Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Salvation

 "In all this there is no sin--there is only matter of discipline--but our concern is not merely to be sinless but to be God." ~ Plotinus, First Ennead II, 6

Without stupid and ignorant people, we would not have stupid and ignorant monuments, that people flock to and clog up, "ooh"ing and "Ah"ing over all the overwhelming stupid ignorance.  Wasn't that long ago, this would've been beautiful sculptures carved into a hill.

 "Disengagement means simply that the soul withdraws to its own place." ~ 5

Which is where I was at pretty much the whole time, because people make me recluse into a safe place where no one exists.  Maya kept demanding that I take photos of her in-between the hordes of people mulling around like mindless cattle, consuming and vomiting out the space with nobody selfies and nothing-of-significance social media posts that will probably get more notes and likes that most of my posts because these people probably have followings that put mine to shame.  I shot a cat for a while, then spent the rest of the time there glaring and zombies who were standing in my frame until I scared them off.  People started paying more attention to what I was doing once I pulled the Mamiya out, but it was still quite tedious.  Luckily, Maya is much better at talking to strangers, so once we got up the nerve to actually talk to people, everyone was cool with shifting around a bit for frame.  Well...the ones that understood the language.

 I knew better heading into it, but we went anyway.  The only times I had ever been there were in July and August, over 110, but there were still a handful of people poking around.  A Sunday in November was absolutely stupid.  It wasn't even completely about tourists, but occupants: that little asshole of the desert, nestled up against Slab City, was packed with campers and tents.  I have to assume that these are more permanent residents and desert rats, because I don't know who in their right mind would vacation there.  The campers around Salton Sea, sure; as ugly as it is, it's still beautiful during very brief intervals between getting swarmed by dying  gnats and choking on the stench of rotting fish.  Way down south of Niland?  There must be some pretty impressive riding terrain for people to venture way out there to camp around a tourist abyss.
 I've heard plenty of stories about the guy who made this place, and I know he was a good human being, but think about the time and energy that went into this, and think about significant things that could have been accomplished with said time and energy.  Maya was immediately disappointed because she thought it would be bigger, and I was gradually disappointed to see all the things that had been stolen or destroyed.  Whoever the caretakers are, they aren't doing a very good job.  There was no one watching the place when we got there just before noon.  On our way out there was some rude woman yelling at people to stay on the yellow road, like this was some national monument that was instantly being destroyed.  Yes, people could slip and fall, sure; stupid people tend to do that... a lot.  Just put up a sign that says: "steep slope. slippery paint. fall down."; and no one can sue you when their idiot asses fall down; don't follow them around and bark at them.
 My social frustration quickly translated to technical frustration when I pulled out the Mamiya.  The only film I had expired four years ago, and the only polaroid film I had was sitting in the holder for about three years, so those chemicals were shot, but I had to try them anyway...just to make sure they were what they were... three fucking tries... around dozens of oblivious people... killing like 40 minutes of our day.  Then the shutter froze up again on the 120 back.  Upon further review, I am pretty confident that the little piece of metal that allows the shutter to release is bent, but I don't really know, so that's awesome.  The shutter on this camera has always been sluggish.  Maybe that's why.  Meanwhile, I ordered 10 more rolls of film that I can't really afford, and now I have to pull out my chemicals and developing gear because I can't afford to send the shots I did get to any lab for processing.  Then, naturally, they will sit in a plastic sleeve and gradually get more and more scratched up because I don't have a scanner good enough to scan them, and I don't have the means to set up a darkroom anywhere.
After the Salvation debacle we headed to an abandoned warehouse that I've always wanted to shoot at, but never had time.  Then we headed out on an unexplored road that dead ended into the Salton Sea and watched the sunset, which was at like 4:30pm, because those are the joys of daylight savings time changes.  We shot a ton, and decided that we needed to do this more, just hopefully with a lot less people around.

How was your Sunday?

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