A is for accident

On the days leading up to that trip to Ikea a couple weeks back, I had an aching feeling.  Anyone who has shot long enough with the same camera–especially film cameras with a bevy of mechanical bits–can tell you with some degree of accuracy when something isn’t right.  It can be the slightest bit of damping in a ring or stickiness in a dial and you know, balls to bones that something is messed-up.  More often than not, when I feel those sensations my first reaction is to chalk it all up to paranoia.  The logical mind takes over and the same line of reasoning prevails.  I shot the camera earlier and it was fine.  The last roll was fine, it’s all in my head.  This is all bullshit of course because it’s actually not in my head, I can feel it in my hands but I ignore that because I just want it to be ok.  

Well while I was out shooting before the Ikea pilgrimage I knew something was up.  I pushed it to the back of my mind because I had been having a phenomenal day.  The images were appearing right in front of me in slow motion.  All I had to do was frame and click at a leisurely pace and out would come photographic-gold.  There were at least 10 and maybe even 12 or so that I was certain were keepers.  Certain.  But all the while, the nagging feeling was there, all the way in the back of my mind, slowly running it’s nails down the chalkboard coated inner-wall of my skull.  The film advance had felt wrong… too little resistance.  When I would advance and cock it didn’t feel right at all.  I only had maybe two shots left on the roll but it was still nagging me when we arrived at Ikea.  

On the walk through the parking lot to in the entrance there was some beautiful light streaming in from an open section of the ceiling, casting beautiful triangular shadows on a wall with little windows cut in it.  People were walking behind the wall and popping up in the cutouts, so I timed it out and made frames 37 and 38.  When the frame advance cocked passed 38 to 39, I felt the bottom drop out.  I shot out 39 and when it advanced again I knew I was fucked.  

Down with the rewind-lever and spin the rewind-crank and I know immediately that for the first time in four years I haven’t loaded the Leica right.  After one turn all tension goes out of the crank and I open the bottom.   


I take out the completely unused roll of Tri-X, sit it on a bench near by to angry to even look at it and walk away.  Anna Maria was watching and knew immediately what had happened.  She told me how sorry she was for me while I loaded up a fresh roll, careful to test the tension after loading and exposed passed my head-frame just to see the crank turn.  Admittedly the rest of the day went fine and I made some images at Ikea that I really enjoyed but I know what I lost.  On the way out of the chaos that is Ikea, we stopped to get a bag of lördagsgodis each.  While we were heading back to the car AM was walking behind that same wall.  It was later in the day and the interesting shadows were gone, but I still managed to catch her, eating salt lakris and looking terribly guilty.  There was even a letter “A” behind her.  Neat.  I looked over at the bench and the devil roll was gone.  Like a bad penny that one.   

Shot on a Leica M7 with a 35mm Cron, on Kodak Tri-X film pushed to 800 at the Icon, loaded by a moron.  


I haven’t shot for my [Muse]ums series in a while.  Things go in cycles and right now I’m thinking more about shooting some meaningful color work than I am about much of anything else.  Today I woke up fixated on black and white… or in this case grey.  Sadly that’s the way that I work as a human being.  I jokingly tell people that I have a focus that is about the same size as a quarter.  Inside the penumbra it burns with an intensity brighter than the sun, but outside in the shadow, things cease to exist.  

But in truth, this used to be a more accurate description of me a few years back than it is now.  The period at which my attention used to drift was that of a slow pendulum, gliding back and forth and from side to side on my circle of interest–my mind planted at the origin, the vector of my attention gliding around the edge.  But the older I’ve gotten the quicker the period has become and now I glide in and out of points of interest considerably faster and more fluid than I did even a five years ago.  The pace intensifies with each passing day in fact.  I’m wondering if I’ve got some form of degenerative attention deficit disorder, where the spans of cohesive focus are decreasing by milliseconds per day–some small amount not even perceptible, but that after a year or so I notice some small difference.  

But there’s something else I’ve started to realize through this strange process.  Looming behind the spotlight of my immediate consciousness, there is form and structure that I can just barely sense, looming silently in the background.  It’s in the shadow,  two stops underexposed and absolutely there.  I can start to make to make out it’s corners as the spot light swings around the circle and the faster the light swings, the cleaner the form starts to be.  Years ago I was just vaguely aware of this form’s existence. Today I feel I’m starting to understand pieces of it.  When I wrote “corners” that’s actually a pretty accurate analogy of how it feels.  These edges I can make out are a puzzle that I’m slowly filling in.  The faster the spotlight races across the surface the more acute the form becomes.  I’ve come to understand that my consciousness is creating a zoetrope.  I’ve also come to understand that the corners of the form rimmed with the increasingly frenetic swinging spotlight of my A.D.D. consciousness are actually the edges of me.  

The quicker my attention waxes and wanes the more light my consciousness casts on my form.  The faster the zoetrope spins the more in focus I become.  I can feel that I’m getting closer and closer and sharper and sharper but the centrifugal force is threatening to pull me out of orbit.  I need one more minute see through the light and into the vastness beyond, but I’m not there yet… 

Shot on my LeicaM7 at 35mm on Tri-X at 800.       



Another run and gun color image to keep your spirits up, dear purveyor of street photography.  Second verse, same as the first.  We were driving in Hollywood on our way back from here or from there–I can’t really seem to recall and it honestly doesn’t matter, when I see the outside of the Taschen gallery featuring work from Albert Watson.  Anna Maria shouts out “Chris, there’s your shot” and I see the guy in the image waking by the gallery, taking a left turn and heading towards the mural on the side of the building.  A mural of a chimp wearing a crown and his arm holding a gun.  Albert Watson is a genius.    

I jerk the car to the curb and jump out, almost losing a door and my life in the process thanks to a speeding car, make my way to the middle of the street and wait for a car to pass before framing up and making the first of three attempts I was to make of photographing this scene.  First attempt is a failure.  Fucking camera was off.  I make a mental note to sell the M7 and buy and MP for the millionth time, switch on the camera and frame.  My subject had stopped walking to look at the chimp for a moment and then he commenced to fiddling with his phone.  I had missed the moment when he was looking up and I wasn’t terribly interested in an image of him Facebooking or Tindering or whatever the hell he was doing on his phone in front of the Watson image, so maybe my chance had passed.  But then he starts walking again and I’m ready.  

I just have to wait for the asshole in the grey Prius to stop honking his horn and drive around me.  Once asshole-prius-douche realizes what’s going on he drives around me–not like I was standing in his way.  Whatever.  He’s a minor annoyance and I’m already waiting for the right moment to make attempt number two.  I breathe in as he plants his foot and he’s directly under the pistol now.  Click and I’m almost positive that is the winner, but I wait a beat for attempt number three, after cocking the camera.  I breathe out with his step and click. Attempt number three.  

I’m so in my own headspace I don’t realize that two more cars have stopped on the side of me and are letting me make my image.  Unlike asshole-Prius-driver, they are silent–perhaps annoyed but silent all the same and patient.  I wave to them thanking them.  Sorry for the chaos.  

Shot on my Leica M7 at 35mm on Portra400 pushed to 800 at the Icon.       

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