Tonight is the Full Beaver Moon. I'll not show a full beaver; rather, the Lesbian Who Loved Me. Not romantically. She did not like men. She was full on into women and womanhood. She didn't even shoot with male photographers, but my estrogen levels were probably what she responded to. I'm sure they were higher than many women she knew. So she came to the studio multiple times. She liked the photographs, but we got along well, too. She moved to California, but we kept in touch for awhile. If she came back, she said, we'd get together for a shoot. She was oh-so-lovely but as intense as she seems in this photograph. Eventually, I lost touch.
But those times have ended. Now I am struggling to make photographs with a mechanical beast.
Don't tell me you don't like a good photo of a street without people better than a portrait of a girl. It's o.k. to admit it. It is the times. If you are struggling with an answer, however, it might be that this photograph is out of focus. In parts. It is strange. "Chophouse," which is what I focussed on, is not in focus at all, but the "Downtown" sign to the right side of the frame is. Parts of the door frame on the left side of the photo are in focus, too, as is the sidewalk below the "Chophouse" sign. Some of the focus is forward of the sign and some of the focus is behind. There are things going on here that just shouldn't be. So yesterday I took the camera to my friend who repairs cameras. I had the camera in the car, but I didn't take it out. I was buying some more 4x5 film. Somehow, though, and not by my doing, the camera became the topic of discussion among the repair guy and two of his employees. One of them said he would like to see the camera sometime. Oh, I said, and I went to my car to fetch it. The camera store kids were fascinated. The camera is a marvel. I explained to them the trouble I was having with focus, so my repair friend decided to have a look. And here is what he found--the focus on the mirror that lets you focus at the top of the camera and the film plane at the back of the camera are not aligned. There could be many reasons for this, but since the camera is all handmade, he didn't want to touch it. It was agreed that I needed to take the camera up to see its maker.
And so I called the maker. I will probably be taking the camera the 110 highway miles to see him. He said I should stay the night. We will go swimming in the springs, he says. It will be a high time. And a sober one. My friend has not had a drink in 22 years.
"I've never had one drink in my life," he says.
"Well of course not," I say. "That would be silly."
He still goes to meetings. But if he gets my camera back into alignment, I will be very happy. And he lives only ten miles from my alma mater university. Old Hog Town. I haven't been there for decades. It could be a hoot.
I continue to shoot four pieces of film every day. Here's another titillating photo that beats those nasty portraits. Kidding. I took this one to prove to some skeptics on a Large Format Photography website that you can handhold this beast at f2.5, a seeming impossibility. Here you see the reason people want this Aero Ektar lens. The depth of field is razor thin. But the in-focus parts of the image are razor sharp and do not show motion blur. Take that you skeptics.
Here's another sexy little pot shot. I'm sure I captured its soul with this one, the inner life of inanimate objects.
It strikes me now how hard we worked NOT to show an interiority in those Lonesomeville photos. I strove for a cold emotional distance that revealed nothing more than an existential emptiness tinged with anger and contempt which is funny to me now because the atmosphere in the studio was really very fun. There was music. There was food. There was drink. We always laughed a lot. I'm kind of a funny guy. Quirky, I guess. And sweet, too, let's not forget.
Growing up in hippie times, I guess I thought there was something glorious about the naked human figure. We were against the Puritans prior to the Male Gaze thing. But in truth, I don't really like the way the male figure looks. I know there are people who do, and that's quite o.k. with me. My framer said I'd make a lot more money if I photographed guys. Why? Oh, he said, think about it. I did. Maybe that will be my next project.
As soon as I get my Liberator working right. But we'll forego the nudes. People don't feel as free as they used to. Everything is an ideological struggle now. Everyone has an idea, new or copied, and they have a megaphone on social media. Like Trump. I'm pretty sure he is only an AI bot at this point. It's o.k. though. I'm all for it. The AI thing, I mean, not Trump.
Another gloomy day. Big chance of rain. I watched the last episode of the first half of the last season of "The Crown" last night, if that makes any sense. Holy shit--Princess Diana dies in a car crash! That was a stupid plot twist. She was the only reason to watch this last season. They should have re-wrote the thing and let her live. Elizabeth Debicki who plays Diana is. . . well, she is more Diana than the real one. But they kill her off. Still, they had sense enough to bring her back as a ghost. Now this is historically accurate. She absolutely had visitations with the Royal Family after her death. And she was charming. And once again, I got all swollen and puffy and teary. But last night, I think I figured out what is wrong with me.
All of art and literature revolves around two things: love and death. Argue if you will, but these are the only art worthy subjects. All the rest is simply well-crafted polemic. Love and Death are inarguable. And it is the sudden realization that of the two, I may have only one left. I think I cry at the dumbest things because I know that everyone I've loved now loves someone else and I am not so likely ever again to have My Own True Love. Death, then, is all that is left.
Oh. . . I guess I meant in narrative arts. Pictures of people, especially provocative ones, are the milieu of the two and three dimensional arts. And still life. The sensuality of things.
Like the agave plants and the empty pot. Or the empty city street. Those will top those stinky-assed nudes any day of the week.
Except today. A moody Sunday. And oh, damn--music can be art, too. Most is just craft at best, but here is something that embodies this moody day. "Manha de Carnival"--Selavy!