Words To Live By #1

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“You have to follow the affections of your heart, and the truth of your imagination. Otherwise, you will feel badly.”  Jim Harrison

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Words To Live By #1

Representation

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No taxation without representation! That was one of the major grievances the original 13 colonies of the U.S. had against England. It was one of the root causes of The American Revolution. Back in the 1750’s when this was a major slogan of the 13 colonies, England was passing all sorts of taxes and laws beneficial to England but not to the 13 colonies and the colonists had no say in the matter.

Oh, how the oppressed have become the oppressors! In the 1750’s the U.S. was a colony of England much like Puerto Rico is a colony of the U.S. today. After years of plunder by U.S. Corporations and hedge funds, Puerto Rico has a massive debt that is crippling it’s economy to the point of collapse with no way of restructuring that debt unless the U.S. allows it to go into some form of Bankruptcy. Unfortunately, Federal Bankruptcy protection is something the US specifically took away from Puerto Rico in 1984 for apparently no reason.

It’s possible that Puerto Rico could setup it’s own Bankruptcy legal procedures and they did, but the greedy hedge funds went to Federal Court to nullify Puerto Rico’s laws and won. Puerto Rico appealed twice and lost. Now the legal battle has reached the Supreme Court of the United States. Judge Alito has recused himself. It appears he has a monetary interest in the outcome of the case. With Scalia’s passing, that leaves the court with 7 members giving it a slight liberal tilt.

On Tuesday the Supreme Court took up oral arguments in the case. Everyone familiar with the case expected Puerto Rico to lose. But it seems that one of the Justices was very vocal during oral arguments and spoke up an astonishing 45 times! She made it clear that she was advocating for the Puerto Rican defense. The Justice was Sonia Sotomayor,  the first justice of Puerto Rican descent in the history of the Supreme Court. Before Justice Sotomayor’s enlightening questioning of the lawyer representing Puerto Rico, Chris Landau, it was thought that Puerto Rico had no chance of prevailing. After her questioning, which amazingly explained the Island’s position better than it’s lawyers to the other Justices, some on the bench signaled that they were starting to see Puerto Rico’s side. Justice Kagan came out and said, “I think I get what you’re saying now, which I didn’t when I started.” Initially, Kagan started out skeptical of the Island’s position.

Puerto Rico now not only had a representative on the Supreme Court they seemed to have an advocate! An eloquent, highly intelligent and shrewd advocate. What a difference a little representation makes!

Representation

A Camera Is A Copy Machine

“A camera is a copy machine, I hope that during my time, and especially now, I can copy the world and show it to the audience as much as I can. Even just even one extra copy is enough.”

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A Camera Is A Copy Machine

Emborícuate

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“A haiku, not a sonnet.”

The difference between a photographer and someone who takes photographs is the same difference between a novelist and someone who writes e-mails. The motions are the same but the photographer or writer thinks a lot harder about what she is doing and as a result puts out a more thoughtful expression. Photography for many is just another means of expression; a shorthand for, “look what I ate today!”, or, “This is where I am!”.

I had been planning to do a series of photographs a la Robert Frank that depicted what Puerto Rican life is like in the U.S. today. The more I though about it (weeks and weeks of agonizing and little forays to Washington Heights and East Harlem) the more I thought the approach was all wrong. I certainly don’t want to depict life in low income neighborhoods. Oh this has been done to death and by photographers much better than I. Plus what I am best at is making little poetic observations not grand statements; commentaries as opposed to grand speeches, haikus as opposed to sonnets. So I go back to the drawing board and figure out what I really want to say and how to do it in my own personal way.

An alternative approach I was thinking of was to mix photographs with personal memories of growing up Puerto Rican back in the 1970’s and 1980’s in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. A portrait or still life on one page and a personal memory that image represents on the other. Or maybe I can write on the photograph itself a la Duane Michaels.

Thinking, thinking, thinking.

Emborícuate

Waiting For Salvation

Sunday, the beginning of a week, a family’s survivors walk into the house for the last time. He was a stingy, cruel old bastard who finally choked to death on his whiskey in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. The house is finally selling and they gather to sweep away any remaining valuables and waiting for the Army Of Salvation to take away the remains of a sad, cruel life: a broken radio, a too lived in chair, furniture too used to be worth hauling away. A grandson in a pink shirt sleeps awaiting the dissipation of boredom. His new iPod lays on the floor. A pink lamp dangles in front of oblivion.

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Waiting For Salvation