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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Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Remains of the Day


The Remains of the Day, originally uploaded by TGKW.

Tommy Ga-Ken Wan (Flickr's TGKW) knows how to use light, to illuminate, metaphorically, as well as literally. His photostream is filled with works of an extraordinary, cinematic effect, somewhat Hopperesque, and often poignant.

I remember his photograph, "The Remains of the Day," seen here, when he first uploaded it, October 17, 2007. I returned, by chance to his photostream today, drawn in by another powerful portrait, and, revisiting this piece, knew I had to write about it, as follows. Since Tommy is of Asian descent, though he lives in Glasgow, I kept the words as few as possible. I hope he will understand:

"Remains of the Day -
What Does He Know?

Under my cap,
Inside my skull,
Lurk memories
Too hard to tell.

What thinks this boy,
My image to take?
What knows he,
Of an old man's fate?

The boy with the camera,
Understands well,
That lined faces like these,
Have much to tell,

And, some of it,
Yes, some of it,
With his camera
He tells.

---JW, 3/29/2008



Here is a more recent work by Tommy, entitled "Jonny," uploaded to Flickr, March 20, 2008 (see: >Jonny, originally uploaded by TGKW ):



I wanted to post both of these photographs by Tommy together, since one is black and white, the other color; one is an older man, the other a younger man; both men are in trains, and both are pensive. Consider Tommy an observant and sensitive photographer, as seen even in this small evidence--a mere two works from the many he has produced.

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John Walford

John Walford
Not All That Meets The Eye

About Me

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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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