Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Days of Lassitude and Some Despair

Another "celebrity" I once photographed.  I mean, you can Google her and find newspaper articles and t.v. stuff about her.  That doesn't make you a celebrity, I know. . . .  This was the first shot I took as I tried to get the lighting and the camera settings right.  As usual, they were off, and this frame was almost black.  Sometimes, I look at these mistakes with regret and try to give them life, try to "bring them back" so to speak.  They will have a lot of noise, both luminance and color, and I will try to figure out ways to get rid of it and bring forth the image.  When I do this, I often see that I missed one of the best photos of the shoot, probably because I've said, "Just relax while I try to get the settings right," or something of the kind, and they do and they are not thinking about posing or having their photo taken.  I don't know.  I just found this charming, like something seen through gossamer.  

Lots of the people I shot went on to be semi-something or other.  I guess that was their intention.  They came to my studio simply because they liked my photos here in this backwater of entertainment.  I wonder, not very often, but I do this morning, who I might have photographed if I had lived in NYC or LA?  

Probably nobody.  

But that is enough about me.  Let's talk about my mother.  

She called me late yesterday afternoon, just before sundown.  She said she was having trouble with her phone and wanted to know if I called her.  Only the times I talked to her, I said.  Huh.  Well, anyway. . . .

I guess she just wanted to talk since I hadn't been over for a couple days.  Usually our phone conversations last a minute, maybe two.  Last night, she began recounting her day, her conversations with her friends.  She had gone to the pool but when she got home she had bent over to pick something up and her back locked up and went into spasms.  She was sitting on a heated vibrating pad trying to get it to loosen up.  The 89 year old neighbor who has not been doing well after her hospital visit had gone to see the 99 year old neighbor whose health is beginning to fade.  

"She said she is not doing well," my mother said.  "She said when you get to be 99 years old, what is there to look forward to.  At 91, I am beginning to think the same thing.  Your friends are dead, your family. . . ."

It went on like this for awhile.  What could I say?  I felt like shit and wasn't looking forward to anything myself, but I couldn't say that.  There were long, silent pauses, then she'd begin again.  Is this what happens if I am sick and can't get over to see her for a couple of days?  This wasn't the conversation I was needing.  After a long while, I said, "This is sure fun."  

She laughed and started talking about how irritating her blind 88 year old friend is.  Her sister lives in Italy and has some terrible health problems after getting Covid.  She had an operation, but it hadn't helped.  She couldn't walk or control her bladder or bowels.  We were now having a sad conversation about someone neither of us knows.  It doesn't get much worse.  

No matter how I feel, I need to get over there today.  Like I've said, I make her laugh.  I don't feel like laughing myself right now, but you know, I'm a showman.  I can dazzle for awhile, maybe, before coming home to collapse on my couch.  

But that's enough about her.  Let's talk about me.  WTF?  I've got nothing else.  I've not been out of the house for over two days.  I feel better today but not great.  My gut seems to be settling down, but I am weak. . . and I have a terrible imagination.  

I had to write to some people with whom I have been making plans.  They have sent queries to which I've not responded.  I'm hoping to be better "by then," I wrote yesterday.  "I didn't want you to think I'm just a 🍆," 

It was another day on the couch.  I watched too much t.v. once again, so much my eyes are going blurry.  The first movie I watched was "Licorice Pizza."  Holy smokes, it was another Paul Thomas Anderson movie.  Why does he have three first names?  I can never keep the order straight.  

I didn't watch the film when it came out.  I thought is was going to be some cloying, sticky movie.  It was not.  It was weird and quirky like all of his films.  It was a shock to see Tom Waits show up over half way through.  He should have won an academy award for his few minutes in the film.  I like Waits in movies.  He is always good.  

I lament that I eschewed the movie until yesterday, but it was a good way to spend a sickly afternoon.  

Later, I watched Werner Herzog's 2011 documentary, "Into the Abyss" about a Texas murder and the fellows who committed it.  I was watching this before bed which I knew was a mistake, and I was right.  My dreams last night followed along the same theme.  I grew up with the kids in that film, kids with criminal parents who were in prison or absent for other reasons, kids who dropped out of school, kids who did horrible things, kids who would eventually be murderers and go to prison themselves.  Kids who died of drug overdoses.  Bad kids.  Mean kids.  Kids beyond redemption.  Yea.  I knew better than to watch it. 

But I did.  Herzog makes shitty interesting documentaries.  His camerawork is bad.  His editing is bad.  And yet. . . he takes on provocative subjects and wins awards.  I fell for him when he was working with Klaus Kinsky.  Every film the two made together.  

Jesus.  I just looked up his filmography.  It is miles long.  It goes on forever.  And tonight, I am destined to watch his documentary "Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin," made in 2019.  Chatwin was quite the phenom for awhile, and I read everything by him that was available.  

But fucking Herzog. . . . 

I may simply become a couch potato.  It is hot outside or it is raining.  Neither is inviting.  The house is cool and the t.v. room is dark.  Cups of broth and tea and endless movies, you know. . . as I wither away in solitude, into nothingness.  But I am getting better.  I am sure I am.  I will make those assignations later this week.  Surely I will.  But today. . . . 

Oh. . . I almost forgot.  I got the lighting and camera settings right for the shoot with the not quite a celebrity.  I mean, some of them turned out. 

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