So, as I’ve already established, Monday was just incredible, on so many levels. Well, not to rub it in, but this was Sunday.
Sunday started at the loving time of 5:30am, for leaving the house at least. I spent from about 6am till 10am covering Bike the Drive, the annual closing of Lake Shore Drive so that bicyclists can takeover and enjoy it. It was harder to photograph than I expected, but I got a couple of okay images out of it. Suffice it to say, it got covered.
Later in the day was urban golf, through Cudgel. Basically the idea behind urban golf is you get a golf club, a tennis ball, a series of alleys, dress like a 70s golf rock-star hero, and drink your way through the course. It’s a good time, it’s utterly, and totally ridiculous, hence good time. So I got to spend a few hours hanging out with some awesome people, who were fabulously dressed (“I want to look very meticulously terrible.”)
I also decided, that besides wanting to cover this again in the future, when I do so, I’m playing next time. It’s not so rushed that I can’t, and hell, my journalism has to get more gonzo. (If you don’t know what Gonzo-journalism is, first and foremost I hope you aren’t a journalist, if you are a journalist and don’t know that term I’m kicking your ass. The wikipedia entry is pretty good. I tend towards being a bit more factually accurate, but the whole getting into the middle of events thing I’m all into. While I may be an observer of life more than a participator, I’m at least going to observe from pointblank range. I believe that I can only truly portray a situation if I feel a situation which means being absorbed by the situation which done by being totally and wholly in a situation. Got it?) I need to be more gonzo. I’m doing better, but I must get more involved, almost every image I’m happy-ish with comes from a situation I’m totally absorbed by and in.
Live and learn.
(and the dork in the yellow, is the reporter I was working with. For a reporter (which sets the bar pretty low) he’s pretty good all around.)
See, Memorial Day has a lot of parades and similar, and normally, I’m at those parades making photos. This year, my boss decided to give me the day off and give all that work to freelancers. This was a surprising gift.
I spent the day with two amazing, beautiful women. We picnicked, in spite of the risk of rain, we goofed off, and goofed off some more, and talked enough to write a book or two. Our blankets were covered in food, drink, piles of cameras, clubs and balls and other things for juggling, and wonderful friends.
It’s a strange experience for me to have a day off that other people have off. To be able to enjoy the company of friends so thoroughly. I want to repeat it. I want to repeat having the day off, but more than that, I want to repeat Memorial Day 2008. I want that happiness, that inner warmth, every day. It was amazing. (If I keep talking, all I’m going to do is ramble on about how good it was in a very repetitive manner.)
The photos, some of them are weird, we’re three odd people, but I just like these images. We were just having fun, being us, through and through. There are, quite literally, a hundred more I like also, but I can’t post them all.
I just want you to know, right now, I’m smiling.
Update: Sarah’s blog post, and if you don’t know Sarah, you really should, trust me. Also, her post is so much better than mine. Read it, you’ll get a feel for the day better than from me and discover you want to hang with Sarah also, but I have dibs. Just sayin’.
Maybe I’ve given up on meaning in life. There isn’t any. Sorry. Get over it.
Maybe life is just too tough some days. Maybe I’m tired of bad shit happening to good people.
Maybe I want goodness for my friends. Though I should say, there are people out there willing to offer it. To them, you are amazing, please don’t ever stop. You have no idea what you, what you few mean to me.
Maybe I just have given up on trying to be decent, not even good, but decent meaning anything to anyone but myself.
Maybe I, and really, this is all about me, it’s my blog, what else were you expecting it to be about? Maybe I need remember to give without expectation of a return. Give with only the joy of giving as it’s only reward. Maybe, just maybe, this is the most cynical of attitudes.
You know what? I’m a weak man. I’m sorry. I am. Think less of me if you wish. It’s probably fair. There are a lot of things I can’t do, I can’t do as a man, I can’t do as a human, I just can’t do. I’m not strong enough. I wish I was. At some point, I don’t know where, we are all just…not strong enough, we are broken.
Maybe this makes me less of a man. I’m sure some think so. Frankly, I pity them. Don’t get me wrong, I want to be more than I am. I’m capable of being so much more. It hurts me, it hurts me, that I’m not more, I have the potential, I know I do, but I don’t, I can’t, and I don’t know why. But somewhere, somehow, I am what I am, and that, that right there, is enough, maybe, just maybe, it’s even downright good.
Maybe, just maybe, that means I’m good enough.
Had a couple of hours to kill between a children’s exercises shoot and state water polo championships. I’ll probably have a better variant of this tomorrow, but this was the best on that card, and I don’t have that much time to kill.
Yeah, it’s the shot every high school photo student has taken and thought was interesting, and it wasn’t, but it’s part of the process, so it’s good they do it. I suppose I could say something intelligent about exploring with a fresh eye, or a child’s eye, or seeing the world with the newness only found in babies. Those are all true and wonderful, but really, I just want too.
It was just a photo I wanted to take while out on a stroll in a park on a night not so many days ago.
Is there any better reason in this world than, “because I wanted too” or “because it made me happy”?
I just get to have lunch/dinner with the coolest people. This is, yep, I’m calling you out on stage for a minute, Peter “George” Ksander, according to Time Out New York, “the most ingenious set designer working downtown.” And the whole serious look thing makes me laugh hysterically.
I’m becoming a stronger and stronger believer in the value of surrounding yourself with the most creative, kindest people you can. I think it will only encourage those things, help you grow those things, in yourself. I’m not sure if that’s how it works, but it’s a happy experiment to try.
The world is different than I would’ve thought.
Many a year ago I saw a study. It pretty soundly linked perception and media consumption. By this I mean, how dangerous people saw the world was pretty strongly related to how much news and media they consumed. People who saw the world as less threatening, tended to be out and about more.
Now, mind you, I spend a lot of time consuming media. I may not read many books these days, or any books at all, but I read hours upon hours a day. I read newspapers, magazines, website upon website, blog after blog. Many of them relevant to my job and career. I want to do what I do better, every day, every year. But I’m also out and about, a lot, I mean, a lot.
So in the last few weeks, and these photos are already over a week old, I’ve just been busy, I’ve met at least two former drug dealers and ex-cons. You know what? They were two of the nicest, smartest, and in some ways, wise people I’ve met in a long time. The older one I met knew it, he just knew it. It didn’t matter what “it” was, he knew the score, he knew what was important in this world and he knew he had made mistakes and that he had moved on. He knew he was a good guy. And I only got to know him for maybe twenty minutes. From that time, he was right.
Isaah, was much younger, maybe 19. He made some mistakes, some big mistakes, but you know what, it’s not the mistakes that matter, it’s what we learn from them that matters. Isaah, he learned. He learned big time. Isaah is one of those rare people who makes me regret leaving the world (the horrible world) of management. I wanted nothing more after talking to Isaah than to offer him a job. No, his skill set might not have been great, but he has the important qualities. He is smart, he learns from his mistakes, kind, caring, interested and interesting, genuine and also scarred, hard-working, looking to make his life better, and willing to do the work to get there.
He’s currently doing work with a program, Clean Slate, to help him get placed in a steady job and get the training he needs. Much of this involves doing work picking up trash on the street. I was a janitor for a few months, but nothing as hard as what he’s doing, and he’s doing it for far less, for now. He’s trying, he’s working. Isaah came across as what we want from the citizens of this country, a desire to improve, both their standing in the world, and themselves.
I tried to relay that to him, I’m sure I failed, but that morning I spent hanging with him, learning his story, his past, and how he was trying to make a better now, and better tomorrow, you know what, he’s one of the reasons I love my job. People like Isaah.