02 February 2015

Back in the saddle again, out where a friend is a friend...

There has been little news hence no posts. About ten days ago, as the big snow storm was gathering strength to bury parts of the NorthEast, the consequence here was ice. It rained for a day with the temperature bouncing around 31 degrees. It was so close to the freezing mark that accumulations varied wildly because of one or two degree differences caused by elevation or micro-climate. Stratheden was fortunate to only receive about 1/4 inch, enough to dislodge dead wood from trees but little else. Miraculously the electricity never wavered. The trees were absolutely resplendent in their radiant glassine robes.

The weather this winter has been in cycles, from single digit lows to lows above freezing (yesterday morning). That is a nice change from five and six years ago when it stayed bitterly cold and the snow kept accumulating. Winter depression may be a function of unrelenting meteorology as much as low light.

City slickers wonder what, if anything, Mr. Fuzzy does in the winter time. Some years, not much, but thanks to frequent spells of sun and temperatures in the high forties or low fifties, a lot of spring clean up has been possible months ahead.

The task of controlling the spread of locusts, wild roses, blackberries and other thorny pests is made much safer by the lack of leaves - you can see your opponent. Mr. Fuzzy hacked away one stand which had the largest thorns he has ever seen on a native North American tree.

There are times in a life when it is evident that your guardian angels are too exhausted to function adequately. And other times when it is unequivocal that the Universe smiles upon thee. At the moment, the latter notion prevails.

As noted in The Holiday News Letter (some are still in the mail...), Mr. Fuzzy has reapplied himself to massaging ye olde dissertation into a form perhaps interesting to publishers. Beginning three weeks, ago, Thursdays and Fridays are designated "Photographic History Research Days." Currently the task at hand is to flesh out the biographies of some of the more mysterious founders of Pictorialism. Two of three are almost "in the bag" now, pending queries mailed to England. The third, an American, has proved more evasive but surely cannot conceal his secrets forever.

The UPS man delivered a heavy padded envelope from Spain this very afternoon. As none such was anticipated, it required immediate inspection and behold, a very important new book on the life of American/British photographer Alvin Langdon Coburn, whose genius in photography was evident before age ten. He was a Founding Father of the first world wide movement in photography, Pictorialism, and yet has been sadly underestimated and largely forgotten. English photohistorian Pamela Gleeson Roberts has rescued Mr. Coburn from obscurity and places him back into the hagiography of photography where he stands in the highest place. Dear Reader, should you have the least inkling of interest in Photography as Art, you must read this benchmark biography.

 Mr. Coburn was a lynchpin in Mr. Fuzzy's doctoral dissertation and as all scholars should, Mr. Fuzzy shared research material with Ms. Roberts when the task was still new many years ago. He was overwhelmed to find his name enumerated in the thank-yous at the beginning of said tome. Thank you, Pam, for remembering and acknowledging my miniscule contributions. It helps make up for the many times my research has been ripped off without any credit whatsoever.

Indeed, it is time to be back in the fold, digging into the dark recesses of musty archives (and the internet...) which always felt so comforting and rewarding. All right Universe, its time to power up!

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