One interesting thing about having the iPhone on me at all times—now that the camera is actually quite impressive—is how differently I find myself shooting with it vs the M6. These are a few from the past couple days.
One thing I’ve noticed is that since the intention with shooting on a phone is to display on a small screen (via Instagram or whatever social app), details are often cast aside. Seeing these photos in larger or different contexts adjusts their very nature of being significantly.
Posted on October 19, 2014 at 7:53 pm in Dispatches · Link to Post
Tags: Mystery and Wonder, Photography
From Here To There
There’s really something to be said for public transit in Portland. On a single car I rode just from the inner Southwest out to the Convention Center, I sat next to three nuns and an old man who had let his pants fall pretty low as his despair was quite evident. Another woman sat illuminated in the nicest light, her heavy wheezing and deeply shaded protective eyewear making her appear almost as a cartoonish tragedy. Two kids played with a knife in the back.
There are certain times when everyday life makes me step back and question my own reality. Most of how I think is in a form of logic versus chaos, and so when I am sitting in a train with nuns, homeless people and teenagers with iPhones and $300 basketball shoes at the same time my brain starts doing cartwheels trying to figure out how it is we all got to this point.
(This is also how I end up procrastinating so much; I start considering how little any work we do in life matters, and then just give up on it before I start. Whoops.)
Posted on October 19, 2014 at 4:15 pm in Dispatches · Link to Post
Tags: Mystery and Wonder, Static Prevails
First We Take Manhattan
The Berlin Wall is returning in the form of this absolutely fantastic public art piece.
Berlin is just one of those places (still able to stir up some shit) that I just feel like if I don’t live in for a significant amount of time before my time is up here, I’ll regret it when death knocks.
Upon visiting the city in 2013, it was a confluence of uncomfortable events and bad weather and it was still an awesome time. (I was, however, still drinking at the time.) It wasn’t unlike the first time I ever walked through Portland or Osaka in the sense of feeling like I’d found a place where I naturally just belonged.
I suppose these sorts of cities evolve over time; Chicago has a very similar feeling and Portland would if it were a bit blockier and had a bit more diversity. But Berlin has a real proper mixture of pride, self-respect and rebellion to take itself seriously as a city. (Portland, I would argue, is more passive in generally complying with the word of law.)
Either way. Some old photographs and new reasons to keep wandering.
Posted on October 19, 2014 at 8:49 am in Dispatches · Link to Post
Tags: Mystery and Wonder, Photography, Roaming For The Moment
TRL Fan Favorites in 1999
Though sports journalism isn’t traditionally my thing, I could really get lost in this as a story. Hopefully soon something will come of it. These are a few from my recent night shooting a DOA Pro Wrestling event.
Posted on October 17, 2014 at 3:17 pm in Dispatches · Link to Post
Tags: Mystery and Wonder, Nothing But Net, Photography
The Breaks In Daylight
Posted on October 14, 2014 at 6:52 pm in Works · Link to Post
Tags: Mystery and Wonder, Photography
Instead of Your Gun
So on Sunday I decided to take my old 5-D Mark II out for a spin. While normally this would be an unremarkable morning, the fact of the matter is that I haven’t shot this camera since buying my Leica.
It’s incredible how challenging the entire endeavor was. I did go out for that reason—a challenge of sorts—but I realize that I’d completely lost touch with the photographer I used to be when I would shoot with the psychology of the wide-open range of the digital world.
It really goes to show how much of photography has to exist in the mind, and how much having a direct relationship with your tools can really govern how a result is created.
Posted on October 14, 2014 at 7:46 am in Dispatches · Link to Post
Tags: Mystery and Wonder, Photography
The Time of Your Life
I think a lot about time these days.
I mean, it’s fascinating because it’s not necessarily a universal language the way mathematics is, however it’s a necessary global concept for basic civil understanding. It’s measured in all sorts of strange increments, again in almost strikingly un-mathematical ways. There are even different ways to read time (I prefer this). There’s sixty seconds and sixty minutes, but after that it’s 24, 7, 356 and pretty soon you’re in an episode of Lost.1
This is why the intersections of math and time are so fascinating. We celebrate time in an almost Fibonacci-esque way; at the beginning of life, each hour and then each day and then each week count to the annoying point where you’re telling people your kid is 11 months and 2 weeks old instead of, “Almost a year.” With each celebration, the anniversary almost loses meaning instead of gains; 18 months is about as old as anyone will care in that term before only years matter. And then when you hit 18 years, birthdays matter less between 21 and 30. And nobody cares how old you are after that.
At the beginning of a relationship, it’s cute dates to celebrate the first week since your second meeting and by year three in marriage, it’s barely worth celebrating in the relationship. Nobody else is going to throw a party until you hit a milestone anniversary like 25.
Ten months is not really an anniversary. You don’t hit the metric system until after you clear the first year, and even then it’s less metrics and more whatever the Romans thought would be a good point of designating a new letter for.2
Ten months is just 304 days, or at least, that’s how long this specific ten month span has been since I stopped drinking.3
But ten months is still something. It’s a span of time, one that is less important than the minutes in between the spaces of a broken heart and the bar next door when you really want to drink and more important than the ten years spent inhabiting said space, drunk.
And I don’t know, I guess it’s for the better. I’ve been told that I am—that my life is—better off this way. I can feel that I feel a little better, but I can’t say it’s for the better. The way that they say for good like for ever even though obviously permanence is not a synonym for perfection.
These people all tell me that it’s better to be more like the rest of them, especially when it comes to the bottle, but most of them can’t even explain to me the insane way we make sense of time. And if you can’t even figure out the space of a dimension you’re inhabiting, how can you really know the best way to live in it?
This isn’t to say I’m intimidated by alcohol or see some sort of imminent relapse, but it is daunting to think of anything as forever. Choice is what makes us innately human, and feeling restricted from that choice is more a tempting reason to break it than even the finest scotch in town.4
But whatever. Not yesterday, not today, not tomorrow. The rest, well. I’ve got time. And if I don’t—if I died unexpectedly—I guess this isn’t the worst way to go out.
Posted on October 13, 2014 at 7:37 am in Dispatches · Link to Post
Tags: Kiss The Bottle, Missives and Misgivings, Mystery and Wonder
Battle Under Burnside
I’m pretty sure I’m going to find one (or more) of these guys to write stories on for my thesis. This was just too weird and cool. I was a kid in the 90s who never really got into the wrestling thing, and to this day don’t fully understand the fascination. Which is why I think writing a story on it would be pretty fun.
These are all iPhone photos—which aren’t actually terrible—and I also have a roll and a half of Delta 3200 to start with. We’ll see where it goes from here. Not a bad way to spend a Friday night, though.
Posted on October 11, 2014 at 12:09 am in Dispatches · Link to Post
Tags: Mystery and Wonder, Photography, What Fuckery Is This
Mountains Made of Steam
This was our stormy ending. Water sank our boat. Shouldn’t we, oh, shouldn’t we throw our hopes into the ocean? The warm, gray sea? Tell me or kick me or hold me or please believe.
This is their busted future and this is our dream; which one do you believe in? Believe in, believe in, believe in, believe in together, together, together, together never to retreat. Mystery and wonder, messy hearts made of thunder.
Somewhere there’s a soldier sleeping in a field and somewhere there’s a mother. Please believe in gentle dreams. The sweetness of people, whistling in their sleep.
The angels in your palm sing gentle, worried songs. The sweetness of our dreams, like mountains made of steam.
Though I could never actually make such a decision, this would be a contender for my favorite song.
Posted on October 9, 2014 at 1:49 am in Observations · Link to Post
Tags: Mystery and Wonder, Photography, Punk Rock Ruined My Life
Open Roads and Closed Circuits
In May of 2005, I packed up all my belongings and my cat and drove from Savannah, Georgia to Portland, Oregon. In 2007, I did the same but from Portland to Austin. In 2008, Austin to Boston. In 2009, Boston to San Francisco. And in 2012, San Francisco back to Portland. All of this has been in my quite enjoyable 1999 Subaru Impreza that I’ve been driving since I was 18. Of course, I’m not writing to tell you about my car, or even my movements. This is about time and space and the news.
Do you know how fucking incredible Utah is? Probably not. Because it’s not really a state people flock to. Maybe it’s the piss beer or the Mormon influence or just the idea that why the fuck would you go to Utah when California isn’t too far away? But I digress.
In my move from Portland to Austin in 2007, I had to drive through Utah, north to south, beginning in a monstrous snowstorm in which I was certain I was going to die in a nasty car wreck and ending in the serene beauty of the state’s impossible to photograph terrain. I can’t recall my exact route because somewhere outside of Provo I had to improvise a way to get through the state as to avoid the weather, and ended up on a meandering journey that showed me a few different reasons Utah has been lauded as some sort of Promised Land.1
The point being is that under no circumstance would I have ever thought, “Utah sounds like a good place to spend some time in.” But then I was presented with a reason.
Beyond The Horizons
Did you know the civil war in Syria is still going on? We’re concerned, now, about which side we’re helping. But it’s still happening.
I mention this because this time last year, the war in Syria was a hot topic on the news. The same with Edward Snowden and the still-important NSA files. It’s all but faded from view, mostly, as there are more pressing, immediate headlines that will soon be forgotten as well:
Because this is what we see on CNN today. This is what we are told to care about, and for those of us who aren’t generally resourceful to find other sources of information, this is the extent of it. And how fucked up is it that we’re abridging important stories in order to have scare tactic click bait headlines involving a non-threatening Ebola scare?
The Scenic Route
There are times in life when we should take the scenic route. There are times to drive around a storm. But when faced with the news, the very information that allows us to take action in society and elect proper representation or make decisions as to what we inherently believe, it seems even more important to pay attention to the journey. To not cut corners. To not open up the engine and race to the finish line.
Yet this is what we’re faced with. An increasingly bold-and-all-caps headline culture that gives up on stories that endure in favor of the ones that sell papers. One may argue that it’s about the end, not the means.2 But that’s only valid when you’re talking about something less consequential than democratic participation.
It’s not that a diagnosis of Ebola in Dallas is not important. But obsessing over unknowns isn’t responsible journalism. There are dire situations in many parts of the world that are happening right now that affect us in one way or another, yet we’re cutting corners and only looking at headlines.
We’re looking at postcards instead of the view and wondering what the big fuss about majesty is. And we’re running the risk of forgetting what it’s like to stop along the side of the road and take in the view. It’s important to know the world around you, but nobody can tell you why. It’s just when you stop seeing it through a screen, you understand.
Posted on October 1, 2014 at 10:47 am in Essays · Link to Post
Tags: Bad News, Mystery and Wonder, Post-Cultural America, Roaming For The Moment