Friday, September 9, 2011

SHADOWS & J. ALFRED PRUFROCK

I seem to be out of synch with Fashion Week.  My thoughts are on matters besides fashion.  Perhaps because Fashion Week in NYC coincides with September 11th?  I was there, a New Yorker at the time.

For many weeks now, my mind has kept turning and returning to the shadowed existence of J. Alfred Prufrock.  T. S. Eliot's verses offer me a glimpse into the darkness, the kind isolating Prufrock in his struggle to articulate.  The poem is more beautiful than I can express.  I find more meaning with every reading.  Perhaps all artists -- whether on canvas, paper, the stage, blogs ... -- can relate.  We may reveal a little bit and cast some light on the shadows, but they are never fully illuminated.


Young art critic by a painting
What is she thinking?
Triton Museum of Art, Santa Clara, CA
Photo: The Foolish Aesthete

(Shadows.  Silhouettes The words themselves sound like sibilant whispers.  I find myself typing into a hush ...)  


Shadows and silhouettes go both ways though.  Add more light and you pierce through them.  Yet, the more information is actually withheld, the more they pique our curiosity.  Who is it?  What are they doing?  That brief glimpse is enough to capture the imagination.

I find these shadowed images and silhouettes fascinating.  As do films without words or music.  And paintings that raise more questions than they answer.  And I circle back to the haunting beauty of Eliot's poetry.


"The Unexpected Answer", 1933
by Rene Magritte
Many still discuss: "What is it?"
What do you think it is?

Shadows cast in the forest during a hike
Villa Montalvo in Saratoga, CA
Photo: The Foolish Aesthete

For someone like me who is more at ease behind the lens than in front of it, silhouettes and shadows are a happy medium -- offering subtle revelations, but never too much.  Perhaps that goes against the grain of popular culture.  After all, these are the days of reality TV and other forms of entertainment that state the obvious.  


Self-portrait
Photo: The Foolish Aesthete

Interestingly, as the author of my own blog, I find the ability to hide behind the shadows empowering.  Quite the opposite of Prufrock's impotence in directing his own destiny.

What about you -- what are you thinking this week?



36 comments:

  1. The second picture: it was a child, dressed as a ghost ;)

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  2. This is a thought provoking post. I never feel fully understand in my artwork...though, I feel just as comfortable in front of a lens as behind it. I do find shadows interesting, though.

    This week my mind is a blur, trying to catch up with everything I need to get done!

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  3. beautifully written with the help of such stunning photos to uplift the thought!
    i am thinking about petty issues compared to what happened on 9/11. may the souls rest in peace. may the survivors get some solace in life.

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  4. Wonderful and haunting images - I'm going to Spain next week to think about nothing but art.

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  5. Great poem. I hadn't read it in quite a while. It makes me a little sad...that soft gentle nostalgia..those missed opportunities.

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  6. Great writing. I actually really enjoy the photos of your shadow-it's very abstract and not overt in the least.

    xx

    Erin @ http://www.trufflesnruffles.com/

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  7. Introspective. All of us need a quiet moment once in awhile.

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  8. beautiful words. love the last shot too.

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  9. Beautiful written and the pics are stunning!

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  10. This is so deep, you should do Art History!

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  11. beautiful post in so many ways, thanks for sharing. i really like the photos.
    hope you're having a good weekend
    x

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  12. Nice pictures

    x Hajar & Mounia
    hauntedcasablanca.blogspot.com

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  13. Interesting post. I'm always captivated by the things that are not-quite-said and not-quite-there. They give shade and contrast to everything else, aren't they?

    Thanks very much for your comments about my biography of Lewis Carroll. Strangely, he did some little known (and frankly not that good) creative writing late in life, and although most of it isn't interesting, it does contain some passages which stop me in my tracks and transfix me. It's as if he is offering glimpses of a different world, which I also somehow know.

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  14. Henry went great! I play lots and lots of parts. Bedford (the king's brother), Salisbury (a valiant lord) and Cambridge (a traitor) on the English side. And Bourbon, Britain and Rambures on the French Side. All lords. Its busy work...right now the hardest thing for me are the costume changes. Just because i play so many parts and each of them has so many clothes and armor and accessories...it gets complicated :-)

    I'm LOVING these Morning Glories...they're lovely. Rose of Sharons are blooming too. They'll be my next exploration i think.

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  15. Beautiful and thoughtful post. The Magritte pictures is suiting very well with the concepts that you have expressed.
    I am thinking about 9/11 as today is the 10th recurrence. I am still wondering if there is something that we are missing about what happened.
    xx
    http://dontcallmefashionblogger.blogspot.com/

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  16. Oh gosh your blog is a complete dream xxx such marvelous imagery I adore shadow images and went through a whole shadow phase and the post is so beautiful x

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  17. Incredible.

    Who you are, you lovely Foolish Aesthete: our aesthetics are uncannily identical. The photos you have selected here - the way you shot your shadow, especially in the pool.. they could be my own photos.

    This is absolutely beautiful and I feel the same way. I have no interest in fashion week right now. I don't know if you're awake now, in California, but I'm typing this, in tears, while watching the ceremony in Ground Zero, through tears.

    I came here to say thank you for what you wrote - and to let you know how uncanny it is: at the time that you left that comment, 6:38 p.m. our time, I was with my husband and friends on the coast in Hastings - planning my post - my tribute - in memory. To think you were in NYC at the time.

    Thank you. All these words, they feel kind of meaningless. I could have just as easily left a blank comment - but that wouldn't work, I guess.

    Your post is beautiful.

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  18. That was written so well. I love the pictures.

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  19. What a beautiful post. It is strange, I have been thinking so much about fashion week that September 11th hit me smack in the face this morning and all these memories have been rushing past. 10 years- it is incredible how fast time passes.

    PvdH

    www.ThePvdHJournal.com

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  20. i have given you an award..check my news page :)

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  21. Thank you - again - for your next comment. I hadn't seen the NY Times cause we're in London but that's so interesting that you said it's similar! When we were in the States the NY Times magazine was crucial reading (my husband also was, before we moved here, in their special division - custom publishing, which put the Times online, among other things) and I had a friend years ago who was the art director.

    I'm going to see if my mom can hold onto the issue for me.

    It's weird - I'm covering London fashion week in a few days and I just don't feel like even thinking about fashion. I'd love to hear your and your friends memories of where they were - if you'd like, please ask them if it's okay to copy it onto my post: I"d love to do a compilation of memories.

    Thanks again. xox

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  22. I am loving the thread of your post today and the way the images all link together. My thoughts are with the families effected by 9/11 today. We watched Flight 093 last night for the 1st time and felt physically ill at the end. This week I am preping for London, then Milan, then Paris fashion weeks. Going to rest as much as I can before I start the run. Xxxx

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  23. I cannot tell you how much I love the first image! the image of the girl the hand writing, the beautiful words! love it! such a lovely post. x

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  24. I love shadows too, especially the ones of moving trees. This post, the pictures and the thoughts in it are simply beautiful.

    Have a great new week.

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  25. I didn't comment anything before, because I didn't know what to say... what can I say that hasn't been said before? What to say about hate? What to say about sadness?
    I watched the commemorations live yesterday on tv, from the city that is now full of life, of people, of energy, of good vibrations. "the city that never sleeps" is very much Alive and Shinning! alluring and exciting as ever...
    We can choose to live in the Shadows, or we can choose to go into the Light. N.Y. and the people in it have moved on into the light...
    Have a "shinning" week!

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  26. Beautiful reflections on shadows and silhouettes - particularly your observation that, "the words themselves sound like sibilant whispers." You have conveyed so much using such spare imagery and words. There's definitely a 'hush' after reading and looking at this post.

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  27. My week has been consumed with Fashion. From shows to press, I am dizzy. Yesterday I had the opportunity to escape from the shows early to visit 9/11 tributes around the city. They were moving memorials.

    I love the idea of shadows and what they mean. They have informed some of my favorite fashion collections and works of art/novels.


    Diego
    www.howtozipyourfly.com

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  28. This Eliot poem has always been one of my favorites as well. It stirs up strange new insights every time I read it, and makes me hopeful that I'll never measure my own life in coffee spoons. This is my first time on your site, but I'm already loving all your literary references and the way you invite thoughtfulness out of the shadows. -Jennifer

    http://www.cotewrites.com/blog/

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  29. Shadows and shapes are intriguing and I really like your shadow self-portraits. Plus, it's not easy to be in sync with FW, I find - even when you're attending it. X

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  30. Shadows are a glimpse of a person , hiding so much, yet showing alot at the same time

    xx

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  31. I find Eliot's poetry quite haunting and the eerie words of "The Hallow Men" have stayed with me since the day I first read them back in High School. Shadows, similarly, have a haunting quality. It's intangible and we can't make out what it is and can never catch up with it.

    Lots of love from Sydney,

    x Kel

    the spring awakening

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  32. You are great writer. It's wonderful written. Those two last photos are fantastic.

    xoxo Ra

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  33. La réponse inattendue. "Many still discuss: "What is it?"
    Why spend energy to find out what it IS (if this would be possible at all), instead of simply enjoying the never ending and floating dynamic of his creation?

    I once photo shopped a woman in that intriguing opening, which instantly changed its atmosphere and still never touched the original.

    I know, our personalities probably r parallel universes apart, but i couldn't resist to intrude and leave my thoughts :)

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Dear Fellow Aesthetes, I love hearing your thoughts. I think the other readers find them valuable too! Much love xxx

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