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there is always something (why I shoot film)

There are maybe ten shots left on the roll. Outside the metro, a collection of pigeons sit on minuscule ledges above two old men. They talk as all old men do, with operatic waves of their hands, sour expressions, belly laughs, eventually scratching their chins as they stare off at nothing in particular. I am pretending to take pictures of something near them, then swing across when they are not looking to shoot a few frames. At one point I surrender to the afternoon and move on.

And now, the courtyard that leads to the film lab. A great old building rests here, a school of architecture where students mill around dressed in black sucking on cigarettes with giant portfolios tucked under their arms. A young man approaches me. I am ready to tell him I have no idea what he is saying, but he wants to know where the film lab is. I jut my chin, telling him the door is just beyond a few bushes. He nods his thanks.

There are screens set up in a jagged line, sheathed in filthy white plastic to …

terribly awake

I make lists every night before I go to sleep, things to remember in the morning when I am shoving breakfast into my mouth, slugging down coffee looking out at the sky wondering if it will rain. Batteries, notebooks, bulbs for lights, water bottles that sit cold at the bottom of the fridge. The last days of summer seem to be here, the mornings cold and windy. I wish I had started shooting a few weeks earlier. I could be editing now, in a sweatshirt with a blanket across my legs and the windows open to the cool air, awake. Terribly awake.



There is a rhythm to building the camera, a methodical ballet from tripod to knobs tightened, to base plate to focus rods, to body, lens, follow focus. Lens caps are pocketed in the same spots. It is all about putting things where you need them, about going step by step so everything is in its place, when your hand falls it finds what it needs without looking. 

I see the world more quickly when the camera is ready. Here, blades of dry grass in the right place. Here, train tracks lost in the weeds. Here, an old blue house with a man selling pumpkins by the side of the road. 

I am not hungry when I shoot. My feet wet in the early grass I move quickly, somehow untired, stronger than normal. It is like a slow drip of adrenaline, a steady pulse of will and ambition, of desire. That is what it feels like to shoot your own film. 

There are only two things in the world - what is in the film and what is not. I do not notice the old man in the kaftan that mumbles on the corner, the old woman sitting in a parking lot selling dirty bunches of parsley. I ignore the smell of garbage, the sight of gasoline rainbows in the gutter. I eat peanut butter sandwiches for dinner and think nothing of my favorite salumi counter, maybe empty and gone after the sanctions take their toll or maybe with fresh chunks of pecorino and great soft rounds of mortadella nestled beneath the glass. 










Comments

Anonymous said…
Somehow the tower in the distance behind the tassels of Autumn reminds me so much of the Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown Massachusetts! http://rlv.zcache.com/pilgrim_monument_provincetown_ma_post_cards-radc8131a81bb4759a8f7192fa0b67183_vgbaq_8byvr_324.jpg

It may be simply that September is when I used to go to Cape Cod, and the grasses are like that. Fall. Clear. Cold. Such nice photos, both.

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