The Blog of John Walford, British-born, but long resident in The United States. I am an art historian, currently studying satire in Netherlandish art, an amateur photographer, and occasional writer, who writes here about art, photography, and the human condition--some of it ekphratic poetry, responding to works of art. This is to be a site for words and images, interacting on one another, as vehicles of human expression.

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Rongzoni/ Helen Ojha, "On the edge of a train station...," January 2008

On the edge of a train station..., originally uploaded by Rongzoni.

Rongzoni / Helen Ojha posted this piece to Flickr, January 20, 2008 (see original post at:, accompanied by her following lines (copyright: Helen Ojha):

"A wall marks a life
A life marks a wall
For a moment
One defines the other
How do they both
Define us?"

This moving combination of word and image moved me to pause, ponder, and write as follows:

Your image captures the eye;
Your words lead us further.
The last two lines cut deep,
We see ourselves, a voyeur,
But also an accomplice.
--JW, 1/20/2008

This piece, like the street photographs of our shared "friend," Ahmad Kavousian, stir me to a point of discomfort with my life of suburban ease.

When buying our groceries, yesterday, seeing the goods, and the bill mount up, I told the cashier how grateful I was for my job. She replied, "yes, it is never something that any of us should take for granted."

This image and accompanying words from Helen Ojha fall heavy on my calloused conscience, coming the morning after. This man could be any one of us, if sometime, something in us, or about us, became just enough unhinged, that we could not function properly any more. What to do?


  1. Hey nice one Dude*

    I was thinking bout U earlier cuz somebody gave me a Fake Flickr Award today stating my Stream was now Viewable to the Masses!

    well i Searched my stream + came across yer Email bout yer Students not being able to see my crap - it worked perfect in the Post!


    So is Barack Obama gonna Win this thing or what??


  2. Your blog site was recommended by my "Wheatie" daughter. I was moved by your thoughts, especially "the street photographs of our shared friend....stir me to a point of discomfort with my life of surburban ease." And "We see ourselves, a voyeur, but also an accomplice." I have an illness- one of those folks can't see with the naked eye. If I did not have a loving husband who provides for me, I would be standing against a wall because my meds would not be affordable. As a Southerner in a large city, I see racial division, poverty, disenfranchised homeless, namesless faces because they cannot afford treatment...... Am I an accomplice?
    May the peace of the Lord be with you.

  3. Hi John! Hard to reconcile my position with the folks I see on the street. I try to console/comfort myself with contributions to organizations that help those near and afar off. But that only helps for a short while. And I do try to save enough to keep myself from falling off the edge.


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John Walford

John Walford
Not All That Meets The Eye

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I am a British-born, art historian, teaching in the USA; I studied law, in England,1964-68; worked part-time in the art world, 1968-69; then studied art history at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, 1969-76; completed my Ph.D. diss. at the University of Cambridge, 1981; moved to the States in 1981, and have since written, or co-authored, other books. I am currently studying satire in Netherlandish art. My wife, Maria, was born in Milan, Italy, where she worked as an interpreter, in business; she spent seven years in Switzerland, at the University of Lausanne, 1963-70. She came to Amsterdam in 1971, and we soon married. She is a wife, mother, literary critic, of Italian (and French) literature, and completed her Ph. D. diss. in 2002, at the University of Chicago, on Cesare Pavese and His Critics. We have three married children, and eight grandchildren, all of whom we excessively adore! I welcome dialog about art, photography, human behavior, beliefs, and motivation from all comers, regardless of race, color, gender, orientation, values, or beliefs. This is to be a site for words and images, as vehicles of human expression, around topics of mutual interest.

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