Nocturne

Morning sluggishness is a given, especially after hours spent hovering over a paper. Being a procrastinator and an owl can get me in tight corners and lose me sleep, but if there’s anything I love about this unfortunate tendency, it’s the comfort of the night when I produce the most work.

Except it’s an odd comfort. The comfort of isolation, of solitude, of overthinking (although with this one it’s a love-and-hate). Of all things one might tuck away during the day to be a more sociable and cheery self. As of two years ago I can only read for myself during the night, or it doesn’t feel the same.

Yesterday’s was a revisit to Rilke.


People at Night
Rainer Maria Rilke

THE NIGHTS were not made for crowds, and they sever
You from your neighbour, and you shall never
Seek him, defiantly, at night.
But if you make your dark house light,
To look on strangers in your room,
You must reflect—on whom.

False lights that on men’s faces play
Distort them gruesomely.
You look upon a disarray,
A world that seems to reel and sway,
A waving, glittering sea.

On foreheads gleams a yellow shine,
Where thoughts are chased away,
Their glances flicker mad from wine,
And to the words they say
Strange heavy gestures make reply
That struggle in the buzzing room;
And they say always “I” and “I,”
And mean—they know not whom.

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Chicago Skyline, Subjectivity, and the (lack of a) Wide-Angle

ILLINOIS. Chicago. 2013.

Due to both fortunate and unfortunate circumstances, I’ve had my fair share of travels over the past few years. But when it comes to urban skylines, Chicago is simply insurmountable.

The shot here was taken aboard a boat on Lake Michigan. It is always a challenge to do justice to what the beholder feels at the moment the shutter is pressed, and the above was no exception. Personally speaking, this shot was a failure: it only partly conveys what I meant for it to. I write this specifically because my choice of lens or image orientation is not nearly as based on aesthetic considerations as it is based on my subjective feeling.

The result would have been closer to my perception had it been captured with a wide-angle lens (my sole reason for lamenting the lack of an instrument, which I don’t tend to do too often). Unfortunately, I had none at the time. The hope is that, in the next few years, I’ll be able to return to the same spot a little better prepared.

Over the Seine

FRANCE. Paris. 2014.

Another colour shot, taken on a bridge over the Seine near Notre Dame. Dusk is probably my favourite time of day, for the sombreness that accompanies it both in feeling and in colour. In French the expression is “entre chien et loup”, which translates to “between dog and wolf”. I initially thought this was some werewolf reference, but apparently it originates from the popular saying that once it gets dark enough, it becomes difficult to tell a dog from a wolf.

On an entirely unrelated note, I dropped back into Paris from my 9-day trip to Croatia yesterday! More on my travels later — look out for photos and reflections to come very soon!