I have finally found the time to scan these pinhole photos. I didn’t make so many of them this summer, but I am content with some of these images. There are times of change for me (my school moves to a new location) and my time seems so limited. But more than my limited time, my mental space seems crowded with all sorts of thoughts and worries. But I am hopeful, too, that change is a good thing this time.
Future is as uncertain as ever, but this time of the year feels so full of potential and restlessness and plans and anxiety and anticipation. The long summer vacation days are approaching. I plan on meeting friends more often, watching sunsets in my neighborhood, taking the dogs to the park, reading more, studying Portuguese and Hungarian, taking pinhole and film photos. Just enjoy the present moment, one of the most difficult things to do, while also planning more carefully our future.
I have a small collection of sea glass (that I would love to expand by visiting the sea myself, but it won’t happen this year). Neither of these pieces are too impressive, but the most interesting one is the latest addition, the light blue square. It is even more special because it was just brought to me from Greece, picked up in these days of hopefulness.
This little robot was mine in the eighties. I have rediscovered him a while ago in a box on my cupboard. It’s made like a puzzle, you can build him from pieces. It was a very common toy in my childhood, but I think that at some point the plastic pieces could broke or become too loose. I’m glad I have found mine intact. This funny little fellow has for me so much of the atmosphere of my childhood, with robots and space travel and friendly technology and a serene and untroubled hope for the future.
I always write this kind of lists (for years, for vacations, for seasons, etc) in my notebooks, but I thought that it would be good to post something here and then maybe (hopefully) also have the accomplished things to show here in fall.
So, for this summer (when I also have to study for a boring exam for my job, and having something tedious to do always motivates me to do the other, nicer stuff 🙂 ) I plan to:
– learn how to weave and start two things: a piece weaved from thrifted darning thread and a piece made out of mine and my friends colorful tights that have holes in them and that I saved especially for this.
– alter a dress that a co-worker gave me and learn a few basic things about sewing.
– make a few embroidery pieces.
– draw (at least) 100 things from nature to have as examples for my students next school year, but mostly because it is nice to have a pretext to study closely acorns and pine cones and leaves and flowers.
– take a lot of pinhole photos and also use a larger variety of film cameras from my collection (I tend to use a few favorites and forget about the other ones I have).
I also plan more serious things (read, write, develop a new art project, etc.). And also be more outside, in parks and sidewalk cafes with friends.
When I first started drawing self-portraits, at 16 maybe, in art high school, I had this feeling of inadequacy that is so ubiquitous for girls and women, this feeling that my features are not quite right, that I am not pretty enough, etc. Something so general to feel not right in your own female body, no matter how close or far you are from the beauty standards. But drawing my own face, hands, my own body also had a potential of power and acceptance, of getting to really see, to really know the body I inhabit, the body I am.
I don’t really draw anymore, but I do take lots of photos of myself. Acknowledging that feeling of inadequacy embedded in my social formation as a woman, but also challenging it. Of course that most of these photos taken on film are somehow idealized and timeless, the softness of the film blurring the features and rendering the image to something very close to the mental image of myself. Still, the sinking feeling when I see a photo of myself from 10 years ago or from 5 years ago and I realize I have changed, I have grown older. But also, feeling glad I have outgrown some of the fears and insecurities from the self pictured in that photos.
I can imagine my face when I will be in my seventies. And I like this image and hope to live to see it.
I collect mostly antique, some vintage, photos of children. I really like the ones in which the kids are pictured with their toys, but I pick up also other ones if I think the child and the photo is charming. It’s really interesting for me to look at this children from the past, at their clothes, at their endearing ways of posing in a moment of their life when everything was still possible.
I have this needle pillow from a former hat factory. We visited the building of the factory in 2009, two years after the production stopped leaving lots of women without a job. One of the very typical cases of corruption in the context of the dismantling of the socialist industry, one of the many factories artificially bankrupted. The women workers, as minor share holders, lost any control over the future of the factory when the managers sold off the majority package to another company interested in closing the factory. They protested and organized strikes but in the end, the factory was closed anyway. Today its spaces are offered for rent. When we have visited the space it looked like the women who worked there have just left. We looked at the traces they have left behind. I took home with me this black heart velvet needle pillow.
I always search for these kinds of postcards with Romanian slightly idealized socialist cityscapes. The ones I show here are from the sixties and seventies, from Timisoara and Bucharest. I don’t have many with the atmosphere I’m looking for. A freshness and hopefulness, like the world has just begun. Of course, I’m partially just projecting on them the hopelessness of the times we are living now. But still…
The socialist regime took over a country not just destroyed by the war, but also strongly polarized between rich and poor from before the war. Cities with beautiful architecture surrounded by slums.
I have lived all my life in apartment buildings built in socialism and this is true for the big majority of people I know. (Playing around construction sites as kids is a common memory for my generation.) Neighborhoods built with a plan (school, kindergarten, grocery shops, cinema and library, etc.), according to the needs of the everyday life and not to the pulsations of capital.
I remember seeing as a 7 or 8 year old a photo in a magazine showing homeless people in cardboard shelters on a street in an American city. I was completely shocked: I never knew there are people who live on the streets.
Besides looking for these postcards, I also take photos of streets and neighborhoods built during socialism. I take these photos at sunsets or just before the storm or when there is fog, hoping that the light will blur the commercial banners that hang on the buildings. It doesn’t always…