Monday, June 8, 2015
There is little more dead or lonesome than a late Saturday afternoon in a strange town when you are alone. The city dies in the heat and everyone goes home after shopping and dining to rest. And if you have been out all day, as I had, going to museums and shops and walking from place to place so that you have been on your feet too many hours, and if you have had a late lunch with wine, you, too, would be looking for respite and refuge. And so. . . reluctantly. . . I headed back to my little motel on the outskirts of town to drink wine and do laundry and read.
But the day had gone well. My first stop on my way into town was at the Photo-Eye Gallery where the Jock Sturges show that I had missed had been hanging until I got to town. I had been told by several people that Anne who ran the gallery was a very nice woman and might show me some of the photos anyway. I am rather timid about asking for favors, but I walked into the gallery thinking I might. There was no one there but the woman at the desk. I inhaled deeply, then began telling her my sad tale of coming too late to see the show. Then, balls in my armpits, I said I had been told that it might be possible to look at some of the prints from the show. Oh. . . I got an hour's private viewing. She showed me the exhibit and many, many of the other Sturges prints that are in the gallery collection, all the while telling me tales of Jock and the people who were in the photographs. It couldn't have been better except if I had money to buy one of the pictures she showed me entitled "Loes, Montelivet, France, 2014." The 16x20 print was $1,400.00. Not bad, perhaps, but a bit of a stretch for me. When I texted this to my friend back home, he suggested that I try to trade a print. Yes, I think, that is fine.
I wandered the other galleries in the Rail Yard District and loped through the farmer's market as well. Saturday in Santa Fe is like Saturday in any city that is lovely.
The works in the other galleries didn't interest me so much, and after I'd finished, I decided to drive back into the downtown area to go the the Verve Gallery and others. Trouble was, I couldn't find my car. Perhaps this is the first stage in Alzheimer's, I don't know, but in this town I have had this trouble much. After about forty-five minutes, I began to get a touch of panic. I wondered if the car had a tracking device on it so that if I called Avis they could tell me where it was. Surely, I thought, that would be true. I decided to try using Apple Maps first, though, to get me back to approximately where I had parked. It told me I had wandered very far in the wrong direction. C'est la vie. I got to see many wonderful things along the way. Still, I was much relieved when I found the rental sitting just where I had left it.
In town, I went to Verve and to the Andrew Smith Gallery. The show at Verve made me think they would be better off showing my work, and I almost asked about submitting to the woman who seemed to be in charge, but I never have nerve for such things. The Andrew Smith Gallery, though, was a complete knockout, two floors of a big old building with very wonderful photographic images and many processes from many different eras. It was luscious and inspiring. It also wore me out. I looked longingly at two chairs in a tiny room without photographs thinking it would be nice just to rest.
But instead, I asked the nice woman at the desk to recommend a nice cafe where I might get a late lunch. She did, and I did, after which I decided to walk to the town square and take some pictures.
Just when I got there, a limousine pulled up and let out about twenty kids dressed for a Mexican quinceanera. The limo simply pulled up to the curb and opened the doors and played loud Mexican music while the kids danced on the sidewalk bordering the square. I literally ran to them with my film Leica and began snapping photos. Jesus, what luck. But I am not good with manual focus any more, and I am sure most of the pictures will be too blurry. Still, it was fun to run-and-gun among the kids getting them to turn this way and that as I shot frame after frame after frame. Oh. . . I hope a few of the pictures do turn out.
And after about fifteen minutes, they loaded up into the limo and were gone. A few minutes later, the police cars arrived. I guess you are not allowed to do that in the center of town. Fortune.
I wandered around the square for a while emboldened, taking pictures of people without fear. I found a boy and girl in cowboy hats and cowboy duds with an old suitcase and guitar case in front of an old hotel. I walked up and told them that this was a picture too good just to pass up. Would they pose for me? They were glad to. I nervously framed them and shot two pictures, but as I walked away, I thought of the pictures I should have taken. I will get better with practice, I told myself. It would happen with experience.
But now I was tired and needed to rest. And so I end this where I began, back on the border of town doing laundry and drinking wine. That is the way of traveling alone. You can do whatever you want. I wouldn't be able to make pictures if someone else were with me. But someone sure might be comforting on the outskirts of the city.