Saturday, June 6, 2015

Red Chair

It has been all workshop since the last post.  I have been making platinum and palladium prints all week.  They are beautiful, but I will need to shoot images for this process, for it has particular qualities that need to be exploited.  The workshop is made up of professional artists and art profs from various colleges around the country.  As always, I am the wild card, the hack.  The thing is, their images are much, much different than mine.  I have tried not to be scandalous with the images I work on in class, but they are all of women which seems scandalous enough.  It is good for me, though, to have the images in front of a critical audience.  I have been thinking and rethinking what I've done and what I will do.  Most of the other images are nature or still life, objects arranged in interesting and even cubist ways.  I am not opposed to the imagery which seems to be about line and form which is truly the printmaker's concern.  What I think of as my thematizing and symbolizing are lost in the soft tones of the palladium print.  This is truly a lyrical process.  I have ideas, though, and it will be good for me.  That is what happens to the hack who goes a-workshopping. 

But I have to tell you more about Sunday night atop La Fonda at the rooftop bar.  As I sat alone drinking my margarita, a couple came up and sat on the couch across from me.  They were a striking pair, perhaps in their lat thirties or early forties, and looked like they've lived an interesting life.  She asked me about my drink, whether I liked the pepper in the margarita.  I said it was interesting.  He said that meant it was o.k. but that I wouldn't order it again.  He looked a bit like a rock star of the Ryan Adams ilk, she like a ski or yoga instructor.  whey introduced themselves, Michael and Mary Jane, and we began to chat, so I ordered another drink, the same one he said I wouldn't order again (but when the server brought it out, it wasn't the same that I'd had before).  They were from Washington but spent a lot of time in Vail, they said.  They told me they had been to some town that day that is famous for its soil.  If you eat it, they said, it would heal you. 

"Michael ate some," she smiled. 

"Did it heal you?" I asked. 

"I think so," Michael said rather seriously. 

"What was wrong?"

He looked me in the eye.  "Well, you know, drinking too much. . . ."  He trailed off.  I knew what he meant.  "And my shoulder has been bothering me, and I had something happening to a patch of skin. . . I think it's better." 

I liked this sort of thing, of course, and I said, "I'll need directions.  Sounds like I need to eat some dirt." 

"Why. . . what's wrong?"  Michael asked seriously.

"I'm not sure," I said, then held up my margarita.  "Who knows?" 

They were a great western couple.  They seemed to have driven every square inch of the west.  They hiked and skied and went to hot springs and ate dirt.  I loved them immensely.  Best of all, they seemed happy together.  I liked that most.  They complimented each other in the way we all want, it seemed to me, each part of the other, part of the whole. 

They asked me what I was doing in Santa Fe, and I told them about the workshop.  Mary Jane said, "I take pictures.  I've got a series with a red chair."  She handed me her phone and showed me some of the pictures in the series.  Holy Cow!  They were great.  As I flipped through her phone, she gave me the backstory on it.  She lived with a fellow who moved out and took the chair.  She called him and wanted it back, but he had put in storage up in the mountains, so she got a friend and a pickup truck and drove to the place and broke in and took the chair. 

"After that, I just started photographing the chair in different places.  I would text him the image and say, 'You want your chair?  Come get it.'  And it would be in Arizona or Texas.  Ha!" 

I asked her for the website, and she told me they were all on Facebook.  You have to see these.  Here's the link to her Facebook site.  Shoot.  You never know where you will run into genius.

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