Hinge Collaborative – – like lily pads, maybe, or that strengthening net, or those tendrils winding slowly, slowly up and out from Southern Maine. And Waterville – its got that town&gown thing, for sure. What good work, in all ways, in helping that change.

When ‘foul-mouthed hillbillies’ crank it like nobody’s business:


That any just to long for
The rest of my life, would come, diving like a lifetime
Explosion in the juices
Of palmettos flowing
Red in the St. Mary’s River as it sets in the east
Georgia from Florida off, makes whatever child
I was lie still, dividing
Swampy states watching
The lawyer’s daughter shocked
With silver and I wished for all holds
on her like root-light. She came flying
Down from Eugene Talmadge
Bridge, just to long for as I burst with never
Rising never
Having seen her except where she worked
For J.C. Penney in Folkston. Her regular hours
Took fire, and God’s burning bush of the morning
Sermon was put on her; I had never seen it where
It has to be. If you asked me how to find the Image
of Woman to last
All your life, I’d say go lie
Down underwater for nothing
Under a bridge and hold Georgia
And Florida from getting at each other hold
Like walls of wine. Be eight years old from Folkston ten
From Kingsland twelve miles in the clear palmetto color
Just as it blasts
Down with a body red and silver buck
Naked with bubbles on Sunday root
light explodes

Head-down and there she is.

-James Dickey (1969)


#AquiFaltaAlguien. Los Desaparecidos. Vengan las Colombianas! I ❤ Erre.

Graffiti culture in Bogotá: Street art remembers the missing

and Doris Salcedo – As The Bogota Post writes  (above), in the conflict years between 1958 and 2015, an estimated 83,000 Colombians were forcibly disappeared. In a country of ~50 million people, walk the zeros down: 50,000,000; 5,000,000; 500,000; 50,000 and then roughly × 1.5 = 0.15% of the population. In the United States, that would represent approximately half a million people – something like the population of southern Maine. Gone. How do you honor the Disappeared? By doing what you can and making art. This piece (or this installation or this I’m-not-sure-how-you-describe-something-this-profound) by Doris Salcedo is so far beyond beautiful that i’m just gonna sit here and keep bearing witness to genius:

[here’s more information if you’d like some context for the numbers:

More than 80,000 disappearances in Colombia, according to new research released by the National Center for Historical Memory 

Ralph Eugene Meatyard – – Bates College Museum of Art – October 25, 2019 – March 28, 2020. Maybe everybody gets his work, I don’t know, but if you grew up at all in the rural South, that queasiness of ghosts and God and madness that he explores is inside you too and you feel it babble. His finest images have that shatterstruck to the light – somehow all angels in the hollows and the dusty silence. Those images are a memory of a time and a place in U.S. history too violent to evoke nostalgia. When you drive that landscape now you still feel the terror.

Dominga Torres Teherán y Ruby Rumié – – Tejiendo Calle – I am drowning in their faces.  ‘Weaving Streets‘ – such a lovely slanging for that back and forth and around. And for what is made of race and class and gender and the visibility of what – of who – are so present and so vibrant in their costume as to be invisible. And so the inversion – the women in the dress – not the dress itself. And a presence that is louder in the autonomy of silence than in any technicolor shout of a backdrop collective. Gorgeous.

Alison Hildreth – – I first saw her work one night coming home across Portland – I’d passed the public library watching my own feet walking and had suddenly looked up into a falling water alchemy of angels. That cascade – amulets and puppet-winged spirits and steampunk treasures  – found me when I needed it and isn’t that what art does better than anything else the spirit creates? Her work was and is and remains gorgeous and intricate and so marvelously and wonderfully strange. Her new works are at SPEEDWELL [] on Forest Ave. in Portland. SPEEDWELL is (in their own words): a not for profit artist-run studio and gallery dedicated to launching thought provoking exhibitions in all media, including site-specific installations, public art, spoken word and performance. Very cool.

Dior Vargas – People of Color & Mental Illness Photo Project – – Centering up. As she writes: “This photo project stems from the lack of media representation of POC (people of color) and mental illness. There are tons of articles that list people with depression and other mental illnesses but you rarely see someone who looks like you. We need to change the way this is represented. This is not something to be ashamed about. We need to confront and end the stigma. This is a NOT a white person’s disease. This is a reality for so many people in our community.”

Open letter to Mayor Strimling. Between January 2017 and January 2018, 407 individuals died of drug-related overdoses in Maine. This number – as reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – is likely conservative, meaning the actual number of Mainers who died of drug-related overdoses during this period is even higher. Safe injection sites won’t solve the opioid crisis, but they – along with needle exchange programs ( – are a significant step in the right direction of evolving our thinking on injecting drug use.

IDU_HRM_Merritt_HPP-507 – Injecting Drug Use (IDU) and the Harm Reduction Model (HRM). Conceptually, one of the more significant impediments to the introduction of harm reduction programs is the challenge these programs pose to social constructs regarding the ‘costs’ of behavior. In many countries, drug policies are developed and enforced from the vantage of protecting society from drug addiction (or, more specifically, from behaviors associated with the pursuit of addictive drugs) rather than from the vantage of protecting people who use drugs from associated harms. The HRM insists, in contrast, that an individual who injects drugs has as much right to protection from HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C (HVC), and other blood-borne infections as an individual who does not inject drugs. Where the harm reduction approach intersects with street policing there is often a tension between the human desire to attribute social blame and the ability to place social discomforts associated with a set of behaviors within the appropriate context of structural power imbalances. Put simply, although it may be their reality, it is not the drug user’s fault that they experience more police violence than non-drug users. While the addiction behavior may arise with the user, the violence that they (and their community) experience as the result of that addiction behavior originates, at least in part, with the magnification of underlying cultural biases that can accompany law enforcement. Faces Places. Each face tells a story. Agnes Varda and JR. This train will go places you’ve never been. Sheep Jones. Just yes. All the way down and through. They’re even richer and more intricately fascinating up close. And the finest and strangest ones aren’t even on her site. They’re wildness itself. [And more of her glorious work here:]

Diseases of Poverty and the 10/90 Gap. InternationalPolicyNetwork Access. Access. Access. The problem is access. As the World Health Organization (WHO) notes: [m]ost of the disease burden in low-income countries finds its roots in the consequences of poverty, such as poor nutrition, indoor air pollution and lack of access to proper sanitation and health education. Diseases associated with poverty account for 45% of the disease burden in the poorest countries (as compared to 6% of the disease burden in high-income countries), however, nearly all of these deaths are either treatable with existing medicines or preventable in the first place. It isn’t the fault of individuals where they were born and are trying to live or improve their lives; that is no more preordained than is the random good fortune of having been born in a high-income country. Even (somehow and hypothetically) setting aside the extent to which ‘First World-ness’ is an active creator of poverty in much of the rest of the world, it is hubris on the part of high-income countries to believe or behave otherwise.

Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow Anselm Kiefer. The first painting of his that I saw was of sunflowers with their heads bowed down in winter. He’d studded the pigment with the black split hulls of seeds. The second painting of his that I saw was as tall as the ceiling and it sifted down the charred edges of a burnt book. The third painting of his that I saw was of the night sky and God’s own infinite eye watching down. His work is where my mind has wandered off to when I go looking for it and it’s gone.

ShoutOut to the anonymous donor who purchased my 4 images (4 square) + the works of a second artist from the Maine Artists show as donation to the St. Joseph Healthcare Regional Breast Care Center in Bangor, ME. Thank you. And to St. Joseph’s for inviting, curating, and supporting that beautiful exhibition.

HPP_583_The Mines – Global Health – this is where my head’s been at this semester. The Mines. Huancavelica, Peru and Potosi, Bolivia. This is half of the mercury/silver story. Or who knows what percentage – this is the part of the story that happened [or happens or is still happening, because so many of the cultural and toxicological impacts of this story are on-going] in the Andes. One fact: based on available records, almost 1/3 of the individuals conscripted to work the mercury mine in Huancavelica died as the direct result of their term of service. What is the legacy of the Colonial era in Latin America? Trauma. The legacy is trauma. These folks are working on that legacy now: Brandon Odums and Studio BE. Let this move your heart. As he writes: Project BE was an illegal art experience. Studio BE is a 35,000 sq ft warehouse in the bywater neighborhood of New Orleans, LA. Baptized when the Levees Broke. You are Still Here. Alchemist. And my personal favorite (for anything that that’s worth): I am my Ancestors Wildest Dreams. Just sitting here letting that one sink in. Lordy. Amor, Luz y Paz. From the root grows the revolution. Southgate Faces. Enter here. Portraits by Heather Perry of the men and women who work at Bath Iron Works – one of the oldest shipyards in North America. I’ve worked on and around boats and in yards off and on for much of my adult life and so part of what I love about this series is that the faces are familiar. Not so much the individuals, but their faces. Just people. And that grit. And, as Heather says, that site so large it can somehow sit right there in your blindspot. There will be art. LA/LA: A Celebration Beyond Borders. The political and personal effects of exile, migration, immigration and identity. This is the art of Revolution and of Ritual. This is Sara Castrejon and Graciela Iturbide and Tatiana Parker. This is activitism. And displacement. And dissonance. And challenge. And celebration. And inspiration. This what it means to push boundaries.


OK – while I get the whole pink ribbon thing, I also think that it (+ all those pink teddy bears) is infantilizing to grown women. As is the part where people tell you that maintaining a ‘positive outlook’ is vital for your recovery. It isn’t – there are even studies out there showing that people who get right pissed off and curse their way through treatment do no worse than people who meditate and look on the bright side – here’s the link to the abstract because you may not – or you may exactly – know how good it can feel to come across this study ( Cancer really kind of sucks, and sometimes stompy boot energy is what you need to still feel like you’re you and not just a patient with a meds routine and a fear as vast and roiling as the surface of the sun. So, thinking about all that we made these tags. And handed them out. And up they went. And…well, let me know if you need some personal stompy boot energy – I’d be happy to send you some if it might help.

And this – because it belongs here: Oncotype DX. 11 years ago now. A new gene expression array designed to assess whether chemotherapy would provide additional benefit beyond radiation and 5 years of hormone therapy (for pre-menopausal women that means Tamoxifen). 21 tumor – specific genes from a tumor sample. A retrospective study at that point – how did assay results compare with outcomes for patients already more than 5 years out for diagnosis and treatment. I’d read about it in the NYTimes and asked my doctor about it. She’d never done one. EMMC had never done one. We did one. Mine. I’d read the study and trusted it. And then trusted the results and made my decision. Coming off Tamoxifen 5 years later the world went all bright with fear again. But now 5 years after that, and I’m still here. And through that bottleneck. and a lucky little punkgirl. ❤ Deirdre Kelly — I totally dig her, and also her skills. She develops my film. Thanks, Deirdre! If you need film developed (or custom printing – any format – or old images restored), she rocks. The 2018 Pirelli Calendar. And this exploration of a photo shoot with ‘equality and empowerment’ as the core. “The story of Alice has been told so many times and in so many ways, but always with a white cast,” [Tim] Walker [the photographer] continued. “There has never been a black Alice, so I wanted to push how fictional fantasy figures can be represented and explore evolving ideas of beauty.” There is so much about this that is thrilling. The gorgeous photography is only a part of it. Wow. Paula Rae Gibson. “I lost my spleen, gained nine pints of Ecuadorian blood – this caused a bit of an overflow of emotion, a tsunami actually which I poured into work and the darkroom. Everything I had ever felt all my life without even knowing ’til then, came to the surface and it almost killed me all over again.” Oh yeah. This wildstrange world. Oh yeah. Once you start there is no stopping. Oh yeah. She shoots analog. Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863-1944) Three exposures. Three filters. And a projection. Go, chemistry. 2,433 prints of a world that had already vanished by the time he died.( This tips the wild. Go check it out.

Merritt_Vaccine Safety and the Controversy over Thimerosal EHS_565-02 – Spring 2017. Vaccines are interesting – whereas they’re voluntary in that you’re not required by Federal law to receive them, they are compulsory in that they’re required for participation in various aspects of public life. This requirement makes exposure to vaccine ingredients somewhat unavoidable, and while vaccines are overwhelmingly safe, risks do accrue to the individual. In the case of vaccines that contained Thimerosal, that those individuals were infants has created a controversy that no amount of data seems able to quell. The current U.S. President’s views on vaccine safety remind me of former President Bush’s observation that air quality has gotten so good in the U.S. that we no longer need the Clean Air Act. The list of diseases that are no longer significant public health concerns in this country is as long as it is because of vaccines, not in spite of them. Thinking about that these days. I ❤ shooting film. It’s about respecting the practice and the history. And the approach to discipline. LaToya Ruby Frazier writes ““[i]f I want my work to have a visual language that’s in conversation with the social documentary work of the 20th century then I need to use that medium and their tools.” That’s it. Anything else – including practicality as an end in and of itself – is the wrong metric. Go shoot. Mobile Print Power. I think I’m in love. Currently exhibiting Soñamos Sentirnos Libres: Making it Real at Maine College of Art (MECA) here in Portland. Also hosting two community workshops – February 23rd (12 – 2 pm) and February 24th (3:30 – 6:30 pm) – to explore community, the immigrant identity and the role of the artist. We all belong.

Mack and Wrase_2017A Burgeoning Crisis? A Nationwide Assessment of the Geography of Water Affordability in the United States. They write: regarding the risk for losing access to affordable and safe drinking water, 81% of high-risk Census tracts are located in urbanized areas and the states with the greatest percentage of high-risk tracts include Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Kentucky, and Arkansas. Race/ethnicity x socio-economic access x that invisibility of infrastructure – this is the problem.“zero-los-desplazados-de-colombia-photography-black-and Zero. Los Desplazados. Photographs from Colombia by Robert Pennington. January 26 – March 1, 2017. UNE Art Gallery in the Ketchum Library – UNE Biddeford Campus – 11 Hills Beach Road, Biddeford, ME. This is a book about donuts. Just kidding. It’s not about the yellow jersey, he writes, and it’s true. But it is about the bike. Transnational Queer Underground. Anti-capitalist. d.i.y. not-for-profit. A place for blogs, books, music, movies, zines. Check out #thegalleryproject and if it’s yours. Or forget the if. It’s yours. The Art of Movement. Because Ken Browar and Deborah Ory. Because the NYC Dance Project ( Because the shape of it all is beyond beautiful. Because after years with a personal yoga practice I can at least feel the edge of it flex. Because that drishti. Because that discipline. Because No. 6. Because if it’s not difficult, what’s the point? The Bakery Photo Collective. Now back in Portland. Right in there with Bayou Kitchen and Artist & Craftsman. They say it best – it’s about keeping the art of photography alive. They say this too: The Bakery Photographic Collective is a non-profit organization run by a group of photographers dedicated to providing Maine-based visual artists with an accessible, affordable darkroom and digital-imaging facility. It is also a communal creative space that hosts workshops, classes, events and exhibits. Ain’t it grand? More details soon. Lynn Karlin. The Tray Series. oh. my. lord. The pattern-loving kink in my brain is going happily apeshit. Beets! Radishes! Peas! Squash blossoms! I don’t know what those things are but they’re beautiful! And those things – hard-boiled egg slicers…maybe?! I don’t know. I love these. Photographic Resource Center at Boston University. 40th Anniversary year and as fantastic and helpful as they’ve always been. They’re now offering portfolio reviews again. If you join – $30 – $50/yr with all kinds of benefits – one review a year is on them (thanks to Panopticon Imaging – [Shout out to Rockland, MA here too, of course – hometown of His X. I don’t need college, he’d said, way way back in the day. I’m good. Well, there’s the shoe factory, Nana had replied. Knock yourself out.] Mustafah Abdulaziz. Water. Verse 8 and the Highest Good. This is everything. This is the longterm project. Where it is now is Photoville [], Brooklyn Bridge Park, NYC. Waterways and Water Challenges. And that collection in the Containers so fine you gotta go outside afterwards and run it all off [].

Fall 2016. Epi630 Hypothetical epidemiology here – the problem is real – diarrheal diseases represent a significant cause of illness for children < 5 years old (y.o.) in many low- and moderate- development countries, and may be responsible for ~ 20% of deaths in this cohort.  The means to address this problem – in terms of the duration and budget proposed herein, are as per class requirements; in terms of approach, however, this paper highlights the crux of the challenge with water treatment – the nuts and bolts of low cost water purification are known and are rarely the limiting factor in the process. The challenge instead is in offering solutions that mesh with how we all already behave, rather than assuming that behavior will immediately change to support an introduced solution. Behavior can’t be seen as outside the project. Behavior is the project. Latoya Ruby Frazier. Flint is Family. Shout it out. This is social documentary photography. And this is Latoya Ruby Frazier – 2015 MacArthur Genius Grant winner.  ( Rarely do disenfranchised subjects speak for themselves or document the crisis that is affecting them. She continues to tell the visual autobiography. This is what the camera’s for.

[and this: Flint, MI and the Emergence of Community Social Capital I wrote it this summer [2016] for a class I was taking. It’s just my opinion, of course, but it’s what’s been happening in Flint, MI., and everywhere really. From the vantage of how we think about community and inclusion and also how we don’t even see infrastructure until something goes wrong. This is crisis on many levels and we need to start paying closer attention. This is what the science and engineering can be for.] Let in the goodness when it happens. I ❤ Kathleen Hanna. Welcome back to the front and center, TNT. Bill Cunningham. (1929 – 2016). The pixie on the bicycle. Rest In (a very street stylish) Peace. Khalik Allah. What this man does with one piece of earth is an astounding thing – all angles and perspective and that energy that feels both huckster and holy, if you know what I mean. I’ve been following 125th & Lexington for years now – there may be no finer pleasure than watching talented people do their thing. The camera is a healing mechanism, he says. Let me photograph it and take it away from you. Praise. All kinds of quality here. Masters. Modern. Emerging. How to. Why to. When to. What to see. Where to see it. Most recently, this interview with Norma Quintana: about Circus Chimera. [Plus her shout-out to Graciela Iturbide [] who’s got that something wildspooky in overdrive.] Palani Mohan. Hunting with Eagles. Vanishing Giants. Hidden Faces of India. our world. our beautiful terrible world. Texture so rich it crackles off the pages. Gentleness in the touch of things – right there on the forehead, maybe – but that roughness too. That complicated relationship to reverence. And to sentimentality. And that challenge, always, for the viewer, to consider the why. And the how. And the details. Perfect and Unrehearsed. Henri Cartier-Bresson. The master of what Alex Webb calls “the uncertainty and mystery of collaborating with the world as a street photographer.” It is a collaboration – without the street there are no images. Without the images there is no record. And the geometry that makes it work is the v. finest in predicament math. The photographer, as T. Cole writes, has to be there to begin with, tuned in and tuned up, active. The rest is fate.  Sebastiao Salgado. And Wim Wenders about him: Salt of the Earth – Holy cow. That gold mine. And the braided stream of reindeer and Sami. And the Altiplano. And that rush of wonder. There is no way back. An Image that Changed Everything. Such beautiful work to be done. Mary Ellen Mark. (March 20, 1940 – May 25, 2015). Pick up your camera and start shooting. It doesn’t matter what you shoot. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never picked up a camera before in your life. If you need help getting started, don’t be afraid to ask. If you want to build a body of work, everything else is an excuse. She got it. Magnificently. I ❤ Indian Circus. R.I.P. Circus Chimera. 10 years. She gets it: physical reality is what makes it beautiful. Dirt. Sweat. Chalk. Paint. Scales. Feathers. BIrd Boys. That gesture and those eyes. What she calls that purposeful grace. 40 portraits in 40 years. So much gentle protection of each other as they grow older. So much directness in their beautiful beautiful faces. [04/18 – And so incredibly too bad that Nicholas Nixon is such a self-important fool. Asking your students to analyze photographs of your own penis doesn’t somehow make you ‘boundary pushing’ or extra-ordinarily talented. What it makes you is an *sshole whose juvenile narcissistic behavior deserves to be rewarded by having your job handed directly to somebody equally talented and significantly more self-aware. Ick.] oh hell yes. this. did i say oh hell yes? i meant it. this. i might be in there somewhere. i’m not sure. i honestly don’t remember what happened. Josef Koudelka. The Master. he wrote ‘I would like to see everything. I want to be the view itself.’ Gypsies is the bar. Black Triangle is silently godawful heartbreaking. he’s still at it. sometimes he shoots with three cameras looped around his neck – one each focused up on the near-ground, mid-ground, far-ground. there are worse people to admire than this vagabond Czech. Water. no, Quarries. no, Water. no, Quarries. he makes the pattern-loving kink in my brain happily start paying attention. mostly aerial views. large format. Stepwell #4. that one does it. well, and so does Cerro Prieto. and Rice Terraces #2. And Bay of Cadiz. you get the idea. just all kinds of beautiful work. just all kinds of mmmmmmm with that stone and flow. go ahead. pick one at random and dive in. i come here for a jolt or to have my brain petted or to think about what works and what doesn’t and why. they like writing about photography too. really. go ahead. i think the first images of his i saw were of Chernobyl [Half Life]. opaque. that’s the first word that comes to mind, like the background was washed in milk. and then the things he does with dereliction – i mean, it’s not like the Russians have cornered the market on abandoning property, but, still – the scale of it all… ever need inspiration? check him out. i love this man’s work. because it’s not really about him, you know? it’s about swinging big and pasting it up. he just goes and makes that shit happen. most fantastic. if you ever need to suddenly remember the size of the world, look here. it’ll fix you quick.

personal ink (–kick ass tattoo artists and the even kick(er) ass women they ink:

one man. one pink tutu. a massive amount of love:

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