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Showing posts from October, 2017
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The Friday Photo

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Recommended Reading: South Pole Station by Ashley Shelby

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South Pole Station by Ashley Shelby is one of the best novels I've read in 2017. It's funny, lively, stressful, aggravating - everything you want in a novel.

The protagonist is thirty-year old Cooper Gosling. Gosling was an art prodigy as a teen, but circumstances changed. Trying to get her life and career back on track, she applies to the National Science Foundation Antarctic Artists and Writers Program for a fellowship position at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. I'm not spoiling any surprise by telling you that, yes, she gets the gig, and we are then off with her on an adventure.

The crew at the South Pole falls into two camps, the scientists and the support team. (Cooper and the other artists, appropriately and predictably, are outliers). Author Ashley Shelby zooms in and out on these folks, providing interesting stories about unusual individuals who find that they are well suited to working at the end of the Earth.

There are also a couple of scientific battles u…

Recommended Viewing: Finding Vivian Maier (2013)

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Caught the documentary Finding Vivian Maier yesterday and absolutely loved it. The film raises interesting questions about just how much we know, or make an effort to know, about other people. Vivian Maier (1926 - 2009) took amazing photos during her lifetime, but she never shared her work. The documentary traces the discovery of her film and the subsequent search to find more information about Maier, who spent her working years as a nanny for various families. The central question the filmmaker presents is, why didn't this extraordinary talent show the world her art?

This central question is, of course, entirely conventional and learning about Maier's life is very interesting. However, it is also fascinating to look at and consider the perspective of the filmmaker - John Maloof, who discovered Maier's material in a box he purchased at an auction - as well as that of the people he interviews who knew Maier. The perspectives they bring make for interesting reflections on th…