Archive for October, 2007

Ambiguity vs. Specificity, in the Great Smackdown, Part I

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Yep, I got some free time today, so more words. I may even have a third long post today, because if I’ve got free time, it’s only logical that you do also. (The images will have some caption info at the end for contextual purposes.)

So I’ve had this discussion in various forms over the last few weeks and months, and I’m sure I will continue to. My thoughts are not fully formed on this subject, so it’s a work in progress. If you’ve got some insight, great, please share.

I’m developing a greater problem with words as an expressive medium. This is somewhat humorous as this blog was originally created to help me develop a better written style, one with more of a voice, more of my voice. And I feel it’s doing that quite well thank you very much.

But I still don’t trust words.

Originally it was because words are too easy to lie with. You want to spread falsehoods, you just state them. But I don’t think that’s entirely it. I think it may that words are just inherently inaccurate, and of all the bs statements, inaccurate in their specificity.

Sure words are accurate for creating bridges, killing elephants, and pointing out how it’s your partner’s turn to do the dishes, though throwing a dish at them is a more fun second option. (FYI – I’m not the thrower, I’m the target. I dodge well, better than you’d think.)

And well those uses are very necessary, for expressing the human condition, the soul, emotions, words are sorely lacking.

I have an internal dialog, I suspect most of us do. My mind is in continuous conversation with me. Hmmm…how did I react to that? Why did I say that? Hold on, she did this, and this, and this, shit, she was flirting with me, why didn’t I notice, again? This is what happens when you spend large quantities of time in the car, or that’s what I’m going to tell myself.

But if I say, this person is my friend, I’m feeling happy, I want dinner, none of these statements get across the real feeling. This person may be my friend, yes, but I also admire them this much, respect them in this way this much, want to emulate them in this way, want to help them in this way, laugh with them and at them like this. The statement , “this is my friend” is so empty of context, of depth of the richness of my feelings.

Sometimes, just sometimes, someone will put into words a feeling, something you can touch, hold and know in your heart. Usually it’s in poetry or song, and in song there are so many additional layers I don’t know if it’s fair to call it the words, but I’ll use that example right now because I recently heard a lyric on one of my favorite songs that really gets to the point of a feeling.

Jeff Buckley (What? You don’t own any Jeff Buckley? What’s your problem Willis? Get Grace), from the song Lover, You Should Have Come Over, “my kingdom for a kiss upon her shoulder”. It’s one line amongst many beautiful lines in the song, and gets across that feeling of yearning, that soft simple act of love, so well. I have no doubt it works so well because Buckley’s voice is perfect for the feeling also. Some words are perfect, like Buckley’s in how I feel them, most are okay, many are total failures. C’est la vie.

By not using the words specifically though, by describing the act, the moment, the feeling is created better than by stating the feeling directly. Words provide too clear a road, too clean a road. The roads of emotions are unclean, cluttered, messy, wrought with the detritus of our histories. By stating what is meant, the statement is stale of life, by stating something else, it becomes alive.

I didn’t intend to argue that words had any emotive value, so I’m a bit confused at this point. Did I mention, “not a fully formed idea” yet?

The beauty of many of the arts, and this includes that line, is that well it reaches to us, the listener, the viewer, the consumer of the art, we have to reach to it also. We have to bring our life experiences to the art work. By bringing our own understanding, we make sure the “love” is not love, it’s love, it’s lust, it’s yearning, it’s pain, it’s loneliness, it’s the messiness that we are, that our lives are. The word itself, on it’s own, is sterile, our lives are anything but.

In the world of photography I send unclear messages all day. Their is no written, clearly defined lexicon of meanings. Sure, certain views imply certain things, there is actually a quite humorous, for me, and quite accurate analysis of sports jubilation and dejection photos which classifies almost all those images into about 4 or 5 categories. The runner with his arms stretched high, what does that mean? Besides boring, of course.

So yeah, there are some common tools, but not like in words, not an attempt to mean one thing for everybody. And it’s that ability to not mean one thing that the emotive impact is born from. I may take a photo that says attraction, but it may also have all those other little bits, lust and admiration, curiosity and desire, fear and loneliness, that make the attraction so much more nuanced and powerful than attraction.

Also the image comes without the loaded gun effect that words have. A word like attraction imposes a certain pressure on many parties. Yet feeling that feeling, doesn’t mean that pressure need exist, but the statement of it’s existence forces certain responses, responsibilities, on people.

I know for me the removal of that loaded gun allows greater freedom of expression. I can sit around all day and think about what I feel, welcome to what you do in the woods by yourself for 4 days, but the words I think in are never as clear and revealing as the image is. If I want to know how I feel, I think about it, but I also look for it. Before how I feel is clear in my head, it is clear in my images. My images are able to say what I am as of yet unwilling to say, unable to say, or too unaware to say. And when the statements are in that form, I’m comfortable with them, at peace, un-rushed, unhindered by their existence.

Reading the image is not that clean road map that the word is though. It takes some experience reading that road, hell, even looking for that road to be able to spot it, it’s not well marked, but it is there. It also takes confidence to look at the image, here the back of your head say, this feels like excitement, this feels sadness, this feels whatever, and then trust that feeling, that intuition. Trust that the feeling has a place, a reason for being, and a willingness to step out on the limb, take the shot as to the meaning, and maybe be wrong.

Reading art, whatever art form, takes effort. Just as it takes effort to create the work, it takes effort to read the feeling in the work.

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More lyrics to finish up, same song, though really, you should just listen to it.

Sometimes a man gets carried away, when he feels like he should be having his fun And much too blind to see the damage he’s done Sometimes a man must awake to find that really, he has no-one So I’ll wait for you… and I’ll burn Will I ever see your sweet return Oh will I ever learn Oh lover, you should’ve come over cause it’s not too late

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1st image – from July of 2002, the week I landed my job as a photojournalist. I was a little excited by life at that point.

2nd image – I needed to show the height, I hate heights, with a passion.

3rd image – from this summer, when I felt (and still do) happier, more alive, more free, more satisfied, more heavenly than I’ve felt in lot of years.

4th image – gets the idea across sure, well done for what it is, but the typical elements.

5th image – from the start of relationship, during that stage when it feels good, the other person is nothing short of incredible, and my heart just went pitter-patter. For more explanation see image 3.


Update on My Pushiness and the Joy of Statcounting

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So I either reacted to quickly, which is a trait, I should point out, that I’m not known for, really, never done it before, not a once, I’m a calm pond in a tumultuous ocean. Yep, that’s me, calm and cool. (okay, enough self-mockery.) Or someone is using RSS feeds.

So last evening I mentioned some artistic disagreements I had with a performer. Okay, so today some photos were added. Cool.

Now this is where it gets interesting to me, I stat track. I’ve always been a huge fan of having information and statistics as to what is occurring in whatever I do. In this day and age, information really is power, and I want to know how many people are reading my rambling. That, and I’m self-obsessed, or as I like to like to say, “I’m deeply and dearly loved (mumble by me mumble.)” Or, you can go with, “You can’t love and be loved till you learn to love yourself.” Though the jokes that follow that statement, well, they last for days, and days, and days.

For those of you who aren’t geeks, and let’s be honest, geeks rule. Basically what happens is there is a little bit of code made by a company, StatCounter, in all my pages and sites which tell me how many people are visiting, plus some other little tidbits. The “other little tidbits” are pretty interesting though, and really not little.

Some are things that are quite useful, like your monitor resolution. Knowing this helps me make better layout decisions in the future for my web site and blog for better viewing. Cool beans.

I also know what pages get visited most often. (Much to my surprise on my website my Bed Series (warning, my naked butt) is actually kind of popular. Hmmm, wouldn’t have guessed, but good, I like that series too.)

I know how people get to my sites. (Shout out to old Blood & Thunder and Zeepie.) If people show up via search terms I know which terms. (Josh Hawkins is the most popular, shocker, but me and Joshua Hawkins are always duking it out for #1 on Google. FYI – Joshua, as far as I can tell, interesting. An “intercessory missionary” out of the International House of Prayer (IHOP, as long as he sees the humor in that and is passionate about what he does, I think we’d get along.))

On the cool to know, and not really revealing most of the time but kind of in my case side, I also know where people are located who are checking out my site, or at least where there ISP is located. (Everyone give a big wave to Ann Arbor Michigan, Dallas Texas and Zagreb Croatia. Yeah, I’m not sure who is in Zagreb, but I’m all about meeting new people, so, “Howdy Zagreb, good to have you. Hope to see you again.”) For those who didn’t know about this, now you do, you may also want to read here.

Okay so I have all this info, which I like, but then there are RSS feeds. By and large I don’t worry about them all that much, most people don’t know how to use them (he says to the crowd of IT professionals) and there ain’t nothing I can do about it no how.

So why do I mention all of this? Because the change in the images, the timing, I don’t know if it’s my overly quick reactions or a reaction to what I said. The stats would suggest it was unlikely the performer read any of this, but then there are RSS feeds and I believe the performer is probably fairly tech savvy. Hmmm….which is it?

At this point, I believe I need to get a life if this is what I’m thinking about. Ah well, it’s an actual sit at home day off. I also don’t like to feel pushy, or at least indirectly pushy, directly pushy is fine though. Anyhow…off to getting kids fat, because it’s better than getting me fat.

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And on a completely unrelated note, Cave of the Golden Buddha (tea), not such a huge fan. Decent, but not great, and I always want Great, with a capital “G”. But I have developed a consistent method for brewing that is working pretty well for me. 185F, as per the instructions, a quick wash of the tea in the pot. Basically poor in enough water to cover the leaves then empty. Let the leaves stand for 1:11 to let the residual water soak in and open up the leaves. Poor water in, preferably from 2-3 feet above the pot to agitate the leaves. Let stand for 2:22. Empty and drink. 2nd infusion, repeat, let stand 3:33. The third infusion I’m still working on as I don’t often do 3 infusions (36 ounces of tea right before bed, it creates issues about 2 hours later) but currently I’m letting the 3rd infusion stand for 5:55. That seems to be working pretty good. The 2nd infusion is almost universally the best tasting, sometimes by a wide margin, but this technique, especially with the pre-wash has really helped bring that first infusion much closer to the 2nd. Did I mention needing a life?


Cooperation and My Decision

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Sometimes in life it’s about working with people, and the bringing the skills and energy of both together create more. Sometimes, well, sometimes, it’s better to provide a person with a more limited set of choices.

These two scenarios are very different, but in someways, relate, so just trust me for a little bit here.

First there is Meagan. She is 10, and a nationally ranked wake boarder. I don’t ask certain questions, like “Why do they rank 10 year old female wake boarders?” I just nod and smile. So the photo request is basically, “cute kid photo”. Right.

Take a fair number of photos of her, I’m feeling okay, but not good, so I ask her if there is anything she’d like to do. She starts hamming it up, sometimes all tough, sometimes all modelly, whatever she felt like. I had just let hamster out of the cage and it was now tearing around the room. She had been kind of somber, serious, then she got all happy and was having a good ole’ time.

As I see it, she wanted to set her image, she wanted to create the view of her, rather than have, probably yet another adult do it for her. And it worked out all for the better. Some of the photos I know we won’t use, but we may choose one of her having more fun for the one image we do run. I hope so.

On the other side, and the identity here will be obscured so as hopefully nobody knows who I’m talking about, out of kindness, (though to be fair, I will happily have the discussion with the performer, but I believe it is between me and the performer), but I have a performer who I made some images of who needs further assistance in helping choose their imagery.

To be less vague, but still vague, I took a number of photos of a friend/performer as a favor. I then gave the performer some nice cleaned up images, and as is my normal, but sometimes bad, habit, I also gave them access to some of the outtakes. The reason I give performers access to the outtakes is in case what they are looking for, the image they are looking to craft of themselves isn’t represented in the images I like.

Usually this works at least okay. In this case, limits will be placed in the future. The photos the performer has chosen to use are images where the face is in total or near total black, washed out white, slightly out of focus, etc. There are some really nice, clean shots, moody, attention grabbing, etc. Those are the unused images.

I don’t get it. I’ve got some guesses, but they are only guesses as to what this performer was going for. Could be business issues, could be personal, could be combo, could be anything, I just disagree.

Yeah, these are currently only small web images, but I’m me, and I don’t care, and I demand the best all the time.

Oh well, maybe some further structure in the future will help. I’ll try that and see what happens. Alas, this performer is really quite good and I’d like to help this performer out. And will, even if I don’t agree, and don’t understand.

On a side note, I think I like the Cha-Cha. I got done with dance class tonight and was Cha-Chaing down the aisles of Jewel.


On Arrogance and Hubris

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I’m all for the amazing creations of humanity. I’m just waiting for a few changes in the iPhone and I’ll be a happy boy. I’ve always loved that people love to create new things.

Some days though, it’s important to realize that what we may think of as a great invention of mankind, is really not so much an invention of man, but our discovery of an idea from nature.

In this case, I’m talking about barbed wire, the great and simple invention that helps with so much modern security and more importantly, large scale animal husbandry. It’s great stuff. It’s also not original. Wikipedia says (and when Wikipedia speaks, it’s in a booming voice from above) that a man, Joseph F. Glidden, created barbed wire.

I hate to disagree with the Grand Wiki, but Joseph may have made the first metal barbed wire, but Mother Nature invented it, and she made it in the Ozarks. I don’t know what this plant is, and I don’t care really. I know what I need to know, stay away, and that this is an evil plant. It likes to grow in vines, often horizontal vines. And it somehow seems to live with few to no leaves. A plant that has no leaves is like a man who doesn’t pee, the deal with the devil is in the beast.

Suffice it to say, this evil plant, had it’s way with me, especially the first few days. The photo of my leg is from my 2nd of 4 days in the wild. I never did a final count of the number of cuts I got, 30 to 50 per leg sounds about right, plus some on my arms and the cuts pictured aren’t the deepest of them either.

The Ozarks are like a beautiful woman (aren’t all wonderful things?), she’s beautiful, but dangerous, and she must be treated with the care and respect she deserves.

I have learned.


Sweaty, Bloody, Battered, Bruised and Generally Grimey

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God, I so needed this vacation. I just got done with four days at Bloody Bear Paw. (It’s what I’m calling the area I stayed in.)

Over 72 hours without another human being being seen at all. 4 days, 3 nights, over 40 miles hiked, over 100lbs in equipment and supplies carried roughly 8 miles in, and 75lbs or so carried out. 8 miles from the next human being, 8 miles of rock, river, mud, roots and nature letting me be alone.

No clocks, no time but the movement of the sun. A life about simplicity, survival, and independence from the world, from it’s pressures and cares.

Just a man alone with his thoughts. The same thoughts largely as when I went, but by the time I left, peaceful, calm and content, not angst or nervous energy, just peace. Indulgent.

Sitting on Bloody Bear Paw Rock, reading, playing harmonica (or at least learning), watching Hurricane Crick flow then retiring to the fire. Nothing amazing, just a little fire, but it feels good to make a fire from nothing more than wood pulled off the ground and the lighter in your pocket (Hey, I ain’t McGyver here. I believe in being properly equipped, or at least trying.)

Maybe I don’t need to learn anymore about how to get by on my own, I’m pretty good at it already, but it feels good, powerful, manly, (but manly is such a loaded word that it’s wrong,) to live life on my own on a more primal level.

More thoughts to come, more images to come. These are, at best, a rough start, and not the creme, not the creme by any means, but merely a humble beginning.


Passion vs. Profit

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One needs both, passion and profit. Sorry, it’s pretty simple, you don’t eat, you don’t live, you don’t live and you don’t create art (or whatever strokes you.) So you got to work, but you can’t work properly, well, passionately, if you don’t take the time to also stroke your passion. (Yeah, the arts and sex go together, even when it’s just in a poor mixture of words.)

I can’t say there is one type of photography I always want to do, there isn’t. Call my love fickle, fleeting, erratic, whatever you wish. I call it varied, exploring, sensuous in all the senses and they can offer, though I just work in one (side note, who thinks I can learn the harmonica?). I’m at a point where I’m in love, with photography, but still, hopefully always, infatuated also. She, photography, has body, all of which I still want to explore. Sure, some areas I like to play with regularly, but I still want to feel all of her. But I also need to do the dishes sometimes, without being asked, to get some of the other exploration I want. But the exploration is ultimately what I want, and I’ll learn to do the dishes better for it.

Doing something for the sake of passion, for nothing but love, inspires you to learn, to improve, to make it to the next day when the previous was tough. Today wasn’t tough in the work end, in fact it felt pretty good. A bunch o’ hours finished off with profile images of two men doing outreach to the homeless and helping them get services. Real feel good work.

But the passion of the day was with Strange Tree and Aloft Aerial Dance. Emily, the writer for Strange Tree, is just damn good. I’m not a comedy guy. If you ask me, the funniest movie ever is Dr. Strangelove. I’m guessing it’s a little dark and cerebral for most people. Not to say that most people aren’t smart, many, but not all, are, the humor is just very political, and not so slap stick. Come on, fluoridation as a global communist conspiracy as a central joke? The lead humor being a sexualization of mid-air refueling of B-52 bombers? It’s just not for everybody. That’s cool.

But Emily can write humor I enjoy that isn’t that over the top cerebral stuff, just good laughs. Mix in some good ridiculous songs, and some good aerial dance. A good night, a good life. And some witch burning to boot. I’ve always been a fan of witch burnings. A real bummer we don’t do it anymore. Maybe it’s just having a good mob I like. Whichever, whatever.

It’s groups like this though, helping them out, and being able to compliment them, and let them realize how much happiness they bring me, it makes me happy, satisfied. I don’t have everything in life, not yet, eventually I’ll conquer Asia (and if I don’t, then I’ll be satisfied having a son named Genghis, you may be thinking I’m joking, but I’m not), but even if I don’t conquer, life is pretty damn good.

And if over the next three weeks you want to have a good night out, “Ghost Stories II :Crucible the Musible!” rates as the way to go in my book (I wasn’t even back in my car before I was trying to hunt down a friend to go see it with me this weekend.) Men, your lady friend will think you styling for escorting her to such a neat show. Ladies, if your man don’t like it, at least a little, and really, a lot, then throw him to curb, he asked for it. And don’t feel shy about letting me know you had to kick him (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

I’m going to sleep like a baby tonight (my day started at 8am, it’s been pretty solid in one form or another till now, currently 2am, and I’ve got some work left to do), or at least what I think a baby sleeps like. (Reality be damned, this is my life.)

You’d think I’d know better than to do 19 hour days. You’d think. And it’s my day off.


Additive vs. Subtractive

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A few years back a friend at the time introduced me to an interesting way to view photography, and art in general, additive vs. subtractive.

The concept is simple of enough. In additive art you start with nothing, a blank canvas. From that point you build what you want, a dash of red here, a curve there, whatever. (My analogies will default to being painting related since the intial discussion involved painting, but not always, and it can apply to photo, dance, music, writing, whatever.) Elements are added to the image until the desired image is created.

In subtractive work you start with something, possibly everything, and then narrow down what you want into the final work. This type of work style is far less common. The best example I can think of, and the one I mostly practice, of course, is non-studio photography. You have an entire scene in front of you, but by removing elements, by cropping and cropping more, making all the necessary choices, the final image is created. It’s about subtracting elements until the desired image is created.

It’s simple enough. No big deal. But the thought process between the two is a world of difference.

Personally, subtractive is very easy for me. Throw a bunch of stuff in front of me, I’ll find what I think is the core of the subject quickly and create imagery to highlight that with no problem. I’ll use every tool in the book to get rid of all the junk that distracts from that core thought, idea, feeling.

Additive is still very challenging to me. I don’t see the range of possibilities of what can be brought into an image to make it stronger, if something needs to bee taken out I’ll usually see that mighty quick. (Hair, make-up and fashion are excluded items.) I know it’s a practice deal for me. I need to learn to think more conceptually. While I can certainly conceptualize while doing my subtractive work, it’s much more on the fly, and I tend to be better, to do better with pressure, at least at a certain level. In additive work the creation is less about the moment the piece is made, or the photo is made, and more about the process of getting there, the planning. (They never believe me in the office when I tell them that 90% of our studio work succeeds or fails in the planning process. Ah well, luckily I’m very well trained to work and think on the spot.)

A good example of this in my mind is that few musicians get on stage without crazy amounts of practice, the same for all performance. Paintings and drawings are often slightly changed throughout their creation, but that can be hours, days, weeks, months or years. There is plenty of planning time in there if you ask me.

Subtractive work tends to be less…forgiving? That word is wrong, but it gets the idea across. I don’t mean to imply that subtractive work is more challenging, it’s not, it’s just that once something is gone, it’s gone. With a photo, if the photo is taken without something in the frame, for the purposes of the photo, it probably didn’t need to exist at all. (Add that to my love of cutting off body parts and it gets kind of sick.) The other subtractive form I can most easily think of would be sculpting from a block of material, removing all the excess till you reveal the sculpture. If you accidentally remove part of the sculpture, ah, that’s a problem. Now, I know little about sculpture and I know there are some remedies, but you get the idea.

Sometimes I wonder if this concept is applicable to other art forms, writing, music, theater, whatever. I don’t know. I’d love to see it explored. It would probably fail, but I so love failures. Failures tend to be the most interesting successes (oohhh…one of those faux-wise statements that are actually complete BS.) But I think you get the idea. Failures are interesting to see because of what you can learn from them. I’m a fan of failing. (I better be some days, otherwise…just “ouch” otherwise.)

Other ideas to explore, the difference between performance and object art (see (or more accurately listen to) Joni Mitchell, on a live record talking about “Paint a Starry Night again man”, hilarious, in part because of it’s accuracy.) Performance once it’s done, can, and usually will be done again. Object, not so much, but sometimes.

Anyhow, that’s the start of an idea, and one I want to continue to explore.

Next in the world of strange art concepts that float through Josh’s head, how the written word should be distrusted, and maybe all words, though the tone and body language that go along with words are quite useful, the words themselves, not so much. This is why I hate loud bars these days. I have to work to listen to words, which are so uninformative, and the useful info is below the actual words and I can barely get the words.

Done rambling.


A Toast to Fine People

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Some people in this world are just nice. It’s stupid statement, yep, but it’s true, and it needs to be said about some people sometimes.

So I was fortunate enough to get to help the fine (previously and also still, nice) people at Chicago Tap Theatre. Simple enough work, new head shots. A nice change of pace for me. Pretty people, pretty pictures, studio situation, nothing taxing, and I get to feel good about myself for doing it. (BTW – the real reason to volunteer in life, from my perspective, self-interest. Do something for someone else and get a warm fuzzy feeling, you can’t do that making money, and it’s worth more, if you ask me. Give it a try if you haven’t recently. Go here for some ideas.)

Anyhow, I got to spent an hour doing making these images, being thanked, having some good conversations, getting to know some good people a little better. What else can you ask for on a Wednesday afternoon?

It was also enjoyable for me because I got a few things I normally don’t get. I got time to set-up and do not great, but decent lighting. (I think I need some more heads. Money? I don’t need no stinking money.)

I got to have models when I told them to stand someplace, would do it. My most common studio situation is shooting Chicago Parent covers, which involves little kids usually. Put them where you want them, and then hope they don’t move before you get a few frames off. Repeat. This means that the lighting has to be more generic, because it has to cover where the model is plus 4 feet in any direction because that’s where they may go. Kids are great, sometimes I just like a change of pace though.

All of this plus adult models, which aren’t me, and are attractive (not that I’m not hot, I am, like the sun, but there is something about taking pics of other pretty people.) Again, enjoyable, not deep, not meaningful, just enjoyable.

Anyhow, just another one of those simple happy pleasures in life.

Someday I’m going to learn how to recruit models so I can I shot studio work more often, get better at it. I’d like to, it’s a fun change of pace. But alas the day when I learn that skill has not yet come and gone. Someday, one day. (Yep, just add it to the list.)

Also, I should note, on philosophical grounds, I won’t shoot anything that organizations will pay to have shot. Well I like to help out, I also don’t want to hurt any other artist’s income opportunities. It’s a fine but important distinction to me.

And, by the way, if you’re thinking, “Wow, they’re beautiful,” you’re right. They all are, men and women. And the cool part, the dancing is even more beautiful. Hey, it’s volunteer work for me, I can enjoy it and have it easy, it’s acceptable.


48 Inspiring Hours

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I’m an introvert, and a pretty strong one. I generally dislike people. On the other hand the only thing in this world that holds my interest with any regularity is people. The last two days though have reminded me why I love humanity, even on those days I don’t, and that ain’t today. Today is glowing with love.

First wonderful person. Liala Kuchma, she is one of ten Chicago artists in Chicago’s Artists Month Celebration. Okay, neat. It was when she was talking about her weaving at the loom, how she does it for 12 hours a day, sometimes more, because she loves it, when she talked about the choice and which would make her happier, weaving or going out for dinner with friends, and how most of the time more weaving would make her happier, it was when she talked about what she did and you could feel the passion, I could feel the passion, the love, that I just felt…good. It’s one of those, “there is someone else out there who feels it too,” moments. I don’t get many of those.

Many people love something, whatever it is, and that is wonderful, but it is tempered, and wisely so, I’d argue. I’m not wise. I am passionate. Not about many things, but I am about a few, and those areas of my life, I love them. I can feel it, sometimes I can feel it want to rush out. I love it, and I wouldn’t stop it. I’m also well aware that it can be very harmful to me in other areas of my life. C’est la vie. (I love that phrase.)

It’s rare I get to meet a person so devoted to their art. I like those people. Maybe they just make me feel less alone, in a way that being with people can never make me feel not alone.

The second cool person was Ryan. Ryan I don’t think knows quite how cool he is yet. That’s fine, a little sad, but we all have to learn. Ryan was just a joy to talk to. He was discovering the joy of passion, of creating, of, of I don’t know what. But he was discovering. He had that sound, that look of young love. I love young love, that falling in love. Mature, caring, healthy love has it’s place in the world (though whether I can make this argument from experience is an interesting question these days) but young love, whether youthful in years, or new to us today, is wonderful, powerful. When the grass is greener, the sky is bluer, and you just don’t know any better, but it’s wonderful. I don’t know if he’ll get through the hard stuff. He’s already gone through quite a bit personally, and has more to face, and he has my admiration and respect for it, but there is more ahead, and I wish him the best in it. I don’t know how he’ll do, but I love that he is in love, and I hope he can enjoy that. And through his love of love, he’s reminded me of how much I love it too. And for that, I owe him a thanks, and I only hope I was able to give him a tenth as much as he gave me.

It didn’t hurt that he and his friends all thought I was cool, had a cool job and reminded how lucky I am in life. Sometimes it just feels really good to remember, to be grateful, for all you’ve had the luck to be given in life.

As a side note, I meet Ryan at Guess Hookah. Cool place. Bummer I’m apparently about a decade older than their average clientèle, I’d think about hanging there every now and again. Nice laid back atmospheres, a nice change of pace for me. Sometimes I wish I didn’t find stress and chaos so damn fun. It actually made me kinda want to try a hookah, alas, my brain won, and I didn’t. Apparently 85% of people who go there and use the hookahs don’t smoke cigarettes, who would’ve thunk it? Not to mention, if you’re twenty, reading this and male or lesbian, beautiful women galore, I mean….wow. Okay, that was unprofessional of me.

And just to add to the surreality of today. Other than hookah cafes I was covering a gentleman, nice guy, Darrin Hallowell, who does sculpture incorporating his own blood. Pretty interesting stuff, interesting ideas, and enjoyable to talk to.

I wish more Tuesdays could just be artists doing something odd and hookahs. That really is what Tuesday is supposed to be.

As a side note, I don’t know why it seems everything I’ve shot is moving left, but….oops, my poor graphic designers.

And on a final pointless note, white teas, can’t get into them. Just can’t. I’m about the Oolongs.