Tim White Posts

Selective Focus: The St. Louis River, Recreation

Hansi Johnson

Hansi Johnson, untitled

OneRiverMN-Logo-FC-BadgeSomehow this seems both an apt and inapt way to close my editorship of this feature. There are plenty of sites to pore over images of our region’s abundant natural beauty, but few that foreground the real people who live, work, and play here. That was my fundamental ambition; to recognize the vast human capital here, to weekly call for snapshots, pictures of domestic ordinariness, matters not needlessly prettified. Reality, even when it’s harsh is sufficiently beautiful to me.

Selective Focus: The St. Louis River, Contemplative Space

Sharon Mollerus

Sharon Mollerus, “Water Lillies”

OneRiverMN-Logo-FC-BadgeI was fortunate to spend my first Arrowhead New Years Eve in a cabin in Jay Cooke State Park; bird watching, snow-shoeing, and far from the inebriates (though I did bring a flask). Even photographed a ghost buck (pictured below), warmed by a cedar and oak fire as a soft snow fell to welcome 2016. It was a grand introduction to the St. Louis River.

For the next two weeks Selective Focus will take part in the “One River, Many Stories” project which asks for tales of your relationship to this unique watershed. This week we’re concentrating on the river’s abundant natural beauty; a place for restive contemplation, and awe. Be sure to see the Duluth Art Institute’s kick-off the project on Monday, April 4, with a photo essay by Ivy Vainio, Tom Hollenhorst’s interactive maps, live drumming, and a video booth with PBS’s Karen Sunderman who’ll record your stories.

Selective Focus: Spring (Dare We Speak its Name?)

Christine Dean

Christine Dean, untitled

The recent spate of lovely weather, coinciding with the vernal equinox, is a trap. We know this, yes? Having seen it snow in June, and still, we live in hope. There are gardens to ready, trails to follow, newborns to raise. Spring, tantalizingly close, isn’t for the timid, the reclusive, or the misanthropic. It’s time to be an upright, active being again until Summer’s indolence overtakes us.

Selective Focus: Iconoclasts

Mike Scholtz

Mike Scholtz, untitled

Being an iconoclast means more than seeming stereotypically outré, a fringe figure, or intentionally marginal. This week features the ordinary people among us who get things done by merely digressing from convention; age, gender, and appearance have little to do with the capacity to shift the discourse, and affect communities — though a dash of eccentricity, sometimes humor doesn’t hurt. Difference is also a mental state; taking the road less traveled or asserting a dissenting view (as in Ann Klefstad’s piece, or Bryan French’s image from the Berlin Wall).

Selective Focus to join the “One River, Many Stories” project

OneRiverMN-Logo-FC-BadgeIn April, Perfect Duluth Day’s weekly Selective Focus feature will devote two themes to the “One River, Many Stories” project, which asks for tales of your relationship to the St. Louis River. I’m drawn to it’s dualistic character as a forum for both contemplation and recreation, so April 1’s theme will foreground the river’s natural beauty, and April 8 will spotlight its possibilities for play. Feel free to send images as soon as you’re able to tim @ perfectduluthday.com, and follow the “One Rivers” project at onerivermn.com

Selective Focus: Artistic Kids

Cheryl Reitan

Cheryl Reitan, “Black Cat”

Many thoughtful people have rightfully lamented the gutting of funding for arts education to privilege more “useful” studies. But there are also the limitations we impose on ourselves, and the diminishment of what many of us once so much enjoyed (“I loved to paint and draw as a kid…”). Art too often becomes something we let go to follow well-rutted roads, to conform, and to not stand apart.

Selective Focus: Dirty Snow

Hugh Reitan

Hugh Reitan, “Snowmen”

We’ve had prettier Selective Focus features, but there can be an unusual beauty in ugliness, even humor, as Hugh Reitan’s image above demonstrates (or there’s just abject horror as with Aaron Reichow’s current submission).

Selective Focus: Simple

Paul McIntyre

Paul McIntyre, untitled

Who would have that thought simplicity should be so difficult? What we leave out of a picture says volumes over that which we cram into one, at least according to my aesthetic principles. Given the visual clutter I’m daily exposed to, my preferences would seem to be in the minority, so it was gratifying to see some consonant souls this week.

Selective Focus: Elders

Christine Dean

Christine Dean, “Shuffleboard”

Last year my folks moved into senior housing. While it must have been traumatic to leave a home of 45 years, to abandon treasures from a lifetime of travels, and to part with thousands of photographs, they’ve created a miniature version of the life they knew, and found friends who were similarly diminished — but not lain low.

Selective Focus: Sweet

Sarah Jean

Sarah Jean, untitled

Given our theme, this week’s images could easily have veered into cloying territory. Thankfully I received many uniquely interpreted shots, and some that are even exceptionally moving. I’m grateful how this feature included our older loved ones; a population often disregarded in visual art. Let’s remedy that next week by dedicating a theme to our “elders.”

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.

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.