Thursday, July 28, 2016

Richmond, Virginia and the evolving iconography of the Civil War

Visited Richmond Virginia on a hot humid day. It was a major slave market and the capital for the breakaway Confederacy. The city has a pronounced Civil War iconography. Along Monument Avenue there are imposing statues of Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and Stonewall Jackson. It is all honor and romanticized resistance; no sense of slavery. But at the far end of the Avenue, looking away from Davis, there is a more recent monument to the African American tennis star Arthur Ashe.

The dissonance continues in the Virginia Historical Society. After passing through huge paintings depicting Lee and his officers as bearded heroes looking resolutely onto a battle scene, the contemporary exhibition on Virginia's history takes an unflinching look at the race, class and gendered nature of the state’s evolution. While some rooms celebrate the white romanticized South, others deconstruct its racial, class and gender bias.

Richmond's urban landscape and institutional memory embodies the history of the South but also the complex and evolving and conflicting ways of understanding and dealing with this past.

Monument to Jefferson Davis (©John Rennie Short) 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Travels to the Arctic Circle

Midsummer. From Alesund  sailed up the coast to Honningsvag in the northern most part of mainland Norway. The days got longer and the light more brilliant.  Embraced in  a sea-scrubbed, crystalline light. 
Alesund (©John Rennie Short)

Digermulen  (©John Rennie Short)
Honningsvag (©John Rennie Short)
Geirangerfjord  (©John Rennie Short)

Geiranger  (©John Rennie Short)
Perpetual light close to Arctic Circle  (©John Rennie Short)

Bergen  (©John Rennie Short)

Travels in Scotland: Orkney and Shetlands

In high summer the light in northern Scotland is magical. Photos can rarely capture the austere beauty of the islands.

Ring of Brogdar, neolithic stone circle, Orkneys  (© John Rennie Short)

Shetland landscape  (© John Rennie Short)

Travels in Scotland: Edinburgh

Visited Scotland and traveled to Edinburgh, Orkney and Shetlands. Edinburgh is one of the most beautiful built forms in the world. Here are just three examples:
Roofscapes (© John Rennie Short)

Charlotte Square  (© John Rennie Short)

Scottish Parliament  (© John Rennie Short)