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Teaching and Lecturing
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Saturday
Jan082011

Dapper in Kampala

I saw this well-dressed group as I trudged up the hill to sit and take a rest. It was well worth stopping and unpacking a camera. Now I'm resting and writing.

I find I always write better sitting on a wide, shaded verandah of a tropical hotel and drinking tea, my  drug of choice in formerly British lands. My handwriting improves and my thoughts are clearer as I set them down. It all makes me feel like Graham Greene

So at this moments I am esconced at the Speke Hotel in Kampala, scribbling away. I am here in Uganda working on my project about African boxers, thanks to a grant from the State of Connecticut and a teaching prize from the Center in Santa Fe.

When I knew I'd be coming back here I reviewed the work I'd already done, and to my astonishment I uncovered a set of photos that look quite different from edits of the first two trips. It was as though I'd been inhabited by a shadow photographer. Before, I'd edited for things that looked like boxing pictures. But this time I discovered much more work that was about light and energy. It looked like dance. not photographs of dance but dance itself.

The thing that is evolving as I work this time around is that the project is balancing much more toward video, toward movement itself. There are things that would be unremarkable as stills but that come to life when they move thorugh time, passing in and out of light, merging with another image, floating on sound. It is not easy to set aside looking for stills. I mean, I know I can do them and do them well. But this other thing keeps insisting on itself.

The only thing I don't like about video work is that you have to go through all the files...slowly. My quick and instinctive way of editing stills does't function, and I have to go back and forth looking for small moments and letting things accrue.

Well, you'll see how/if it all worked when I get back home.

In a few days I will be doing some theater games with children at L.E.A.D Uganda. They are mostly AIDS orphans, street children and some ex-child soldiers, and they have lived lives that you and I can hardly imagine. They are also very present and friendly, even loving, and I'm very excited to see what will happen. I'll report here.

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