Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Clutter



My mother brought me Xenias in a little plastic Diet Coke bottle on Sunday.  They sit before me as I write.  Pretty little flowers, deep, purplish red and another that is yellow.  They are small, though, and everything in the room distracts from them.  Detracts.  They should sit alone in a bare room, the sole focus of attention.

I am often distracted.  Oft.  I need to isolate so many things.  I live in clutter.  It is time to de-clutter.  Un-clutter.

I get overwhelmed and am not good at organizing.  Things, I mean.  I can organize thoughts and words.  I am good at categorization.  Phylogeny.  Things, however. . . I never know where they go or where to put them.  Down, mostly, on something.  And then they are lost.  Not missing, of course, just lost in the jumble of things.  I no longer discern them.

They are mostly pretty things, desirable things, but then there is the random slip of paper, a receipt maybe, or a box or a plastic container.  There are lamps and candle holders and balls--I have a wicker basket full of weird balls--and vases and clocks and gifted elephant bookends and an ostrich egg.  There are piles of books and framed pictures, just snapshots of life, and the bookshelves are full of books but other things, too. An 8x10 camera on a tripod has sat in my bedroom for six month or a year without being used.  The drawers are full.  I have stacks of pretty coasters that somehow I never use.  Book bags and backpacks and camera bags.

I could go on.

I had bad dreams last night.  Not nightmares, I guess, but I'm not certain where the dividing line is between them.  Bad dreams.  I woke and thought about them and realized I was trying to work something out, and that I had worked it out, at least in my head if not in life.  It is the mind's way of cleaning up the clutter, of organizing the mess.

I guess.

I look across the room into a corner where a clay pot with rattan wrapping holds a bunch of pussy willow branches.  I have had them for--Jesus--maybe twenty-five years.  At least half of the white balls on them are missing.  I don't know that I could throw them away.  They must mean something to me, an extant memory. . . .  They are ragtag now, and I should let them go.  Would I miss them?  It seems to me that I would.

A garage is a shitty museum.  Attics, too.

I might sleep better if I cleaned mine out.

No sun this grey and drizzly morning.  I can no longer linger here.  I must go.

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Mythopoetics of the Street



Mythopoesis.  I used to use such terms.  I don't know what happened.  Surely there is some of that in this picture.  It would make it much more profound if there were.  The Mythopoetics of the Street.  Now there's a title.

I thought I'd start the week with a sunny, happy picture.

Of what is there a plethora in this picture?

Every picture tells a story, don't it.  I have a million of them.

It's a shitty picture and a common story.  Maybe there are just too many of both in the contemporary world.

I've been reading "stuff" lately.  Books, but not literature.  So last night, I downloaded a bunch of "serious lit" onto my Kindle.  I've been struggling through Mann's "Magic Mountain" in hard copy.  It will be better read on the Kindle, I think.  I also downloaded Proust's "Things Remembered" or whatever it is called, and the complete works of Henry James.  That should keep me busy.

Yesterday, I printed a picture that L asked for months ago.  It is the first time I've printed in a year or so.  Now all I have to do is ship it.  We'll see how long that takes.  I sent some big prints to Q awhile back, but I'll bet dollars to donuts he has never had them framed.  That happens a lot with things I give for free.  It costs $$$ to frame a large picture, and people like to get things for free, but they don't want to spend the requisite $$$ after they do.  I have traded prints with many photographers.  I wonder how many of them are hanging?  Mine, I mean.  I have spent a child's fortune having photos framed to hang in my home.  I do have a friend who I know has framed the pictures I gave him, but the walls of his house are like an art gallery.  He has spent more money on framing than everyone in a ten mile radius of his house combined.  I'm sure of it.

L, the photo is coming.

But it isn't framed :)

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Try Not to Regret



Going through old work is frustrating.  Sometimes I realize I am not as good as I think I am.  Other times, I realize that I used to be so much better.  Not just the photographs, but the writing, too.  I am overwhelmed by how much of each there is.  I can't really get through it all.  It gets frustrating.  It is odd, also, to see who you were and the direction my life has taken.  Like everyone, I want to go back and make corrections, but there is no going back, only taking the brutal road ahead.

Which parts of my life would I change?  Oh. . . those things are always best kept to oneself, of course.  But I'll confess that I a lack of self esteem has kept me from developing some talents fully.  Others have been retarded by the influence of significant people.

The old cigar roller--he might be happy with his skills of the trade.

Roller of big cigars?  There are two meanings to that, and two pictures to illustrate.




Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
As they are used to wear, and let the boys
Bring flowers in last month's newspapers.
Let be be finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

Take from the dresser of deal.
Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet
On which she embroidered fantails once
And spread it so as to cover her face.
If her horny feet protrude, they come
To show how cold she is, and dumb.
Let the lamp affix its beam.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

"The Emperor of Ice Cream," Wallace Stevens

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Cabeza


What happens when we are home alone?  The best laid plans are difficult to remember.  You get sidetracked.  Suddenly you are Googling things and looking up recipes and photographers and cocktail mixes.  Then you get on the Vespa and go to the liquor store to get ingredients.  You were going to do so many things.  Download and print pictures.  Hook up the new hard drives.  Try your new photo technique.  Other things you can't remember.  Instead, you make yourself an Air Mail champagne cocktail.  Just to taste.  And boy, is it good.  Then you get on the Vespa again to get the things you need to make dinner.  Then you watch camera porn on YouTube while you eat.

Etc.

I had plans for this morning, too.  Best not to do that.  Plans get in the way.  Thinking, too.  Thoughts rather than actions.  Thinking drains the body of energy.  Hours go by.

It is late.  I need to DO something.  Anything.  Getting dressed would help.

Mi cabeza es muy malo.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Champagne Cocktails



I watched "Wonder Boys" again last night.  I used to watch it about once a year, but I haven't seen it in quite a few now.  It is a wonderful film.  Was.  The ethics of it have become dangerous and suspect.  You are not allowed to act like that any more and "get away with it."  You can't do anything naughty unless you are J. Kelly, and even he would have a rough go of it now.  We are correcting human behavior at an incredible pace.  We are headed to perfection.

That is why Trump was elected.  You know what I mean.  One person's ceiling is another man's floor. Unless you have Trump money.  Then you own the ceiling.  You own the floor.

Anyway, I like the movie.  I got the feeling that maybe Ili didn't enjoy it as much.

But I had two wonderful cocktails after work, champagne and rum things, and then we went to dinner at the wonderful sushi place and drank much sake and ate much tuna and edamame, and then we came home and drank what was left of the scotch.

I woke in the night with the horrors.  I was sweating, my ears ringing, my gut burning.  I had to get up.  I remembered what I had been dreaming about.  It was crazy, all wrong.  It had a horror show eroticism.  WTF?

I drank some water and went back to bed and slept until well past sunrise.  Well past.

I will try to live away the dirt and slime of it today.  I promise myself to drink less.  We'll see how that works.

Still--champagne cocktails are tremendous.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Vainglory



I got beautified yesterday.  I hate sitting in front of the mirror.  I try to avert my eyes, but once in a while I look up and see the horrible vision.  I do not like me in the mirror.  What happened?  I was not careful.

I am losing confidence.  Soon enough, I will not be able to look anyone in the eye.  Maybe that is why I don't mind being alone.

"He's H-I-D-E-O-U-S!"

But the beautician does what she can.  She is good at it.  Maybe it is just her mirror.

I may start a series of self-portraits.  I have the germ of an idea.  I have to work out some of the technical details, but it is do-able, and it seems I am not encouraged to photograph anyone else.  You cannot imagine how much it is killing me.

I'm D-Y-I-N-G.

Literally and figuratively.  I want to leave things behind.

I mean both readings of that line.

I am vainglorious, oversensitive, and undisciplined.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Longest Day



Summer.  It isn't what it used to be.  I said something like that to my mother last night mentioning climate change.

"Oh, I don't know anything about that.  I know that the weather has changed over the centuries, ice ages and such."

I let it go.  What was I going to do, argue?  I could have asked, "How do you know about that?  Scientists?"  But it wouldn't have mattered.  People choose the science they want to believe.

Everything around my house is covered in green moss, the stepping stones, the bottom of the fence.  Fungus and mildew and mold thrive.

Vacationland.

The dems lost again last night in Georgia.  The party just doesn't get it.  "Alternative" life(styles) are now conflated with climate change.  Bill Cosby illustrates part of the problem.  He is being persecuted because he is black.  Wait, no. . . he is an exploiter of women.  Either way, conservatives are his biggest supporters.  He represents traditional values, education and all that.

Shit, you figure it out.  Or don't.  The climate has always changed.

Besides, I am back to work.  One day, and I crawled home too exhausted to move.  Out west, I thought of all the ways I was going to improve my life.  I couldn't think of them last night.  There are only so many hours in the day, and the factory takes the core out of them like the kid who will only eat the heart of the melon.  One day, and I am left once again with the rind.

To wit, I can't linger here too long this morning.  There are weights to be moved and a treadmill to experience before a long day at the factory.  Then. . . I get beautified.  That will take a good number of hours, and when I get home, it will be late and I will be too tired to do the things I think to do this morning.  You know what I mean?  Probably not.  Most of you do not work.  You are an indolent lot lolling around on summer beaches in cooler climes like latter day Kennedys or the Kardashians, I know.

And so I go to work. . . for the good of those who do not work or believe in climate change.

What a luxury.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Home



Yesterday was travel--from a sauna to a steam room.  Albuquerque was hot and dry.  Home is hot and wet.  Those blue skies have been replaced by clouds.  It's o.k.  Whatever.

Coming home is always difficult.  There is no easy way to come back.  So we went to the only bar that can make a cocktail and let the bartender choose.  I wanted something with champagne in it.  Ili wanted a daiquiri sort of thing.  I don't know what we got, but they were good.  Mine was actually topped with a small flower.  Giggle if you will, but I liked it.  After that, we headed to the ramen noodle bar.  Then to the homemade ice cream store and then the liquor store.

But today we become something else.  Back to work.  Back to exercise.  Back to diet.  Back to the routine and the grind.

There is no easy way to come back.

I gave up on photography this trip.  Why?  If you are only taking snapshots, just use your phone.  That's what I ended up doing.  iPhones are good cameras.  I am tired of lugging around photo gear. There is no lugging with an iPhone.


Our last night in N.M., we stayed on an organic lavender farm.  They sell it.  They cook with it.  There was lavender in the deserts we ordered after a dinner of seared duck with organic beets and parsnips and a creamy garlic soup.  Ili was adamant.  We had four deserts.  A bottle of wine.  More.

Yes, today the penance begins.  I will have work piled wide and deep.  It is a soggy morning, this the last day of spring.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Racing with the Sun




This is our last full day in New Mexico. We leave Taos for Albuquerque this morning and fly home tomorrow.  We have been lazy creatures.  Perhaps we have had a bug.  Perhaps it is altitude.  That is what people keep telling me though I have been at high altitudes all my life and have never felt the strain.  Yesterday, we simply drove around and looked at things.  The transition from mesa to mountain is stark.  There is almost no transition at all.  One moment you are in mesa and the next you are in verdant forest.  We drove into the Carson National Forest before nightfall and left the heat of the day behind, the temperature dropping with each bend in the road.  We rolled the windows down and shivered.  We stopped by a stream of melted glacier water and watched it race down the mountainside and wanted to stay the night.  But of course. . . .

Back down the mountain, the sky turned to fire.  Jesus Christ, a cowboy sky.  I jacked the little rental car, a piece of shit tin can Corolla, into overdrive and sped off toward the Rio Grande Gorge hoping to get there before the sun went down.  The sun sank and onward we sped, knowing if we had only left five minutes before. . . . Ili took some phone photos through the dirty windshield as I raced time.

The outcome was predetermined.  When we got there, the gorge was simply a shadow, the sunset a memory.

"It is better this way," Ili said.  "That would have been a photograph, and not a good one, but just like a thousand others.  It is better that we just keep it this way."

And she was right.  We will remember racing the sun through the New Mexican mesa only to lose, only to win.

We will take our time today, stopping wherever we like.  We stay on an organic farm tonight that is famous for its lavender.  Hoping for lavender dreams.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Mountain Earth Ship



We were on our way to our earth ship.  That's right.  Ili the Hippie had booked us into an earth ship in Taos.  The drive up was beautiful, of course.  Ili, who had never driven through the west, was very happy.

When we got to the outskirts of town, Maps told us to make a left.  I had been skeptical of the whole earth ship thing since I heard about it.

"We aren't even to town yet."

"We are two miles from town.  It says we can walk to town along the river."

"What river?"

We pulled off the highway and onto some winding roads.  The neighborhood looked sketchy, redneck trailer park-style.  But Ili kept up hopes.  For awhile.  She really didn't know what an earth ship was.  Plus, she thought we were going to be further away from everyone with coyotes and crickets.

I spied it by the side of the road.

"There it is."

"Uh-uh!"

"Yup."

"O.K.  Next time, you pick out the place we stay."

We pulled up the gravel drive and stopped.


It looked like a hobbit hole.  Ili was slow to get out of the car.

"It got really good reviews," she said.  She wasn't sure this was it.  She had me go up first.

"The key's in the door.  It's open."

"Really?"

We went inside.



"Look!  It's really nice.  I love our earth ship."

She was right.  It was really cute.  In one room was a kitchen, a dining room, a living room with a king sized bed, and a sleeping loft.  There was a greenhouse shower/bathroom, too.


Here's a picture of the toilet taken from the shower.

"It will be like pooping outside."

We unloaded our stuff and headed to Smith's, a wonderful grocers, where we bought olives and bread and olive oil and cheese to go with our wine.  We bought sausage raviolis and red sauce and ground grass fed beef for dinner.  And then we were sitting on two chairs facing out over a field with apple trees, and all was well.  Everyone was happy.

After dinner and a late sunset, the sky still purplish-blue, we showered.  I saw a cricket but didn't think about it.  Clean and full, we sat down in the living room--and the cricket began to show his chops.

"Holy shit.  That's going to drive me crazy.  I should have stepped on him."

Like magic, though, he quit, and we didn't hear from him again.

In this morning's light, we took our coffee and grapes and melon outside.  Taos.  The day begins.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Endings and Beginnings



This is the last day of the workshop, our last day in Santa Fe.  Ili is sad to leave the little home we have had for the past five days, a Sam Shepard hotel situated between an arroyo and a parking lot with its functional kitchen and wifi.  I am going to jump ship at the workshop early today so that I can explore Santa Fe with her before we drive north to Taos where we will stay in an earthship.  Ili picked it out.  It is out of town on the plain, away from the city lights where we will be able to listen to coyotes and gaze at the stars.

I've listened to coyotes before.  They keep you up all night.

So far, I haven't taken any pictures this trip.  Today I hope to begin.  Neither of us has felt well so far, 80% at best some days, 40% others, and though we have never been truly bedridden, we have sometimes been the walking wounded.  Ili says we will be healed in Taos.

Here is a picture of a trailer used as bathroom and kitchen for the workshop attendees.  The land around it is worth lots.  Last night, I took Ili there for the workshop dinner--three or four pound slabs of salmon and a three and a half foot pan of paella.  And wine.  We took Rioja.  Ili had not seen the studio yet and on the way there she looked up house prices on Zillo.  Many were over a million.  She wants to find something and move here.  Dinner outside watching the hummingbirds feed.  A fiery red and blue sunset.  The falling temperatures.  Stars.

This morning is cool, the sky bright and cloudless, the coffee almost gone.  I must pack up and check out.  Everything is always ending.  Everything always begins.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

If Failure Is Good for the Soul




If failure is good for the soul, then I'm a saint.  A deity, perhaps.  I left the workshop early yesterday so I could take Ili to some art galleries in Santa Fe.  It is unbelievable to me that they close so early and are not open on Sundays.  That's right.  Not open on Sundays.  So I left at four and we went straight to the Photo-Eye Gallery.  They were exhibiting the works of Pentti Sammallahti, small black and white silver prints.  Look him up.  But the images on the web won't do them justice.  And they are small, often smaller than 4x6.  He had a 70's aesthetic which made sense given his age and training.  We also saw some Maggie Taylor prints on the wall as she is the coming exhibit there.  I've seen lots of her work and knew that Ili would like it.  Taylor was married to my old photography prof, Jerry Uelsmann, from whom she was recently divorced.

A framed photo laying on a display table caught our eye.  I asked the gallery associate whose work it was.  She was very nice and came over to show us drawers full of the work by Kate Breakey, wonderful prints on museum glass backed by gold leaf.  They were surprisingly affordable.  Ili loved them.

Then I asked about Richard Tuschman whom they represent, and again, she opened a drawer and began taking out his beautiful prints.


This one especially caught my eye.  He builds the sets in miniature and lights them and photographs them, then photographs the people in the studio replicating the lighting he used in the miniatures and he blends the images.  This one is from his Hopper series.  I can almost afford to buy one.  I might.  I just might.

We left the gallery to go to some others across the street only to find that they were already closed, so we got in the car and drove to Canyon Road where there are seemingly a hundred galleries of assorted value.  These were closing, too, but we went into one that had some beautiful paintings by Tyler Swain.


The gallery owner was a sweet woman and we talked with her for a long time thinking that this would be the last gallery.  But when we walked up the street--holy shit--we saw the photos at the top of the page by Drew Tal.  These jpegs do not do any justice to the work.  They were large, the two full length portraits about five feet tall, and the detail of the background was so subtle it does not show up here.  They looked like replicas of old silk paintings.  Jesus, I was sick for having tried to do this for a long time.  He was a fashion photographer in NYC and it shows.  These photos were going for $10,000 each.  All I can tell you is that I practically wept.

And then it was over.  Everything was closed, so we went back to town for sushi.

I do not want to go back to the workshop today.  It is futile.  In every gallery, I asked who printed the works.  All photographers send their works to be printed by a few very high end printers (like the one I am studying with this week).  Printing is its own art.  It is highly specialized and technical.  Even the people in my workshop send their work to be printed for their gallery showings.  To get your work printed is very expensive, though.  I don't know.  After yesterday, I don't even feel like a photographer at all.  I think to sell all my cameras and equipment.

Yup.  If failure is good for the soul. . . .

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Decisions



I think I am feeling better this morning, though it is early and hard to tell.  The strangeness of waking is still with me.

Workshop, Day II:  Better but not great.  There were still many technical problems with the printers and inks, and since I am learning from the fellow who invented it all, I am less than inspired to invest in this very expensive system.  But I made prints yesterday, and they were better than the day before. Today we learn his newest, most expensive system.  Maybe.  As always. . . we'll see.

But as I go through the workshop, I wonder about how invested I want to be in black and white photography.  The problem for me is that I am converting color images.  I printed some scans of images made on black and white film yesterday, and they pleased me much more.  I think it is the conversion issue that bothers me.  A thing should be what it is.  Maybe if I bought another Monochrom camera, I'd feel better about it.

All morning, I've been thinking about my old Polaroid hybrid prints.  They are soft in texture and color.  I like the tones and hues of them.  Maybe, I thought, if I could get digital images to be that soft. . . .  Maybe I am just never satisfied with what is in front of me.  It might be a character flaw.

I am the only one at the workshop making prints with people in them.  Now there are some emerging photographers at this workshop with shows in NYC and London.  One has a book in preparation.  There images are of shapes and forms and textures, graphical things.  One from a major institution is an architectural photographer who sold out a show in L.A. I mentioned this to Ili last night, and she said that pictures of people are very particular and perhaps not something someone would hang on their wall.  I agreed mostly because people want decorative things, I think.  But the question for me is always about what the picture is trying to say.  What is the idea behind it?  I told Ili that I tried for archetype in my photos of people, wanted them to be allegorical or symbolic of something and not be the literal thing itself.

I am conditioned by people, so I have printed some images of canyon walls and architectural shapes in the workshop.  The images with people in them, though, are the ones that get the most attention.

So today, I give you an image I have prepared to print today. Maybe.  It means nothing to me, really.

I think that I am not a printmaker and I am in a printmaking workshop.  It only just occurred to me.  I like snapshots and fucked up images and am not careful in my printing.  Robert Frank, Diane Arbus, Vivian Maier--these were people who didn't make good prints.  They were not printmakers.  They were photographers.  Duane Michaels used to have his prints made at the drugstore.  But the people in the workshop are detail oriented. They are about making printed images.  They notice everything in the print, every nuance.  I am sloppy and happy to get most of the way there.  I am a reluctant printmaker.  But it is a necessity and I am learning.  I learn it and can do it, but that is not my passion in image making.

With this realization, I go to today's workshop with a different attitude.  I will focus on the print more than the image.  It may change me.

Still. . . .


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Sick in Santa Fe



This is a phone pic.  I haven't taken any real photos while in Santa Fe.  Not really.  Both Ili and I have some slow motion sickness that drags us down.  We felt poopy when we got up Sunday.  Dragging Monday.  Sneezing Tuesday morning.  I went to the workshop yesterday (which was a disaster--tell you later) and am preparing for today's.  We love our little Santa Fe Suite room though, which is good because we have been spending a lot of time here.

Last night we went to dinner at the popular restaurant, The Shed.  Wonderful Mexican food.  And margaritas.  We split dinner as we have been doing since we got to N.M.  Then we went for a drive.  We just felt too tired and weak to walk around, a thing we usually love.

Then back to the room to watch "Master of None" on the computer while drinking an evening scotch.  We were asleep early.

I am in the workshop with a bunch of university art profs, three photography and one architecture.  They are from good schools like Pratt.  I have not even prepared for the workshop.  As usual.  They have culled their images and have them ready to print.   There are a couple of commercial photographers and a printmaker, too.  I don't care, though.  I like my stuff most.

Maybe it is because I don't feel well (this disease, whatever it is, makes us both fairly depressed), but I keep thinking that I don't care if I ever take a picture again.  It is a lot of work--for what?  I spend too much money and time for things that end up in a drawer, if that.  There is so much photography in the world that it doesn't seem to matter any more.

I told the fellow who has the workshop that I had to give up my studio.  He said that was too bad, that I was doing some really fine work.  I told him I haven't taken a serious photo since.  The gravity of that hit me.  It isn't just the photography but a general lack of focus and effort.

I go today to be with the artists.  Maybe I'll be inspired.  Maybe not.  That is the way it is with "maybes."  Perhaps the illness will run its course and I will become ecstatic with a renewed energy.  Perhaps the light, the incredible and original light, will inspire me.  Or maybe it will just be too overwhelming and just too much.

That is the only story I have to tell you today.  Fingers crossed for the future.




(Ili's iPhone $55/night hotel documentary)

Monday, June 12, 2017

Albuquerque to Santa Fe



Albuquerque is a dive.  Even the people who live there say so.  It is also the weirdest city I have ever been in.  Period.  We drove around for hours one day looking for a liquor store that sold good scotch. O.K.  That makes me sound like an alcoholic.  That wasn't all we were doing.  We were touring the town, but all along the way, we looked for someplace to buy a bottle of scotch since we paid $60 for two doubles at the hotel bar the night before.  When we met people and they asked us what we had been doing in Albuquerque, I'd say, "looking for liquor stores, mostly."  And without variation, the response was always, "Didn't you go to Jubilation?"  No shit.  There seems to be one good liquor store in Albuquerque, and it is in the tony section of Nob Hill.  

But it is truly a city of homeless bums and drug addled youth.  Everyone mentions "Breaking Bad" and for good reason.  The hotel in which we stayed was a mental hospital for children and youths from the 1980s through 2010.  It is obvious that it has closed now.  

I'm not saying we didn't have a memorable time in Albuquerque.  We did.  We stayed in a wonderful hotel and ate at wonderful restaurants.  All it takes is a lot of money.  

Yesterday, though, we drove to Santa Fe.  It is a different world up here.  However. . . we are staying in the cheapest place imaginable.  On the way up, we saw an ad for it.  It was on one of those highway signs that tells you what is at the next exit.  There were four things listed--a gas station, a Wendy's, a Cracker Barrel, and our hotel.  Not a hotel, exactly.  A "suite."  You will not believe me, but we are spending $55/night.  We have a bed, a couch and coffee table, a chest of drawers, a small kitchen and a bar table for two and a view of a vast parking lot that leads to a shopping center with an Albertsons which serves most of our needs.  And this year, the place has good WiFi.  Last night, we were able to stream "The Royal Tenenbaums" on my laptop.  I brought a bluetooth speaker so we had a real movie experience.  There is a laundromat here, too.  Did I mention $55/night.  We are living a Sam Shepard dream.  

I'll send pictures.  

Today I begin my workshop with Jon Cone.  I'll become a master digital printer with special black and white inks.  My prints will be unparalleled.  

Ili and I were both ill yesterday with some body ache thing and couldn't do much.  We got in the car and toured the area around Santa Fe so she could see where she was.  I turned down side roads and tried to get a little lost.  We ended up on Indian land and saw fantastic small cathedral-like churches and signs declaring Tribal Law and lists of things we were not to do.  

And we saw a lot of mystical healing places.  There are many, many paths to physical and spiritual health up here.  We may explore a few.  

But yesterday we took care of ourselves with Umka and Sambucus and aspirin and brewery beer (gluten removed) and an organic buffalo burger on a gluten free bun.  Back at the Suite, it was Trader Joe's chicken soup with added sautéed garlic from our own kitchen.  This morning, I am happy to report, we feel fine.  

The windows and door are open to the beautiful Santa Fe morning.  Now I must shower and ready for the workshop.  There is always something to do.  

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Albuquerque, First Night



Long day of travel yesterday, but we got good bulkhead seats on the plane with lots of legroom.  This is what we stared at for the three and a half hour flight.  Bag claim, shuttle bus, rental car, and we were at our hotel by five.  And what a hotel room we have--living room, huge bathroom, beautiful bedroom.  The hotel is a converted looney bin, and the conversion is spectacular.  My kind of music greeted us in the lobby.  We headed up to the rooftop bar for cocktails, then a walk around town before dinner.  Albuquerque is a "City of Bums."  They are everywhere.  That and drug addled, tattooed youths who wander about yelling at things while wildly gesticulating.  We shared an upscale dinner, though, at the bar.  I, however, was getting wobbly from the travel and higher altitude drinks and a general lack of sleep.  We drank a bottle of wine and headed home thinking to go to the rooftop bar for a nightcap.  We didn't.  Rather, we snuggled and afterwards wanted only some scotch and a shower.  I brought a portable bluetooth speaker, and we put on "our" music, stuff that only Wes Anderson might appreciate.


We woke this morning to the site of fifty or so hot air balloons rising above the city.  Strange indeed.

No plans today.  Just drifting to see what we see.  Now. . . breakfast.

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Cure


(instant classic)

Comey's Big Bombshell--Trump is a liar.  Ho!  I hope he has a lot of friends.  He just got into a pissing match, and one of the two is going to lose.  Both parties allege.  The marketplace will now decide who is the more reliable witness.

In my old neighborhood, you were told "never back down from a fight."  I have learned, though, how to be demure.

I thought one could demure, that the word could be used as a verb, but I looked it up and it cannot be used thusly.  I also learned that it is a sexist term and refers to a woman.  Sometimes my understanding of the language is completely off.  So is my understanding of sexism.  Still, I would demure if I could.

I am up and at 'em this morning.  I am leaving town to go to a workshop in Santa Fe and will be gone for a bit.  I don't know how much I'll be able to post.  I'm staying in a cheap hotel without reliable internet for most of the trip.  Tonight, though, I will be staying in an old looney bin, a former insane asylum if you will, converted into an upscale hotel.  It is said to be haunted, but I stayed there two years ago and had no such luck.  I will go there to seek a cure.

I go from there to a $50/night room on the outskirts of town.  Getting back to my roots.

In getting ready to leave, I have exhausted myself completely.  I finished what needed to be done at the factory, but it raked the flesh from my back.  Home is another matter, but I can't stay, so. . . .

I used to lie down and dream pictures.  Now I dream of cameras.  There is something wrong there, of course.  And that, my friends, is what I hope to remedy.



Thursday, June 8, 2017

Swell Idea



I continue to disintegrate  in the night.  There is another word I want to use.  I know there is, but I can't call it to mind.  And that is what happens in the darkness.  Normal activities are no longer within my grasp.

I am beginning to fall apart in the daylight hours, too.  As a result, I should say.  Maybe.

I write another big check today for house repairs.  It continues to rain.  Where there was once draught there are now floods.

Maybe it is the news that is ruining my sleep.  I need to stop watching.

But how can I?  Today is a national holiday.  Comey is going to testify.

"Ah, boy, we've got 'em now!"

If you don't watch the news, though, you know what is going to happen.  Little.  "We" don't got nobody.  We don't even have a clear picture.

I need to meditate badly.  I mean I am in need of good meditation.  My "self" is fractured and needs repair.  I do that for the house.  I need to do some of that for me, too.

I should try telling someone else's story.  That's what I need to do.

Say, now, that's a swell idea.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

You'll Be Fine



Which is more boring, someone else's dreams or someone else's anxieties?

Doesn't matter.  I haven't been sleeping well.  It was worse last night.  My dreams were about my anxieties.  What will happen to me in the future?

It just couldn't be dumber. . . the worry, I mean.  We all know what will happen in the future.  It will be bad.

So I used some old practices and focussed my mind on one thing.  I think it was an imaginary red dot, but I can't be sure.  I fell asleep.

The human mind needs discipline.  I worry about others, of course, with their untrained brains.  They are vicious fools with all the rights and privileges given to others.

Last night's mind was like today's picture.  This image has no inherent interest, really, but the stark black and white tonality, the reflective light, the nothingness of it, they all seem to add up to something.  Tone, mood, atmosphere.

It doesn't take much talent, really, just the right camera.

Where are all the lovely ideas and images, though, the girls of April?  When they leave you, you know your days are numbered.  Perhaps not all your days, simply your good and fruitful ones.

But maybe climate change will fix all that.

I wonder what the fellow across the street's nights are like, the one whose wife just left him?  Maybe I should make a print of this picture and put it in his mailbox.  I would, but he has security cameras all around his house that are linked to his phone.  I could just show it to him and ask him if he recognizes it.  Art therapy, I'd say.  One of the form's more useful applications.  Don't worry about it, I'd say.  It's just a picture.  You'll be fine.

It's what people say to one another.  You'll be fine.


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

True Artist



Let's use a picture from a real photographer here.  August Sander.  Most of his work is lost.  What a shame.  


He sure knew what he was doing with a large format camera.  He probably made just a couple photographs of each person.  

These images make me wonder what it is that people want to see--and how does one show it?

Intimate strangeness is my answer.  That is what I have grown up on, perhaps, with the likes of Arbus and Frank and their forebears and heirs.  Offbeat documentary.  

That is more than photography.  It is something else, perhaps some inner condition, a twisted gaze, and the ability to connect.  

It is a huge and terrible commitment.  Other things have to be left by the wayside.  

Everybody wants to be an artist, but nobody wants to live the life.  

Some, I guess, have no choice.  

But you can be a talented photographer without being an artist.  Same with painting, writing, et. al.  I could name many who are.  Maybe that is good enough.  

Here is Dylan's Nobel Acceptance Speech (link).  I haven't listened to it yet.  Maybe there are answers there.