***The Two-Way Lens

As I browsed the last bookstore after the last author event, of the

Belfast Book Festival, I happened on a book about the photography of Stanley Rosenfeld, the premier yacht photographer of his day.  Inside the jacket was an inscription that spoke to the notion that the camera’s lens looks in two directions.  The photographer produces an image, and the image tells us something of the photographer.

Viewers study the image for its originality, then for its artistry and for its effect on the apses and naves of the brain.  And, later, for what the subject reveals about the photographer, who chose the topic and treatment.

This prompted me to realize the essayist’s keyboard is the analogue of the camera.  The content he writes stirs, reveals, provokes, engages, and baits the reader to new places in his mind.  Equally, the selection of the subject and the slant of the sentences uncloaks the anonymity of the author.

I remember reading that William Faulkner said of himself that he was a shy person and so began to write books to people.  A printed book has a one-direction quality to it, separating the minds of the reader and the writer.

Bloggers, esp those who invite dialogue have democratized the art of the essay.

The comment feature of blogs has blurred the line of authorship of the blog.

Commenters add substance to the blog and thereby enrich it.  Commenters come out from undercover and disclose their personalities, characters, points-of-view and prejudices by which topics spur them to response and by what they have to say.

As a writer who parts with anonymity reluctantly, I find it more than a fair trade for the insights my readers, whether friends of long standing, recently acquired, or unknown to me altogether.

I follow and comment on a couple of dozen blogs.  I have enjoyed learning of another dimension of the folks who write them.  Three of the four listed below are written by personal friends.

Alon Shalev blogs about social justice at  (http://leftcoastvoices.wordpress.com/author/leftcoastvoices/)

Pat Bean blogs about RV Travel, Nature, and birding at (http://patbean.wordpress.com)

Thomas Burchfield—prize-winning horror novelist– shares his literary perspectives (http://tbdeluxe.blogspot.com/)

Tanya Grove whose a light-heart blog touches on whatever is amusing her at the moment. (http://tanyagrove.wordpress.com/)

10 Responses to ***The Two-Way Lens

  1. MaryAnne says:

    Interesting stuff Al, and I’m guessing as you’ve advanced in your blogging world you have discovered how very much we humans have in common as we experience this earthly journey.
    Being a cautious personality, I don’t blog anywhere but here, mainly due to wireless ignorance and containment of exposure. I have found this to be a safe place and I have been both comfortable and educated by the fellow travelers on the JS. Traveling vicariously with you and the bloggers is an unexpected activity in my life and one I am grateful for having the opportunity to partake. Indeed, now as I reflect on the two way lens and it’s keyboard analogue I shall be reading the blogs with more discering eyes and contemplations of the authors and the stuff between the printed lines.
    Thanx for this insight on pictures and words.

  2. David L says:

    Excepting the cautious part, ditto to Mary Anne. Although I have always thought the artist to be revealed in his work, some more that others, but all just the same. How could it be otherwise? I mean you Al – your cantankerous, braggadocios, hubristic, offensive, and often melodramatic self comes easily across in your angry, choleric, livid literary product. I mean , for gosh sake man, it’s self evident.

  3. Colleen Rae says:

    Al, you never fail to entertain me and teach me something new. Indeed, your wordpictures, scenes, vinettes, coming to us via your blog reflect you in all your depth. What you are interested in on your travels interests us, your friends. In that way we get to know you a bit more than you’ve allowed us previously. And of course, you get to know your readers a bit more, too. It’s a lovely give and take.
    Yours is the only blog I suscribe to…I don’t want to get captured by another fascinating person in reading their blog, no matter how wordworthy it might be.Thanks for letting me travel with you, albeit in spirit and thought.

  4. David L says:

    ourse I am stating the opposite of what we all know to be true. It’s meant in fun. It’s meant as a joke. I thought certainly it would arouse a chuckle from our host who receives so many accolades, though well deserved, that he might well become bored. One might love to bathe in the tepid water of comfort but a splash in a cold mountain stream is refreshing.

    Now our friend Al is a complicated man with the experience of many – so broad his travels, so many his friends – and I know he is up for a joke now and then. Should, however, he be not so much as that measure, please accept my poor aim and apology

  5. Lew Levenson says:

    And of course, bringing up the idea of the two-way lens, overlooks the reality that a third dimension has just been created so that we can become aware of both of the early dimensions.

    And we are each our own 3rd dimension!. So are we sharing that third dimension, or do we claim subdivisions – or extensions – like 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, etc?

    Just ramblin’ guys.

    Gee, second posting on Al’s blog in one day. That from a lurker who came on board on Day One!

  6. karen wittgraf says:

    Oh, how I have missed your “hubristic, angry and offensive self”. Hope I am connected again to my favorite sensitive, insightful and brilliant authors. You facilitate the lens from which we think.

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