Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Covers of La Femme de France, 1926 - 1938

I've spent most of the last month working, but luckily work included reading old issues of La Femme de France, a delightful interwar magazine for women.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

'How Much Longer Will We Be On This Page?' at Litro Magazine

'How Much Longer Will We Be On This Page?' is now up at Litro USA. I wrote this story quite a long time ago, but I'm still fairly pleased with it. It is, I think, the first piece of fiction I've had published.

You can read the whole piece on Litro's website, but the first sentence is:

"There were words strewn like spilt cereal all over the kitchen floor that morning, piles of subjectivity to be pushed aside before breakfast."

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Recommendations: Isabel Magowan

I've just discovered the photography of Isabel Magowan, one of this year's Yale MFA graduates. Her work is in Danziger Gallery's exhibition 'Lovely Dark,' which closes later this week. I didn't see it there; I stumbled across it on the internet. It's a group show, but the title works really well with Magowan's photographs, which are extremely unsettling images of beauty and privilege. I can't always pinpoint precisely what it is that makes the pictures feel so unsettling or disturbing, but there's a constant sense of threat in all of them, as if something is lurking, just out of frame, planning to pounce when the camera isn't looking. It feels as if all the subjects are held hostage, trapped. This image is from the 'Cygnets' series; I would recommend looking at the whole series on her website.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Roses at Night, 2015

I've just returned from a trip to the Archives d'Outre Mer in Aix-en-Provence. I'm not feeling well, though, now. I may have caught an illness from the 1920s, locked in an archival box.

I took these photographs at the École Normale Supérieure on Sunday night, before leaving for Provence. The roses at the school are beautiful at the moment, tall and pink and crowding around the fountain, and I wanted to get some pictures of them at night, when they're not — without flash — really visible and so feel more mysterious, all scent and outline sometimes blowing in the wind. I'll probably also post some pictures from during the day soon, and maybe also some pictures from the evening with fewer light leaks, but I like the way these turned out, smokey and strange.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Recommendations (and Hesitations): On the Hierarchies of an Australian Strip Club, by Sam George-Allen

"It’s hard to explain to him how it can be okay, after I’ve told him, fidgeting and angry, about the threat of harassment every time I walk somewhere alone. It’s hard to explain the weird protection that a place like the club—a man’s place, a fantasy place—provides me, with its rules and friendly security guards, protections I live without in real life. And it takes me a long time to recognize the triple reward that I gain from being willingly desirable: not just safety, but the power to remove those who threaten that safety—and the sweet compensation of a lot of money."

As a piece of writing, I really like 'On the Hierarchies of an Australian Strip Club,' by Sam George-Allen, from Issue 26 of The Lifted Brow. I'd certainly recommend reading it, regardless of your views on strip clubs. George-Allen writes beautifully, and the piece offers an interesting look into a world with which I'd guess few would have first-hand experience.

Politically, though, it makes me a little uncomfortable. George-Allen is critical of the men who frequent strip clubs, and acknowledges the ways in which it makes her own life outside the strip club more transactional. And yet this idea that the club offers women power ("they are less dancers than athletes, I realise, and wonder how many other female athletes make a thousand dollars a night") and protection (as in the quote above) recurs throughout, and it seems to ignore the way in which these clubs fit into society more broadly, that the same forces which drive strip clubs drive a culture where men harass women on the street.