So, I have been talked into starting a blog. It wasn’t all that hard seeing as I need to get some written words down and I can never seem to find a pen. So, seeing as I am a photographer, this blog will have a lot to do with, well, Photography. I will also be touching on things like guns, travel, day to day bullshit, travel and more bullshit. Ill make it as enthralling as possible but in the end, this is really only for me and the rest of you, well, I don’t care. So, on that apathetic note, I figure I will start off with something that has been bothering me lately, namely, the overbearing feeling that I have a parasite living inside me.
I recently returned from shooting in Africa and have been making myself comfortable back here in the states enjoing such things like running water, electricity and a severe lack of visible disease. Well, before too long, I started to feel a bit off but passed it off as being tired and still jet lagged. This persisted for another week I guess and I wasn’t really feeling any better but then again, not much worse. So, days go by and that brings me to today. I wake as usual way to early but I am suddenly thrust into the land of the (barely) living with the most severe pain coming from inside me. It was a very acute pain in the sense that it hurt like hell but I really couldn’t figure out where the hell it was coming from. All I knew was that it was not my head and not my feet that hurt but somewhere inbetween. Now, at this point, Im not going to go into the details of the typical travelers 3rd world malaise. I would rather not commit those types of things to a blog, notebook or any other literary device. It was bad. Real bad. Ill just say that it sounded like I had a Mr. Coffee percolating inside me and that the only thing solid that came out of me was the smell.
Anyways, Im getting off track. So, Im sick, half awake and pretty much wanting to die. This goes on for another half hour or so and when I am finally emerging from my dismal lair, I am informed that I need to come outside and take a group photo of my folks, myself and their general contractor (remodeled the house) in front of nothing other than the damn porta-potty that is sitting in their driveway. Not only did I just die and resurect myself, it was snowing and about 25 deg. outside. So, I had a pretty shitty morning and the only thing that kept going through my mind was ‘I wonder what is living inside me?’ followed by ‘since I am taking photos of porta-potties now, does that mean my photography is shit?’
Fast forward to about 3:00 today and the weather hasn’t gotten any better. I feel a bit better but am tired of being inside. So, I get some warm clothes on and decide that I will go and shoot the images that I need to for some article in View Camera magazne that I have been invited to be a part of. Now, View Camera is one of those magazines that caters to rich old guys who collect old cameras and never really shoot them. I, on the other hand am a young poor guy who some how has some of these same cameras and does shoot them. Anyways, the theme for this article has something to do with the meeting of land and water (coastlines, rivers, etc. etc.) but the catch is, it is all Whole Plate format work. Whole Plate is an archaic large format (6.5″ X 8.5″) from England that is somehow hanging around, partially due to idiots like me. So, I have my WP camera, my tripod and a bag of film holders and I go off to find the only water I know of around these parts and try to make an image.
The first steps that I take once I get out of the car, I am blown over by the wind, stumble, trip and fall into a fucking ditch. Great. I would say I got up and dusted myself off but the 30 mph gusts of wind took care of that. Across the road I go, over a guard rail, through some trash, down a pile of loose boulders and I am dumped out into a freezing, fetid swamp. I have about 1000 yards to go to get to my shot and ever step I take loosens the mud and releases the most god-awful smell from below the surface. Again, the wind took care of that for the most part. Finally, Im too my spot, get the tripod set, pull the camera out, reset the tripod from sinking in the mud, slap a lens on and start to compose. At this point, it seems like it is going to be worth it. I am liking the composition, the light is quite nice and well, the cold isn’t that bad when the wind dosen’t blow. Ah, but the wind does come sweeping down the plains (Im in Oklahoma, by the way) and violently too. As soon as I have the film holder locked in place and all ready to go, the wind would pick up by a factor of 5 and just blow that big camera of mine all over the place. This happened every time I was ready to go, on all 4 sheets of film.
So, Im done, I get my shots, Im cursing the wind but it is just disappearing into the roar of the wind and now I am defeated. I just stop and stand with my back to the wind, brain numbed by the cold and just stare at my feet. I watch the mud come up around my feet and over the toes of my boots and it looks (and smells) just like what I went through in the morning. I think I would have stayed there awash with futility if I hadn’t looked at that primordial ooze and thought, ‘hey, I got to keep moving.’
I hope the images are worth it.