Thursday, March 29, 2018

Immer Etwas

 Under attack again.  If it's not one thing, it's another. Immer etwas.  After recovering from a recent serious attack, I get attacked for the size of the models I "choose", which is just as serious for me.  This is tedious.  Who the fuck is anyone to decide who or what I should or shouldn't shoot, and why?  I am so sick of this shit.  If you don't like my work, stop looking at it.  That is a ridiculous statement at this point, because NO ONE KNOWS I EXIST.  A handful of people who knew me ten years ago have now decided that they get to determine how fat or skinny the models who contact me should be.
 Like I'm going to respond to Sienna, or Willa with, "I'm sorry, you aren't fat enough to satisfy the people who don't really support me but are quick to complain."... NO.  I'm going to respond with, "thank you for fucking finding me.  I'd fucking love to fucking work with you."  Forget the conundrum of working with accomplished dancers like Anna and Vik... should I respond with, "I'm sorry, the dancing world really doesn't support the plus sized ballerina model aesthetic."... NO.  I am so very grateful that anyone wants to work with me, much less models like these.
 I have fought my entire life to get to where I am... fucking fought past all kinds of misperception and stupid assumptions to get here.  I got through doing it the wrong way for over a decade, because it was the only way I could afford to do it, and have happily ended up in a place where international models contact me when they come through LA, which is no where near me in any practical sense, to most of which I have to humbly and embarrassingly explain that I live in poverty and can't afford them, not to even mention somehow having access to the most beautiful woman I've ever known, because I happen to wake up with her every morning...should I stop shooting my wife and children because they aren't fat or skinny enough?
 My work is by no means profound or remotely extraordinary, but it is good enough to get the little attention I get, so that is a significantly successful baby step for me.  I am already under the stress of not posting as much as I'd like because I don't have the time, or because I live with the constant immediate backlash from this little tiny mountain town that I'm stuck in.  I honestly don't know what to do.  I'm back to posting once a month.  The only significant book I've read in the last month is Sally Mann's Hold Still, which I have a significant amount to write about, but who has time for that?...and who really gives a shit, if all people who I thought were my friends are only focused on how "fit" the models who contact me to shoot are?  I will shoot anyone who shows up, always.  I have survived so much bullshit in my life that I am finally sick of it.  If you are "bigger" and you don't like the fact that most of my work is confident "smaller", then be the confident "bigger" that you want to see.  Stop bitching about how you want things to be different, and be the change, or shut the fuck up.
Here's some boring fucking photos of some mundane fucking plants that exist in my boring fucking front yard, because fuck you.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Long March

The long March began three years ago, when after a brisk walk in the snow she leaned over and kissed me.  The rest, as they say, is misery… I MEAN HISTORY……the rest is history.  We have taken thousands of photographs together, which is naturally how I gauge relationships.  Somewhere in there we managed to survive a wee one growing into a four year old, and an even wee…er one growing into a toddler version of me, which thoroughly satisfies my over developed narcissism.  At this point during my first marriage I was on my way out, so choked by the mundane that I was willing to do something stupid and go to jail, which is a whole other, longer march that I’ll likely get into later.  I needed to go live my life.  I needed to have a story to tell.  I was incapable of sitting any longer in the armpit of the Inland Empire.   I actually excused leaving my kids behind with my absolute faith that they would come to me at 16 or so and I could explain to them the reality of everything.

 As with most everything else you think you have figured out in your early 20s, it didn’t work that way.  Not only did that not happen, but the same ignorant conditioning I questioned my whole life, and assumed they would as well, sunk into them like most, eager to believe and do whatever they’re told.  The sadness of that reality has been taking its toll on me in this last year, since finally settling in to having a family, and seeing that most of the family I could have wants nothing to do with me, for good reason.  This is still my story, and I’m still writing it.  Everything will still turn out exactly how it’s supposed to, whether you like it or not.  It could not have been any better or worse, because then it wouldn’t be this.

 This last Valentine’s Day marked the tenth anniversary of my accidentally killing someone.  I’ve been so distracted by family and work and fixing sound problems for the upcoming film festival (which starts in 5 days [shit]), that I actually forgot, until someone mentioned the 13th being a significant day for them, and it all hit me like a truck.  My wife demanded that we go on a little road trip for the dreaded holiday, and I honestly welcome starting a tradition like that.  We are still trying to get a handle on the separation between spending time with the girls, and my incessant drive to accomplish something.
 We did better this time, searching for Butterfield Stage stops on the way to Yuma, then poking around Arizona a little.  I didn’t really have the time or energy to think about the looping nightmare of a human head smashing my windshield.  I will always go back to the best advice I ever got about the whole thing: “It doesn’t ever go away.   You just get used to it.” The ten year mark not only applies to that, though, but the paradigm shift in my life that it inspired.  After losing my wife, breaking my finger, dealing with the stress of a production of Chicago, crashing and having to recover my life’s work on a computer, losing my job and taking on work doing manual labor, recovering from becoming an abusive alcoholic, then accidentally killing someone, I was finally able to step back from my life and take it all in.
Thirty was that: recovering from myself; and it got a hell of a lot worse before it got better.  I succeeded on my terms, but as with everything else, most didn’t notice.  While the work doesn’t ever stop, I can finally say that I’ve become, am becoming, someone I and my girls can be proud of.  It only took ten years and counting.  About that time in my life I also demanded that my photography become a different drive and strove for a different result.  That took a couple years to instill, but as soon as I did get there, the traveling models that I was convinced I would never have the opportunity to work with started knocking on my door…or…tapping on my computer screen, I guess.
Eight years and counting of figuring out how to do that correctly, as embarrassing as it is that this was something I had to “figure out,” but all that is very well documented as well.  In two days, fifteen years ago, I woke up in jail, which is something that is gradually becoming more difficult to talk candidly about.  I used to throw information around like it was a bad joke at a dinner party.  Now, I have to watch what I say, and who I say it to.  Even though, as of four years ago, the obligation that I suffered every year on my birthday stopped, it doesn’t really ever go away, nor do the ignorant assumptions and accusations, especially in little mountain towns.  All I can really do is continue to do the right thing, because it’s the right thing to do, regardless if anyone cares enough to see it.  I’ve basically spent the last fifteen years proving that I’m not who I was accused of being, and even though what I was accused of being was slander, I did do some little things wrong; instead of being applauded for my honesty and integrity, I am still assumed to be a worse case scenario monster.
That’s fine.  At this point in my evolution, I could really care less what people choose to be affected by.  Don’t sweat the stupid shit, and it’s all stupid shit, but that red light will always go off in my head when anyone doubts my integrity, which is happening right now.  In case you didn’t catch that the numbers don’t add up in my journey, fifteen years ago I did something in a technically illegal way, and while I willingly accepted the consequences, I continued the same behavior… I just did it legally; it wasn’t until ten years ago that I realized that being that person, legally, didn’t make anything any better, and the older I got, the worse it looked, so I stopped, for me, not for you.  You can do and think whatever the fuck you want.
I’m likely going to get grief from the wife for posting something in my life that’s real with her photos, but this is my life; this and her are my life.  Deal with it, life.

It’s been a long march...

...and I just keep marching.
Our little road trip ended us back at the first place we ever shot three years ago, a week before Valentine's Day, wandering around in the desert for a couple days, getting to know each other.  This has been an interesting journey, and all I can do is hope for a lot more of it.

I love you.

Just be loved.