher, I know what lies on the other side. I call it letting go of sight. Read Big Water. See more about the Great Lakes.
Not This PigIf there is an emerging genetic underclass, I could run for class president or class clown. Read more in Not This Pig (2003).
Media in Transition @ MiT
Disabled Americans today have to negotiate for the kinds of accommodations made for FDR, and the caveat “reasonable accommodation” is built into the law. President Franklin Roosevelt did not have to negotiate. He could summon vast resources of the federal government – money as well as brains – to accomplish the work of disability. And it was accomplished with such thoroughness and efficiency that its scale could be called the Accessibility-Industrial Complex had it been directed toward public accommodations and not solely the needs of a single man. Read FDR and the Hidden Work of Disability [MiT8 2013]
Shepard Fairey claimed that his posterization of a copyrighted AP news photo of Barack Obama was a transformative work protected by the fair use doctrine. In other words, it was a shape-shifter. I claim fair use, too, when I reproduce and transform copyrighted works into media formats that are accessible to me as a blind reader. Read Shape-Shifters in the Fair Use Lab [MiT6 2009]
The social engineers who created a system for licensing beggars in New York never imagined that a blind woman had culture or could make culture. She herself may not have imagined it, either. In the moment when Paul Strand photographed her surreptitiously on the street in 1916, he could not have expected that one day blind photographers would reverse the camera’s gaze. Read Curiosity & The Blind Photographer. [MiT5 2007]
Tag Archives: WW II
The Rescued Film Project struck a chord this week with its video documenting the painstaking process of developing long-forgotten rolls of WWII-vintage film. No one knows the name of the American GI who took the pictures. Others will have to imagine the stories for him. Continue reading
Here’s my Christmas surprise for 2014. I was throwing out boxes of obscure stuff when something made me dig through the trash one more time, searching for something I’d missed or lost. It was a photo of my mother and sister, Mary Lou and Diana. It must have been taken around this time in 1944. I know it was a difficult time in Lou’s life. She was a single mother worried about her soldier-husband’s fate somewhere in northern France as the war raged on. I hadn’t seen this image before; it astonishes me. How happy she looks! I offer it here for all her children and grandchildren as a token of “the love that let us share our name.” Continue reading
“During World War II, American publishers wanted to support the troops,” author Molly Guptill Manning tells NPR’s Renee Montagne. “And so they decided that the best they could do was print miniature paperback books that were small enough that they could fit in a pocket so the men could carry these books with them anywhere.” | Guptill Manning’s new book, When Books Went to War, is a history of these paperbacks, known as Armed Services Editions. Continue reading
Lots of people lined up to peek through the keyhole for a glimpse of Lee Miller, whose meteoric career arced from Vogue fashion model to Surrealist muse to intrepid war photographer. The voyeurs included Condé Nast, Man Ray, Jean Cocteau, … Continue reading
War correspondent Lee Miller visited Pablo Picasso’s studio on the day Allied troops liberated Paris in August 1944. [Source: Guardian/Lee Miller Archives] See Lee Miller: Flapper Fashionista, Lee Miller: Surrealist Muse and Lee Miller: War Photographer.
Alex Colville. To Prince Edward Island. [Source: Library and Archives Canada] Summer will come, and with it blue skies and open water.