Hairway to Steven

I made a couple of these images while we were in San Fransisco at SFMOMA.  The staircase itself, with the light beam that cuts through the staircase is divine.  For the others I camped out and waited for the right person to walk down or up and I tried to get the exact moment I was after.  It’s what we in the business call a “Fishing expedition” and it works just like it sounds.  There’s another version of this picture that I tend to prefer–I even posted it in my [Muse]ums series but I keep coming back to this image.   I’m drawn to it partially because of the aesthetic but mainly because of it’s origin story which happens to be how I found the staircase to begin with.  

The astute and well read among you may know that I have a son named Elliot who has a very, very short attention span combined with a love for exploring and little concern for consequences.  He’s also not terribly interested in fine art unlike his old man but he is, after all, only fifteen so one can hardly blame him.  We were finally at SFMOMA for the first time since this particular trip to the bay area was predicated by the fact that I would get a chance to finally to visit a museum that has constantly seemed to allude me on every trip I’ve even made to San Fransisco.  AM was excited, the girls placated me (after researching the location and finding the cafe’s pastry menu) but Elliot was determined to be miserable. 

Within a half hour he was disappearing into other galleries without saying anything searching for an exit.  He pulled the same trick at least three or four times on the first floor and then equally many on the second.  We would be looking at a few paintings or a photographs and then he just wasn’t there.  When he wasn’t disappearing he would find the closest bench where you could sit and examine the art, and proceed to take a nap.  Sometimes he would combine the two.  First running away, then finding a bench.  There’s photographic evidence I swear.  

On one of his later elopements, I couldn’t seem to find him anywhere in any of the galleries on that particular floor so I ran out into the hall.  I saw the entry way to a staircase that I hadn’t seen earlier and darted inside.  

It was heavenly.  I’ve never seen light play like that in a stairwell before, with the beam slicing through the staircase and then bouncing around all of that geometric perfection.  I was awestruck.  And of course there, climbing this stairway to heaven was my son.  His long sweaty surfer hair flopping around as he took the steps, one at a time, in a last ditch effort to escape insufferable boredom brought at the hands of his family and of the unholy fine art of SFMOMA. 

Hairway to Steven shot on my Leica M7 on Kodak Tri-X 400 pushed a stop at the Icon.    

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