RIP John Berger (1926-2017)

Si vous avez une heure ou deux, prenez le temps de regarder Ways of Seeing, un documentaire remarquable de culture, d’intelligence et de savoir-enseigner.

On en fait plus des comme ça, ni à la BBC ni ailleurs. Et on n’en fera plus: John Berger, écrivain, artiste, marxiste est mort hier.

Mediapart c’est également fendu d’une bonne bio (paywall)

Visit Oman

If you’ve lived in the Gulf, you’ll know what this is: the traditional headgear worn by Omaimg_0110ni men with their dishdash.

Oman is a welcome respite from the UAE which, surprisingly, most expats I’ve met in Dubai or Abu Dhabi have never visited.

And it’s a shame because its one of the best memories you can bring back from the Gulf. I’d hazard “authentic” but it’s a stupid, overused word.

For one thing, I’ve uniformly found Omanis to be extremely nice, helpful and engaging (Bahrainis are a close second). Most Emiratis are courteous, and extremely polite if you ever have to engage with them. But Omanis genuinely will go out of their way to be nice and helpful.

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Diana fun

A good thing about coming back to France is that I have relatively easier access to film processing, so I decided to finally put my Diana to the test.
Sure enough, as predicted by the guy at the photo shop, the results were iffy, at best. But I see a lot of potential here, so I’m going to try and go on having some fun.
The first batch was actually exposed last summer, but developped this week. I had trouble with the film advancement, and obviously the lady at the shop had trouble with the scanner, since she scanned everything with a 1/4 frame offset … This is all much more fun than instagram, anyway. I’ll get it right, eventually!

Limbo

I’ve been “home” now for a little over a week, and it feels a little like Limbo. There are some real challenges of daily life, of course. Like most expats, we’re in a catch 22 situation: the paperwork we need is contingent on providing the paperwork we don’t yet have, for which we’ll need the paperwork we’re seeking. I’m still fresh enough at this that I believe it’ll work out. We have savings, and a roof over our heads courtesy of my in-laws. The kids are in school and happy. What more do I need?

And that’s exactly how I’m enjoying this moment in life: I’m doing things I haven’t done in a while and I probably won’t get to do again for a while. I’m dropping off and picking up my kids every day at school. I’m learning to spend time with them without being too tired or too wound-up to enjoy it. I’m spending more time with my wife than I have in a long time – and we get to talk about the future and what we want to do with it. I’m actually thinking of setting out on my own, with all the implications about hard work, failure, risk – but also rewards and frankly, not being at the mercy of the psychopathic bosses I’ve had lately. 

This is a surreal moment in my life. A bit dangerously so, because it’s (too) confortable to imagine it will last forever. But I’m planning to enjoy it to the hilt. 

 

Photography resources

Have you ever tried to find links to people and images that matter in the history of photography? It’s kind of a nightmare….

A bunch of people, who met at the GPP conference in Dubail in 2013 and in 2014, have gotten together and pieced a list of resources that they have found useful, one way or another, in learning about photography as a form of expression.

These resources are exclusively focused on photographers and their production. There is nothing here about gear. Not because it’s not important, but because it’s not the point.
There is also no judgment of value on these artists. Some of these I hate, some of these I love, and you’ll have your own favorites. Again, that’s not the point.

The point is to educate your taste, so you can build your own style, one day.

I’ll leave you with this quote from André Gide:

“Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again”

and the admonishement to read “Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon