One More Cup of Coffee


Not often.

It’s been a while.

I can’t remember the last time I photographed yellow stripes in a parking lot. I’ve actually been watching this one for a while. I started with the striping effort that city contractors did a few months back.

I knew it wouldn’t last long.

Nature always seeks stasis. Mankind wins. Only for a short while. Then, nature’s campaign begins. Rain. Wind. A Slight Flood. Rebirth. Heat. Cold. Drivers parking their cars on the line.

Eventually, the painter’s work begins to wear away.

You can see that in this place, mankind has lost the battle numerous times. It looks like at one time, this place was even a handicapped parking area. That’s the blue and bit of white at the bottom of the picture.

What can we do about this? Nothing. Accept that nature will always win. She doesn’t care. She just wants stasis. See that green growth? Stasis. It’s nature’s way of starting the process of cracking the pavement.

Same thing with climate change. Nature seeks stasis. She’s fighting back. I’ve said this in the past, but we, humankind is just a flea on her back. Be nice and we continue to exist. Keep on our greedy ways, and well you get it. My city, New Orleans, could cease to exist in less than fifty years. So will most of the Gulf Coast. So will most of Florida. Work your way up to most of the big coastal cities and you know the rest. On both coasts.

Me? I’ve retired from street photography. At least from photographing Mardi Gras culture. I’ll still come out now and then for something big.

I’ve got other things to worry about and photograph. You know about the book projects. You know about agency projects. Those are all very important to me.

But, water. In Louisiana we have too much of it. In other states there is too little of it. That’s my next big self assigned project. Gulf Coast water. For me, the trick is how to do it in a way that makes good sense. There are plenty of great photographers starting to do just what I’ve proposed to myself. But, we really aren’t competing. We are building something together. I just have to figure out how I fit in.

What do y’all think?

Wow! “The painter’s work begins to wear away.” I was copy editing this piece. I came to something I just wrote quickly, without thinking about it. “The painter’s work begins to wear away.”

Who’s the painter? What work? “Where?”

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7 Comments

  1. “The painter’s work begins to wear away.”

    There’s an existential questioning nature to your post, and more recent ones. That’s why I needed some time to respond. I’m still not sure exactly what to say, except that, like you, I find that sentence really compelling. Is it a metaphor for human life? For humans themselves? And does it always have to be true? Does the painter’s work wear away if the work is humble, authentic and true? If it’s not transactional work, like a stripe on a highway?

    I have more questions than answers, my friend, but that’s what I like about your blog. It makes me think.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Remember, I was badgered into picking a word for the year. A koan, if you like. My word is learning. As I’ve let it direct me, rather than the other way round, it’s turned inward. That’s what I think you are seeing and feeling. It struck me, as I was writing these words, that what it might really mean is that nothing is forever. Once I photographed two calligraphy artists in Beijing. They painted koans in a park. The worked in water. By the time they finished what they started, the starting point was dry and gone. For me, that’s everything.

      Like

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