21 years ago one of the things in my life that i am the most proud of entered the world and a big, smiling brute of a baby. i only wanted a few things for him, be healthy, be happy and be better than me. so far he has been all those things and more. many think 21 is a marker for manhood, most men know that this isn’t true at all. sure it’s significant, it’s a door that is unlocked for boys to do some things that men do. not much more. i think he knows this, he knows there are many things he wants to achieve and i believe he will on his journey to manhood. i have noticed a fearlessness and passion of late that clues me in to the man he will be and there’s not a day that goes by that i am not proud of all that he has and will be. he truly is one of the great loves of my life. happy birthday wild. happy birthday.
Hey, history for today…
Gervinus of Germany is often credited with inventing the circular saw in 1780.
Austin, Travis County, and Williamson County, Texas have been the site of human habitation since at least 9200 BC.
Rust Never Sleeps is an album by Neil Young and the band Crazy Horse. It was released on July 2, 1979. Most of the album was recorded live, then overdubbed in the studio. It’s #350 in the Top 500 albums of all time. It’s #4 on my most ever listened to albums behind Kiss Alive (KISS) and Let it Be (The Replacements) and Back in Black (AC/DC).
we spend so much time walking the fine line of fitting in and sticking out that it’s tiring. photography is not only a metaphor but a means to illustrate this need. just look at instagram and facebook and the importance put on the amount of “likes” someone receives for their efforts of trying to shoot a different “selfie” (that fucking word is abhorrent). “Look at me, I’m an individual…I hope you like my individuality so much that I am accepted by you…but maybe above you, definitely not below you, just like me for being so different, yet not so different that you don’t accept me…” it must be hellish to be young and try to navigate the constant need for relevance in a social sphere that is built on irrelevance of self on any real level–outside of selling us more page views, clicks and new shoes, socks, supplements and hamburgers. i’m waiting for the backlash where we all decide we don’t want anyone to see what we are doing instead of the need for validation of everything we do. so yeah, here’s some bikes.
13th century theologian St. Thomas Aquinas explored human transgression, notably the seven deadly sins. of the sin of pride, he said, “inordinate self-love is the cause of every sin…” which some few centuries down the line can best be described like–we are so wrapped up in ourselves that we feel we really can’t be judged and don’t really have to go by the rules–and once we buy into that most of our transgressions are just written off not as sin but as freedom of choice. i’m not a religious sort at all and basically scoff at organized attempts at worship and the way that religion is used to control simple minds. but i do understand the need to put things into an order when it comes to life lessons explored in some of the writings related explaining sin, redemption and being a better person. these writings are worth pondering even if i don’t claim to be an expert on either side of theology. i think pride is something that us, Americans, have maybe way to much of, and so few of us have actually earned the self-love we shower upon ourselves. have you seen any campaign ads recently?
“We’re living in a funny world kid, a peculiar civilization. The police are playing crooks in it, and the crooks are doing police duty. The politicians are preachers, and the preachers are politicians. The tax collectors collect for themselves. The bad people want us to have more dough, and the good people are fighting to keep it from us. It’s not good for us, know what I mean? If we had all we wanted to eat, we’d eat too much. We’d have inflation in the toilet paper industry. That’s the way I understand it. That’s about the size of some of the arguments I’ve heard.”
—Jim Thompson, The Killer Inside Me
yes, yes, it approaches. the spring season of soccer in the midwest/south. miles on the road between kentucky, ohio, virginia, tennessee, indiana and the like. dreams of trophies and cups. and getting better, always better–ball to foot, earphones to head, foot to gas, smiles to faces. sun-up will be here before we know it and we will start that day.
Melancholy in a capitalist, like the appearance of a comet, presages some misfortune to the world.
Not to say I am anti-capitalism, or melancholic but I do suffer both those traits on occasion. It’s a pity travel is for the rich in the century where we can do so many other things with relative ease and sometimes on the cheap. upon hearing of Pete Seeger’s passing, (american activist, agitator, singer of folk songs, songs for folks who work and those who hate war) i was reminded of the fact he dropped out of Harvard in 1938 to ride a bicycle across america. people used to do remarkable things for the sake of being free. now we do remarkable things to line our pockets and be on TV.
i have wasted a wealth of words over the past decade pontificating about using film, cheap, plastic cameras and why i still think doing it is relevant. as the populace have adopted photography (again) as a means of communication, storytelling and narcissism with the rise in smartphone usage, somewhere between 6 & 7 our of every 10 persons in the US and UK now have one, it has become harder and harder to find images that have resonance. as i scroll through instagram, pinterest, twitter, tumblr or any other social photo environment there is no short of actual “good” photography. there’s maybe too much good photography as a matter of fact. good photography has become as disposable as the bad. between the cute puppies and the people of new york is a vast variety of fantastic lookables. you can digitally duplicate everything from tack sharp large format work to toy camera or vhs tape cruddy captures. there’s little you can’t make an image look like if you want. which brings me back to film. let’s take the above image for example. it’s pretty boring, who knows where the horizon line should be, between the parking lines, the light poles, the tree line, it’s all somewhat terrible. the face focus is soft, i’m too far away from the subject to really make this photo effective as a portrait, the limitations of my plastic lens have hampered the sharpness because of my bad guess at distance, there’s random dust specs even after i cleaned them up after scanning and all in all you could just count this frame as a throw away…
so why do i love it? i mean you can guess i might love the subject and that helps but that doesn’t really jilt my ability to judge an image…so, i am left lured by the film quality, the color, the crappy-somewhat flat contrast. and the fact that when shooting film, my frames seem, mentally, less disposable. i am just as critical of my personal work yet less willing to dismiss frames of film now without searching corner-to-corner looking for something that might say something to me. is it just about not giving up on an image just because it’s film? possibly. but i’m fine with that. for now. because i want to keep using film. i want photography to continue to take time, thought, rumor, conjecture, innuendo and a little passion. not just my phone placed 24 inches above my head to the left and my lips pouted and cheeks sucked in for something you have dubbed a “selfie.”
photography — with all the advances, the fact that “everyone” has access to a rather sophisticated camera on their phone, and more importantly a real willingness to use it — still relies on some tried and truisms to work as a tool of interest and art. light sure helps. shadows, too. i like lines, and if we’ve learned anything from the internet it’s that girls in a photo are capable of making said photo, er, better. or something. anyway, this wasn’t taken with a digital camera of any kind. instead taken with a Diana, with film, at the Arch in St. Louis. looks like a few people were suspect of me using this device by the stares gathered in this one frame. i guess i should have pointed my phone at them.