Friday, December 30, 2016

Two Thousand Seventeen Minus One Day

Oh these little moments that I pretend to capture on purpose.  Some secret, hidden part of  my mind is fully aware of what is happening, but it doesn't tell me.  It's just like, "no, he'll see it later."  Then when I do see it later I hate my mind for not working in a way that allows me to go into these situations better able to shoot for certain moods and themes.  I do capture some amazing things, but I need to stop saying that I do it by accident, because I don't.  Most a lifetime of studying human beings and shooting them running around naked lead to that mild spark that sets off my shutter finger.  I can focus on what I was supposed to capture, based on other's goals, or choose to see what I got, whether I was conscious of it or not.
Two years ago at this time I was still driving back to my little desert hole from SLO, after shooting the K's, Katja Gee and Keira Grant, fighting sleep in rainy LA traffic.  I miraculously made it home alive, only to find my life flipped upside down five days later on a highway famous for killing people, while heading up my then forsaken mountain to run a film fest that I thought had also banished me.  Less than a month later, I would accidentally find my own K, and a few years would play out like a lifetime of ups and downs, getting me here, both up and down.
Tomorrow I work lunch at my restaurant, then head over to the Brewpub that Ive been brewing beer at for two months to cook in the New Year with a soft opening.  That's, at very least, a 14 hour day for those of you who like math (I'm not complaining, bosses.  I am happy to do this [hopefully I'll be able to run around with my camera whilst working, though, just saying]), then on Sunday we plan to shoot in the snow, which is work; the tentative plan on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday is to brew more beer, because BEER; then the annual film fest starts and runs through the 15th, which means 12 to 14 hour days holed away in a projection booth, fighting sleep and losing my ever loving mind.


I will sleep when I'm dead........... which might happen sometime in the next two weeks.  =)


Bring on 2017.  Things change now.


I should probably be sleeping right now.

Monday, December 26, 2016

This is how I feel right now.










I need to treat more photos.

Resolve

 It is approaching that time of year again: the big reset.  This is where most decide to lose weight, or study harder, or complain less, or quit or start various, life-destroying things, most of which things last about a week.  I'm going to drink more beer, or better beer, but I've already been doing that, so I guess I'm doing nothing this year.
 In thinking about everything in my life and reviewing my year, I realized today that I've basically been set on auto pilot for the last year and a half: I go to work everyday, and go accomplish something with my day off.  The something I accomplish is creative, and I get pretty pissy when it doesn't work out, but what am I really accomplishing?...like..... you know........... I don't have a plan; I don't have a vision; I just capture what people give me, but people don't really give me anything anymore, and I am usually in a bad mood because they don't.
 When I was put in this situation where I was shooting something with souls who were willing and able to model, with obvious, silly limitations, to accomplish a specific goal for someone else, I found myself staring blankly into the infinite abyss of the universe.  So, what do I expect?

I don't know.

Interest without conditions and fears?

I just want to accomplish something beautiful.
 I keep saying that.

Over and over.

Years.

What do I mean?

What am I accomplishing?

I should be writing a fucking book right now, in these brief little moments I get with my computer, instead of vomiting out this drivel about things that don't exist anymore.
 Today we headed off the hill to have dinner with some of my old, beautiful friends.  In the midst of that I apparently got repeated calls from work asking me to come in and help because they were getting slammed.  I had asked if they would need my help today, and was prepared to be around, but committed to this little journey because I was assured that it would be fine.

That made me angry, because I wanted to be there, but I couldn't be there.  I'm sure all of them just hate me for not being there.  I am also sure that they survived, because that's how it works.
 New Year's resolutions, though.

Breathe.

My website is severely dated.  My Redbubble is empty.  None of my various online accounts are updated, aside from my blogs, which leave much to be desired.  I seriously just need to unplug from life and take care of my mind shit... the mind shit that people appreciate but don't really appreciate.  We have a week off from toddler (not a toddler anymore), but we still have a three month old... these brief little moments.
I had mentioned that this shoot allowed me to meet the girl that my girl had a history with, which was mostly intoxicated debacles from what I've been told, but I'm beginning to realize that there was a bit more emotion involved than your typical high school bullshit, which makes me tilt my head a bit, because when it comes to me shooting the girls I've been shooting for years the black tape comes out.


I have a lot going on in my head right now that I can't write about.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas?


I would much rather Morvern Callar myself in the morning.


My daughter has been singing and playing instruments at this sad little corner of the world for I don't know how long, because they won't tell me, or invite me to any of the performances.


There was a Christmas Eve performance, on this particularly shitty year, in which I, my girl, and our little Eroica were invited, though I am still convinced it was a mistake... the invite, not our showing up.  I honestly don't even know if we were invited, or if it was just my mom doing her shit.


My first born, Adagio, has an amazing, eclectic voice.  I can only hope that she learns to place it better than I did with mine.  I hated mine.  Now I can finally understand how stupid I was.


The "boy who called me dad" spent the entire dinner staring out the window.  Something is seriously going on there.  I have invited him up, in his turning 21 and our having Eroica, repeatedly, but he doesn't respond.  I am honestly surprised he even showed up.  I really wish he would just stand toe to toe with me and tell me that I'm not his dad, because I'm not, and also tell me that when I pretended to be his dad I was horrible at it, because I was.


I often joked about my daughter turning 16... when I had to make the decision to stay in the relationship I wasn't happy with, 15 fucking years ago, or go out into the world and live my miserable life and have an interesting story to tell ... I said that all I could really hope for is that she decided to hunt me down when she was at her age and ask me all the questions that I could answer for her.  She is nowhere to be found, and the boy who called me dad is even further than anywhere to be found.  My story is interesting, but no one gives a shit.


We can't afford to have a Christmas this year.  Babes is out of town, with her real dad and his family, at which place I am sure she will have an "I'm three now" good time.  I decided to stay up late tonight, in an attempt to articulate how I feel about my little tid bit of being let into my kids world, but also being accidentally, purposely excluded.

"Can we not do presents this year?

Sure.

...but, Kala.

I am fucking...

... fuck.


Fuck this..



Thursday, December 22, 2016

Purposely Not Linked To Social Media

You are amazing.


I am fully aware of all the things that you do for me and our family, and I wish I could afford to pay you more, lol.


Merry Christmas, Love.


Just keep swimming.

Breathe

This is how I feel right now.


I brewed my first beer today, an Irish-ish red-ish, with a lot of help.  It did not go as planned, but it didn't go horribly wrong, and I have a much firmer grasp on the process.  Christmas is three days away, so that's happening, or not happening.  So many things I want to say, but I can't, so... here's a rare photo of a model surfacing.


*cheers*

*edit

Turns out we didn't accidentally kill the originally intended yeast by introducing it to a kettle temperature of 150 degrees because my brewing mentor was distracted by someone wandering into the brewery and striking up a conversation and I didn't know the process well enough to know what was really going on, so, this is how I feel right now.

lAvaNyamaya.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Winter Solstice #39

They call it the first day of winter, but when you live in the cold mountains and have no way to commute in the snow, it is really the first day of winter dying.  Days get longer from here on out.  The days will gradually get brighter, to shed light on a brighter year; to illuminate a brighter future.  That philosophy applies more to my life than ever before.  This day is not only the shortest day of the year, but the farthest point in the cycle from my 40th birthday, so this particular brightening should be even more significant that all the rest.  

Eroica was noted as a turning point in Beethoven’s life, welcoming in the middle stage of his work.  That was part of the reason why I chose that name.  This whole year has been a bit of a flail, though; a great big question mark that has given way to more question marks.  I have accomplished so much with this girl and my new family, but am still suspended in a creative grey area.  There is still a lot of conflict to be resolved, but still plenty of willingness to keep going.

Just keep swimming.

This year has given me far more cancellations than accomplishments, but I am so very grateful for what I have access to on the rare occasion that I do.  I just keep going.  Suddenly, we are at the precipice of the year turning back to bright, and I feel it.  I write a lot that is misinterpreted as negative, but I try to at least make it funny.  I had a conversation with one of my bosses after my last big post about my being emotionally extraverted, which may sound absurd if you know me, but is really true in my writing.  Maybe I need that to balance out my social introvertedness?  That’s a word now.  


Do not forget that I created this character so that I could write about my life “for the sake of fiction.”  I have purposely omitted details and whole truths to tell a story.  In the same regard, I have created my own details and basic truths to tell a story.  The easiest story to tell is one’s own.  While I do appreciate that I have people in my life who care enough about me to worry about my well being, or worry about their potential shortcomings, I never mean to single anyone out, I’m just telling a story, mostly as a bystander myself. 
I write about the chaos of relationships and the absurdity of people; I am not attacking my girl or complaining about my relationship.  I write about all of my equipment and technological problems; I’m not complaining about the luxuries that I am lucky to have.  I write about the atrocities of people trying desperately to be beautiful in a world that they were beautiful having been born into;  I am not complaining about the opportunities that I am genuinely grateful for having.  I write about how much or little I work; I’m not attacking my bosses or complaining about my job(s).  Everything is exactly how it’s supposed to be.  I am simply writing down observations I make on the reality that I choose to see. 
Any time someone takes what I have to say to heart, which I’m sure is difficult not to do sometimes, I can’t help but wonder if Kerouac or Thompson or Hemingway or fucking Bukowski or whoever were confronted by who they wrote about or straight up attacked? because they were simply writing what they knew best: their own charmed lives.  Was their work, in their time, accepted as fiction?  Did the unnamed individuals take that public attack as a duel to their graves, or was it written off as eye-rolling passive story?  Obviously I don’t compare myself to the mentioned writers, but I often compare my life to theirs. 
Maybe my life being less charmed and celebrated makes my work more offensive and accusatory?  I don’t know.  What I do know, without a doubt in my mind, is that the story I have written, regarding the life that I have been given, is right there, whether I become someone that anyone wants to read about or not.  I went on a bit of a tangent there, but that is something I’ve been meaning to talk about on here for a while now.  In the old blog I pushed the boundaries a lot just to see what kind of effect I could have, still trying to make waves in an ocean that I hated. 
Now, I’m just trying to float with the uncontrollable tide of this beautiful, all consuming ocean of life.  I am not interested in making waves anymore, but I write plenty about the waves that are already there, and will continue to be there, whether we allow them to affect us negatively, or joke about them and move on.  This my life.  There will be highs and lows.  There will be 
droughts and storms.  There will be calm and chaos.  There will be life.  I simply choose to write about it on a raw, more realistic level.  I am sorry if that offends you.
I have treated very few of these photos in relation to the big picture.  Just getting them uploaded was an issue, as I mentioned, and little things like half the pool being taped off was an issue.  I don't "photoshop" a lot, and to be perfectly honest, I'm not very good at it.  A lot of photographers would better be considered artists because of their photoshop prowess.  I do very basic treatments.  In cases like this, however, the tape was too much of a distraction.  I was stuck on that side of the pool and they could only do it once, which they were doing with or without me.  Seeing the original, you can zoom in to the first photo in this post and cringe along with me.  

Things are getting brighter regardless.  

Everything is beautiful.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Quintessential Christmas Card Photo

This is me after checking my bank account this morning, Ero sucking on my arm...hairball...Vi with a carved Santa in her mouth, and, of course, K with the...

What.
The.
Actual.
Fuck.
Am.
I.
Doing.
Here.

...look on her face.


Keep an eye on your mailboxes everyone.  Merry Fucking Christmas!

L'hôtel

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate shooting in hotel rooms?

I believe I have.

Hate.

Primarily because I have yet to set foot in a hotel room that didn't look like a cookie cutter hotel room.  I've been, and shot, in everything from rooms that look like storage rooms converted into hotel rooms, to honeymoon suites.  The latter, though it did have a pretty fancy whirlpool bathtub, looked like a fucking hotel room.  Some are obviously better than others, but they're all the same.  I have seen photos and have heard stories about amazing rooms, but they continue to elude me.  One model actually went on and on about how amazing the room was that she was staying in, but not only could she not get a photographer to shoot her there, but one of her gigs was actually across town in a shitty hotel room.  She was pretty pissed.  That was in Arizona, I believe.  Imagine that.
I did go into this shoot a bit apprehensive, but I wasn't worried.  The room was tiny and dark, and the hotel room shots were supposed to take place after we lost sun by the pool.  My hands were kind of tied.  The other photographer, who was brought on to shoot the video portion, jumped right into the room shoot, using a flash.  I hate using a flash.  On top of my hatred for using a flash, the nice flash that I do own (and only use as a fill on sunny days) was basically having uncontrollable seizures while I was shooting.  I was reduced to natural light.
We did end up getting another lamp in the room, but when you've got your aperture opened all the way up, you're shooting at 1/60th of a second, and you are pushing the iso boundaries before it gets too noisy to use, it takes a shit ton of precision to get a photo that is in usable focus, while pushing the underexposure to a usable adjustment with a raw photo.  Does any of that make sense?  I went into this a uncomfortable about even being responsible for taking these photos.  I was supposed to be shooting BTS (documenting what's happening is what I'm good at) and additional video for that portion, with the room available for other work, but that turned into me doing the stills bit in a hotel room with my creative hands tied.  Lucky the other photographer jumped in and shot some stuff.  Hopefully he did a better job than I did.  I can't help but feel like I failed at this one.  This was basically a favor for a girl that my girl has known for years, but just the way I treat photos and see the world kind of set me up to fail.  I don't mind doing stuff like this; we met some great people and hopefully made some connections with people who might be interested more in fine art than fashion; but I really felt out of my element.
On top of all that, my computer decided to slug down when I went to dump photos that night, so I had to choose between letting LR run and go to sleep, or charge my batteries.  When I woke up in the morning, LR was still frozen in the same place and the batteries were that much more drained, so day two was pushing it, hoping my card didn't fill up or my batteries die.  When I did get home I figured out that it was likely a CF card glitch (more cut rate equipment problems), but my LR wouldn't run.  I figured it was because I was disconnected from the adobe cloud and hadn't updated, so I went to do that, only to find that my shotty internet connection that we're paying $50 a month for will forever be shit.
The update took a couple days.  I ended up dumping the photos to the Bridge on my old machine, which took forever but worked fine, then transferring photos over to my shitty editing machine, 8gb at a time, because that's the biggest free flash I've got available.  That took a couple days.  I lost video.  I'm frustrated.  I go through the photos to find a bunch of blurry crap.  I feel like a failure.  I keep going.  I got everything dumped and transferred in time to charge and clear everything for a little Christmas party at the brewery I've been working at, and I am terrified to even look at those photos.
Meanwhile, can you see the difference between what I get out of my fine art girl, as opposed to the fashion model?  I have such a hard time explaining the difference to people, but it's clear when you see it, aside from the obvious fear of your own body, which is basically what you're selling.  I realize that you are actually selling social armor, for the most part, but your body is the base of the soup: if your base is fear, your soup is shit, regardless of what frilly whatever you fill it with to make it taste good.

That was a really random analogy.

At the end of the day...these days...I have no complaints, aside from maybe people still not understanding what I'm doing or what I'm about.  Maybe I just need to get better at doing what other people want?  That would make me a photographer, though, or a writer, or an actor... all titles of jobs which I do not do.  I just keep doing what I love and hope that someone out there appreciates it.  For something like this, where marketing is involved, and specific branding, what are we selling?  At a glance, it looks like were selling Elle magazine, and really enjoying it.  This is obviously a very brief overview of the two day shoot in San Diego.  We got some good stuff and met some good people, and I finally got to meet the girl that my girl has known for years, but have yet to meet because we are social recluses and have two children and I work a lot and we live in the mountains.

Have a Cup of Tea

Babes has been sick.  Early this morning she asked me to make her some tea.  She had gotten a nice little tea set for her birthday days ago, so...




This happened.



Monday, December 19, 2016

Waiting...

Jackie Battle, waiting, eloquently.


The toddler turned into not a toddler anymore today, much chaos, and I've been working as much as possible.


These will happen.


Everything is beautiful.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Dot Dot Dot

We had a couple days.


Still uploading photos on my seriously-needs-to-be-upgraded-system.


It has been hours and days and freezes and crashes and loopholes and now hours again, on two seriously dated computers.


This is stupid.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

In the Mean Time

 I have nightmares about grain and mills and chemicals eating my skin.  This is so weird.  For over a decade of my life I was paid for my expertise and experience, which basically consisted of unlocking the business and sitting there until everyone left.  Everything in between was mindless.  The only reason I had that job was because if something went wrong I could fix it.  I wasn't friendly, or even nice.  I didn't bring people to the business.  If anything, I drove them away.  There were the precious few who appreciated who I was, but even fewer were the people who truly appreciated what I did.  Film is gone, though, so we must move on.
 Now, I'm getting paid better to be a novice at something; shit, I somehow managed to get through high school without taking chemistry, and I'm dealing with a lot of chemistry here, not to mention a lot of biology, that I always zombied through.  Sure, there is the basic pay scale change that has escalated dramatically in the last five years, but there is a kind of pressure here.  This is kind of a big deal for this little mountain town, and, while I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be at ground zero, I feel like I'm flopping around in shoes that are way too big for me.  We keep going.  We make it work.  I've been given a deadline to bring my own recipe to the brewery by Wednesday.
 In the mean time, I'm shooting something officially "fashion" on Sunday/Monday, which is even more terrifying.  I have been very vocal about it being something that I could do, but I never really wanted to do.  Well, shit, here we go.  Will the way I see the world completely fuck up what they expected?  Should I stand by my view, or conform to what I know they want, which is also something I have been very vocal about being negative?  To anyone who ever doubted my ethics... this is  a pretty epic moral dilemma.

We keep going. We make it work.  This is how photographers make money; this is why I don't make money as a photographer.  I have spent my life fighting what media and fashion have told you are ideal.  Now, I am keeping my mouth shut and shooting what they want me to shoot, and doing the very best that I can at that.  I do think it's funny how I see myself versus how others see me.  Those things don't ever seem to match up.  These are all silly things on my head.  I've got to be up at 5, to grain in at the brewery at 7, then do a big lunch res at the restaurant at 11, then go back to the brewery to grain out the mash tun, then go work a closing shift at the restaurant.
Saturday I get to sleep in till 7 and do the double-ish at the restaurant.  Sunday/Monday I shoot for probably only 5 hours, then stare at my computer adjusting levels for days/weeks/months/whatever.

I used to get paid for my expertise and experience...

...at some point in there I'm going to need to research a beer recipe, while juggling my newborn, toddler, wife, a chainsaw, a bucket of caustic, a 55 pound bag of roasted barley, and standing on my hands.

Bring it on.

I'm actually pretty excited about brewing my absolute own beer.  Seriously, even though, as with anything else, especially in the creative world, it has all kind of been done before.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Gemeinschaftsgefühl Revisited

One thing that has always bothered me is when people don’t show up.  I’m just trying to accomplish something beautiful with my life.  In order for me to do that, in my little philosophy of what is actually beautiful, I need people to participate.  I don’t live in a time like Cartier-Bresson, where you could shoot random people on the street doing random things.  While that would technically satisfy my creative desire, it is considered in my time to be an invasion of privacy, and I don’t have the social prowess to reassure people that I’m not just some creeper on the streets shooting the wrong thing, plus, everyone with things as mindlessly passive as a cell phone are already doing that.  
All that is just more on the list of things that people don’t understand about me.  I need a more intimate connection with who I’m shooting so I’m not a shy, backward, dork who fucks up the photos because I’m basically having a very well disguised panic attack… I am an actor.  People have said, “you’re an actor; why can’t you just act friendly.”  I do; that is primarily what I do.  Right now I am sitting on a rock on my mountain, with my computer and a beer.  That’s my safe place.  If someone else wandered into my setting, I wouldn’t very well say, “fuck off, I was here first.” 
I would be as friendly as I can be, which for those who know me is definitely a debatable definition of friendly, and I would pack up my silly little car and, instead of finding a new place, I would probably just go home and abandon what I’m writing, because that doesn’t just interfere with what I’m doing, it completely derails my train.  Somewhere there is a list of things that people don’t understand about me.  Oh, these weird tangents I go on.  I’m a stupid social retard.  That has been the number one reason I haven’t accomplished anything with my life.  Well, maybe a close second to my past habits of total and complete self destruction. 
So, yeah, I actually need willing participants to accomplish what I’m trying to accomplish, but for the most part all I can find is people who want to be a part of the beautiful that I’m attempting to accomplish, but don’t show up.  There’s always a viable-ish reason, but it’s usually just basic things that make life what it is, or underlying fear.  One thorn that has been in my side has been this little mountain town that my parents moved me to when I was 12.  It sells itself as a free, open, art community, but all I have ever found is a very conservative, terrified of everything community. 
I hear stories about the interesting, open people, but they have never been in my social circle, if such a thing exists for me.  That could be explained by the painfully obvious reality that people either really don’t like me, which is pretty easy when there’s a list of things people don’t understand about me, or people are afraid of me; forget what I do, or what I’m trying to do, straight up afraid of me, like I'm some psycho serial killer.  Each and every person I know could easily fit into either category, or both.  I am absolutely surrounded by free, open, spiritual, beautiful people, who have little to no interest in actually being any of those things, and are terrified to just BE beautiful, which will always require nothing more complicated than simply being. 
It truly baffles me how few people understand that.  Maybe they do understand it, but they just don’t want to share it with me, because they don’t like me or are afraid of me?  In the meantime, I’m just sitting here waiting for people to show up; people who not only agreed to show up, but pushed the case.  I am fortunate to have my beautiful family to document; I am grateful for that; and while they are my figurative world, it is incredibly difficult to see so much beauty in the literal world, and be denied access to capture it.  This is all relative, of course; I have communicated with little to no models who weren't interested in working with me, but that is always stomped out by location, time, and money, in which case I was usually the one who disappeared from the conversation because it’s so fucking depressing.  I am surrounded by beauty, though.  It is everywhere.  It exists primarily in places that are incapable of realizing it.  It is a basic truth that people don’t understand.  We have these amazing minds that keep us from understanding the blatantly obvious, primarily because we are surrounded by amazing minds that can’t see past the petty, stupid shit, and our potentially beautiful, amazing minds settle for the worth of their wasted potential of maybe one day realizing how amazing all of this is. 
We are a beautiful animal, who has no idea how beautiful we are, before we do anything to BE beautiful.  The sun is setting…the moon’s out…no one to shoot.  Story of my life.  All you had to do was be here.  You’ve got more important things, though, or you don’t like me, or you’re scared of me, or you are terrified to be beautiful.


I have fallen so deep into my mind at this point that I can hardly function.  I feel like I'm living in the foggy aftermath of wasted potential.  I am pretty confident that I've typed that line a number of times in the past.

So...gemeinschaftsgefühl...you elusive bitch...you invisible ideal.  Where are these beautiful souls who just are?  Why must everything come with a laundry list of bullshit delusions?  Why can't people just be?  Why am I asking so many questions that I already know the answer to?

I used to exist to make you feel beautiful, or even loved, for just a brief moment in a world that drowns you in feeling like you have to do more than what you were born with.  Now I feel like I'm harassing people to make them feel better about themselves.

Maybe I'm just a crazy psychopath.

There's a list.

Love your life.

Live it.

Why can't I document it?

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Here's Hoping

 This is how I feel right now.

I was going to post a little something last night, after I got home from closing my restaurant for the first time in about a year.  I'm glad I didn't.  Posts after midnight never leave a good taste.  I'm not going to pretend like I want to get off work at midnight, especially on days where I start at the brewery at 6 or 7am, but I am doing what I need to do, and while I might not always be a ray of sunshine, shit will get done, and each day will be beautiful.  This should actually free up my weekdays a little to get something accomplished, but that will take some getting used to.
I mentioned that last Sunday was my last Sunday off; turns out it's tomorrow, so something might still happen on my last official Sunday off.  I actually asked for my first Sunday working off, if that makes any sense, to go shoot a little something in SD, which would make my first Sunday actually working the 18th... the day we are celebrating my not so tyrannical toddler's birthday, which is actually on the 17th, also my father's birthday, and Beethoven's unofficial birthday, whose 3rd symphony I named my second daughter after.

My head hurts.

Tomorrow, though.  Maybe.