hold on, be strong

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Happy new year to Jamelle, the family and the extended Newsletter family. May I say that - along with the gifs, the photos, and the recipes, the Newsletter's stimulating ideas, recommended reading and straight-forward Jamelle candor absolutely make my days when ever they appear in my ebox! As an "ole white progressive" - I look to you, Jamelle - and your team of collaborators (surely this is not a lone star accomplishment!?) - to keep this "ole white dame" WOKE! Thank you thank you for your reliable insight, tenacity, questions - and for the inspiration your recipes and photos add to the mix. Keep it all coming. Through the relentless inquiry, art, and chowing down healthfully, surely the good spirits will prevail.

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I think of your photography (which I have followed for a while!) as being about structure, both as far as what's written on the landscape, as well as its scale versus people (e.g., the shot of the little boy at the Lincoln Memorial). For me, it evokes feelings of scale, and fairness -- or unfairness -- and how we are surrounded by sights and shapes that we haven't necessarily chosen or designed, but that affect everyday life nonetheless. There's power in it, both power expressed by scale and levels of fairness, but also some challenges to power, particularly in shots that capture graffiti or public art. Hope that helps!

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I think many of your photos fit into the "urban landscape" aesthetic that I see a lot on Instagram. Lots of shots of buildings and neighborhoods around where you live or work/travel often, which seems like it comes from an urge to document these places from your everyday routines.

You posted something the other day that struck me, about trying to come up with an interesting way to photograph the inside of Union Station. There's a staircase down into one of the El stops here in Chicago that every time I walk into it I want to take a picture, but I've never quite gotten it right. I think there's something about trying to capture all the places that are part of that mental landscape of your life.

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I live in Wisconsin, and I can tell you it's even worse than it appears. I could type out a novella, but I'm a public employee who lives in Green Bay who has watched the GOP destroy every decent thing for the sake of their own power. They've transitioned into a belief system where they see permanent one-party rule as their absolute right. I've met with Robin Vos and tried to talk to him about one of his many, unfounded grudges against anyone who in non-white or cares a whiff about anything other than tax breaks--he was looking through and beyond me the entire time. The Speaker of the Assembly is my representative; last week I spent a half hour on the phone with him last where he explained that they had to roll back the Governor-elect's power because, if they didn't, then people on welfare wouldn't be required to work. I could go on and on and on. When Walker was "running" for President (he quit before a single vote was cast), I had to explain to my daughters that public employees (like their parents) were not anything comparable to ISIS (which was one of many of Walker's delightful moments). The outside money that flows into this state, as will as big in-state conservative money (Bradley Foundation) has just pushed the state over the edge. Look, we have always known that "Milwaukee" was a code word mentioned by Republicans only to invoke racist imagery, but now we're talking about a whole new kind of disenfranchisement--if you live in Milwaukee or Madison (the economic livelihood of the state) you simply don't matter as much as the 5 white farmers who live in Waupon. But that's what happened. 1.3 million votes were nullified in this state and no one can do anything about it. Who is going to help? The latest addition to the state Supreme Court was a previous Walker appointee who once wrote that people with AIDS should be denied medical treatment. And the Supreme Court? Should we call Brett Kavanaugh? Okay, I'll stop.

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Tom GeraghtyDec 9, 2018

As somebody who follows your photography here and on your Twitter feed, what comes to my mind are pictures of places - landscapes, street scenes, buildings, buildings with interesting murals/graffiti, etc. It makes me wonder to what extent your photographic voice is linked to your writing voice - you're often writing about issues like the intersection of race and place in US politics (e.g. the barriers to social democracy following from racial segregation). Is there some connection there?

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