Archive for April, 2012
A simple glance around (proud, we’ve just spent some time doing a serious organizational push of our workspace) and playing with my little pixiecam, realizing how enjoyable the built in square formatting is. I’ve just got my Mamiya 6 back from the shop and feel a long lost urge to run some film through it. My beloved square format, all these square prints on the walls of our house. But damn, I’ve no tungsten film on hand….. The joys and taken-for-granted conveniences of digital, even when the sensor’s smaller than a postage stamp, quickly sway me. Plus, I’m pissed, the meter in the big camera is still exactly two stops off, which is why I took into the shop. My film from India came back so thin! They kept it weeks, charged me well, sent it back clean, but the meter is still reliably two stops off. But can it be relied on to stay two stops off? Ilse wants to shoot it as she drives across country this summer. I can’t set it according to it’s broken state and then have it fix itself midway through Montana. But the thought of her out Georgia O’Keefe’ing it with that accordion hardback book of a svelte medium format range finder in her able hands turns me on so! It was, indeed, OUR wedding gift from my father, though it’s fallen to me for the past dozen years to utilize it. She’s got a great eye though. And perhaps the notion that I might not be with her for the whole trip – off shooting myself – makes her want to have a bit of that Meeno on hand, the shooting of the land in square. Maybe? But she’d never admit that. She shoots her phone in square exclusively. And she shoots and chronicles the life of our daughters and her urban homesteader fascinations so damn well, and all in that faux square polaroid that her phone spits out so well. She’s maintained her stance as a square shooter firmly over the years as I dabble in any toy of image making I can get my hands on. She’s a monster and master of integrity, I’m unbearably given to lightness. Kundera would greatly appreciate the both of us in all our own ways, which is of course, along with all this constant creativity, child rearing and farm life husbandry that we share so constantly in common, why we as opposites so steadfastly attract.
Ilse and I had been dreaming of going back out to Carrizo Plain for another shoot with our CHICKS. We had done our SAFARI shoot there a couple years ago and it was amazing, you can see that one HERE. Carrizo Plain is one of California’s best kept secrets. It’s just over the Grapevine and back in the hills, behind the oil boom area of There Will Be Blood. You come through the hills and down onto the San Andreas Fault. It’s California’s largest open area and there’s nothing there but wild Kudzu-looking Elk, a smattering of homesteader relics, the occasional Spring riot of wildflowers and these wild Borax lakes. They’re dry and fluffy with thick gooey mud beneath the flossy surface. Ever the ingenious Production Designer, Ilse found an old blue dory on Craig’s List, rented vintage costumes, mined our store of Mardi Gras marching girl bikinis and generally put together a Tim Walker-esqe bonanza of photographable elements which we strapped all onto the back of the pickup and split town.
HTC had hired me to be to be the photo apostle of their new EVO 4G LTE camera phone and so as part of the week of nation wide shooting I did with the great little machine, we rushed off with our CHICKS to make our particular brand of magic. The first day was rained out, but the storm made for magisterial skies the next day.
Back in October we attended our first Flash Mob with our CHICKS. It was the perfect one to do as a family. An arcade, homemade, in our East Side hood. The explanation was sketchy, some enterprising and inventive little kid who was peddling his art in an empty universe needed his mind blown. How could we turn that down. There was a little film being made by a guy we’re intrigued by named Nirvan. Our paths had crossed serendipitously several times in this town of image makers and when he asked if we could be there to celebrate this cool kid and help him make his movie we said we’d happily show up and dig in. The CHICKS made posters, I shot pictures, and it quickly became evident that we were part of a really magical afternoon. Now a few months later Nirvan’s little flick hits the web and in a day it goes crazy, totally viral. Our friends in Peru were the first to write and say they’d seen us in the movie. The same note poured in all day, and everyone talking about how they cried and how uplifted they’d been by the story of Caine’s Arcade. The Daily Mail of London called to ask if they could use my pictures in their article about it. The world was aching for a Fun Pass. All that real sentimentality, that honest innocence of childhood and it’s unbridled ingenuity, people are evidently aching for this kind of stuff. A day later over $100,000 has been raised for Caine’s college fund.
Here’s Nirvan’s Film’s website with the movie and the college fund donation button (how cool is that, this kid has changed his life with the perseverance of his creativity and one guy’s great chronicling of that cardboard universe of fun):
Here’s some of my photos from the day: