March comes in like a lion or a lamb. Depends on which direction you look. Spring is in the air one day, and the next, a chill and blast of wind reminds you that it is still winter. Still, the light in New Mexico is seductive, and just a simple stop at a red light yields wonders.
Final touches are being put on my new books, but a printing snafu dampened my enthusiasm somewhat. Waiting for re-prints to arrive, but cautiously optimistic that all will look good.
Sickness and health. Anxiety and calmness. Bouncing between different poles, like a raft on the sea.
Fantastic night at Meow Wolf this week, seeing Kurt Vile. Always a thrill seeing an artist in their prime, at the peak of their powers.
Photo podcasts keep me company on long rides to Santa Fe, or when I’m having trouble falling asleep, this one in particular resonated with me. (Episode 100.)
Laura Greenfield’s documentary “Generation Wealth” should be required viewing for anyone registering for a credit card, or considering plastic surgery. Man, is it hard to look in the mirror as a society sometimes.
Digitizing my old contact sheets is like taking a walk through a life I don’t even recognize anymore. At the same time, deep down in the recesses of my mind I can remember being in those exact places, taking those exact photos.
What are we losing when we only shooting digital photographs? What will be left behind when that hard drive with our entire library of photos finally kicks the bucket? What happens when your phone breaks (or is stolen) and you never thought to back it up? What happens when that file format is no longer recognized by your desktop device 10 years from now?
I can honestly admit that most of the images I’m seeing on my old contact sheets leave a lot to be desired, but they are evidence of my creative development… for better or worse. And that alone imbues them with some value, probably only to me. It is good to be reminded where I’ve come from, and how far I’ve progressed.
To that end, the self-publishing bug that has bit me over the past few years has brought some sense of permanence to the fleeting stream of digital images I’ve been creating. And I hope I’ll pull one of my books off a shelf in ten or twenty years from now and see how much further I’ve gone.
Thoughts and Observations
Two snowstorms over the holidays, one on New Years Day. Rare sight for the middle of Albuquerque to see to roads completely covered and impassable. Spent the holiday with a fire in in the fireplace, drink in hand, occasionally looking out the window as the flakes drifted downward. Took a walk in the evening and enjoyed the silence. Not a bad way to start the year.
I’ll be making an effort to expand my photo book library this year, and with Photo-Eye less than an hour drive away, I’m guessing the jones will be easy enough to feed. I picked up a few titles to get the pump primed. I finally purchased a copy of Robert Frank’s The Lines of My Hand. A nice bridge from The Americans to his later work, and the printing by Steidl is outstanding. I also picked up a copy of Takuma Nakahira’s Overflow. Not very familiar with his work, but I read somewhere he was an “arch rival” of Daido Moriyama (who I adore) so I was intrigued to check out some of his work. The layout of this book is jarring, yet I found much inspiration from how the structure of the page spreads were broken from a conventional constraints of “one picture per page” approach. I plan on hijacking this idea for my next self-publishing project, coming sooner than you think.
I finally replaced my “backup” camera. Goodbye to the constraints of iso 1600. If you’re wondering, I bought a Canon T7i (gearheads be damned) with a sweet, ultra wide angle lens. I can’t wait to play with it, and shoot fast and loose, like God intended.
While shaking the cobwebs off of my brain to come up with a project for the year, I contemplated a few ideas. Maybe shoot a different film camera a month, or one roll of film a week for a year. But maybe the most realistic way to stay on some kind of routine is just simply write down my thoughts on a weekly basis. No pressure, no expectations beyond just sticking to this commitment. A tip of the hat to my friend Justin, who is a far better writer than I am; he did a similar thing a couple of year’s back, and I always enjoyed reading what he had on his mind from week to week. So here we go.