Photo Challenge, Weeks 19-22: Mother Nature, Stairway, Macro, Geometry

2015 Photo Challenge, Week 19: Outdoor Photography – Mother Nature | “Graduation Bouquet”| Photo by LaShawnda Jones for Spirit-Harvest.com
2015 Photo Challenge, Week 20: Architecture – Stariwell | Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Entry | http://www.mbam.qc.ca/en/ | Photo by LaShawnda Jones for http://www.Spirit-Harvest.com
2015-06-13 12.17.16
2015 Photo Challenge, Week 21: Macro – Write | Overlooking Montreal from Mont Royal| Photo by LaShawnda Jones for http://www.Spirit-Harvest.com
2015-06-13 12.35.23
2015 Photo Challenge, Week 22: Numbers – Geometry | “Trump on Fifth” | Photo by LaShawnda Jones for http://www.Spirit-Harvest.com
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Remembering the Atrocities of Hiroshima

A couple of years ago, I saw Hiroshima, Mon Amour, a 1959 French film set in Hiroshima, Japan following the U.S. bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945. I had learned a very sanitized version of the bombings in school, but I don’t recall ever seeing the effects of the bombing, i.e. the large-scale destruction of life and the desolation of the survivors. Prior to watching Hiroshima, Mon Amour, I had not heard of the bombings in any personalized way. Suffice it to say that the film left an impression.

A couple of months ago, I visited Montreal, Quebec and spent an afternoon at the Botanical Garden. I spent the majority of my time that afternoon in the Japanese Garden. I trailed through the meditation spaces, lingered over the bonsai trees and wept over the Hiroshima memorial of drawings by survivors. I’ve been wanting to share this for a while, but it’s been difficult to revisit my photographs and the personal stories they captured. However, the 70th anniversary of the murder of so many Japanese people seemed to be an appropriate time to share the images.

We should all work to eliminate the idea that we need to destroy others in order for some to live with their own ideas of freedom. Visit the City of Hiroshima web site for current information about the city.

Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Part of the Pacific War, World War II
Two aerial photos of atomic bomb mushroom clouds, over two Japanese cities in 1945.
Atomic bomb mushroom clouds over Hiroshima (left) and Nagasaki (right)
Date August 6 and August 9, 1945
Location Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan
Result Allied victory
Belligerents
 United States
 United Kingdom
 Japan
Commanders and leaders
United States William S. Parsons
United States Paul W. Tibbets, Jr.
Empire of Japan Shunroku Hata
Units involved
Manhattan District: 50 U.S., 2 British
509th Composite Group: 1,770 U.S.
Second General Army:
Hiroshima: 40,000
Nagasaki: 9,000
Casualties and losses
20 U.S., Dutch, British prisoners of warkilled Hiroshima:

  • 20,000+ soldiers killed
  • 70,000–146,000 civilians killed

Nagasaki:

  • 39,000–80,000 killed

Total: 129,000–246,000+ killed

from Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_bombings_of_Hiroshima_and_Nagasaki

Portrait: Three Great-Aunts in Chicago

Over July Forth weekend, I was able to have a short visit with three of my paternal grandmother’s sisters. Shown in the below photos, left to right, are Aunt Gloria, Aunt Juanita and Aunt Faye. I first connected with each of them at the family memorial gathering for my Grandmother, their sister, Jurl in 2013. I friended them each on Facebook and Aunt Faye has proven to be a prolific Facebook gamer – she’s online a lot. 🙂  Last weekend was my first return since Grandma’s memorial service and I must say, I was quite looking forward to sharing time with my elder ladies.

This weekend I decided to begin Photoshop tutorials so I can become skilled at improving my finished photographic product. My self-learning course consisted of selection tools and background removal in Photoshop and experimenting with Topaz Impressions while using both as plugins to Lightroom CC 2015. The below edits are a combination of the techniques I’ve learned on YouTube and other tutorials as well as through trial and error.

There’s so much life and personality in these shots, it’s been a joy to sit with my lady aunts again as I learned editing techniques.

3 Great-Aunts by LaShawnda Jones for Spirit Harvest Edits in LightRoom, PhotoShop and Topaz Impressions/Georgia O'Keefe I 100%
3 Great-Aunts by LaShawnda Jones for Spirit Harvest
Edits in LightRoom, PhotoShop and Topaz Impressions/Georgia O’Keefe I 100%
3 Great-Aunts by LaShawnda Jones for Spirit Harvest Edits in LightRoom, PhotoShop and Topaz Impressions/Oil Painting by Jimmy LaSala 100%
3 Great-Aunts by LaShawnda Jones for Spirit Harvest
Edits in LightRoom, PhotoShop and Topaz Impressions/Oil Painting by Jimmy LaSala 100%
3 Great-Aunts by LaShawnda Jones for Spirit Harvest Edits in LightRoom, PhotoShop and Topaz Impressions/Georgia O'Keefe I  65%
3 Great-Aunts by LaShawnda Jones for Spirit Harvest
Edits in LightRoom, PhotoShop and Topaz Impressions/Georgia O’Keefe I 65%
3 Great-Aunts by LaShawnda Jones for Spirit Harvest Edits in LightRoom, PhotoShop and Topaz Impressions/Water Color IV 72%
3 Great-Aunts by LaShawnda Jones for Spirit Harvest
Edits in LightRoom, PhotoShop and Topaz Impressions/Water Color IV 72%

Exhibit: MARVELS AND MIRAGES OF ORIENTALISM

In May I spent a weekend in Montreal. The highlight of the trip by far was a visit to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts for the Marvels and Mirages of Orientalism exhibit. Hands down, one of the best exhibits I have ever seen if only for this one image: A Tangerian Beauty. I will share other images from the exhibit in future posts, but for now, this beauty gets her own post, with a spotlight on the gentleman who paired her on the exhibit wall.

Why is she so special? Because most of the women in this exhibit of North African art, culture and people primarily portrayed white women as bejeweled favorites of the African rulers and as the recipients of services from “lower” black female co-servants. The majority of brown and black women were portrayed mostly as hard laborers (evidenced by muscled arms kneading the smooth supple skin of the lounging white women) or entertainers. The Tangerian Beauty is the one black woman in the WHOLE exhibit who was not depicted in a sexually exploitative manner, or in a physically unattractive way (i.e. as a dismissive curiosity) or as a servant. The bias of most of the works on display was so oppressive, I grew angrier throughout the exhibit. This got me to thinking of how black women have been portrayed in fine art throughout the ages around the world. Some sad thoughts there… but inspiration is blooming…. Yet still there was a whole exhibit, in a major museum, depicting the peoples and cultures of North Africa – something I have never seen in America.

A Tangerian Beauty by José Tapiró Y Baró, 1891
A Tangerian Beauty by José Tapiró Y Baró, 1891

A Tangerian Beauty is a splendid example of José Tapiró Y Baró’s North African ethnographic types that showcase the artist’s skill and remarkable attention to detail. In this vivid watercolor, the silken gleam of the headscarf, colorful feathers, the glint of gold, glow of pearls, elaborate costume, and the careful study of a particular physiognomy contribute to the remarkable immediacy of the image. The frame is original to this work, and apart from several decorative motifs, contains the number 1309, which probably refers to the Muslim Hijri calendar, which started counting in 622 AD to commemorate the Prophet Muhammad’s migration from Mecca to Medina. If converted to the Gregorian calendar, the year would be about 1891 AD.

Source: http://www.daheshmuseum.org/portfolio/jose-tapiro-baroa-tangerian-beauty/#.VYslJPnF9g0

She was paired with this handsome fellow:

Head of a Moor by Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant, c. 1875
The Beauty and the Moor
The Beauty and the Moor
Admiring the Beauty and the Moor
Admiring the Beauty and the Moor

More exhibit photos: http://www.mbam.qc.ca/en/exhibitions/past/marvels-and-mirages-of-orientalism/

Visit Montréal Museum of Fine Arts (https://www.mbam.qc.ca/en)

Exhibit: UNDER THE MEXICAN SKY

Exhibit closed June 27, 2015

I wandered into this exhibit on Saturday while walking around my neighborhood. It is a truly magnificent portrayal of the evolution of a creative life. As I told someone in the gallery, “Gabriel Figueroa sounds like someone I have heard of, but I would not been able to pinpoint why…. Though I am absolutely sure he has been referenced in countless works I’ve seen, heard or read.” The exhibit explores his career from the beginning as he learned photography by doing studio head shots to his transition into film with still photography and onward to creative collaborations with directors and other artists.

If you are in New York City and have any appreciation for photography or cinema, I encourage you to go see this exhibit before it closes on Saturday, June 27. It’s on display at El Museo Del Barrio, 1230 Fifth Avenue at 104th St. http://www.elmuseo.org

Weekend in Philly: Art

Weekend in Philly: Black & White