Layne Hilyer

“Often the Dying Ask for a Map” by B.H. Fairchild


The “empathic intuition” of Judith Joy Ross embodies what Simone Weil is getting at in her writing on attention. No formula for compassion or empathy exists, but as an experiment in time–with practice–attention makes room for compassion bringing “more light into the soul”.


On photographer Judith Joy Ross:

Just as complicated is the question of why a photographer so revered by other photographers remains, to an extent, under the radar. The photographer An-My Lê once recalled how, when Ross visited her in New York, she’d play a game of guessing who on the subway Ross would choose to photograph; the fact that she was always wrong cemented Lê’s awareness of Ross’s empathic intuition. “Her work is beautiful in its transparency,” Robert Adams writes in his book Why People Photograph—it’s “a record of compassion.”


Lauren | Ilford Delta 100 (+1) | Canon AE-1

I am happy with how this photo turned out. The tone and texture are, for me, what I find so compelling about black and white film. Ilford Delta 100 has long been a favorite film stock, and it has proved a good partner this time, too.

The light coming from the window gives us a line to follow from top left of the frame to bottom right. The light, Lauren's face, and the lens flair are the points along the descending line. Light, light, light. Three forms of light.


Currently reading: New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton 📚


A simple, and most likely insignificant, connection between the quote below and the way Wendell Berry writes about the poetry (the particular making) of William Carlos Williams in Rutherford, NJ. Poem and prayer belong to the creaturely world:

The rhythm of a poem is creaturely, and for that reason it is significant. Though it is a work of art, a poem belongs to the creaturely world. The rhythm of the creaturely world are living, sensitive, responsive, and under influence. Everything in the creaturely world is under the influence of something else, and ultimately of everything else.


From the introduction to the Book of Common Prayer (Oxford), p. xi:

The Book of Common Prayer is a set of words to accompany everday life, a way of coming to terms with pain, pleasure, and sorrow as well as a means to worship a creator…These services were based on the medieval hours said every day in monasteries, but translated into a vernacular, post-Reformation context they became the staple of unexceptional life, a verbal and musical rhythm repeated once a week, a background to the thought processes by which a person addresses the trails of work or family.


Currently reading: The Poetry of William Carlos Williams of Rutherford by Wendell Berry 📚


Currently listening: The Best of Sacred Steel, put together by Smithsonian Folkways🎶


The subject of photo in the post below is a sign–“Shield’s Bar-B-Que”–located in the dug-out barn on the Shield’s fromer property. On my way to and from the Shield’s property I would pass by a “golden point restaraunt” building that, come to find out, was one of the last Shield’s BBQ locations.


Shield's BBQ Sign | Ilford HP5 (+1) | Canon AE-1


Trying something new in the coming weeks: taking notes and voice-memos throughout the week, then making time to process and coelese notes on the weekend. My days move quickly, especially during the last weeks of the semester.


Illinois Traction, photographs by Tim Carpenter


Intuitions of Unity participates in Robert Adams’ job description of the photographer:

The job of the photographer, in my view, is not to catalogue indisputable fact but to try to be coherent about intuition and hope. This is not to say that he is unconcerned with the truth.

Imani Perry wins the National Book Award for South to American: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation


Continuing this thread: as Baldwin leaves Charlotte, NC he is told, despite the impression left on him by segregated schools, he has not seen the South yet.

One of the reasons for this is that the South is not the monolithic structure which, from the North, it appears to be, but a most various and divided region. It clings to the myth of its past but is being inexorably changed, meanwhile, by a mythical present: its habits and its self-interest are at war. Everyone in the South feels this and this is why there is such panic on the bottom and such impotence on the top.


Wim Wenders, on ‘The Road to Emmaus’ in conversation with Ben Quash, says “That is a great story because it is a story of faith and to be on the road…It is a real road movie…It’s one of the real stories that happens on the road.”


Currently reading: Nobody Knows My Name by James Baldwin 📚

In particular, I am reading the title essay “Nobody Knows My Name: A Letter from the South” as I begin to gather texts for a writing course. The theme of the course is, for now, “Writing the Road: Between Here and Home”.


Currently listening: Sentimental Fool by Lee Fields 🎶


Canon AE-1 | Ilford Delta 100


Trevor #2 | Ilford HP5 (+1) | Canon AE-1


From Mark Doty’s “Notebook/To Lucan Freud/On the Veil”:

and everything is a portrait, even if it’s a chair


Chair - Fairy Stone State Park, VA | Kodak Porta 400 | Canon AE-1


This from Czesław Miłosz:

The world deprived of clear-cut outlines, of the up and the down, of good and evil, succumbs to a peculiar nihilization, that is, it loses its colors, so that grayness covers not only things of this earth and of space, but also the very flow of time, its minutes, days, and years. Abstract considerations will be of little help, even if they are intended to bring relief. Poetry is quite different. By its very nature it says: All those theories are untrue. Since poetry deals with the singular, not the general, it cannot – if it is good poetry – look at things of this earth other than as colorful, variegated, and exciting ,and so, it cannot reduce life, with all its pain, horror, suffering, and ecstasy, to a unified tonality of boredom or complaint. By necessity poetry is therefore on the side of being and against nothingness. (emphasis mine)


Speaking of Mark Doty and still life, today’s edition of the wonderful newsletter Still Life (always grateful for Michael’s work there) includes this Doty poem, “Ars Poetica”.