— Noted.

Teju Cole.

I’ve been enjoying Teju Cole’s Instagram feed, especially his series marked with #_thehive. You may know Teju Cole from his books, but he is also a photographer, and an exquisite intersection lies in his New York Times Magazine column “On Photography.”

What I love about his Instagram images and accompanying text, is articulated perfectly by photographer Stephen Shore, excerpted here from Cole’s article, “Serious Play.”

‘‘The conversation you have with a friend you speak with every day is different from one that you have with a friend you speak with once a month or once a year’’ is how Stephen Shore put it in an email. Instagram, he says, ‘‘can have the taste of the more intimate, more perhaps seemingly trivial daily conversation.’’


A few of Cole’s images and captions here:

teju cole 1

_tejucole Kalamazoo, March 2016.

Past 11. Uber arrived three minutes after I called it. It’s something like a five minute drive home. I make small talk with the driver, who’s a middle aged man, not an American accent, but I can’t tell where he’s from. “I have to go a bit slow,” he says. Then, suddenly, I hear another voice: “They’ve put speed traps all along this road now.” What’s he on, speakerphone? I lean forward. There’s someone in the passenger seat.

I get a real fright. “I don’t mean to frighten you, sorry,” the voice says. “It’s St Patrick’s Day. I think it is just safer tonight if I am with him, in case of anyone drunk or something. Not that I have a weapon of anything. But they are less likely to make trouble if we are two.” Then she adds: “I’m his wife.” The streets are clear.
I ask where they are from. I can tell she doesn’t like the question. “I’m from Brooklyn,” she says. Then she softens. “Tunisia. What about you?” I could say Kalamazoo, I suppose, or Brooklyn too. “Ah,” she says. “I’m African, just like you. Africa!” From. What is this word, from? Where were you born? Where do you live? Where do they have to take you in if you have to go?

Her husband is Lebanese. I still think I’m imagining the fact that she was sitting in the car for about three minutes before I knew she was there at all. There in the quiet dark. And then we’ve reached my place.



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_tejucole Delray Beach, March 2016.

Thirty or more buzzards are drifting down, down, down,
over something they have spotted in the swamp,
in circles like stirred-up flakes of sediment
sinking through water.
Smoke from woods-fires filters fine blue solvents.
On stumps and dead trees the charring is like black velvet.

Elizabeth Bishop, “Florida”



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_tejucolePalm Beach, March 2016.

I have photography dreams in which something goes wrong. I have more of these dreams now, in the past few years, because I have been shooting primarily with film. Something happens. Something goes not right.

What happens in dreams happens in life. (This is why it happens in dreams.) Two weeks ago, remember I told you about this, I developed a roll, and it was empty: the film had failed to engage, and I had deceived myself thirty six times. Click, click, click, all the way to the end of the roll, only to find nothing.
When I arrived in Florida a few days ago, I was near the end of a roll. I saw something I wanted to photograph further along at baggage claim, something from the logic of dreams, in which the sea lies just beyond a conveyor belt. So I went there. I was alone. I focused, and made my shot. I took a second shot, to be sure. But then my hands failed me, and I dropped the camera. It clattered to the floor, and the film compartment sprang open, exposing to a flood of airport light the newly-exposed negative.

Motherfucker. I fell to my knees, closed the compartment, wound the film, and removed it. Then I put in a new roll. Click, click, click. Three shots, of the same subject, again, like some cool vengeance or hardheadedness, of which the photo above was the first.



See more here.

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