"Camera Head", Self-Portrait in the bathroom mirror, Canon 40D
"We photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing, and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth can make them come back again. We cannot develop and print a memory."
I think one of the reasons that I love photography so much is that it is perhaps the only way to punch time in the kisser and stun him enough to stop in his tracks. Even if it's just for 1/1000 of a second. And while I consider Monsieur Bresson one of my all time artistic heroes, I have to disagree with him here. You absolutely can develop and print a memory. That is what drives me to click the shutter again and again and again.
I just finished reading, "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins. It is one of those rare and wonderful books that that urges an immediate re-read. At this point, I have gone from a faithful believer to an agnostic. With my next reading, I might take the daring leap into full blown atheism. I was once a guy that read Tarot cards, believed in angels, played with pendulums and spent a fortune on books like "The Secret". I now have no doubt that all of that stuff is at best, a fun distraction and at worst, a dangerous delusion. I feel like my eyes are opening to a new level of personal truth and with that truth, ironically perhaps, my long-time depression is slowly dissolving and a boyhood sense of scientific wonder is re-appearing.
More and more, I want to get out of Los Angeles. I feel like it is no place for an intellectual. Whatever class it once had seems to have vanished into a Santa Ana wind. The black ties and evening gowns of Old Hollywood has given way to Juicy Couture and Juice Bars. Trader Vics and The Brown Derby have become Baja Fresh and Pinkberry. Yoga mats have steamrolled over all the red carpets. Fads are the new classic. I want to get into a time machine and never come back, not to the past but to an alternate future where we use iPods in our Edsels. I am a vintage futurist.
Suddenly, I feel my age and if the average life expectancy of the American male is 72, I am precisely half-way to the end.
(Note: The nuns are the brilliant work of Oleg Dau)
I've always been a fan of Steven Meisel, but upon seeingthe January 2008 issue of Italian Vogue, I became a disciple. His work floors me. As someone who has trudged through more than five years of dank new-age muck pretending to be golden sunlight, it is a breath of fresh night blooming jasmine to see something so beautiful and fashion rich. I work in an herb shop that caters to people who wear navy blue socks with black Tevas, acid wash jeans and recycled fleece vests over t-shirts that say things like "Save The Wolves". I dream daily of running over these colorblind and humorless hippies with my shiny black German sedan as the Blaupunkt blares Mozart's Requiem Mass in D Minor.
Go and stuff your hemp, you hippie scum. Give me velvet or give me death!
Eis ist wahrend der Sommerzeit begehrt!
Alright, enough of my rant, I shall put my sharp teeth back in their gummy cage and get back to Mr. Meisel...
Your work needs to be independent of others' work. You must not compare yourself to others. No one can help you. You have to help yourself. Criticism leads to misunderstandings and defeatism. Work from necessity and your compulsion to do it. Work on what you know and what you are sure you love. Don't observe yourself too closely, just let it happen. Don't let yourself be controlled by too much irony. Live in and love the activity of your work. Be free of thoughts of sin, guilt and misgiving. Be touched by the beautiful anxiety of life. Be patient with the unresolved in your heart. Try to be in love with the questions themselves. Love your solitude and try to sing with its pain. Be gentle to all of those who stay behind. Your inner self is worth your entire concentration. Allow your art to make extraordinary demands on you. Bear your sadness with greater trust than your joy. Do not persecute yourself with how things are going. It's good to be solitary, because solitude is difficult. It's good to love, because love is difficult. You are not a prisoner of anything or anyone.
"Letters to a Young Poet", Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926)