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Selective Focus: Clean

Sharon Mollerus

Sharon Mollerus , “Crown Fountain, Chicago”

Clean is a construct; an aspiration more than an actuality, demanding as much scrutiny as that which we deem dirty. Each term requires criticality, and attempting to understand the world from broader contexts. Likewise, while we could use more rituals like the Roman’s annual Februa purification festival (from which I drew our theme) we could well abandon their plutocratic, militaristic ways.

Selective Focus: Portrait

Aaron Reichow

Aaron Reichow, untitled

I thought this week’s theme would be simple, though it did raise some discussion as to what exactly constitutes a portrait. My belief is that a portrait is anything which somehow conveys a being or beings- even non-sentient ones; though sentience itself is a contestable construct (doesn’t our region’s Spirit Tree seem capable of feeling, and perception?). I will leave any thoughts more esoteric than that to you, and the comments section below.

Welcome to Clough Island

Clough-1

Selective Focus: The Great Indoors

Lars Wästfelt

Lars Wästfelt, untitled

Due to a near total lack of submissions this week, I had to bring in some pinch hitters. For the past 5 years I’ve managed a photography collective called “You are not a dinosaur” which features vernacular images from around the world, and I was compelled to draw from this pool for our current theme. See more here: www.flickr.com/groups/notadinosaur/pool/

Selective Focus: Gelid

Frank Sander

Frank Sander, untitled

It is hard to not feel a bit inadequate when a friend will schlep 4 miles for groceries when it’s 15 below, and my biggest concerns are where’s my Zhivago DVD, and do I have enough cloves to stud a lemon for a hot whiskey. That said, Winter is my favorite season — not as some endurance test, but as a time to heed nature’s insistence that we “lie low to the wall until the bitter weather passes over” (John O’Donohue).

Selective Focus: Cabin Fever

Aaron Reichow

Aaron Reichow, untitled

While it has been too warm to be stuck inside contracting the negative strain of cabin fever (Winter will no doubt find us), this week we can emphasize the phrase’s positive connotations. Such retreats represent our desires to simplify, to get away from the dissonance and clutter of what we ordinarily deem important. They foreground necessity and diminish the superfluous, and manifest our plainest requirements for dwelling; heat, light, a water source, a welcoming entry, maybe a window to gaze from or peer into.

Selective Focus: Constant

Aaron Reichow

Aaron Reichow, untitled

What won’t you change in the new year? What remains a fixture in our lives? That was this week’s challenge; to find the things that ground us in a world of whirring flux. Easier said than done in a region whose predominant feature is an endlessly shifting inland sea. I would like to have seen some people as “constants” (as they’ve always been in my life), but hey, I only edit this thing.

Selective Focus: Holidays

Paul McIntyre

Paul McIntyre, untitled

As I have little to add to the vast literature surrounding this holiday, I can only recommend one of my favorites: Truman Capote’s “A Christmas Memory.” His own reading of this short story used to be a staple this time of year on Minnesota Public Radio. I have no idea why they’ve departed from playing it, but here is a link to a 2006 This American Life episode that includes a tear-defying excerpt: Episode 255

Fremont Spurm

FremontSpurm

Selective Focus: Empathy

Marie Zhuikov

Marie Zhuikov, “Buddy, Winter 2012”

Should I infer from the lack of submissions this week that there is a lack of empathy in our world at the moment, or merely accept that the concept is a difficult one to represent? Being prone to hyperbole, I’m going with the former assumption, while hoping that a more general theme next week will boost contributions. Let’s go with “holidays.”

PDD Videolab: 8mm Dance Party

https://youtu.be/6_WOnUA8Sm0

A box of 8mm home movies discovered at a Piedmont Heights estate sale provides the content for this video mash-up.

Selective Focus: Air

Mary K. Tennis

Mary K. Tennis, “Steve, Cranes”

It’s easy to take pristine air for granted while living in this Arcadian spot, but an alarming study of phytoplankton from the University of Leicester posited this week that rising carbon emissions could deplete the planet of breathable air. This brought starkly to mind the homophone err, and deepened my belief that true change can only occur from the ground, up — or in this case, from the micro-organismic.

Morning session at Christina B Photography

https://vimeo.com/148283588

Normally we would avoid sharing business promo videos on PDD, but this one is just too precious.

Produced by Vinyl & Thread Films for Christina B Photography.

Postcards from Duluth Central High School

Central High School 1

Among man-made icons in Duluth, the most venerable of the them all is Historic Old Central High School, which opened in 1892 at Lake Avenue and East Second Street.

Selective Focus: Food

Erin Naughton-Garrison

Erin Naughton-Garrison, “Drag Queen Baby Shower Buffet”

Nice. I was expecting perfectly-plated smart phone grabs from local restaurants, and instead received a group of highly original interpretations on this week’s theme. Erin’s da Vinciesque tableau was especially arresting, and I appreciated the subtext of food as a tradition we convey along generations. Staying with the elemental, next week’s theme will be “air.”