Friday, October 24, 2014

The World outside my World


NGM Oct. 2013 print cover
So you remember this?
A neighbor gave our family a subscription to The National Geographic when I was ten years old. 

Well, I tell you what!

It exploded my small farm world and filled my mind with questions for which there no answers available to this farm girl. Each magazine was thumbed and read to pieces by the entire family.

“Class Artist” was my nickname then, because pencil and paper were always in my hands.  And now, the Nat’l Geo. was a powerful source from which images poured…flowers, towering trees, and exotic animals.

Then at age 17, a strange metamorphism happened.  The photos had always been my source; now the captions, stories, and the people hit me in their significance.  It was as if the faces and dark eyes leaped out at me, saying, “Look at me!  Understand me!”


Where my pencil had loved flowers and birds before, now my paper flew through fingers as I tried to capture the courage, sorrow, fear, grief and more of people far way.  Peering into their hollow pained eyes, I realized that glass-domed farm-world in which I lived was about to shatter.  At least for me, this would propel me out into other places.

KOREA-articleLarge
Source
Indian People
2014 NG photo contest winner

Villagers from Muslim communities affected by ethnic violence weep at a relief camp in Narayanguri village in Baksa district in the northeastern Indian state of Assam May 4, 2014. REUTERS Photo
Source
Faces like these captured me.

17 comments:

  1. I remember that cover....who could forget those eyes.

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    1. Her eyes cut through me as well. All the images in Nat'l G that captured the reality of life have stuck with me.

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  2. Amazing post, Susan, on the impact of this magazine on you at a young age. Life magazine is no longer around but it was one that really influenced me in a similar way.

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    1. Life magazine brought up some important issues with superb photos.

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  3. Oh this magazine and its images had the same effect on me. I love the images of real in this Magazine from my youth and now still look through my own collection. Hug B

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    1. I once had the entire collection in a disc set. For some reason, I gave it away. Regrets.

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  4. You were inspired beyond the images - that's good!

    They did a follow up a few years ago on that girl on the cover. She's lived a rough life and you wouldn't even recognize her now.

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    1. She looked so frightened and defiant in the photo. So sorry that life wore her out.

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  5. It did truly open us up to more of the world, before the internet

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    1. Radio, TV, and magazines like this one provided a window into the world beyondl

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  6. How fortunate you received that NG subscription. There is so little to pry vast numbers of us from insularity.
    Our local public radio station is in the midst of a semi annual drive and reminding us they're another way we keep in touch with our world. But, it's all a choice.

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    1. Excellent. "...it's all a choice..."

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  7. I have several years of National Geographic mostly still in original wrappers stored away in my garage. I figure someday I'll look at them or they'll become collectible or something. I tend not to look at many magazines these days. Don't know why I've subscribed to as many as I did. But when I was younger I used to enjoy looking at National Geographic and Life magazines. So much to look at and learn about.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Since you still have them in the original wrappers, you might get some $$. But those running free should be donated to a high school or private school

      So much to look at and learn about.

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  8. I can't look at faces like that too long, it's too upsetting. I want to help. I want to cook them all dinner and give them water and things like shoes and books. I can't, so I make a monthly donation to an organisation that provides water, medicines and education amongst other things.

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  9. Yes, I know. I am the same. Drawing them imprinted a desire to do the same.

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  10. Some of those faces really are thought provoking. For me, as a kid, it was a woman in Africa who was breastfeeding her child. She looked miserable but she was still being nurturing. It's still a picture I remember clearly many years later. It was in an oversized Atlas.

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!