It's 4.30 on a Sunday in mid-March and right now, I can't think of a better time to be breathing in the crisp, mud-scented air than this moment. I listen to six cylinders and gravel crunch under the wheels and my brain is rapid-firing at me with thoughts about what the fuck I am doing and who the fuck I am. I downshift for the stop sign and brake. Here, now my head and heart is full of wanting of direction and an idea of what I will be in 5 10 15 years and the only thing I can see is brown, tilled fields and leafless tree lines.
Picking up a camera to attempt to make an image that is interesting and smart and subtle has seemed like too much of an effort lately and I find myself going "but what's the point of photographing here? What important thing are you trying to said that already hasn't been said about the loss of rural life in the United States? You are beating a dead horse. Put the camera down" when my eye is pressed to the view finder. It doesn't seem like such a great thing to plot a future around but neither do any of the other ideas that I've come up within the past year or so (welder, librarian, intellect, part of the NPR braintrust, farmer, photographer, etc.). I want to know as much as I can, see as much as I can see. I want to shove as much stuff into my brain and figure out what to do from there.
I want to be everything. I want to be everywhere.
Merchants' Square, Allentown PA.
It's a really beautiful moment when, amidst feelings of detachment, confusion and alienation, the world hands a picture to you with a smirk on it's face and whispers "Here. This one is for you."
More on Merchants' Square in the coming days. The world is warming, slowly, and this weekend I am headed back to the place that birthed me.
Two things, which are shining examples of those things from the past coming back to impact the future.
Polaroid film. Instant, with those strange colors, is one object in photo-making who's manufacturing life has met it's end. The need for the instamatic camera and the one and only it spits out has radically diminished with the massive take-over of digital cameras. It is a niche market now, an object of the past that technology has eradicated.
Which is why I want to see The Impossible Project succeed this year. I am rooting for them.
Google's archives of LIFE magazine. This article published this week by the New York Times Magazine discusses the problem with Google's recently digitized LIFE photographic archive and it's lack of contextualizing details. In it, Heffernan explains why this lack of contextualizing evidence simplifies and softens the subject matter, how it doesn't explain the obsession with the Kennedy's and is sorely lacking the way the images were categorized. Imagine my delight at the job she is proposing for the particular photography lovers and aspiring librarians everywhere:
"If Google intends to get into the business of displaying photography, it needs to either encourage wiki curation or, more feasibly, to hire a team of people who understand photography to make the most of the raw material here. It’s a good time for it: many first-rate content providers who made their careers in old media (some who even understand the significance of Life photography) would be happy, one of these days, to get a call from Google."
I won't lie: my toes curled.