Interviewsand Articles

 

From the Editor, issue #28

by Richard Whittaker, Jul 26, 2014


 

 

photo by John Oliver

As my conversation with artist Archana Horsting unfolded, one of things that struck me was what an intriguing journey her life has been. And as I looked at the material gathered in this issue, it was apparent that "journey," as a theme, was a good fit.
     The outer journeys we touch upon are fascinating. In Raphael Shevelev’s case, his European refugee parents fled to Cape Town, where he grew up in South Africa’s apartheid era. Due to his strong political views in opposition to apartheid, he found himself fleeing South Africa and coming to the United States, where he had an academic career in political science. Then he left academia in his early 50s to embark on a career in writing and photography.
     In each life there must be many journeys, perhaps the most compelling of them invisible. What attracted me to Raphael’s story was hearing about his year-long journey through a severe medical crisis, and how paying attention to sunlight as it moved, hour by hour, through his home, became a healing practice.
     We have an unusual amount of photography in this issue. It’s just the way it turned out. I learned about Bob Sadler from a stranger at an art opening at an art gallery in Monterey. A casual request from his Unitarian church that he photograph a few homeless men in their charitable program led to a surprising result. His photos seemed to have a dramatic effect; each man he photographed soon found a place to live. Hearing that, I wasted no time in tracking down Bob Sadler himself.
     In our interview he talks about this, and about his own journey. Thirty years earlier, he was standing with his view camera waiting for the morning fog to lift in order to get a shot. A homeless man appeared and watched him for a while. Then the homeless man spoke to him: “The question for you is whether you’re an artist, or just an observer with a camera.”
     It was a remark that changed Sadler’s life.
     And we have portfolios from two visual artists, Alexander Rohrig and Tom Nakashima. Rohrig is in the early stages of his journey. He’s been artist Jane Rosen’s assistant for five years. Working with an established artist is still a viable way for a lucky few young artists to get a start.
     Tom Nakashima, on the other hand, is a well-established artist. I think you’ll agree with me that his work is stunning, even greatly reduced in scale and with the color dropped out. As I look at his work, I see an artist grappling with the deep questions, the ones that will continue to be with us in spite of whatever technology and science create to dazzle us.
     Dr. Keith Cohn and architect John Oliver are passionate amateur photographers. As editor, I’m always on the lookout for material that finds me. It need not be from a professional artist. It just needs to announce itself like the sound of a bell in the distance. Running across the Sadler story is a perfect example of that. I suspect artists know what I’m talking about. And I’m sure that Keith Cohn and John Oliver do, as well. When they’re photographing, they’re looking for something like in inner “yes.” In a way, each such moment is like a little journey in a pathless land. The photographs are the destinations themselves—the ones that still contain something that resonates for others.
     And Indigo Animal is in Rome. Wow! Welcome to issue #28.

       

 

About the Author

Richard Whittaker is the founding editor of works & conversations and West Coast editor of Parabola magazine.   

 

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