Tim White Posts

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

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.”

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.

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.”

Selective Focus: Editor’s Choice

One year of Selective Focus would be impossible to capture in a single post, so I’ve gleaned just a few personal favorites. I think we’ve accomplished together many of my initial desires to foreground the real people who live work and play here, and to build community through art, no matter how homely or grand.

Selective Focus: Loss

Karen Owsley Nease

Karen Owsley Nease, “Selling Mom’s Car”

There is a perverse fullness in loss. Loss propelled me here. It informs my need to make art. It makes space for the unexpected to grow. Atul Gawande’s recent book “Being Mortal” describes “the chasm of perspective between those who have to contend with life’s fragility and those who don’t.” Loss widens our apertures to see farther down narrow, well-worn paths. It opens us to risk, and to more keenly-felt joys.

Selective Focus: Bliss

Tyler Johnson

Tyler Johnson, untitled

Bliss is seldom of an epiphanic nature; it often just slowly suffuses us, when after years or moments prior we’d barely thought it possible that matters could just placidly align. But a surfeit of joy can be just as intolerable as an abundance of grief. Neither can be sustained, and each will evanesce, then quietly, someday, return.

Selective Focus: November

Hugh Reitan

Hugh Reitan, untitled

Limbs (of trees) stripped near to bare, firewood cribbed, quilts at hand, larders stocked. This is the month that Maslow’s hierarchy seems tangibly real, unless you’re an artist and thus inclined to invert the pyramid. Many diverse takes this week, despite my dread that a theme so prospectively barren would go unchallenged. Credit a strain of Scandanavian fatalism? Anyhow, thanks.

Selective Focus: Ancestry

Brian Barber

Brian Barber, “John Barber: Service station owner, school bus driver, Mayor, Parnell, MO”

This week’s theme offers the opportunity for a p.s.a.: have prints made of the images you’re making now, or we might not have the kinds of memories shown here. Digital media storage changes so quickly that having our memories in tangible form may vanish. Anyone still have a floppy drive on their pc, or a pc for that matter?

Selective Focus: Black and White

Brian Barber

Brian Barber, “Bandit”

Black and white photography is most often anything but. Degrees of tone exist in a broad spectrum within what we reductively deem either/or. I’ve argued before that its use as an aesthetic device is antiquarian, retrogressive- that the medium has grown past the limitation, yet there remains an appeal in seeing images pared to their essence, without the ersatz mediation of hdr and hyper-saturation.

Selective Focus: Coming Home

Paul McIntyre

Paul McIntyre, untitled

The idea of “coming home” propels nearly all our endeavors, knowing we are tethered to other people, to familiar, comforting things. For anyone lacking a stable, sane place, or those exiled by circumstance, the capacity to venture is stunted while the desire to find moorings never leaves us. Emily Norton’s “Family Motto” (below) states well this simple, not easily-attained aspiration.

Selective Focus: The Road

Ira Salmela

Ira Salmela , untitled

Sorry, no pithy digressions regarding the philosophical significance of “the road,” because this week I’m on it. Next week’s theme will be “coming home.”

Selective Focus: Duluth

Tamara Jones

Tamara Jones, “Full moon over the Lake”

There is no way to comprehensively describe Duluth with an inane little photo feature, but I do think this week’s image’s alternations between grandeur and ruin say something about this place; what we value, what we’ve let moulder. Duluth is a place where our failures aren’t hidden. Its broken roads and crumbling industries, all set on that capricious gem of a lake impress the psychic landscape, and inform our present strivings.

Selective Focus, “Community”

Ashley L. Behrens

Ashley L. Behrens, “The Joys of Color”

Even though we might not feel a part of it, or intentionally cast ourselves to the margins, we live- without choice- within communities. What we do to broaden, to expand that meaning defines us; how many and of what sort we’ll include. Let’s celebrate here the pulling together, the belonging, and the recognition that no one, as was said, is an island.

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