Sunday, November 29, 2009

485. Photography and Poetry for the Day After the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force (BRTF) Storm ::: Recuperation on the Ocean

Blurb for Photography Collection:
The Day After the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force Storm ::: Recuperation on the Ocean.
The day after the November 10, 2009 Blue Ribbon Task Force Meeting, I knew that my dire condition of mental chaos needed to be soothed and repaired by the ocean itself. Most importantly, after drowning in the waves of human commotion within the confines of a hotel room of quintessential corporate drab decor, you kind of need to be reminded WHY I or any one of us even go these these information-barbaric AA (Alternative Addictions for the Ocean) meetings in the first place! We're all fish out of water in these gatherings... we just want to return to where we all truly want to be... by or on or under the Big Blue itself. After all the entropy of the previous day, I was compelled to take and edit photographs that displayed warm starkness, bleakness... sheer minimalism... reconstructing a blank slate for my brain. So instead of taking pictures of seagulls, I decided to take pictures of REFLECTIONS of seagulls in the calm morning waters of Point Loma, California.

PDF for the poem "Incestuous" can be found here:

The circumstance for creating this poem was actually "post October 22, 2009" Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Blue Ribbon Task Force (BRTF) Meeting. I remember myself driving in the dark towards Santa Barbara (probably from Los Angeles, Riverside, or San Diego--I don't remember). So, I ended up writing two poems in response to my first round of BRTF meetings. This one and "Part of the Process" in Blog 472. The most powerful metaphor I was ever told about fishing was "a fisherman's goal is to essentially get to know his region so well that he is able to mentally 'pull up the blue blanket' and know all the nooks and crannies of the terrain underneath. Instead of being on being on the ocean and catching fish, the world is transformed such that the fisherman is floating on a boat in the sky and is using his hooks/lines/traps to capture floating birds and rodents in the mountains and valleys and vegetation below." This metaphor keeps coming back to me in a pleasantly haunting way, and then I kept thinking about all the metaphors fisheries reps have thrown at me and I started to come to realize that the "summation of these isolated metaphors" seemed to embody some kind of intimate love-hate relationship between a male and female, except in this case it's a male fisherman and female ocean. And of course, being bored in the car, my mind started to form a poem/song ditty in the middle of the night, now finalized as "Incestuous." The last poem I sent to my ultimate poetry pal Barry Spacks was this "Part of the Process," and he didn't really fully process the poem--though the people I spoke to at the BRTF MLPA meetings most certainly responded with a laugh, "Oh, I get it! I totally get it!" I realized that this poem was only registered by those who have experienced and endured the MLPA process, and it seems to the rest of the folks out there, these poems seem to be a bunch of riddles. The latest poems I have given to Barry, he responded in such a way that they will only be understood "if I provide footnotes." This has become a consistent theme in our email transactions. I have become increasingly frustrated, but at the same time I have to remember that "I am a scientist or a brain immersed in science for 20+ years dumping a bunch of new metaphorical associations into the literary world, which is riddled with stretched associations of the same / usual metaphors" (from Mike Davis' class), so the best thing that I can do is to assume completely nothing of the audience (though Barry at one point said to assume an astute audience when submitting to literary journals, but this audience is only "astute" in terms of the nuances of "literary tradition," but I have come to learn that their backgrounds in science, engineering, and most other fields of trade are quite weak." So, the best thing I can do now, is that nearly every poem I write, I NEED TO WRITE FOOTNOTES TO EXPLAIN THE CONTEXT OF THE POEM.

And in light of this NEW HABIT, I wrote a footnote for "Incestuous," which is included below:

"—This poem/ditty attempts to capture the relationship between a California fisherman and regional segment of the ocean to where he fishes, in which in this case, the ocean is metaphorically replaced in order to describe an edgy, dicey, yet subsisting affair with a female. The feminine analogy parallels the more common “mother earth” construct, except this poem documents a more precise “love-hate” relationship of “temptation and taming.”

Some unusual notes of the day out on the water with Jules:

(1) We did some sheephead trap fishing with the nearshore fisheries and we got a hit of 8 or so fish in one of the 8 traps.

(2) We caught our personal goal/quota of 50 legal sized lobsters, though we probably caught and released hundreds of lobsters all together.

(3) I made some significant advances in photography: (a) I FINALLY figured out how to adjust the APERTURE of my Nikon D80 though I had this dang camera for almost THREE YEARS! (b) I discovered that my "extra gadget/gizmo lenses and filters" for my ancient prosumer camera Nikon Coolpix 5700 were compatible with my Nikon D80 lenses, and so now I have a telephoto lens and a fish eye lens attachment I only paid 50 bucks for ebay, and if I bought 'official' lenses otherwise, it would probably rack up a cost of $2000. Definitely works with my impoverished graduate student budget! (c) So I ended up prolifically using the "fish eye lens" on our Point Loma boat trip today, and I decided that every single time I go on the boat, I will have to experiment with (i) a specific theme aka "Evolution of Art" or (ii) a specific technological trick/contraption, e.g. new lighting tools or filters or lenses. (d) I started becoming bored with taking "ordinary photographs" and I'm more interested in creating surrealistic effects with photographs or "imposing a reality in the photograph that's not necessarily there in the outerworldly reality" (which is what makes MRH's photographs unique and distinctive); low shutter speed, high aperture, soft focus, losing details, intentionally fogging the lens with your breath or even with vaseline!

(4) I feel guilty because instead of my head filling up with names of fishes and invertebrates, it's been clogged with names of people/individuals from the MLPA process. I'm experiencing lots of interference with recent memory of the MLPA process and my deep memory of taking my invertebrate zoology and parasitology courses. *Sigh.* But at the same time, I had ironic visions for that MLPA film: (a) comparing personalities of stakeholders to personalities of ocean creatures (b) the discrepancy between language and the visual reality of the place, for example, Jules was giving me an orientation to this very thick Point Loma Kelp bed, "Oh, the Marine Map says there's not kelp here. Especially there's no persistent kelp around here" while in the backdrop our boat was getting tangled with the excessive forest of kelp breeching the water surface (I guess at low tide) (c) Bedford did some really cute "hand-finger movements" to display the whole "moving the goal posts" metaphorical effect of the Science Advisory Team... that definitely goes into the flick. (d) overlay of corporate drab hotel scenery with interplaying ocean scenery... definite theme....

KEY WORDS: atmospheric photography, surrealism, poetry, south coast Marine Life Protection Act, MLPA, ocean, photography, alternative addictions for the ocean, fine art, minimalism, abstract, incestuous, ocean-sky-fish-birds metaphor, ditty, song, blanket metaphor, mother earth, footnotes, photographic learning, male-female relationships, fish-eye lens, telephoto lens, MLPA film


Jeff said...

I am curious as to what sea creature you see a parallel in me. Stoked I found your blog finally.

Anonymous said...

Good article. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Good article. Thank you.