Archive | January, 2011

First Thoughts on Final Words

17 Jan

- Grave marker of American author and environmental advocate, Edward Alley

Have you ever thought of what you’d want your last words to be? A bit morbid, maybe, but I’d wager this question has rolled around in more minds than not.

Well, how much weight would you put on someone’s last words?  Would you choose to hold those final utterances in place of someone’s everlasting image, or shrug them off as the last firings of the neocortex before it shuts down?

Whichever way you want to kick it, below is a bucketful of last words that had a way of still-framing a life’s (last) moments, and what made them so intriguing/monumental/marvelous to begin with:

“I should have never switched from Scotch to Martinis.”

-American actor and cultural icon, Humphrey Bogart

December 25, 1899 – January 14, 1957



“I am about to – or I am going to – die: either expression is correct.”

-Famous French grammarian, Dominique Bouhours

May 15, 1628 – May 27, 1702



“Oh, you young people act like old men. You have no fun.”

– Josephine Baker, singer/dancer/actress, as well as first African American female to star in a major motion picture

June 3, 1906 – April 12, 1975




“Now I can cross the Shifting Sands.”

-L. Frank Baum, author of The Wizard of Oz

May 15, 1856 – May 6, 1919

(Note: Baum was referring to the Shifting Sands, the impassable desert surrounding the Land of Oz)


“Dammit… Don’t you dare ask God to help me!”

-American film actress, Joan Crawford

March 23, 1905 – May 10, 1977

(Note: This comment was directed to her housekeeper who began to pray aloud)



“Die, my dear? Why, that’s the last thing I’ll do!”

-American comedian and master of wit, Groucho Marx

October 2, 1890 – August 19, 1977




“All compound things are subject to breaking up. Strive on with mindfulness.”

-Siddhartha Gautama Buddha, spiritual leader and founder of Buddhism




“Now, now, my good man, this is not the time for making enemies.”

-Voltaire, French Enlightenment writer and philosopher

November 21, 1694 – May 30, 1778

(Note: Said when asked by a priest to renounce Satan)



“My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or the other of us has to go.”

-Oscar Wilde, Irish writer and poet

October 16, 1854 – November 30, 1900


And, most-appropriately:

“Go on, get out! Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough!”


-said by Karl Marx, German philosopher and developer of Marxism, when asked by his housekeeper for his last words

May 5, 1818 – March 14, 1883




For more lists of last words and quotes: Wiki Quotes, Brain Candy, and List Verse.


Mind If I Borrow Your Mind’s Eye?

12 Jan

If Africa’s wildlife had an attic,

You probably wouldn’t find much, at least anything bearing evidence of its past inhabitants, except for an old photo album. There, held between its binding caked with dust layers, are pages of family portraits. Though marked with scattered age spot kisses, generations of poise remain unaffected by time.

Chances are, Nick Brandt was the one who photographed them.

Elephant Mother & Two Babies, Serengeti, 2002 © Nick Brandt

Brandt, whose photography is solely dedicated to celebrating the fleeting wildlife of Africa, didn’t always have the wild kingdom’s most exotic caught in his frame. Instead, he began his career in the Concrete Jungle, directing award-winning music videos for some of music’s most elite, such as Moby, Jewel, and the late Michael Jackson, whose video changed everything for Nick Brandt, the director[1].

In 1995, Nick Brandt found himself in the East African country Tanzania, which also happened to be the location of Michael Jackson’s music video, “Earth Song.” Jackson’s forthright concept aimed to bring global awareness towards environmental and animal welfare, and one of the first to be affected by its message was Brandt, himself. The result that left East Africa after the video’s wrap was not just an award-winning music video for Michael Jackson, but a change of career for newly-inspired Nick Brandt[1].

Old Chimp Portrait with Hand II, Mahale, 2003 © Nick Brandt

Since 2000, Nick Brandt has been creating visual masterpieces by taking photographs of Africa’s famous wildlife inhabitants, such as elephants, lions, and chimpanzees- just to name a few. In capturing images of Africa’s most celebrated, and most threatened, wild animals, Brandt’s artistic approach is less like the style of a National Geographic documentary, and more like a family-run portrait studio.

Lion Before Storm- Sitting Profille, Mas Mara 2006 © Nick Brandt

One method Brandt is most-known for in achieving the level of intimacy held by his wild subjects is refusing to use a telephoto lens, an otherwise common tool used by wildlife photographers[1]. This forces Brandt to be up close and personal with his subjects. In the afterword of On This Earth, the first of a three-part book trilogy displaying his works, Brandt explains what he strives to achieve in photographing East Africa’s endangered species:

“What I am interested in is showing the animals simply in the state of Being. In the state of Being before they are no longer are. Before, in the wild at least, they cease to exist […] The photos are my elegy to these beautiful creatures, to this wrenchingly beautiful world that is steadily, tragically vanishing before our eyes.”

-taken from Afterword of Nick Brandt’s On This Earth, released in 2005

Elephant with Exploding Dust, Amboseli, 2004 © Nick Brandt

Besides his first release On This Earth in 2005, Nick Brandt has also released his second book, A Shadow Falls, in 2009. Brandt’s third book is said to be released in 2013[1]. In September 2010, Nick Brandt created the Big Life Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of Africa’s wildlife and ecosystems[2].


Lioness Looking Over Plains, Maasai Mara, 2004 © Nick Brandt

Though the rest of us may never be able to experience these magnificent subjects thriving the way Nick Brandt does, we can join in his journey to bring global awareness of the threats towards their existence, in hopes to preserve the promise of future generations of African wildlife’s family photo albums. –DC

For more of Nick Brandt and his projects, visit his website,

To learn more about the Big Life Foundation, visit

Sources:[1], [2]

So It Begins…

9 Jan


“Your daily dose of mental reboot.”