It seems that all the president’s men are clamoring to open up the country. They are hoping for business as usual. I’m not. I think we can be better in just about every way. I believe that even before CoVid-19 most of our systems are broken. The virus just provided clarity.
I could go on and on about the broken issues. I’ll just discuss one. Infrastructure. I can’t speak for your city, but mine is in horrible shape. We still don’t have full capacity pumping stations. Our streets are mostly a mess. Potholes are everywhere.The city and the contractors still haven’t demoed the collapsed Hard Rock Hotel. Two bodies are still trapped in the debris. A building collapsed yesterday. It just fell down. There are some 30,000 buildings in dire condition. And, so on. And, so on.
I’m not ranting. We can get this stuff done. We can fix the national infrastructure too. Those folks who lost their jobs, jobs which may never return, could be put back to work. In this case, history really does repeat itself.
More importantly, we can change ourselves. We can change personal stuff that might make our lives better. We can also be honest about how we feel. An artist that I follow on Instagram realized that she didn’t have to work right now. She now bakes and cooks and has a drink while she’s doing those things. She allowed herself to be sad. She passed through her dark moments.
Where does the leave me?
There is a photographer I like called Todd Hido. He’s a couple of years younger than me. He makes books. He does major shows. His work is hanging in the Smithsonian. He’s a true photographic artist. He discussed his projects in a piece that I read. He said that even if his project lasts for ten years (He photographs multiple projects at once), when it is done, it’s done.
My own over arcing project is done. I can’t seem to make myself go out to photograph second lines, Indians, Zulus and all things of that nature on the street. It’s taken me a long time to come to terms with that. Reading Mr. Hido’s comments gave me permission to say I’m done.
I’ve been pursuing my art-like the pictures I’ve been posting on Storyteller. That’s where I’m headed. That’s where I want to go.
This lockdown time has given me time to think, to let stuff roll around in my brain. Sometimes to get clarity you have to let your thoughts or pictures marinate.
Oddly, just as I arrived at that conclusion, WordPress sent me an email about blog site renewal. I’m using a business plan. I can roll my prorated funds into the top plan. If I do that. I have to sell art from here to make it worth doing. I’m doing it.
There’s a lot to learn. I understand and have fairly good business practices. I understand SEO to a point. The point being like dipping a toe into a giant swimming pool.
There you have it. You’re stuck with me.
The picture. Make that two pictures. The foreground silhouette is something I saw two days ago. You’ve seen the background image. I layered them, making sure that the bright background colors did not overwhelm the foreground. I tinkered some more and it was complete.
Stay Safe, Look after each other. Take your time reopening your lives. Wear your masks. Wear your gloves. Keep your distance. Don’t congregate. Enjoy every left over Easter egg.
I know this guy. He is an old school junk man. He drives around looking for stuff that is mostly made of metal. He sells some for scrap. He sells some stuff to repair men who restore old things that can be sold inexpensively.
His business is fairly active. He piles up his finds until he has a full truck and trailer. Then, off he goes to sell it. He has a wife and child. He supports all three of them doing this work. When the weather is cool, his work isn’t bad. But, those summer months. Whew.
He also counts on people like me, who go for walks, or walk their dogs. We tell him what we saw. I can’t speak for others, but I don’t want anything for that. If I see something I tell him.
That’s his story.
I may follow him around one day and tell his story in pictures. But, for now, I just photograph some of the stuff he collects. This picture was created from what looked and felt like aluminum sheets that may have been left over from a big project. Remnants.
The picture on its own is just fine. It’s sort of bluish-silver because I made it in shadows, You know me. I can never leave well enough alone. I tinkered with the color. I tinkered with sharpness. I layered another picture over it. I wasn’t sure that would work. But, it did.
This is a wall sized picture. I see it as an 8×10. That’s 8×10 feet. Could you imagine this on a wall in a large-sized room? The only art in it? Hmmm… we need some new art around this place.
From three states. Louisiana, Texas and New Mexico.
Exploring layering techniques has some advantages. I get to look back. And, make images by combining the past with the present. I get to see my successes. And, I get to see my mistakes. And, learn from them. I guess they are giving me a kind of wisdom. Finally.
A wise musician once said that, “when you play a song 500 times it teaches you how to play it.” I think the same thing with photographs. Tinker with them every couple of years and you’ll figure it out. Or, they’ll figure you out.
The picture. You know about my experiments in layering. The base image is fairly subdued. Sunflowers. It was made on film. In Texas. The main image, a kind of high desert weed, was made in New Mexico. With a DSLR. The last image — floating around bits — was made in Louisiana using a smart phone. That gives the three pictures a range of about 16 years.
Looking back seems to be a good thing to do. Right now. But, I don’t want to get stuck there. Once I’m back in New Orleans, I’ll make some new pictures. It drives me crazy when I don’t do that.
That’s what this latest experimentation is about. Getting the images I see in my head out to you. The viewer. I suppose looking at the images I posted over the last three days, you could be wondering what is wrong with me. I wonder that myself sometimes.
I was watching a video called “Long Strange Trip.” It’s about the Grateful Dead. Jerry Garcia, one of the founders and perhaps the band’s face, based the whole experience on having fun. The entire Grateful Dead mystique was based on fun. Fun as defined by you. His fun might not be your fun. And, so on. But, that wasn’t for him to say.
Right now my fun is trying to make myself understood. In a different way. Using my own visual language. So that I can explore. And learn. And change. And grow.
The picture. Do you really want to know? It’s three pictures combined into one. A Mardi Gras Indian. Some long swamp grass. And, those little bud bits. They are adjusted. Moved around. Tinkered with. Toned. Layered. And blended. Those streaks that look like firework tails are really the swamp grass. The little glowing bits and flower buds. The indian. Well, you know. His feathers help make the picture stronger.