i have a thought pertaining to art, music, sport…
if you are any good at all, then you know that you can be better. i played some football in my youth, screamed in a band, took some photos, talked for hours a day on the radio, made some art, wrote some words, basically i failed at a whole litany of “things.” i can honestly say i was never that good at any of those “things,” but i was good enough to understand that i needed to improve, and that i could. now with young boys, there’s an ego, there’s a “i’m the best at this” attitude that helps drive them. you never want to smother that, but you do want them to understand that there really never is a “best.” you are in charge of pushing yourself to this unobtainable notion of an invisible measuring stick. now, you can use stats, or the eyeball test, or success as a gauge in anything your are doing but none of those things truly can give you a scale to mark your personal “better.” i am proud that boy #1 and boy #2 manage to push themselves to be better in so many ways. there’s maturity there that i didn’t possess at their ages when it comes to drive and fortitude. that’s kind of a big deal. it’s serving them well.
when i snap a frame at a soccer match, i think i am trying capture a story in 1/500th of a second that speaks to “getting better.” i doesn’t always work, it maybe never works as a public narrative–but to me, what i see here is a boy, who looks more like a man, compared to the opposition. he is running towards a ball not in the frame, and he has already beaten a pair of kids mentally, they are giving up, he isn’t. he doesn’t know they have, he doesn’t care whether they have or not. he has focus, he is finding a maturity. he sent me a text the night before a full weekend of soccer matches, it said, “i don’t even care. like i literally could be playing against college kids or a 2-year-old. i really don’t care at all.” he is making his soccer game, about his role, not about others. he’s getting better.
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.
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.”
a boy blames everyone and everything but himself when he loses, a man takes responsibility for what happened. lessons you learn in competition. if you lose, you do it with some dignity, some grace and you learn what to do to lessen the likelihood of similar outcomes. so the fall soccer comes to an end great victories, stinging defeats. now, rest, regroup and work on the things that make you a better player, a better person and work on that man you are becoming.
as October wanes and the temperatures get more full of bite, there’s still a rash of good soccer to play. the weekend means The Adidas Blue Chip Invitational, then we there’s a couple of league games left to assure that we win the MRL and we wind up in Raleigh in November at the CASL Boy’s Shootout to finish up the most hectic soccer season that boy has ever been a privy to. here’s to finishing out with a ton of effort, some balls in the net and and a trophy or two. #lfc #8 #bringthenoise
soccer, er, football has something called “a friendly” which is somewhat foreign to American sport fans who do not follow the game. imagine playing a game that doesn’t count for anything other than warm-up or practice, maybe as an exhibition or tryout even for some players. those are “friendlies.” problem is, most you compete in, watch or follow are rarely that friendly because when you keep score of anything, there’s a winner and loser and losing doesn’t make one feel very friendly.
oh, as it relates to having a camera, snapping the shutter and all that, it stands to reason (and don’t think about this too hard because you will go mad) that kabillions of great images are missed daily because we didn’t bother getting the camera from the car for whatever reason. when i think of some of history’s greatest moments I am always thankful in many instances someone was there with a camera and decided to “click.”
anyway, that is a windy opening for me saying that the boy scored his first Varsity goal as a Freshman and I didn’t get a picture of it. call it lazy, call it me having too many dark, blurry 10 p.m. shots from too far away to have much confidence in shooting these night time matches, either way, i didn’t get it. but i will always have it in my mind as will he. it wasn’t anything particularly breathtaking as a soccer play. the keep had a deflected ball coming at him from on high, really high about 15 yards straight up and the boy went at the keeper and he bobbled it and the boy put his head over it and pounded it down at the floor of the net. but it wouldn’t have been any better if it was any different. it was his first and so for today, it was his best. and in the end, who needs a picture of that? it’s living inside. us, both. i know how hard he has worked to try and make a difference on his team.
Fußball-Club Bayern München e.V yes, the hip fandom has jumped on the Dortmund bandwagon for a bit but the German champions will always be my favorite…23 titles in the motherland…yes, 23, 1931–32, 1968–69, 1971–72, 1972–73, 1973–74, 1979–80, 1980–81, 1984–85, 1985–86, 1986–87, 1988–89, 1989–90, 1993–94, 1996–97, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2007–08, 2009–10, 2012–13 so yeah, pick a winner and stay with it.
somewhere a toddler awakes on a brisk morning from dreams of a ball and his foot.
a quick snap, captured outside of Franklin, Tennessee as a little boy wondered up to watch casual warm-ups. @LexingtonFC1 00 Boys white finished the weekend 1-1-1 in the top division of the Battleground Tournament of Champions. i will hold comment on the “home cooking” aspect of scheduling that favored the eventual winner, the home team.
one of my favorite moments of the freshman experience. at all the home varsity soccer matches, the team must arrive in khaki pants and the soccer polo shirt to the fields, walk to the locker room and dress for the match. the also wear this same outfit to school on home game days. this photo captures the first home game as we got to the parking lot. all nerves, ball #19, phone, bag and proper attire.