Year End Diary 2020-2- Photographs- Interrogating Dystopias

Imagined versus Idealized

She imagined dystopia , but always

regarded it from the point of view

of the Garden of Eden

Fink Lendvai- Dircksen

on the works of Diane Arbus

Port Credit Mississauga Ontario-Dec 2020
Strange effect seen – by naked eye the clouds are not well seen – but in photograph there is this effect like a canopy over the landscape- with the frozen river below

As we reviewed the photo – diaries of

2020, earlier perspectives and current

times of Covid19 merged.

Walks by Lakeshore Burlington – Dec 2020

We spent some time on Brant street, the Promenade was slippery, walked back to the parking near Scotia and recalled last year’s trip to Dundas ( July 2019) . The Christmas lights around lakeshores of Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington

Why is the mask not covering your nose

in the picture- is a comment I get often.

In the beginning of the year we visited the Forks of Credit area – Caledon

Around Father’s Day – after the lockdown was lifted we went to Hamilton area – and I told the family about the works of Leonardo Sciascia -the Italian writer whose statue is on Immigration square of Hamilton Ontario.

Street photography exhibitions in Art Gallery of Ontario – made us look at Diane Arbus in a more intimate way. For our family we have intimate memories of walks and street photography in Tripoli, Malta, Istanbul and now Canada


DIANE ARBUS- New York- 1962

Let us look at – Child with Toy Grenade in Central Park – New York City – 1962.

Fink writes – about Arbus’s approach

“ The grenade, grimace and claw-like hand seem to point to a desperate future, hysterical and militarized. The picture works because the strangeness of the boy is staged with the kindly natural scene ; there is even a rhyme between those paired tree trunks and the child’s spindly legs . Arbus ‘s subject, here and elsewhere, is the discrepancy between imagined and idealized worlds represented by trees , sunlight, in the park and the violence apparently promised by the child. She imagined dystopia, but always regarded it from the point of view of the Garden of Eden.


PERSPECTIVES – 2017 Copleys at

Art Gallery of Hamilton and

Missing Chapters – at Art Gallery of


⁃ The Copleys exhibition of 2017 told of the lives of immigrants who worked in the factory and how this institution has evolved over the decades.

⁃ Sara Angelucci – the artist – remembers her parents generation and pays tribute to their struggles through this unique exhibition


MISSING CHAPTERS- 2017-Special exhibition in Art Gallery of Mississauga, in collaboration with Royal Ontario Museum, depicting the missing years in the lives of families- of loved ones lost, of migrations, wars and many unspoken realities



The AGO has interesting sections on the art of photography. We added – Modernism On the Ganges- by Mia Fenman – to our home library. Raghubir Singh interrogated Jaipur, Ganges, Calcutta in transcendent ways.

Swami Shardanand Bathes at the source, Gaumukh. 12770 feet. Uttarakhand

In the essay – The Ganges side of Modernism , Mia Fineman tells of how Raghubir Singh found on his parents’ bookshelf a copy of Cartier Bresson’s book – Beautiful Jaipur ( 1948). Those lyrical images of Singh’s hometown “ stoked the youthful fire” in him . Singh first met Bresson in 1966 April at a dinner hosted by fellow Magnum member Marilyn Silverstone at Rambagh Palace Hotel in Jaipur. Both photographers were in town to meet India’s new Prime Minister , Indira Gandhi, who had arrived for a Congress Party meeting.

For Singh, then twenty three, it was the opportunity of a lifetime: for several days he accompanied Cartier Bresson around Jaipur and witnessed

“ first hand his quickfire intuition attached to a clarity of eye and a surety of stance.”


As we went through our photo diaries and reminisced on the associated trips – the journeys of “ forced democracy” in Libya, walks on streets of Malta and recent years trips to Ontario smaller cities came to mind


About prashant bhatt

A psychologist, interested in mindfulness practices. I practiced medicine as a radiologist for 23 years in India and Libya as a radiologist before shifting to Canada. A regular diarist, journaling since 1983 Reading journal :
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