This is a quartet of videos from my travels in the Balkans as part of the Wentworth Fellowship. They are from separate locations in the region, and are meant to depict my personal perspective in the exploration of each place. The music selected for each piece also represents how I experienced them.
These are intended, as is all my work regarding this bewildering region, to be bridges of understanding. I hope you enjoy what they may offer.
1. Budva, Crna Gora.
The town of Budva is a tourist trap which none-the-less revealed some amazing beauty. The statue of the dancing girl was a surprise to find tucked along a seaside walkway carved from the cliffs. Moon photographs have always fascinated me, and the crescent is my most beloved phase of the lunar cycle. Capturing it as it rose early in the evening was a spectacular moment. The song was chosen for its sultry implications as befits a Mediterranean evening.
2. Mostar, Hercegovina.
When I journeyed to Mostar, I went for one night (as opposed to one day). I began photographing the city just before midnight and continued until after dawn when I caught the early bus back to Sarajevo. This was also the first video I made in the series and, when I sent it to the singer (and actress, Ann Magnuson) whose work is featured in it, she asked if I had altered the colors at all. I did not; this is the way Mostar looks after midnight. At least, to my eye and camera. Since I was sleep-deprived and the city is lighted in surreal colors, the dream-state analogy is particularly apt.
3. Belgrade, Serbia.
I had wanted to photograph St. Sava's Cathedral since arriving in Belgrade. It took me almost two weeks to have an evening I could. This was an exercise in patience, as I wanted to capture both the light of the late evening sunset as well as the extraordinary church lighting itself. I knew I wanted to use a song of David Eugene Edwards; a musician whose talents cannot be overstated.
4. Sarajevo, Bosnia.
Sarajevo is the most amazing city I've ever been to. And, within Sarajevo, the Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque is a focal point of the town's history. The artistry of architecture alone is breathtaking, the fountain providing drinking water to thirsty passersby is an example of the open-handedness of the culture, and, after dark, when the lights come on, a visitor to the courtyard is transported into a liminal space that could be almost any time period in the last 500 years. Although it wasn't required, and may sound strange coming from a writer and academic from another culture, but I took these photos and video while barefoot, for I treated this place as sacred ground. I tried to use music which would reflect that.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
This is my first semester in Sigma Tau Delta. When I got the ‘invitation email’ I was really excited but also nervous because I didn’t know anyone in Sigma. From the very beginning I tried to be as involved as possible; go to all of the events, go to the monthly meetings, and sign up for conferences. I even decided to run for treasurer for the spring semester. I did not think I would be elected treasurer because I was running against another Sigma who had more seniority. However, after the votes were tallied, Ms. Bissette and Alexa came back into the room and said … “Our new treasurer is….Lisa Graham.” I was so excited I could not believe it!
I also decided to submit a paper to the Streamlines Undergraduate Conference in Dubuque, Iowa. Sarah H. and Kirk B. also submitted papers and together we held a fundraiser to help pay for the conference. We started to hang out more and eventually formed a great bond. When we finally went to the conference we had a great time, made tons of jokes and bonded even more. Kirk and Sarah are two of my many friends in Sigma and I’m so glad that I have gotten as involved as I have. This is my last year in college and I am so happy to have been given as many opportunities as Sigma has provided!
As this semester draws to a close, I am sad that I will have to leave my Sigma friends for the holidays, but I look forward to everything to come next semester!
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
I am a recently inducted member of Sigma Tau Delta and so far I can say that my experience has been a very positive one. I find that the fellow sigma members are very friendly and welcoming and I was really excited to find that I had been accepted into such an elite group. I have attended four events thus far and am very excited about showing my support and helping in any way I can. I was a little worried at first that I wouldn’t be able to balance being a full time student, working a part-time job, and fitting these events in every semester but I find that there are a lot of events during the semester and it’s really easy to attend at least five. The events are not all about business either. Some events are fun to attend and it seems more like everyone is hanging out than attending an official event. I attended the Spooky Story Reading and found that it was an interesting meeting and I enjoyed sitting, relaxing, and listening to people read. Another example of a fun event is the movie night where we watched Lemony Snicket's: A Series of Unfortunate Events. I like that Sigma Tau Delta works hard at fundraisers to raise money for good causes and I like that everyone seems to support one another in their thoughts and ideas. I feel comfortable as a new member of Sigma Tau Delta and I can not wait for more opportunities to help and be apart of.
Monday, November 15, 2010
As the Vice President of Sigma Tau Delta at UNCW, I decided to coordinate a Movie Night at my house. On October 14, some of our Sigmas gathered together to enjoy lots of yummy snacks and a literary-related movie together. At first, I thought I was going to have a hard time finding a movie to watch since I don't ownt that many DVD's, but after looking through my small stack of them, I was surprised to see that the majority of the one's I did have were literary-related. I guess it's not that surprising after all that many films are based off of excellent literary works. We all decided on watching Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events." While a little bit strange, the film kept us mesmerized the entire time. The Sigmas enjoyed the movie night so much that there are currently plans in the works for a group event to see the premiere of the last of the Harry Potter movies. Hopefully, Sigma Tau Delta movie night will become a tradition!
Friday, October 8, 2010
Well here’s to my very first blog post! Although, I have way too many things that I could talk about today I feel it is important to address a very serious issue facing our society. In the month of September we lost at least 6 beautiful, vibrant, and talented young lives. These young men were all bullied at school, in social circles, and in their communities because of their sexual orientation or their “perceived” sexual orientation.
Have we as a society become so bigoted and hateful that we forget the fact that these young men were human beings? They had feelings, emotions, hopes, and dreams! Now we are a darker place, filled with less light because of the hope that we have lost.
As I sit here and attempt to type, I can’t. I’m lost in grief for people that I have never met nor will I ever have the pleasure or opportunity to meet. I grieve for the parents and families who have lost a child. I could not imagine losing my son to something so hateful. Last week I discovered that I am not the only one who is saddened by the state of our society. We have had multiple celebrities come forward and pledge to campaign to stop bullying in schools. We have students and teachers across the country standing up and giving positive messages. We have bloggers and writers posting “There is hope” videos on You-Tube.
I recently met with Amy Schlag, director of UNCW’s LGBTQIA office, and we spoke about launching an Anti-bullying campaign not only on UNCW’s campus but in our community high schools as well. This type of out-reach can help our fellow students and the youth in the community know that they have support and love. They do not have to be bullied; they have resources and support ready and waiting for them. We want the teenagers in our communities to feel safe when they go to school every day. We want them to want to go to class and to do well. We want them to achieve their goals. Nothing should hinder them from reaching their full potential especially someone as meaningless as a bully.
There will be a vigil/rally held on Thursday October 14 at 5pm in the UNCW Amphitheater to honor those lives that we have lost and to show our community that we are here with open arms full of acceptance and hope. UNCW’s LGBTQIA office has partnered with multiple student organizations including the SGA to host this rally and show our community that we will not tolerate bullying or someone not feeling safe in our school.
I hope that everyone will be willing to attend to show support for our fellow students. Our community needs to see that we as a whole are committed to supporting our fellow students, professors, and neighbors. No one has the right to tell another human being how they should feel or who they have to love!
This is me, proudly standing up and shouting to the world that I am a proud member of the allied community. I lift my voice into the silence of society’s oppression and I dare you to shout back. We can beat the silence if we have the courage to make a stand and be heard.