Friday, June 13, 2014

The Karl Strand - Henry Martin Project, part 2

Here is a second photo Karl and I worked on together. This time, I'll skip the introduction, and let the image and the words speak for themselves.

The chaotic steps of your progress resonate throughout the river of concrete, where I, like a human boulder, stand the test of time while you struggle towards the light instead of embracing the eternal flame of humanity that's been burning inside you since the day you crawled out of the womb.

Mock me, if you'd like, for my flame burns safely in my heart, and the harmonious tones pouring forth from my erhu are powerful enough to drown your insults; or join me for a while and let yourself be cloaked in serenity amidst the madness. I might appear worn-out, but like a boulder in a river I stand strong. 

Image copyright Karl Strand. Text copyright Henry Martin.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Magic Trends Review: Blog Hop: Pass the Stick

Magic Trends Review: Blog Hop: Pass the Stick: Blog hop introduces writers and gives a glimpse of their work and style. I was tagged for this Blog Hop by writer Henry Martin - here&...

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Karl Strand - Henry Martin project

I know that there are a few of you who wanted to see what is this project I've been talking about. Well, Karl is being absent, but I've decided to share one of his images and the words I wrote for it. For better or worse, we could call this the "real world test" and see what happens.

A little background. Karl is a photographer based in Sydney, Australia. I don;t know much about him, so that part will come later on, as the project develops. I am in NH, USA and I like to play with words.

So, after our chance meeting online, both Karl and I have felt that we could do something together, something meaningful to both of us. Those of you familiar with my work know that I tend to concentrate on the grittier side of life, and while I do not necessarily aim to give a voice to the underdogs, I play with the idea of collective unconscious and the human nature to overlook uncomfortable sights. I also believe that there is a story behind every character, and the ones most often shunned by the masses have the most interesting stories to tell.

Unlike storytelling where I have time to develop characters, settings, and background stories to make the fictional world believable, in this project I have one image and a limited space to come up with some words. I try to concentrate on the subject in the image, to feel their emotions. This, of course, is very subjective, and my 'understanding' is only one of many possible scenarios. I do not have the luxury to talk with the subject, to observe them in real life. All I have is one image and my imagination.

So, without further ado, this is the first image Karl sent me. Since it is the first one, I wrote sort of an introduction based on the first, cursory glance at the image. The more in-depth look resulted in the words below the image.

 Two generations passing by on the dividing line which plagues our world. The man—set in his ways, unconcerned with either side of the division. The girl—too young to care either way. Yet, the keen observer cannot help but make a parallel between the unintended scene in the image and the reality art faces today. Competing for the public's attention, art and commercial fad coexist side by side. On one hand, a street artist gazes in concentration as he draws the images only his mind could see until now. On the other hand, an upscale boutique screams loudly with its "SALE" sign, ready to discard the old and bring in the new. Which way would you look? Such is the dilemma the artist faces today—staying true to his art has never been harder unless one is willing to sacrifice everything.

I admire the clean sheet of paper in front of me. A pen in my hand, I make the first black stroke, and the images played in my mind's eye assume a concrete shape. Once upon a time, I, too, was a clean sheet, but those who were supposed to care left their marks on me—deep cuts that run through my consciousness yet never bleed.

As I work, people rush past me in a perplexing hurry, their eyes skipping from one ad to the next—flashing screens and shop windows demand their attention—not caring what it is that is offered, as long as their gaze never meets mine.

I am the stain on their subconscious.

I reach for a new pen, and give birth to a fresh line. With each stroke, a bit of my burden leaves me, and a cut closes over, leaving scars that no one can see. My art is my rebirthing, a way to simplicity I can only achieve if I shed most of what civilization has to offer. And while you keep chasing colors in the shop windows, in my new life there is only room for black and white.

Yes, the necessary Copyright info: Images are the property of Karl Strand Photography.

I would love to read your thoughts on this project. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Karl Strand Photography project

Some of you may remember a recent post where I sent a shout-out to Karl Strand, an Australian photographer who used one of my quotes to accompany an image he took. At that time, I asked Karl to get hold of me if he is interested in doing a joint project together.

Well, thanks to one of my fans who went out of her way to contact him on Facebook, Karl and I exchanged a few emails, played around with some ideas, and decided that we would like to work together on a future project.

The project is at its very infancy, so I won't disclose much, but I can tell you that we are toying with the idea of combining my words with his images to create a photo journal of sorts.

Those familiar with my writing know that I tend to bring attention to the darker side of humanity, especially the less fortunate amongst us, and this project will likely continue the theme of social awareness. Throughout my writing career (if it can be called that), I've been addressing the collective unconscious and, sort of, holding a mirror up to the world at large.

Karl shared some powerful images of Sydney's homeless with me, and I've been trying to come up with words to accompany the photographs. I say trying, because I want my words to express the emotions in the subjects' faces, body language, posture, . . .

Needless to say, this is a challenging project, and one I never attempted before. Unlike story telling,where there is a beginning, a middle, and an end, and I have time to play around with character development, in this project I'm limited to a paragraph or two, for the words and the image itself are no more than a snapshot in the life of an unknown person.

I hope to be able to share with you a sample of what we are working on soon. 

Being separated by fourteen time zones doesn't exactly lend itself to a streamlined exchange of ideas.