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june finds me ripe with ability and focus
Okay. wow. june already.
Things are good. it’s weird to say that but things are good. my garden is growing, my 29 planters are starting to fill in. my body still works better than it has in decades. Coffee keeps giving me energy to power through the days. Father is healing up and should be back to his old ways soon.
I still own, to my daily amazement, a beautiful lime green jeep that has an angry face but a warm heart and a good luck duck, left by someone who took the time to find a duck that matches my jeep. I’m dwelling on this but it makes me happy every day to see bruce and go bounce around in him.
I am awash in great camera gear that helps me make beautiful photos, and just added the Fujifilm GF 45mm f/2.8 which is a light (by medium format standards) 35mm equivalent a view I’ve missed sorely for years.
I have steady work that isn’t horrible at all and challenges my mind regularly, and keeps me in jeeps and fine lenses.
What more could a man ask.
Perhaps a warm soft, loving woman with a sharp mind who laughs a lot. Sure. but who has it all. Being alone isn’t always the same as being lonesome and most days these days I’m just so profoundly grateful for how my body works I can’t really feel down about the rest of it. Who knows if this can hold.
A couple things ruminating in my hind brain right now are closely related to the work I’ve had before me in moving my utterly massive archive of images into a new editing setup, and also just the hectic pace of spring life in general.
First, is purely a reminder for anyone reading that needs reminding, Slow down.
Give time to the things that need time. Spend as much time as it takes to do that thing you’re doing well, without rush, without panic.
I’ve been trying to practice this myself. Allowing the time something needs, regardless of my schedule, or how much time I want it to take. There’s a richness that develops in life when we do this. The concentration of focus combined with the throwing off of time related stress creates an entirely different feeling, which lets me go deeper into whatever that thing is—currently exploring a new style of edits.
Richer and deeper are words that matter to me.
I can hardly make sense that some of these photos are 5 years old. I remember that foggy dusk in the rolling hills of the foothills like it was last month.
I have so much work I’ve never shared. never had time, or ability to make sense of. The frantic time of creating moves too fast. winter is meant for dwelling but usually it’s more about really drilling down into major work projects.
On some level whatever is happening is de facto normal. I tend to use whatever my body will allow me to make things. To get out and see things, rather than sitting here working on organizing, or curating, or often even editing and it’s only after prolonged periods of trying to come up with a better edit where I go insane for a couple months that I get back to actually producing work to share.
I’m there now. welcome.
I’ve resisted just slamming out about 10 photo posts over the last couple weeks. I don’t know how this newsletter stuff works. what is too much? is it better to just try to hold the schedule of once a week—which feels impossibly too much in January and not even close to enough by June. I could do several photo only posts a week in the peak months. Who wants that though?
The second thing I’ve really been focused on is the size, scale and weight of my archives after over 20 years of making work. I sometimes feel like I carry this giant indecipherable body of work around on my back all day. A weight holding me in place in some ways, holding me down in others.
The closer I inch to old age, and realizing the scope of the work I’ve made—in video, photos, timelapses, panos, hyperlapses, etc—I lose sight of what value it has in it’s current state. Moreover, may there by mercy on my daughter’s soul if I pass unexpectedly before getting this under control. She’d be better to just delete it all, or it threatens to consume a second life.
Which, has me in an odd state of mind for June which is normally a peak creation month but so far has been hot, dry, smokey and almost entirely without storms.
It has me feeling like it might be time to finally settle on a “look” or “style” and lock these photos in for good.
You know, commit to something.
I have this urge to seriously limit what comes with me and my archive into the second half of this decade. To spent the next 18 months organizing, culling and trying to find what matters—We’ve long since passed what is good enough to warrant keeping barrier—and just tossing everything else.
I made all this work and I understand almost none of it. What are the themes, what is the story? is there a book or six buried in here?
I wonder, tying the ideas together, what richness, or depth is hiding just outside of the time pressure of trying to rush (or alternately entirely ignore) this part of the work. the sorting, weighing, deciding, committing parts. What mysteries are on the other side of understanding your own work and why you’re making it?
The entire project has no clear value to sit down and really do. It would be a massive undertaking which would surely cut back on creating new work, and what if I’m just feeling sure of myself right now only to next month be back to not knowing what I think I want, like after culling a couple hundred thousand images.
I feel like at some point you have to put a stake in the ground and say this is who I am. This is what I care about. what moves me. what I want to move you.
In ways, the digital flexibility of our editing has made building cohesive bodies of work near impossible. There’s always another edit around the corner. And my never ending curiosity about how an edit can entirely change an image isn’t helping.
maybe in another life, a film only life I’d have reconciled myself to focusing on two film stocks and mastering them. That sounds like how I like to imagine I am, but the endless variety is hard to resist and my entire body of work continues to evolve with my self.
That’s probably not normal, or healthy and it does slow you down. It does sidetrack you.
I’m the guy who can’t stop dating different edits.
I’m going to end up alone in my old age, never having truly loved a final picture.
or. the story I like to tell myself is true. that i’ve been waiting for technology to catch up to my eye. waiting for editing software to get behind scene referred editing over display referred. Waiting for adobe to understand there is more to life than just curves.
I like to tell myself an image isn’t done till it feels done and I have felt very hamstrung by the tools I have used to date. I feel closer today than a year ago, and as I learn new techniques that bring me even closer to what feels right, maybe commitment won’t be as challenging.
but I could just be rationalizing.