July 13, 2020

"In American culture the belief persists that through one's own efforts, a personal paradise is achievable. But what does that paradise look like...?"

Asks Eliot Dudik, explaining his photography project, which explores the United States by going to all the places called "Paradise Road."

I found that via "Searching For The American Dream On Paradise Road" (NPR).
Dudik's numerous carefully mapped-out trips across the U.S., one of which covered 17,000 miles, have allowed him to encounter a diversity of landscapes and people. By keeping the project focused only on roads named Paradise, he constructed it as a rough survey of the topography of rural America....

On each road he visits, Dudik takes time to explore the scene that he finds, considering how that particular location might reveal some sense of paradise before he takes one 8-by-10-inch film photograph. "On these long road trips, I'm stuck with whatever weather might be happening when I arrive, and I unfortunately don't have the time or resources to wait or come back when it's better," he says.
I like the constraints! He only can take one photograph in each place... and the place needs to be a Paradise Road.

Interesting to use film (and large format!). He has to put the effort up front, into choosing exactly what to expend his one shot on. It's so different from the normal thing today which is to take hundreds of digital photographs and to do the choosing after the fact on your computer screen — that's certainly what I do.

96 comments:

MayBee said...

I'm going to guess he got an inordinate number of trailer parks and places where old people live.

Ann Althouse said...

I think what there’s an inordinate number of is cemeteries.

whitney said...

It's weird that he doesn't realize that having the means, the rights and the ability to do this project is Paradise

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

They called it Paradise
The place to be
They watched the hazy sun
Sinking in the sea

MayBee said...

Cemeteries! Good call.

It's an interesting project, but street names are tough because they are up to the developer. Near my MIL's old house, there is a neighborhood where all the street names are cigarette brands. What do you do when you find a house you like on Lucky Strike Circle?

rehajm said...

In American culture the belief persists that through one's own efforts, a personal paradise is achievable. But what does that paradise look like from within a record wealth gap?

Of course it is a false premise used as a political wedge to encourage a try for marxism/socialism, despite it never succeeding in bringing peace and prosperity to the masses.

Fuck the premise...

That said, it's an interesting exercise clouded by the ignorant and manipulative backstory.

P.S. It's stupid to wail about the wealth gap as if there's one big pile of money sloshing around the globe. There are people who want to wake up and do and create and take personal economic risk to serve their fellow man and there's people who want to wake up and smoke weed all day. They don't achieve the same economic outcomes and they shouldn't in the interest of fairness.

wild chicken said...

Ooh I lived on Paradise Rd in Las Vegas. I wonder if he found that one. I was quite happy there, making union scale and paying $44/wk tent.

But if they want to see decay, I suggest dropping down to street view in any town in Mexico. It's a preview of a low trust society with defunded police.

Bill Crawford said...

Did he run into Rodney after his swim?

Daniel Jackson said...

"I like the constraints! He only can take one photograph in each place... and the place needs to be a Paradise Road."

There is a third constraint, which is equally important: "I'm stuck with whatever weather might be happening when I arrive." That means that he must use the available light at the time of the picture. His landscapes are not just terrain. They include the atmospherics. That could be the sunny sixteen classic light; it could be high contrast darks and lights; it could be hazy days; it could be stormy dim light.

That's a big challenge understated above.

rehajm said...

Now get out of your safe zone on Paradise Road and document the global wealth gap. Bring it back to the wannabe socialists back home in the cocoon for show and tell...

DanTheMan said...

>>In American culture the belief persists that through one's own efforts, a personal paradise is achievable. But what does that paradise look like from within a record wealth gap?

Everything is political. Absolutely everything.
Welcome to the new normal.

Sebastian said...

"In American culture the belief persists that through one's own efforts, a personal paradise is achievable. But what does that paradise look like...?"

Who holds that "belief" about "personal paradise"?

I call BS.

Sally327 said...

This post makes me think of Meat Loaf, the singer not the food. I wonder what that says about me, that I don't think of heaven when I see the word "paradise" I think of an old '70s song.

Paradise (road), it's not a place, it's a state of mind.

rehajm said...

Also, I can confirm there's lots of other chicks from Swampscott that look like that...

gspencer said...

"by going to all the places called 'Paradise Road'"

Well, if ya wanna get down and learn what real America's like, then he might consider taking snaps of all the Martin Luther King Boulevards across the urban scenes. He'll learn what Chris Rock knows.

gilbar said...

But what does that paradise look like from within a record wealth gap?

serious question
is there a better country, to be "poor" in?
i don't mean, can a person making $25,600/yr live comfortably in mexico
i mean, IF you're in the bottom economic quintile; how do other countries stack up?
i think we can agree, that we want to rule OUT countries like mexico then

but, what about France? how is it, being in lowest quintile there?
how about Sweden?

boatbuilder said...

The cemetery in Paradise, AZ (at the end of Paradise Rd.) in the Chiricahua Mountains is a place of inordinate peace and natural beauty. I wonder if he got that photo.

gilbar said...

when I see the word "paradise" I think of an old '70s song.

So now I'm praying for the end of time, To hurry up and arrive
'Cause if I gotta spend another minute with you
I don't think that I can really survive
I'll never break my promise or forget my vow
But God only knows who I'd be doin' right now
I'm praying for the end of time; It's all that I can do (ooh, ooh)
Praying for the end of time; So I can end my time with you

Leland said...

Yeah, I'm not buying that he takes just one photograph. He may choose one photograph of each location for his art project, but I'm not buying he takes just one. That he uses film isn't a big deal.

However, the constraint used to be a real one. Film is expensive, particularly when you want it all developed. A 12 or 24 reel of film was what someone might take on a trip, so you used to be more selective of what you photographed. With digital, you snap off 3 quick shots of everything.

As for achieving paradise, I'm not sure it can photographed. Most people who believe in a paradise have in mind the spiritual kind. As Sally notes above, paradise is not a place, but a state of mind.

Amexpat said...

Well, the moral of the story
The moral of this song
Is simply that one should never be
Where one does not belong...
And don’t go mistaking Paradise
For that home across the road

Fernandinande said...

In American culture the belief persists that through one's own efforts, a personal paradise is achievable.

Anyone besides me never hear anyone else talk about achieving a personal paradise?

But what does that paradise look like...?

It looks like a gimmick to me.

"I'm stuck with whatever weather might be happening when I arrive"

Another gimmick would be to take pictures out a moving car window at random locations then make up some sociopolitical bs about it.

Wince said...

He has to put the effort up front, into choosing exactly what to expend his one shot on.

"Yeah. No Problem."

Dave Begley said...

Typical Leftist BS. According to them, America is a shitty place. I also note he's on the faculty of William & Mary.

Sherman Broder said...

Not too shabby from Google Maps:
https://www.google.com/maps/@42.9820947,-88.7147629,3a,75y,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s3nH2VWQfrOdCkjgGrd2bgw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en

Dave Begley said...

Defund NPR.

wild chicken said...

Face it, they pity us out here in flyover.

Here we are, stuck in our boring lives, clinging to our guns and our religion, never eating anything savoury, never saying anything clevah!

It's hellish.

Kevin said...

I like the constraints! He only can take one photograph in each place... and the place needs to be a Paradise Road.

Paradise is making the best of what you have, thereby being appreciative you’re not worse off.

It has nothing to do with healthcare as a right or universal basic income.

That’s the “paved paradise and put up a parking lot” version.

Limited blogger said...

Milner beats Falfa

Kevin said...

"In American culture the belief persists that through one's own efforts, a personal paradise is achievable.“

Nevertheless, America persisted.

Ann Althouse said...

Wince at 8:23

I don't even have to click on that one.

mikee said...

Paradise Road? You mean from Pilgrim's Progress? The road isn't what's important. It is the progress one makes going down the road, avoiding the pitfalls of sin and helping others along the way, that leads to Paradise. People used to learn this in high school.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Nice photographs, predictable agenda.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

Inevitably, there's going to be a negative cast. Everyone wants to be Walker Evans.

But the "Paradise Road' qualification is such an obvious, and cheap, play. Easy to imagine this guy cooking that up and thinking he was making some kind of profound statement. Because that's what passes for deep, socially-conscious thinking in his world.

Unknown said...

Paradise is often used in a manner that connotes the mythical and otherwordly. It is sometimes used ironically. This artist seems not to understand that.

TheDopeFromHope said...

Next he should do all the MLK Blvds. in the country.

Chris Rock: “Martin Luther King stood for nonviolence. Now what’s Martin Luther King? A street. And I don’t give a fuck where you are in America, if you on Martin Luther King Boulevard, there’s some violence going down.”

His advice to people who find themselves lost on an MLK-named street: “Run! Run! Run!”

stlcdr said...

The American Dream - or paradise - is what you make it. It exists. The implication it doesn't exist is a lie.

Having said that, some people never achieve it through no fault of their own. A lot of people don't achieve through their own inability to act. You will never achieve it by forcing/coercing others to change their behavior, words or actions.

Kay said...

These are great. But my favorite part about this is his process; the whole one-shot thing is very interesting to me. Especially because we’re living in a time when people take lots and lots of photographs that I assume never get looked at or thought of again beyond the moment of capture.

Roy Lofquist said...

"...life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

If you're looking for paradise you're in the right place.

Paul said...

I went to college with a bit of help from parents and working in the summer. Got a degree in Computer Science (barely!)

I worked for low pay for the State of Texas (computer programming.) I got a state defined benefits retirement plus what Texas called their version of 'Medicare'.

I then went to work for a large private company and got a defined benefits retirement, paid mucho onto Social Security, and got an IRA. My wife also worked for a large company and got a defined benefits retirement and paid mucho into Social Security.

So we sit with FIVE defined benefits, IRA, house paid off, and we live, I guess, in paradise. No, not some fancy place but a good community that has block parties. We live in peace.

And that is paradise. That is the American Dream. And with Gods help, we did make it ourselves.

And note.. we worked our ass off for 35+ years to achieve it while sending two kids to parochial schools and college. Yes we sacrificed.

WE DID THIS, not Obama. With our decision to live a clean life, work hard, and save.

WE DID THIS, not Obama... Not Hillary.

Kalli Davis said...

All those picture look like freedom to me. That's paradise.

lgv said...

It's been a long time since I stuck my head behind a view camera, sweating like crazy underneath a dark cloth.

I like the work. Didn't care much for the Salinas, CA image and I wish he had stopped more on the Erath, La image to give a bit more focus to the background.
There are some mediocre framings due to the limitation of the 8x10 format. Some really great ones among the portfolio.

BarrySanders20 said...

Paradise Road in Jefferson, WI. Oh no!

"The pretty woods surrounding Paradise Road are not as pleasant after dark. Drive along this road at night, and you might see hooded figures back in the trees. Roll your windows down, and you'll hear anguished screams."

https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/wisconsin/haunted-streets-in-wi/

"You might see . . . and you[wi]ll hear . . ."

n.n said...

Blake Shelton - God's Country

Welcome to Earth. Not everyone, only a minority, enjoy "paradise"... a beachfront estate in Hawaii, Martha's Vineyard, perhaps an island unto oneself.

WK said...

From last nights cafe:
“ Does your personal experience support the US national myth of a "classless" society? Explain. “

Yancey Ward said...

LOL! Mike, I thought of "The Last Resort", too!!!

n.n said...

Wading through the chaos (e.g. life), looking outward for signs and purpose, looking inward for a safe space, inferring patterns in the signals, running amuck and coloring other people's "paradise". Interesting, I wonder who is right.

Bruce Hayden said...

“ Ooh I lived on Paradise Rd in Las Vegas. I wonder if he found that one. I was quite happy there, making union scale and paying $44/wk tent.”

Shows up enough on CSI. My parter grew up there, and has memories of the various intersections that are mentioned in the show.

NCMoss said...

Obama came to mind when I saw the empty chair. His sermon against a strong work ethic (you didn't build that!) was extremely unhelpful.

Static Ping said...

Paradise Road is an odd choice. Developers will often select street names that sound desirable, especially if the development is not desirable. (These can be very moment in time specific; there are several streets in my area named after Oskar Schindler but only after the movie was released. It's also how Greenland got its name.) There's also the matter that streets are often named after prior property owners, especially if the property was or is a farm, and Paradise is a surname. Related, streets are often named after individuals that made the ultimate sacrifice in war, so you can end up with surname named streets that way as well. There are going to be Paradise streets that are specifically named because the area seems like paradise, but there are going to be a lot of exceptions as well.

I'm not saying it is not a worthwhile art project. However, it does not communicate anything deeper than that.

A Voice of Reason said...

By the way, mandatory masks start today in Dane, so my shopping here stops today. I can recommend the Piggly Wiggly in northern Rock county (Evansville), as well as everything in Janesville.

tommyesq said...

He should expand away from just streets named Paradise to get a better feel for what American's think of as "paradise" and how it plays out. For example, Paradise Valley in Montana is spectacular, beautiful mountains, Yellowstone River running down the middle; Paradise, California, a small town that essentially completely burned to the ground in the California wildfires of 2018 - both heaven and hell.

Bilwick said...

For me the basis of the earthly paradise would be "liberals," "progressives" and other coercion-based collectivists consigning themselves to some kind of perdition, and then LEAVING THE REST OF US THE HELL ALONE. Simple enough to understand, State-fuckers?

Mark said...

In American culture the belief persists that through one's own efforts, a personal paradise is achievable.

It is rather annoying when people who do NOT understand something think they do and, worse, try to tell others what it is.

While American culture has certainly believed in the idea of personal hardwork can help one to prosper, it has never asserted that a person can achieve salvation on their own. Rather, the American culture has always seen the need to include God in that equation.

A Voice of Reason said...

By the way, mandatory masks start today in Dane, so my shopping here stops today. I can recommend the Piggly Wiggly in northern Rock county (Evansville), as well as everything in Janesville.

Bruce Hayden said...

We have a town named Paradise around here. But it didn’t start that way. Instead, it was named “pair of dice”, that somehow, over the decades, became “Paradise”. Except, of course, that it’s not. It’s a dusty wide spot on the road, without a single gas station or public restroom. Most of a decade ago, we stopped there looking for such, and the only store open was an antique store. But they didn’t let the public use their restrooms. My partner loves antiques, but I expect that when we come through there later this week, she will again comment how stupid they were that day, because we would have been perfect customers for them. Plenty of money to spend on that nonsense. And about half the furniture in this house is over 100 years old. Luckily she was already asleep last night when I spilled my soft drink on the leather top of the antique table (out of a set of 3) sitting between the two recliners (which is where I spend my mornings doing this silly blogging stuff, with the choice of which recliner being dependent upon which one the cat did not appropriate for the night). If she had been awake, I probably wouldn’t hear the end of it for months. Hopefully I got it cleaned up well enough that she doesn’t notice it when she rolls out of bed in a bit. I think leather topped tables are silly. Silly me. Which is why she does the interior design, and hopefully I will soon have my new garage as my man cave. We did pick up a glass gun case last year locally, which holds up to eight long guns, and fits in well with the leather topped tables. So, maybe it was good that the antique store in Paradise, MT, wouldn’t let her use their restrooms. I can spend the money on more important things, like the two guns I bought a week or two ago.

Kay said...

n.n said...
Blake Shelton - God's Country

Welcome to Earth. Not everyone, only a minority, enjoy "paradise"... a beachfront estate in Hawaii, Martha's Vineyard, perhaps an island unto oneself.
7/13/20, 9:54 AM


Very true.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Hey! Let's go make some misery porn!

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

The anthropological tone of these things always make me sick.

"Look! Rednecks in the mist!"

WhoKnew said...

Roads start somewhere and go somewhere. Did he drive the length of each Paradise Road before deciding what to shoot? Going in with his apparent ideological prejudice did he focus on the rundown stretches of the road at the expense of those that appeared more prosperous and/or beautiful. Lots of room for manipulation. So the question is does his project show what he saw or what he wanted to see.

Stephen said...

John Prine has some telling things to say about Paradise.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSyZU1XA5rk

F said...

Judging by the photos at the link, Dudik is looking for something wry, tacky or condescending. This is not a photography project, it is a political statement, or a social statement. It is also a statement about Dudik. I'm not sure I'd want to spend much time with him.

Kai Akker said...

Think of the resolution on those 8x10 photos. Yummm!

Too bad all the pictures are self-consciously bleak, dismal, dystopian, or she's wearing a leopard-skin pillbox hat.

Jupiter said...

What is this guy, a trust fund baby?

stlcdr said...

How many 'Paradise Roads' have been named such ironically?

Known Unknown said...

"a record wealth gap?"

Are they sure they want to go here? I am certain the Borgias vs. the serfs would constitute a larger gap. Or that Mongol king vs. his slaves.

RobinGoodfellow said...

I’m amazed that photographers still compose shots. Seems so—1970s.

RobinGoodfellow said...

“ Blogger Mike (MJB Wolf) said...
They called it Paradise
The place to be
They watched the hazy sun
Sinking in the sea”

Great song!

hawkeyedjb said...

Does Paradise exist? It surely does!

One of the features of this Paradise, recently copied in our own semi-paradise, is the concept of Generational Guilt.




RobinGoodfellow said...

“ Blogger gspencer said...
"by going to all the places called 'Paradise Road'"

Well, if ya wanna get down and learn what real America's like, then he might consider taking snaps of all the Martin Luther King Boulevards across the urban scenes.“

Oh, snap!

AKA, “It’s after midnight, OMG what street am I on?!”

gerry said...

Yes, a photo of an old house-trailer with a pile of discarded tires in the foreground is not an uplifting image. But there are some very beautiful photos as well, and the people in most of the pictures look interesting, poignant, happy, or simply human.

RobinGoodfellow said...

“ 7/13/20, 9:28 AM
Blogger lgv said...
It's been a long time since I stuck my head behind a view camera, sweating like crazy underneath a dark cloth.

I like the work. Didn't care much for the Salinas, CA image ...”

Whenever I read about Salinas I am reminded of Steinbeck. He wrote East of Eden (a tremendous book). In the story, Salinas was where all the respectable people lived—the bankers, and business men, and wealthy land owners. Monterey (just over the hills on the coast) was home to the fishermen and cannery workers. There were found the dive bars and brothels.

Today, of course, it is reversed. Monterey is home to the the well-heeled, while Salinas is a little dangerous. Every morning the traffic is the same—a long line of expensive cars leaving Monterey to go work in offices, and another long line of old beaters headed to Monterey to work in the shops or hotels, or to clean the houses.

And each night they all go back the other way.

Achilles said...

""In American culture the belief persists that through one's own efforts, a personal paradise is achievable. But what does that paradise look like...?""

Socialist drivel.

My neighbors got one of my shipped boxes while we were out and took it to their garage.

"It isn't a very big box but we needed a dolly to move it. Would you like to use the dolly?"

Every couple weeks or so we get another surprisingly heavy box.

Scott Patton said...

That paradisiacal pile of tires in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania is basically in the middle of really serious PA forests. If you're in the neighborhood and like trees, it's worth a look.

traditionalguy said...

Read East of Eden for the answer to what the American Dream has been composed of. The Salinas Valley contained it all at a point as far west as they could get.

policraticus said...

The American Dream is about finding Paradise? I thought the American Dream was living in country where your destiny wasn't predetermined by your heritage, where the Rule of Law trumped the will of the monarch, and the Consent of the Governed dictated the power of the Government.

In American culture the belief persists that through one's own efforts, a personal paradise is achievable.

Who believes this?? Who? Find me the person who believes that through personal effort you can achieve paradise. It is a ridiculous strawman. I don't think anyone, even people who earnestly believe in the value of hard work and pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, think that the end point is paradise..

which explores the United States by going to all the places called "Paradise Road."

Why not try the UK? How about Rue de Paradis in France? Or, ParadiesstraƟe in Germany? Or, Calle de Paraƭso in Spain? I went to Google Earth and discovered that Paradise Road was ubiquitous everywhere I knew the local word for "road" and "paradise." Funny, it is almost as if "Paradise" is a perfectly conventional name for a street everywhere and that it has no more "meaning" than "Hope Street," "Heaven Avenue," or "Love Boulevard."

Cool photography, though.

Birkel said...

The headline is demonstrably wrong.
Leftist Collectivists believe in the perfectible Soviet Man.
Conservatives understand that is wrong and leads to mass murder.

Most Americans are not Leftist Collectivists.

Conservatives believe in constant effort toward self-improvement.
But the journey is never achieved.

Kai Akker said...

"Every couple weeks or so we get another surprisingly heavy box."

Who's in them?

Michael K said...

policraticus said...
The American Dream is about finding Paradise? I thought the American Dream was living in country where your destiny wasn't predetermined by your heritage, where the Rule of Law trumped the will of the monarch, and the Consent of the Governed dictated the power of the Government.


Exactly. Most of us did not come from wealth. I define "White Privilege" as Homework. A lot of young people who do come from wealth, like movie actors' kids, get into serious trouble because the concept of "paying back" has been lost. Trump is a very rare example of a rich man who seems determined to pay back. I am amused at the politicians who got rich in politics being enraged by the guy who got rich, then entered politics. Romney should be another example but he seems to be driven solely by ego. Tillerson was another example.

There are lots of us who worked hard and made something of ourselves and resent being accused of "racism" because we are doing all right.

Ann Althouse said...

So when you see your neighbor carryin’ somethin’
Help him with his load
And don’t go mistaking Paradise
For that home across the road

Ann Althouse said...

“ The American Dream is about finding Paradise?“

“ I have quoted John Winthrop's words more than once on the campaign trail this year—for I believe that Americans in 1980 are every bit as committed to that vision of a shining "city on a hill," as were those long ago settlers ... These visitors to that city on the Potomac do not come as white or black, red or yellow; they are not Jews or Christians; conservatives or liberals; or Democrats or Republicans. They are Americans awed by what has gone before, proud of what for them is still… a shining city on a hill.”

Howard said...

I like it. Every place is someone's paradise. That is if you are mentally healthy. Else, every place is Dante's Infernal.

hstad said...


Blogger Michael K said...There are lots of us who worked hard and made something of ourselves and resent being accused of "racism" because we are doing all right. 7/13/20, 1:13 PM.

I agree with one proviso - I would say 'most of us' vs. "lots of us" small difference in wording but huge difference in impact. Why do I say that? Just look at the millions of legal immigrants wanting to come into the USA (the waiting list is massive). Then look at the millions of 'Illegal Immigrants' wanting to come to the USA - that's a very difficult and in most causes life changing decision in their lives. It's not easy to uproot oneself and their families it can be traumatic. But they love the USA, despite the American Haters in the MSM and the Activists whose only cause in life is getting funding for being an activist, like a "race hustler". Best country in the World and I've been in countries on all Continents, except Antarctica. Nowhere is the opportunity greater to do what blogger "...Michael K said...There are lots of us who worked hard and made something of ourselves..." I'm a grateful to the USA. I'm a living example!

Bob said...

The guy is an okay photographer, but the pictures in the article are not nearly as compelling as Dorothea Lange's or Robert Frank's (or any number of other "socially conscious" artists of the past). And Dorothea Lange did a chunk of hers on the taxpayers' dimes!

My favorite image is the winding road through the snowy field in Augusta, West Virginia. The dark-toned road closely matches the stark backdrop of barren trees. Except for the clouded sky, the only color in the image is the wispy of brown vegetation air-brushed over the snow. It makes me wonder why Dudik didn't shoot the entire series in black and white.

America in the 21st century is a very different country from the America of the Great Depression. I don't see much inequality or "desperation" in Dudik's images. Perhaps there's very little desperation on a collection of Paradise Roads.

If Dudik wants to be cheeky, he might include a picture of Obama's new seaside residence in Edgartown, MA. Not on Paradise Rd (Turkeyland Cove Rd actually), but I'm confident Obama worked quite hard over the course of his life to achieve his own paradise.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

What does Paradise look like to each person?

That is so individualized it is impossible to generalize. Paradise to one might look like Hell to another.

Part of my Paradise is the right to be left alone from constant and picayune intrusions from the Government and from busybody ever helpful leftists who want to micromanage MY life.

Birkel "Conservatives believe in constant effort toward self-improvement.
But the journey is never achieved."


EXACTLY!

Paradise is more appreciated when you have worked to get it. Obtained the goals you have set for yourself through honest work that hasn't harmed anyone along the way. You also have to continue to work at yourself and for yourself to maintain Paradise.

My Paradise, which I feel I have obtained, is not excessively materialistic. Doesn't consist of expensive 'things' or status gaining events. It is the quiet, little, peaceful, day to day, experiences and appreciation of the living world around me. The quiet moments and the unexpected joyful surprises. Appreciation of the love and companionship of my Spouse, Family, Friends and even my pets (when I had those).

Achilles said...

Kai Akker said...
"Every couple weeks or so we get another surprisingly heavy box."

Who's in them?

Usually Three Oh Eight.

Art in LA said...

I love that he includes portraits too! With landscapes, it can be difficult to tell the time period. But with portraits, I think you have a better timestamp -- clothes and hair styles are unique to an era.

"I've got two tickets to Paradise, won't you pack your bags, we'll leave tonight ..."

Unknown said...

Pictures to support his agenda. Doubt anyone will buy them.

Michael K said...

Best country in the World and I've been in countries on all Continents, except Antarctica. Nowhere is the opportunity greater to do what blogger "...Michael K said...There are lots of us who worked hard and made something of ourselves..." I'm a grateful to the USA. I'm a living example!

Yes. My ancestors from Ireland came when there was no option but hard work. No welfare. No city and Tammany Hall since they settled in upstate NY by the St Lawrence River. My great Grandfather moved on to Illinois as a young man. He farmed and worked as a city constable in downstate IL. He worked part time in a glass factory until he went back to New York to marry my great grandmother. The day he quit his glass factory job, he made himself a glass cane. I have that cane.

His brothers enlisted in the Union Army in 1862. Both died.

He returned to Illinois about 1865 and raised 12 children. Nine sons. All the children grew up and married but one daughter who became a nun and another who never married and kept house for local priests.

The Catholic church in Odell IL has two stained glass windows as you walk in. ON the left it says "donated by Mr and Mrs Michael Kennedy." On the right it has the names of my other great grandparents. These people came from nothing and built this country.

Banjo said...

The lensman writes "I'm interested in exploring our collectively constructed desideratum." I picture him drawing a pipe from his mouth in a faculty lounge. Or maybe NPR made him say that.

Sarthurk said...

When I was a child, my family would travel . . .

My mom gave me a little camera when I was about 8 years old. She said, if I bought the film and used it, she would pay for the processing.
I took her up on that.

I have a habit of taking photos of my SE view when the time is right, usually at daybreak, and sunset. I "run" down the driveway and shoot in the same direction, sort of, and if the CG Helo is around, I'll shoot that too, along with as many Commercial fishing vessels I see going by. . I've been taking shots like that for 17 years.

I've always been a "take pictures of everything" kind of guy. SCUBA, Salamanders, Mountain climbing, etc ad nauseum.
I took several photography courses in college back in the day. The Professor, back in the Film camera age, told us to compose the photo while you're looking through the lens. Because you can't fix it in the darkroom properly.
That's the key to great photography, which I can't claim to have mastered. I just try. . . . OK, I find a nut once in awhile.
In this day of digital, taking as many as you can, then sorting out the desirable ones, is a great advantage. Almost of my digital work is only edited for cropping/zoom. I don't need Photoshop for making real photos.
Challenge your mind. Pick that perfect lens, zoom, and/or focus/aperture/shutter speed to show what YOU saw.
The trick is to look at the world, and express how you see it, so you can express how you want others to see it.

DavidD said...

You could take pictures of places with Estates in the name but they'd all be trailer parks....

Nichevo said...

Stephen said...
John Prine has some telling things to say about Paradise.


Not any more.

People seem to have liked him but I wonder why such a successful artist couldn't afford dentures.

gpm said...

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got till it's gone
They paved Paradise (Road)
And put up a parking lot

--gpm

Lewis Wetzel said...


"In American culture the belief persists that through one's own efforts, a personal paradise is achievable.

Uh, no. That is some kind of of peculiar, bourgeois belief.
The bourgeois are really weird. They think that voluntarily making some pilgrimage will make them more authentic.
It won't.

Jim Howard said...

Did I miss the hellscape that is America?

All of those pictures showed people living in places that would be the envy of most people in most of the world.

That includes the trailer park guy.

The landscapes and long lonely roads are beautiful, and reinforce the fact that the US has so much well maintained farms and wide open spaces.

Even the cemetery. I you have to spend eternity somewhere, I can think of a lot worse places than a county cemetery in a small valley town!

Banjo said...

Every time some cocooned lefty dons solar helmet and safari gear to venture into flyover land he ends up pleasantly surprised. It is so different from the theoretical construct found in the ivory tower.