a blog about poetic creativity*******************all images © Stephanie Reid for HaikuFlash


A collection of photography on the theme Imperceptible Self

This summer the Transart Institute is hosting a Triennale, in Berlin, on the theme Imperceptible Self, a term coined by philosopher Rosi Braidotti.

I have curated a blog post, entitled Dissolve, of three photographers’ works which I feel poetically embody this theme. (*Not for viewing by children*).

To view it on the Triennale site, along with access to other entries for the festival, view it here: http://www.transarttriennale.org/blog/dissolve

OR view it below.

Raphael Umscheid


Approaches to art that are perpetually bright and sunny lack dimension as they ignore the darker aspects of life. The Surrealist André Breton coined the term “l’humour noir”, also known as black comedy or gallows humor, which takes a cynical approach to sensitive topics. It often makes light of them, sometimes in offensive ways, in order to prompt serious contemplation. L’humour noir writing usually concludes that life is meaningless, yet absurdly comical.

Similarly, in Umscheid’s “Ghosts” we might coin the term gray comedy. Here he represents the mental blind spots where our motivations are still secreted away from consciousness. This is the stage where we function as shades of ourselves. Yet the apparitions he depicts are sympathetic characters. Some are caught between oblivion and manifestation / ego and non-ego, not quite ready to surrender to the mystery of becoming-imperceptible. Like small children trying to find their way, he keenly describes their awkwardness. Their grasping at the invisible strings of the world as if it were a puppet is futile. Their imbalance and uncertainty causes them to collide into delicately gorgeous and vaguely humorous consequences. Even the “Made in Korea” marking sewn onto the borders of the fabric are part of the haphazard nature of these ghosts’ encounters. In Falter, a ghost drags its paint covered foot as if it had accidentally stumbled into it and is now attempting to wipe it off. In Fallen Petals, the apparition props up a dead flower on its hip as a final protest to fading away. The two almost seem to empathize with each other. In Pool’s Bottom, the phantom gives a shudder and impulsively attempts to maintain muscular control in the final throes of losing corporeality.

Others in his series appear as if they have finally succumbed to their dissolution. In Becoming the Other, individual personalities are lost as they merge to become new forms. In To the Heavens, lets its limp limbs float with the stars. Finally, in Uncloaking, it appears as if one is already levitating, and about to be unveiled after an incubation period. It has touched the invisible and is now prepared to function with a new mind state perpetually open to flux.

Painted Leg


Floating with the Stars

To the Heavens

Fading Petals

Fallen Petals




Pool’s Bottom

Becoming Other

Becoming the Other

(proposed physical size 18″x 27″ prints on matte photo paper, framed in in 24” x 36” white metal or wood)

(Models: Dandie Doyle, Kate Kubala, Heather Sanford, Mechelle Gonzales, Rachel Theobald, and Jordan Schiappa)


George Angelovski

Post Morality

How can men learn from the feminine Jungian archetype, the anima, theorized to be inside them all? She is said to visit their dreams to guide them towards enhancing intangible abilities such as intuition, receptivity to the irrational, and depth of emotion, all of which will balance their lives. In his Post Morality series, Angelovski has done just that by listening to his inner visions and dreams about how to proceed with a portrait session requested by the model.

After getting to know the model better, Jan Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring suddenly came to the photographer’s mind. That famous painting is sometimes considered a tronie, a 16thand 17thcentury term for Dutch and Flemish paintings of heads of universal character types, usually wearing costumes, and portrayed to show distinct expressions descriptive of those characters. For example, a youth might be making a funny face or a witch might appear to be laughing hysterically. Sometimes the faces were obstructed by shadows to create a more dramatic image.

A subsequent dream of the model wearing one of artist Polly van der Glas’s “facebags” became the catalyst for the costume in these photos. Similarly to the shadows woman’s face is totally covered here leaving the expression to be found on the mask itself and might be indicative of what the character is thinking. However, the fact that the figure is masked reveals to us that she embodies the skill of looking inward in contemplation. Perhaps even better able to communicate with the child in her womb. Angelovski then, has shown in these images a potent connection between spirit and flesh, not only of one’s self, but with others. What better archetype to embody this ideal than a mother?

Finally, it is very fitting that while trying to find a third person for this exhibition, I had a vision of George’s face in a dark stairwell with a spiral staircase. A few days later, I saw this Post Morality series and it dawned on me that it was the missing link between the other two artist’s works here.

with god under me


organ of corti

virgins milk figure 2

socrates bar

(proposed physical size 8″x 10″ in 11”x 14” ornate wooden frames remniscent of frames tronie paintings, or possibly as an installation using rope and clamps to imply a cradle)


Analia Sirabonian

(in collaboration with her brother, Andrés

Where is the beginning and ending of our flesh? When we empathize with another? When we are outsiders who do not function by the status quo? When we build our lives around genuine passion and devotion to our work? When we commune with our environment?

Here, Analia explores these questions by seeking the answers in the story of the unusual life circumstances of herself and her brother, Andrés. Although they have the same parents, he was first born with a natural genetic alteration causing physical disfigurements and a mental disorder, whereas she was born after genetic adjustments were made to ensure she was healthy. In opposite ways, how they were brought into the world is very different from the majority of humans. Together they are outside of societal norms. Their portrait together tenderly expresses her attempt to empathize with and protect him, hiding his protruding rib cage and face, while at the same time gently placing her hand on his. In her second piece the gyroscopic panorama of the kitchen in a restaurant where Andrés is a potato peeler, he again only shows his lovely, dedicated hands to us. In the final photograph of this diptych, she explains that her series of misshapen potatoes represent the ones he discards at work. Thus either revealing his commonality with or mirroring of the majority, the compulsion to discard that which is not uniform.

Autorretrato II (Self-Portrait)

**Below is a still image from a 360 degree interactive gyroscopic image, entitled José, after the owner of the restaurant when Andrés works.

To view it, click here, then scroll left, right, up and down, for the full view: http://analiasirabonian.esy.es/jose/

Jose detail

Misshapen potatoes (1 of a series of 3)

(proposed physical size: 12”x 12” in 14″ x 14″ frames + 1 large monitor with internet access and mouse for interactive 360 gyroscope panorama)

UK coasts

winds build to a gale

foam caresses stone shorelines

birds hover like kites

Why I rarely socialize December-March

seikô udoku; kakô tôdoku (In summer, cultivate the fields; in winter, cultivate the mind.)

smell, taste, and hear snow

winter’s blood, water’s sleep dance

fragility’s breath

temperature drop

Warm windy sidewalk

Winter suddenly burst through

As I crossed the street


Green parrots sitting

Two by two four love birds kiss

Beak to beak on wire

naughty green fairy

hid the way back home from me

how sweet to be lost

Bon Courage

French flag towers

Bon Courage

As shock, grief, and anger worked its way through me over this event I took my time to write out my thoughts and feelings over it before really discussing it publicly.

Friday, November 13th, 2015: Attacks in Paris. Over 300 deaths and injuries, such as possibly debilitating ones like bullets in the legs. Many people, including those who have bad mouthed France, and especially Paris, to me colorize their Facebook pages in the colors of the French flag or the peace symbol with Eiffel Tower graphic in support. I refrain because I don’t want to be misunderstood as simply jumping on the bandwagon or not caring about attacks elsewhere in the world. I hope those who though ill of Paris before have had a change of heart after seeing how well they stuck together. My thoughts below are in my constant defense of the City of Light. Have you seen a sunset there or on a train from Paris to the SE coast? It is indescribably lovely. The pink light on centuries old carved stone, the river, the twinkling tower on the hour, the fairy tale chateaus and hills dotted with sheep. Then there is the food! Don’t get me started. Paris & France are not better than anywhere else, but unique in a marvelous way.

Saturday, November 14th, 2015: I’m not going to hide the fact that I resent people trying to make us feel guilty for our grief over Friday’s attacks in Paris or worse yet acting like the people who were killed had it coming to them because their governments are corrupt. I had seen it mentioned in the news just as I had seen the attacks in the Kenyan university in April and the almost constant attacks in the Middle East. I read all of them and cried but know not what to do, so have to quickly separate myself from it. What would you have us do, stare into the face of terrorism every day? Have it effect our entire life when we have no control over it? I’m not going to apologize for not wanting to be in pain every day. So, if two other people hadn’t brought it up that night in more detail I probably would have moved on with my life and not given it more of my energy, despite the fact that I have been to Paris several times, spent enough time there to feel I know it well, and spent a lot of time practicing speaking French.

However, as details were revealed, on top of feeling like a dear friend has been hurt and a large number of people injured or killed while they were in her arms, I am seeing the effect of this on music. I spend a great deal of time in concert halls and venues. Not only has the entire city been shut down for days, but many musicians have lost their livelihood by having their shows canceled there. If you know nothing about Paris, you should at least know that creativity has thrived there for decades. A vast list of talented people flock to, are accepted, and thrive there…Nina Simone, Salvador Dali, Coco Chanel, Albert Camus, Brassaï, Marcel Duchamp, Josephine Baker, Vincent Van Gogh, Daguerre, The Lumière Brothers, Les Nubians, Birdy Nam Nam…If these names mean nothing to you perhaps this is why you can’t understand how tragic this feels. I am an artist, so it hits me hard.

A man made a song as an emotional response and way to cope with this situation and people are commenting on his Soundcloud page that he is trying to cash in and/or get attention in the wake of this tragedy (despite him not selling the song). Seriously?! If you have no understanding of the need to express yourself artistically, please find an outlet. Art is not a crime and neither is a party or being fabulous. This sound artist was trying to heal himself with his artform and thankfully many responses were positive, including from a 10th arrondisement resident who said it was therapeutic while dealing with the aftermath. Others angrily wanted to know why he didn’t write a song for the people who died in Beirut or Baghdad…

Have you ever been to Paris? Yes, many of us in the west know a great deal more about it than those two cities because we have been there. I have been welcomed there on several occasions and had an amazing time. No, I don’t buy into the, “Everyone is rude in Paris,” line because I have never had anyone be rude to me there. It’s a big city. Just because you spent a lot of money on your vacation to get there, doesn’t mean everyone is going to want to be your best friend once you arrive. If someone bumps into you in the sidewalk because you were standing in the middle of foot traffic looking at your map expecting them to say, “excuse me” is ridiculous (True story). Trust me, if someone in Paris, New York, or Miami wants to get rude with you, it will be blatantly clear.

Like most major cities, Paris is very multicultural, meaning it welcomes people around the world to represent it. Pulling out the, “You’re only upset about this because white people got hurt,” card is extremely insensitive, two-dimensional, and well, I hate to say it, but racist. The musician I wrote about in the previous paragraph is black. I implore people with this sentiment to check the list they have made so far of people who died in that concert hall and soccer arena, then think a little harder before jumping to spread more hatred in this world. Unless one has personally found a remedy to the situation in Syria, or anywhere else there is bloodshed, they are not morally superior to those who feel more personal grief for a place they are familiar with than a place they are not. If someone has a peaceful solution, I wish they would share it with us. I am sure there are millions of people who would join to enact it. Many of us pray for peace in this world and act as consciously as we can to be sensitive to other people’s plights. We wait for our current leaders try to undo the mess the ones before them have made. We wait for them to make the best decisions and when it’s not working, we must wait some more until they try something different. We must voice our opinions and hope they listen to reason. We must keep peace and tolerance on an individual and local level. It has a domino effect. We must find assertive ways to try to change the minds of people who are racist and aggressive.

In the meanwhile, please don’t tell others they shouldn’t be upset or supportive of the people, in a place we feel an affinity for, after vicious bloodshed. How would it feel if my friend’s home and your family’s home were bombed and I told you that people shouldn’t be upset about your home because that would mean they don’t care about my friend’s home being bombed? That doesn’t even make sense! Peaceful people don’t want anyone in the world to suffer and there are many of us out there. I daresay we are the majority, despite what fear mongerers would like to believe and have you do the same. The anti-muslim sentiments need to stop as well. No one wants to feel like an outsider or be harassed because of their upbringing. I can’t believe that on this day someone smeared pages torn from the Koran with feces on the walls of a mosque in a suburb of my city. The interview on the radio was with a Muslim man who is American born and a member of that house of worship. He was beside himself with trying to figure out how to explain this obscenity to his children.

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015: Oh and here’s a good one…victim blaming. I read someone post about how the empires have colonized the rest of the world for centuries and now the European colonizers are “getting theirs”. Then as an after thought, a statement of sympathy for the people of Paris and those who died. Pardon me? How is it that any of the people who were harmed responsible for history? Talk about opportunism! Then there are politicians saying they brought it on themselves because they were listening to death metal. Apparently they have never heard of primal scream therapy or had a healthy thrashing about to release anger without hurting anyone.

Here’s the thing that needs to be said over and over, whoever is responsible for these atrocities can not be allowed to make us live in fear or turn against each other. United we stand, divided we fall. This is a fact, not a nationalistic cliché.

Monday, November 23rd, 2015: I think I can finally put this to rest after watching this Parisian man discuss the attacks with his young son in such a brave and kind way. Bon courage mes amis. Je t’aime toujours, peu importe ce que quelqu’un dit ou fait.


87.4° F but Feels like 94 (34.4ºC)

I’m glad it’s not cold, but we wish it would rain already. This heat and humidity is making it like the tropics. Not very autumn-like…

dragonfly bouncing

off hot shiny car rooftop

mirage of water

The Tenuous Fate of National Geographic

Nat Geo

 Since I was a little girl my family always had a subscription to National Geographic. They still do. When I visit I read a few issues from front to back and marvel at the photography in them. I still buy individual issues that peak my interest. There is often an angle or history of a topic, that I have never heard before. This one from May 2015 comes to mind:


I did notice at one point that began putting more ads in the magazine, which kind of bothered me, but I also understand that their readership probably went down, so they had to compensate. Still some of the ads running seemed counter to their mission. Automobile, oil, and pharmaceutical companies with large budgets now fill the spaces in between articles and their content still maintained its integrity. I still drive a car that uses gasoline. I don’t make the income to afford a hybrid, but still I can’t judge.

However, now the sad news has been revealed that Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News, the sensationalist station which thrives on getting people addicted to the rush of getting all up in arms by rumors, twisting of information, and flat out lies, has purchased National Geographic. This only serves to further cement their lack of critical thinking skills and prejudices. Below is a nice little page giving a run down of multiple discrepancies with truth given by that station. Note that this site, Politifact, won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for its work in the 2008 presidential campaign to verify statements reported in the media and sort fact from fiction.


I didn’t want to believe that Murdoch really bought NG, so I fact checked and read in this article from The Washington Post that among the 180 of 2,000 employees at NG, the NG Channel had several fact checkers laid off. I haven’t owned a TV in ages, so am not familiar with the National Geographic Channel and have heard that some of their programming is “dumbed down fluff”. After perusing their schedule, I question the purpose of their shows like “Cops” inspired “Alaska State Troopers”, and “Border Wars”. I would have to watch some episodes to make an assessment as to whether their stance is classist, racist, and nationalist, but at face value they seem to be. If that is the case, I would not be interested in supporting their channel even if there are still shows, which from their descriptions are clearly educational, such as “Breakthrough” and “Grand Canyon Skywalk”. I wonder which types of shows the dismissed fact checkers were assigned to.


I find it really upsetting that the #1 inspiration for my life as a photographer specializing in art, nature, travel, and photojournalism, has been taken over by people who feed into the fears and neurosis of the populous. That is my goal here today. To make sure that the readership of National Geographic are aware of this story SHOULD they find a strange shift that doesn’t match what they have come to trust in before. I wish strength to the staff who are made it through this transition and hope they are able to keep their positions without too much compromise. Well wishes to the ones who were laid off, too.

It reminds me of the time I turned on KUT, a local station that reports from BBC and NPR to hear a man ranting about Obama, talking about how he planned to disarm the nation so that Islamic extremists could take over America. There were sound bites that were shoddily edited together to “prove” his point. I was seriously bummed out that my station allowed this program to air with them. The same guy was on the next day. Then I realized that after getting my battery changed, my station presets had cancelled out. I was listening to Alex Jones on some station I’d never listened to prior. WHEW! The world hasn’t been overrun entirely by the crackpots, but keep ever vigilant about what is being said between the lines. A healthy amount of skepticism is wise.