Work, a photograph

“A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one’s neighbor — such is my idea of happiness.”
― Leo Tolstoy

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Technological sublime, a photograph

“For thousands of years, it had been nature–and its supposed creator–that had had a monopoly on awe. It had been the icecaps, the deserts, the volcanoes and the glaciers that had given us a sense of finitude and limitation and had elicited a feeling in which fear and respect coagulated into a strangely pleasing feeling of humility, a feeling which the philosophers of the eighteenth century had famously termed the sublime.

But then had come a transformation to which we were still the heirs…. Over the course of the nineteenth century, the dominant catalyst for that feeling of the sublime had ceased to be nature. We were now deep in the era of the technological sublime when awe could most powerfully be invoked not by forests or icebergs but by supercomputers, rockets and particle accelerators. We were now almost exclusively amazed by ourselves.”
― Alain de Botton, The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work

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Art, a photograph of the MAXXI Gallery

“Architecture is the alpha principle of all arts.”
― Louis-Ferdinand Céline

Today I visited the MAXXI gallery for the Letizia Battaglia exhibit. The oddly out-of-place modern exterior architecture of the MAXXI aside, the interior exhibit space is superb. And as a lover of photography and photo-journalism, I cannot recommend the exhibit enough. I must’ve spent at least three hours in awe at her work, not only in photographs, but her publishing house dedicated solely to women writers.

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Off the track, a photograph of Rome

“Remember that it’s only by going off the track that you get to know the country…And don’t let me beg you, go with that awful tourist idea that Italy’s only a museum of antiquities and art. Love and understand the Italians, for the people are more marvelous than the land.”
― E.M. Forster

I’m in Rome visiting my dear friend and editor while working on my book. Between writing and editing, I try to find some time each day to get out and about to both walk and photograph.

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Strange contrasts, A photograph of Rome

“It is a place that ‘grows upon you’ every day. There seems to be always something to find out in it. There are the most extraordinary alleys and by-ways to walk about in. You can lose your way (what a comfort that is, when you are idle!) twenty times a day if you like; and turn up again, under the most unexpected and surprising difficulties. It abounds in the strangest contrasts; things that are picturesque, ugly, mean, magnificent, delightful, and offensive, break upon the view at every turn.”
― Charles Dickens, Pictures from Italy

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Latency, A Photograph

“Who knows whether, if I had given up smoking, I should really have become the strong perfect man I imagined? Perhaps it was this very doubt that bound me to my vice, because life is so much pleasanter if one is able to believe in one’s own latent greatness”
― Italo Svevo

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dear Sir, A Photograph of Solitude

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“Therefore, dear Sir, love your solitude and try to sing out with the pain it causes you. For those who are near you are far away… and this shows that the space around you is beginning to grow vast…. be happy about your growth, in which of course you can’t take anyone with you, and be gentle with those who stay behind; be confident and calm in front of them and don’t torment them with your doubts and don’t frighten them with your faith or joy, which they wouldn’t be able to comprehend. […] who are afraid of the aloneness that you trust…. and don’t expect any understanding; but believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet