We struggle against easel painting not because it is an aesthetic form of painting, but because it is not modern, for it does not succeed in bringing out the technical side, it is a redundant, exclusive art, and cannot be of any use to the masses. Hence we are struggling not against painting but against photography carried out as if it were an etching, a drawing, a picture in sepia or watercolor.
Each of us chooses the tone for telling his or her own story. I would like to choose the durable clarity of a platinum print, but nothing in my destiny possesses the luminosity. I live among diffuse shadings, veiled mysteries, uncertainties; the tone of telling my life is closer to that of a portrait in sepia.
The sepia tone of November has become blood-soaked with paper poppies festooning the lapels of our politicians, newsreaders and business leaders ... I will no longer allow my obligation as a veteran to remember those who died in the great wars to be co-opted by current or former politicians to justify our folly in Iraq, our morally dubious war on terror and our elimination of one's right to privacy.
Harry Leslie Smith
Time seemed to drag with dreamlike slowness, like a knife through cold honey, and the room took on a surreal golden sheen as if I was looking through that same jar of honey. Maybe at that moment, the sun shone just right though the grimy windows, but the woman, the shelves, the jars, everything in the room appeared in tones of gold and sepia, except for the painting behind the counter. From behind the shopkeeper's head, a fluorescent Mary and Jesus glared at me, their cartoon-like faces reproaching me for being there.
another comber of far pleasure followed the first, for his books came suddenly before his eyes, row upon row of volumes, row upon priceless row of calf-bound Thought, of philosophy and fiction, of travel and fantasy; the stern and the ornate, the moods of gold or green, of sepia, rose, or black; the picaresque, the arabesque, the scientific - the essays, the poetry and the drama. All this, he felt, he would now re-enter. He could inhabit the world of words, with, at the back of his melancholy, a solace he had not known before.
It's what we're all trying to do, right? Remember a time that was better. Re-create a moment of that memory as we let the crisp Coke bubble down our throats. Riding bikes on a summer day. Sitting on the curb and watching the streetlights come on. Playing in the sprinklers with a group of neighbor kids. We're all trying to salvage a time when we dreamed beyond our reality and thought monsters were under our beds instead of peppering our family trees. We're trying to harness those fleeting moments that turned our ordinary lives into something extraordinary. In the sepia haze of those memories, we are beautiful.
For some people, history is simply what your wife looks good standing in front of. It's what's cast in bronze, or framed in sepia tones, or acted out with wax dummies and period furniture. It takes place in glass bubbles filled with water and chunks of plastic snow; it's stamped on souvenir pencils and summarized in reprint newspapers. History nowadays is recorded in memorabilia. If you can't purchase a shopping bag that alludes to something, people won't believe it ever happened.
My death..I mean..will it be quick, and with dignity? How will i know when the end is coming?" "When you vomit blood, sir, " Tao Chi'en said sadly. That happened three weeks later, in the middle of Pacific, in the privacy of the captain's cabin. As soon as he could stand , the old seaman cleaned up the traces of his vomit, rinsed out his mouth , changed his bloody shirt, lighted his pipe, and went to the bow of his ship , where he stood and looked for the last time at the stars winking in a sky of black velvet. Several sailors saw him and waited at a distance, caps in hands. When he had smoked the last of his tobacco, Captain John Sommers put his legs over the rail and noiselessly dropped into the sea. -Portrait in Sepia by Isabel Allende.
I have always lusted after a sepia-toned library with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and a sliding ladder. I fantasie about Tennessee Williams' types of evenings involving rum on the porch. I long for balmy slightly sleepless nights with nothing but the whoosh of a wooden ceiling fan to keep me company, and the joy of finding the cool spot on the bed. I would while away my days jotting down my thoughts in a battered leather-bound notebook, which would have been given to me by some former lover. My scribbling would form the basis of a best-selling novel, which they wold discuss in tiny independent bookshops on quaint little streets in forgotten corners of terribly romantic European cities. In other words, I fantasize about being credible, in that artistic, slightly bohemian way that only girls with very long legs can get away with.
GONE TO STATIC it sounds better than it is, this business of surviving, making it through the wrong place at the wrong time and living to tell. when the talk shows and movie credits wear off, it's just me and my dumb luck. this morning I had that dream again: the one where I'm dead. I wake up and nothing's much different. everything's gone sepia, a dirty bourbon glass by the bed, you're still dead. I could stumble to the shower, scrub the luck of breath off my skin but it's futile. the killer always wins. it's just a matter of time. and I have time. I have grief and liquor to fill it. tonight, the liquor and I are talking to you. the liquor says, 'remember' and I fill in the rest, your hands, your smile. all those times. remember. tonight the liquor and I are telling you about our day. we made it out of bed. we miss you. we were surprised by the blood between our legs. we miss you. we made it to the video store, missing you. we stopped at the liquor store hoping the bourbon would stop the missing. there's always more bourbon, more missing tonight, when we got home, there was a stray cat at the door. she came in. she screams to be touched. she screams when I touch her. she's right at home. not me. the whisky is open the vcr is on. I'm running the film backwards and one by one you come back to me, all of you. your pulses stutter to a begin your eyes go from fixed to blink the knives come out of your chests, the chainsaws roar out from your legs your wounds seal over your t-cells multiply, your tumors shrink the maniac killer disappears it's just you and me and the bourbon and the movie flickering together and the air breathes us and I am home, I am lucky I am right before everything goes black
And you can glance out the window for a moment, distracted by the sound of small kids playing a made-up game in a neighbor's yard, some kind of kickball maybe, and they speak in your voice, or piggyback races on the weedy lawn, and it's your voice you hear, essentially, under the glimmerglass sky, and you look at the things in the room, offscreen, unwebbed, the tissued grain of the deskwood alive in light, the thick lived tenor of things, the argument of things to be seen and eaten, the apple core going sepia in the lunch tray, and the dense measures of experience in a random glance, the monk's candle reflected in the slope of the phone, hours marked in Roman numerals, and the glaze of the wax, and the curl of the braided wick, and the chipped rim of the mug that holds your yellow pencils, skewed all crazy, and the plied lives of the simplest surface, the slabbed butter melting on the crumbled bun, and the yellow of the yellow of the pencils, and you try to imagine the word on the screen becoming a thing in the world, taking all its meanings, its sense of serenities and contentments out into the streets somehow, its whisper of reconciliation, a word extending itself ever outward, the tone of agreement or treaty, the tone of repose, the sense of mollifying silence, the tone of hail and farewell, a word that carries the sunlit ardor of an object deep in drenching noon, the argument of binding touch, but it's only a sequence of pulses on a dullish screen and all it can do is make you pensive-a word that spreads a longing through the raw sprawl of the city and out across the dreaming bournes and orchards to the solitary hills. Peace.