Archive for January, 2012
Lots of social services in Brattleboro, but limited jobs and housing. People all over have the same problems, not only the ones in need, but the ones who provide them. Brattleboro has narrow streets and wide open minds.
Heisler lectured in the morning on Tonality by showing the works of several photographers, some known to me, and some new to me: Ansel Adams, Richard Avedon, Julia Margaret-Cameron, Irving Penn, Charles Sheeler, Grant Mudford, Ralph Gibson, Edward and Brett Weston, Edward Weston, Karsh and someone named Missone. He loves them all and decribed, with youthful glee and enthusiasm, their works and how they use blacks and whites to make their images.
Needed to shoot something to clear my head and refocus. Watching the masters can sometimes make you feel that you have nothing to add, so why bother.
Went outside. Warm and bright. No Adams like mountains or Avedon models to shoot. Greg was on his way to lunch. He stopped and pointed to the warehouse across the street and said, “looks like a Mumford to me.” I had thought about it, but there was ice between me and a good shot. I trudged through the snow to avoid the slippery pavement, took my shot and went back for lunch.
I imitated, for sure, but why else do we look at the past?
So, I left this morning to school while the fog covered Greenfield.
So, I left in the mist, arriving in Turners Falls without visibility. Saw a classic–Steichen. Showed it to members of my class. One laughed it off.
Lindsay Adler lectured on fashion, social media and creativity. She made success sound reachable. Young, smart, creative and cute, she has arrived in the fashion capital of the world at an early enough time to make a mark and leave without any. Has control of her life at a time when many haven’t yet figure theirs out.
I told him I had a Steichen in his lecture. Told me I had to wait. He, too, didn’t see mine, butI’d be patient. At the break, I showed him my missed shots from Lindsay’s presentation. We remetered. “Don’t trust the meter always…trust your eye….” Then he metered the shot, showing me I was off from a tenth, which should have been a twenty-fifth or thirtieth. Much betta.
After advising to do as he says and not as he does, Greg Heisler outlined the habits of successful people. Identify the urgent and the important. Work on relationships (not necessarily exclusively through social media), prepare, stay healthy (more important as you age), set goals (realistic ones), and sharpen your tools. THIS IS THE TIME TO DEFINE WHO YOU REALLY ARE.
Its about time for me!
So, we go to Deerfield Village to shoot. Place has a spot in American history, but now, probably best known for the prep school and the stores which tourists visit in fairer weather.
No better place for a photographer than a graveyard, even if your hands are freezing, the ground is icy and crunchy, and there is a dealine.
After a quick lunch, back out.
Different places and depths of field.
So, we received our equipment and started to shoot.
A practical where you metered and then shot DT running across the studio. I clutched. I clutched. Got to be able to work under pressure. Didn’t set my ISO. Then didn’t prefocus. Hand and brain didn’t work together. Forgot all about Zen and the Art of Archery.”
First time in the commercial studio. Transformative. Didn’t think I would like it. But for a change, not having something that didn’t move, which you can light anyway you want, once you know how, can change the way you look at your camera; it was fun. Got to have fun.
Met him in a used bookstore where he was selling used books. “I am a hoarder. Pick up stuff from dumpsters, garbage cans, along the road. Cannot take any medication for it. Have muscular cancer.
So, I be in Greenfield, starting another part of my life. Sharon’s home. At 10:00, or so, she said she had done ok with the separation due to school – ate well, did things, felt some tender and loving thoughts that resulted in a phone call and voicemail which I missed while washing the tub. On my own, but not really; she directs me from afar, advising me to care for myself and my surroundings.
Needed to drive safely and arrive in tact and on time. Nothing more important than being safe and healthy for school and our reunions. Who does this? We be flying blind; building a relationship by being apart, so we can be together and interesting as we get ready for the ubiquitous hospital bed.
Had the three pages of Jay Maisel’s Monster that I got at his workshop in 2010. Had done some of the exercises, many of them, but hadn’t focused on his semi-rhetorical questions. Put simply, he asked, “why do I do this?” I know and I don’t know, you know. Put a camera in hand and I am me and so many of these other peeps who stared through lenses. I don’t see if I don’t see an image; it is like when I was an attorney, which I am not anymore, by choice, when everything that I saw was a case of American injustice.
Here we go. I gots so much to see and learn. I be going to learn my strengths and weaknesses. Who knows, they may not be the ones I think. I know I love to shoot, but I also like to see the prints (I brought almost all of my best portfolios). I don’t know what my ultimate goal is. I know I want to learn lighting and posing/shooting studio portraits. I can talk to the subjects; I cannot shoot people whose attentions I don’t have. Is that true; who knows. Yup. I wish I could draw, but I would do anything to shoot and print big.
I have given up all my outside interests other than my wife and my health. I have to make this work, you know. Photography is the thing that dreams come from.
Judge Robert Carter died. He sat on the bench with quiet dignity, after a distinguished career as an attorney working with Justice Marshall and the NAACP legal defense team on Brown v The School Board. One cannot live forever, but his sense of justice can.
I tried a case before him -United States v. Chang AN-LO, a/k/a “White Wolf”, et al, 851 F2d 547 (1988) My client was Peter Yang. The case involved a conspiracy which included the murder of a journalist from Nationalist China, a heroin conspiracy and I don’t remember what else. A multi-defendant case, I sat for six weeks without asking a question on my clients behalf, allowing my co-counsel to do the work for me. Yang was at best a marginal character, the driver, at times, for the purported head of the United States arm of the conspiratorial group, United Bamboo, a person whom I argued hung around because employment opportunities in Houston forced him to find work elsewhere, a mere presence which allowed him to hear and see things without actually being involved in any of the criminal activity. The jury disagreed, convicting him. Everyone went to prison except Peter Yang. Judge Carter set him free.
When the case got to the 2nd Circuit, Bill Kunstler had substituted as counsel for my friend, Jay Gregory Horlick, who died in 1996. Horlick was a lot like Kunstler, practical and honest; he didn’t believe in anything, though, except that you didn’t want to know how corrupt the entire system was from top to bottom, because it would make you sick. Rest in peace, my last good friend. Anyway, we all wrote some fanciful dribble to satisfy our obligations as counsel, an obligation that ran from arraignment through appeal, and we ventured to the 17th floor to argue before the court, as if that would make a difference anywhere but some law school class on due process. Bill, having the lead defendant, got to go first. He rose to the lecturn, it rose to meet his height and addressed the court. “Good morning, Judge somebody. I represent appellant Chang AN_LO. Mr. Duckman will do the facts.” We had never spoken about my doing anything other than what I had to do. No matter. The conviction was affirmed.
Lots of people serve the law. Some get to the bench and forget their beginnings. Few have the insight, courage or deliberative skills which Judge Carter possessed. He helped to make the United States of America a fairer place to live.
Larry Glen and Kevin couldn’t decide if the pieces which look like furniture were art. They had no trouble deciding that, on this cold day, it wasn’t a good idea to sit on either the sofa or the chair. Both are made of metal and it was 5 degrees.
I mean, what is art? The chair image ain’t the chair; it represents the chair, lacks the function of the chair, has its design, but it ain’t real. It must be art, eh? Too cold, though to talk with these connoisseurs about the topic. It was too cold to even have a camera; I shot with Canon S90, which I kept in my pocket where it fogged up.
Kevin came from Barre. “Don’t drink the water there,” I was told when we came to VT. He has stage 5 colon cancer. In town to go to the doctor and see his social worker, he hopes that Make a Wish will send him to Japan for his last fling to see amime and the life there. He don’t care about cold. He’s still alive. Go live, my man. You have courage.
Larry and Matt Sweet have a tent. No way these guys do the shelter thing; too many rules. Know how to camp in the tent. Keep out the drafts and cold air.
Joe knows some kids, maybe college kids, who let him sleep in a utility room. They give him beer, pot, and food. He offered me some of his pina colada. Not exactly a drink I would drink, assuming I would drink in the park on a day like this, even if I were thirsty or going through withdrawl. I associate pina coladas with warm weather and tropical breezes, not sub arctic cold.
Connor and Country. I cannot be sure. They were looking for someone or something, they thought.
Keith came out for tobacco. I could not see coming out for something to smoke. A hospital appointment, sure; you got nowhere to go or you don’t know where you are, sure; but tobacco …. What a country. We all get a vote, too.
Damn, it was cold. And the cold doesn’t usually bother me. Tomorrow, colder. Joe said only the really hard core would be out tomorrow. We will see.