In hindsight, after a tempest I can always see it—the mark on the trail, the warnings, the storm brewing. It seems so obvious. That is the way of the path. Seldom does anything really smack us unexpectedly. When there is trouble ahead, there are signs. Always.
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It was raining peacefully on Sunday morning. The streets were washed clean by a storm that had hit the day before. The road shimmered in the weak light, twinkling with each drop from the sky. On a tempestuous Friday before the storm, I'd been hit between the eyes by a hurtful comment from a friend. It left me reeling. Sunday's gray drizzle seemed appropriate.
The doggie paddle was the first thing I learned how to do in Cook's Pond, a muddy swim hole in my New Jersey hometown. I dearly wanted to swim with the big boys out to the raft. But keeping my head above water had to be my first priority. The raft would wait. The doggy paddle came before the kick board which came before the breast stroke. I seemed to swallow a lot of water back then. I guess the murky pond was safe. I never did get sick.
An artist knows how quickly light changes. Landscape painters are keenly aware of shadow movement. Painting outdoors is a humbling experience. Nothing stands still. The universe speeds up and becomes elusive, as if it were aware that someone was trying to capture it.
It is time to migrate to a warmer place, at least for a few weeks. Regular readers of La Macchina Fotografica have probably noticed a drop-off on the regularity of our posts as of late. Life has become complex and it's time for a vacation. When we return at the end of September our posts will resume with vigor. We promise to resume our prolific nature.
A walk around the block—we tend to think of it as a numbing experience. It's just a walk around the block. It's the same block with the same cars and the same people and the very same smells and sights and sounds. Like some swinging pocket watch of a stage hypnotist, the sameness lulls us to sleep. We walk and mutter to ourselves that we need a change, we need a vacation.
Along my daily walk I stop. There is this wall in the park where people practice their tennis. I stare into my shadow. I squint to try to see what is there. It looks like me. I can always tell my shadow from others. My shadow has a certain hunch. "Posture!" I admonish myself. It doesn't matter. My shadow always has that peculiar look.
In the middle of an art fair I looked up. Atop a canvas tent a plain banner fluttered in a foggy breeze. Below was the spectacle of event. Artists, patrons, food vendors and children mingled amongst artifacts of the creative spirit. Yet, above it all was the homely banner. Boring and ordinary, it captivated me.
When my friends at Red Door Gallery in Oakland asked me to participate in their July, 2009 show, Shedding, I immediately accepted. Transition and transcendence have always been themes in my photomontage series, Desolation's Comfort. Whenever I'm asked to participate in a themed show, I try to go with the first impressions my imagination brings to me. In the this case, I had in my mind's eye the image of a giant snakeskin having be shed and blowing in the wind. Movement and scale are elements that I've always wanted to play with and incorporate in my prints. I therefore set out to create large banners to be hung from the rafters of the gallery.
Looking down I see the traces of those who came before me. Like an archeologist pondering his dig, I wonder what they mean. In the middle of a skateboard park, in the middle of suburbia, I laugh at my own pretensions. But then I realize that every mark is important. Each scratch tells a story. Each crack is an opening. I marvel at the beauty of a random universe.