Why did I start taking pictures? Pretty much to document family and vacations. My first few cameras were essentially scrapbook facilitators. I love a good keepsake. But by the time I started college I became less interested in the camera as a tool of remembrance. It was the Vivitar 35ES that changed things. The Vivitar was a gift from my dad. It was the second camera he gave to me. We bonded through picture taking. Me and Pops. And boy did that Vivitar make me feel legit. I lugged that baby around from class to class. I had no idea what I was doing at UCSD. I was a biology major, then drama and finally visual arts simply because my roommate at the time, James, got me a concessions job at the Ken Cinema. He worked there too. Films were cool. James was cool. And during our six years of living together in San Diego and Los Angeles, James introduced me to all kinds of art, literature, music and food. James taught me about friendship and cinema as well. Moving images, still images, we were fascinated by every frame. And that's when my relationship to the camera changed. The Vivitar became my first paint brush. I am a deep observer. Patient. Cerebral. A huge fan of pattern recognition. The world was abundant with grace and strange. And the Vivitar faithfully captured my POV. One of the books that reminds me of James is John Berger's "Ways of Seeing." James was a visual arts major as well. I started reading Berger when I had the Vivitar. He was the perfect complement to all the Hitchcock and Truffaut films we saw at the Ken. As John Berger would say, "Seeing comes before words." James, John and the Vivitar. Each introduced me to the world of my inner and outer compositions.
Lately I've been feeling nostalgic. I'm totally happy I have nostalgia. Grateful I've lived to accumulate these recollects. Oh, I must mention I recently moved my desk. I look out the back porch now. The fresh view has something to do with me floating in time. At least two or three things are always in motion when I daydream. Most of the flow comes from the steady parade of Chevy's and Ford's along Commerce. Just beyond, the graceful James slinks easily in a SE direction. And then there are the walkers down 12th searching for bargain antiques or tequila shooters. But my favorite flow by far is the slow passing train. The pace of the freight syncs perfectly to Ahmad Jamal's, "Poinciana." Smooth. I think about my life. Sometimes thoughts are about what is happening now. And then I scan an old photo and my mind wanders. Downstream. Today the skies are misty blue so I muse in black and white. The day I went to Santa Anita with my friends. I loved the track thanks to Uncle Tom who traditionally took the family to Santa Anita the day after Christmas. It was everything. Beer, sunshine, handicapping, people watching, science, drama. The perfect social scene. So I look out the window inspired by movement. Flow. I am a visual artist. A gambler. A drunk. Wait. Are these my memories? Who are you?
Pulling the blinds. When I am hunkering down for some creative, I tend to work in the dark and alone. My inspiration is a combination of music, memories and the now. Music provides a calming focus. Memories supply an endless stream of happy and sad. And the now. Oh the now. No matter the song or the recollection, I always return to love. Yes Milan Kundera, yes, it is unbearable at times. Being.
Readymade TV. It's my new craze. There is so much beauty in the world. I'd rather look than speak. I'd rather listen to instruments than voices. A face says it all. A flower is everything. Architecture quietly begs me to stare. With this mindset I can go anywhere. I can walk into any disco and dance. I can travel to any country and communicate. I am peace and tranquility. I am entertained by the basic.
I want to run, kiss, dance and create. Is this too much for a Saturday? I say no. Because you must take it when you get it. There are days when the power of love permeates my entire being with blissful intent. It is a day like this that can motivate a man for months at a time. Deep seated belief. I am wide awake. But I have to close my eyes to truly feel it.
Dee and I moved to Lynchburg, Virginia on January 6th, 2017. It has been almost one year. Today is Sunday and it's a typically quiet day on Main Street. We have plans to make coffee, chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, curried cauliflower, cranberry chutney, rosemary potatoes and mushroom gravy. But before all of this, we took our time getting out of bed. We spoke about the middle way. A place between our earthly bodies and our ethereal souls. And we sincerely believe our happiness is the result of this delicate balance. This is how our morning began.
My first camera was a Polaroid Swinger. A gift from my dad. I used to keep a Swinger photo of the family in my wallet. I was so proud of them.
My dad loved taking pictures. He was a faithful documentarian. My mom would make something good to eat and we would dim the lights and watch slides and Super 8 movies projected on the walls. These were times of laughter and love. So thank you James W. Wiggins, Jr. for introducing me to the art of photography and associating the viewfinder as an act of affection.
I take pictures when I am happy. This happiness opens my awareness. An awareness of time and place. Happy to be right here right now. This is what I see. The composition is dependent on balance. The balance is related to light and shape. It is a combination of math and spirituality. Just before the picture becomes art there is a great sigh. This is the most relaxed I can be at that exact moment. Click. It starts and ends with happiness.