Robert's Blog

robert golden's blogs consist of three different subject groups - photography and film_cultural essays _ social essays

UNTIL THE LAST PERSON IS INCLUDED

These pictures are not in any way real other than being a digital file or perhaps a print on paper. They are a translation in light and its tonalities of something that is real. The thing that is real is not just these extraordinary buildings carved, scratched and dug out of a mountain, but the human spirit that was willed by necessity and nature to do so.

  Matera, in Basillicata, southern Italy, settled by bands of people more than 50,000 years ago and as a town by the Romans in the 3rd century BC. It’s effortless beauty asks many questions about how it is that in the times of bands and tribes we humans, using local materials and minimum effort in our designs, were able to create something which 2400 years later, still seems to be more complete and satisfying than most of what we build today.  Jan. 17; photo Robert Golden    The necessity was created by the needs of survival, to defend oneself from other human beings and wild animals, and later to protect ones domesticated animals from the wilder ones.    I edited them – a thing I always refer to as ‘printing’ although it is not strictly printing since I am darkening, lightening, and changing the image to favour the contrast I prefer, and so on, in Photoshop as a digital file. The actual printing on paper may come later.    Because people still inherently trust the apparent truthfulness of the photographic image but also because they inherently know that Photoshop can weave dreams, I am often asked how much manipulation have I done? I have to admit that the question always irks me, as no one ever asked me that previous to Photoshop. Then, with an enlarger, photosensitive paper and chemicals, I darkened, lightened and changed the contrast as well but was never asked the question.  

Matera, in Basillicata, southern Italy, settled by bands of people more than 50,000 years ago and as a town by the Romans in the 3rd century BC. It’s effortless beauty asks many questions about how it is that in the times of bands and tribes we humans, using local materials and minimum effort in our designs, were able to create something which 2400 years later, still seems to be more complete and satisfying than most of what we build today.
Jan. 17; photo Robert Golden 

The necessity was created by the needs of survival, to defend oneself from other human beings and wild animals, and later to protect ones domesticated animals from the wilder ones.

I edited them – a thing I always refer to as ‘printing’ although it is not strictly printing since I am darkening, lightening, and changing the image to favour the contrast I prefer, and so on, in Photoshop as a digital file. The actual printing on paper may come later.

Because people still inherently trust the apparent truthfulness of the photographic image but also because they inherently know that Photoshop can weave dreams, I am often asked how much manipulation have I done? I have to admit that the question always irks me, as no one ever asked me that previous to Photoshop. Then, with an enlarger, photosensitive paper and chemicals, I darkened, lightened and changed the contrast as well but was never asked the question. 

  On the far side of the Gravina river gorge, a narrow path leads from the bridge to the summit. Jan. 17; photo Robert Golden    There was filth, squalor, disease and undoubted brutality and exploitation, but also family, community, and the need to collaborate to survive. When I walked those streets and climbed the hills I wondered how anyone could compare the organic beauty of the architecture without architects to living in a world of malls . 

On the far side of the Gravina river gorge, a narrow path leads from the bridge to the summit. Jan. 17; photo Robert Golden

There was filth, squalor, disease and undoubted brutality and exploitation, but also family, community, and the need to collaborate to survive. When I walked those streets and climbed the hills I wondered how anyone could compare the organic beauty of the architecture without architects to living in a world of malls

  The town and the old quarter, from east of the gorge.  Jan. 17; photo Robert Golden    Henry Miller wrote in THE COLOSSUS OF MAROUSSI:  “the greatest single impression which Greece (Italy for me, RG) made upon me is that it is a man-sized world ... the present way of life, which is America’s, is doomed as surely as that of Europe. No nation on earth can possibly give birth to a new order of life until a world-view is established. We have learned through bitter mistakes that all the people of the earth are vitally connected, but we have not made use of that knowledge in an intelligent way. ...The world must become small again as the old Greek world was...small enough to include everybody. Until the last man is included there will be no human society.” 

The town and the old quarter, from east of the gorge.
 Jan. 17; photo Robert Golden

Henry Miller wrote in THE COLOSSUS OF MAROUSSI:
“the greatest single impression which Greece (Italy for me, RG) made upon me is that it is a man-sized world ... the present way of life, which is America’s, is doomed as surely as that of Europe. No nation on earth can possibly give birth to a new order of life until a world-view is established. We have learned through bitter mistakes that all the people of the earth are vitally connected, but we have not made use of that knowledge in an intelligent way. ...The world must become small again as the old Greek world was...small enough to include everybody. Until the last man is included there will be no human society.”