Real, A Photograph of Italy

“You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby.  But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
– Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit
Time, Jennifer Allison

Mirror, A Photograph

“We discover that we do not know our role; we look for a mirror; we want to remove our make-up and take off what is false and real. But somewhere a piece of disguise that we forgot still sticks to us. A trace of exaggeration remains in our eyebrows; we do not notice that the corners of our mouth are bent. And so we walk around, a mockery and a mere half: neither having achieved being nor actors.”
– Rainer Maria Rilke

Upon the Shore, A Photograph with Yeats

That crazed girl improvising her music.
Her poetry, dancing upon the shore,

Her soul in division from itself
Climbing, falling
She knew not where,

Hiding amid the cargo of a steamship,
Her knee-cap broken, that girl I declare
A beautiful lofty thing, or a thing
Heroically lost, heroically found.

No matter what disaster occurred
She stood in desperate music wound,
Wound, wound, and she made in her triumph
Where the bales and the baskets lay
No common intelligible sound
But sang, ‘O sea-starved, hungry sea

― W.B. Yeats

The Shore Girl

Trapped, A Photograph of The Red Light

“What freedom men and women could have, were they not constantly tricked and trapped and enslaved and tortured by their sexuality! The only drawback in that freedom is that without it one would not be a human. One would be a monster.”
― John Steinbeck, East of Eden
Red Light Frankfurt

People, A Photograph of Life

“Out of the millions of people we live among, most of whom we habitually ignore and are ignored by in turn, there are always a few that hold hostage our capacity for happiness, whom we could recognize by their smell alone and whom we would rather die than be without.”
– Alain de Botton
People, Jennifer Allison

Shadows Deep, A Photograph of Books

WHEN you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
– W.B Yeats

Vintage Books, Tacoma WA
Vintage Books, Tacoma WA

Upward Glance, A Photograph

“That love is reverence, and worship, and glory, and the upward glance. Not a bandage for dirty sores. But they don’t know it. Those who speak of love most promiscuously are the ones who’ve never felt it. They make some sort of feeble stew out of sympathy, compassion, contempt, and general indifference, and they call it love. Once you’ve felt what it means to love as you and I know it – the total passion for the total height – you’re incapable of anything less.”
– Ayn Rand



Little by Little, A Photograph

Another Land, Jennifer Allison
Little by Little, Jennifer Allison

“Well, now

If little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you
Little by little
If suddenly you forget me
Do not look for me
For I shall already have forgotten you

If you think it long and mad the wind of banners that passes through my life
And you decide to leave me at the shore of the heart where I have roots
That on that day, at that hour, I shall lift my arms
And my roots will set off to seek another land”

― Pablo Neruda

Punctuation Mark, A Photograph

“Smoking had come to be an important punctuation mark in the long sentence of a day on the road.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald

The photo below is one I could’ve taken a dozen times while in Spain — men relaxing with cigars, watching the world go by.  It’s hard to take photos and not be obvious.  It’s different when you take them of street performers as they welcome them, however, taking them of everyday people doing everyday things….is much more challenging.

cigar man II

Human Nature, A Photograph

For the next several weeks I’ll be sharing some of my photos from Spain.  While there I visited Madrid, Sevilla, Cordoba, Granada and finally Barcelona.

I’ll be heading back in late spring to the Catalan region to attend (and be a part of) a wedding and will surely take many more.  Along with the photographs, I’ll try to share a few thoughts about each place.   My girlfriend, who is the one getting married, was born and raised in Barcelona.  She is perhaps one of the proudest people I know with regards to her mother country.  When I first met her in Verona, Italy, she explained in detail that she was not Spanish, but Catalan.  I like that about her – her knowledge of her people and country.  Among many things we have in common, while having been raised in polar opposite countries, is our love of books.  The photo below is of a little shop, filled literally to the ceiling.  Needles to say, it was hard to leave…

“Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?”
– Henry Ward Beecher

Book Filed, Jennifer Allison
Book Filed, Jennifer Allison

Personal Tragedy, A Photograph

“It was in Spain that [my generation] learned that one can be right and yet be beaten, that force can vanquish spirit, that there are times when courage is not its own recompense. It is this, doubtless, which explains why so many, the world over, feel the Spanish drama as a personal tragedy.”
– Albert Camus

Madrid, Jennifer Allison
Madrid, Jennifer Allison


Dogs, A Photograph

I am leaving for Spain this weekend.  I’ll be making stops in Madrid, Sevilla, Cordoba, Granada and finally Barcelona to meet up with a girlfriend.  In preparation for my trip, I have chosen to post something I have grown accustom to in the last twenty years here in Seattle and the surrounding areas.  Native art has not, until recently, been interesting to me.  However, my tastes have changed dramatically and now I think it powerful and beautiful all at once.

“A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time. When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, The one I feed the most.”
– George Bernard Shaw

Spirits, Jennifer Allison
Spirits, Jennifer Allison


Boxes, A Photograph

“The architects who benefit us most maybe those generous enough to lay aside their claims to genius in order to devote themselves to assembling graceful but predominantly unoriginal boxes. Architecture should have the confidence and the kindness to be a little boring.”
– Alain de Botton

Stone, Jennifer Allison
Stone, Jennifer Allison

Joy and Melancholy, A Photograph

“Our sadness won’t be of the searing kind but more like a blend of joy and melancholy: joy at the perfection we see before us, melancholy at an awareness of how seldom we are sufficiently blessed to encounter anything of its kind. The flawless object throws into perspective the mediocrity that surrounds it. We are reminded of the way we would wish things always to be and of how incomplete our lives remain.”
– Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness

Symetry, The Parliment Building Victoria, BC
Parliment – Jennifer Allison