Thursday, April 4, 2024

Dem Bones

If you don't have broken bones and arthritic joints, the old saw that people can feel the weather changing seems like a colorful bromide, a "saying," a cliche.  Maybe.  The weather changed here drastically yesterday, and I could barely move.  But it is hard to tell.  Maybe I "had something."  I'd eaten in the good Mexican restaurant the night before and as I may have reported felt as if I had contracted "Mexibelly."  But my nose was running, too.  It rained.  I didn't go outside.  I went back to bed, slept.  Forgot to eat or more likely just didn't feel like it.  But, true to my word, I kept "working."  I developed and scanned two rolls of film that I finally finished shooting and got out of the cameras where they had been sitting for far too long.  Film.  Fun to shoot, a pain in the ass after.  Film is a lot of work, and things can go wrong at many stages.  Over and under exposures, sure.  Light leaks at some point.  Bad development.  Film touching film during the process.  Scratches and dust.  Exhibit A.

But then, sometimes, after all the work, you get a beautiful picture and you want to do it again.  

Did I mention scanning?  You can mess that up, too.  Badly.  And it takes a very long time.  Then after scanning, you still have to take the files into editing programs, but here is becomes much like shooting with a digital camera.  You have to work on each, though in different ways, just as you would work in a wet lab printing.  Wait!  Did I say printing?  Do you know the cost of a good, large format printer?  And the paper?  The ink?  

After I finished all of that (but for the printing) with the two rolls of film, I began looking through old files again.  There were lots of black and white photos I'd taken with the digital Leica Monochrom.  More than I remembered.  I liked them as much as I liked the film photos, and I wondered why I keep going back to film.  I can work up the digital files in a fraction of the time.  

And so with digital cameras. . . you take more images.  There is no extra cost, no penalty for overshooting.  A digital camera can be like a machine gun--snap, snap, snap, snap, snap.  

And then. . . they go into the files, sometimes never to be worked up in post production, never made to sparkle and to shine.  And there they sleep.  

I woke some of them up yesterday on that dreary, bone aching day.  Oh, I wondered, why did I never cook these up?  And there was the music, of course as the hours drifted by, and the heartache.  

Old photos can be such a terrible heartache.  They are reminders.  Time forgotten.  Time remembered.  


"Why do you take photographs?"

"I just want to document things, capture my life in the culture. . . to see what time looks like made still.  It's a kind of magic, don't you think?"

The stats on it are unbelievable.  The number of photographs made in a single day now is greater than all the photographs taken in the 20th century.  Something like that.  It is mind-blowing.  But when you walk into people's homes, they will maybe have a few small photos un-matted in cheap frames sitting on a coffee table or shelf, or maybe they have taken the time to mount a few on the wall.  And they are bad.  Really, really bad.  Some may have been done by "professional portrait photographers," but most were taken with a cell phone and never worked over.  The tones are flat, the colors off, though I admit that phone cameras have gotten really good.  A photo coming straight out of any camera, however, needs work.  But there they are--the family--at the beach, skiing, at a birthday party. . . . 

But only a few.  

People do have photos on their phones, though.  Oh, man. . . the phone has become the new slide show projector, a real horror.  People rarely show you just one photo on their phone.  Of a sudden, they are scrolling through their library

People like pictures.  

And yet. . . most know little if anything about photography.  

"One day, I need you to teach me how to use a camera."

It is a weird conundrum.  

So I think with common guilt as I search through my own billion plus photos sitting in digital files unseen like the mega billions of selfies and sunsets taken by others

No matter, though, I guess.  We all feel the magic.  Maybe not all.  I know some that want nothing to do with old photographs at all.  

I generalize and project, I guess.  Stupid and dangerous.  

"But you take photographs of people you don't even know."

Yea, yea. . . . 

Last night I was watching some photo porn, a series on YouTube called "The Wrong Side of the Lens."  The filmmaker documents the careers and lives of living "street photographers."  Here's a link to the series if you are interested (link).  I watched the first one on Daniel Arnold.  Then I started to watch the second, but I realized I had seen it before.  I was reminded that I have a friend who grew up in New York who has never gotten over it.  She worked there in her early adult life before moving here.  She never got over that, either.  Nothing is as good as New York.  Oy!  That second show in the series is on Jill Freedman, a New York lifer.  She sounds just like my friend, or vice-versa.  My friend has booked a ten day trip to Manhattan at the end of the month, so I sent her a link with a small note.  

"I think you'll know this woman.  I think you'll like this."

She did.  Oh, she went wild.  

I’m dying. 
The pictures
The pictures
The pictures

 She had a reason to relate.  

These photos I post today are for illustration purposes.  They don't pull at my heartstrings and I doubt that they will ever be more than marginally interesting, even to me.  And I'll admit that after looking and working with these black and white images for a few days, I think--COLOR.  

It is even harder working in color.  

In other photo news, I got a text from Detective Deckard yesterday in response to my query.  

"I have sufficient evidence to charge two of the three suspects involved I will have to see if this is sufficient to submit charges I will be working on this but may still take me a little while."

Sufficient, I am to assume, may not be enough?  We'll have to wait and see.  WTF?  WTF?

The day is about to turn sunny.  I am hoping to feel better today.  I want and need to move.  I can't sit around alone all day looking at heartbreaking photographs, listening to heartbreaking music again, can I? 

Yea. . . I can.  I'm stupid like that.  

This is what my old NYC sounded like when everything was beautiful and exciting and a bit more. . . decorative.  Music can be like an old photograph, too.  I can feel it in my bones.  

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