I don’t know how long they had been drifting apart.  It could have started last week or last year or last time they really talked.  But it had happened at some point and all that really matters is that it would have happened no matter what they did.  I think the first time I met them it was clear as day–two people talking passed each other; two people looking past each other into the soul of a person that just wasn’t there.  

I heard from a mutual friend that he was staying at work late so he could avoid going home and having dinner with her.  My wife heard that she was meeting some guy at the wine bar after work while he was working late.  It seemed to me it was only a matter of time before it all just crumbled.  The strange part was that I couldn’t imagine either of them actually giving a shit that it was over.  Sure there would be yelling and tears and shitty hurtful things said, but in my mind, while all the faux-emotional shrapnel was miming the destruction of everything they pretended to hold dear, they would pass right through the other like the ghosts they were–massless, half-empty/half-depleated husks of lovers.  

So when I heard they were taking a trip together, you know, ‘taking some time to patch things up” I couldn’t help but wonder.  I pictured them on the airplane, both on their phones, constantly checking their Instagram so they can avoid talking to each other.  Or in the hotel room, letting out a deep sigh while she fakes a headache to avoid sex and he checks her phone for texts while she’s in the bathroom.  I imagined them at the theme park, riding the rides secretly wishing they could just get off.  Get off of the rides.  Get off of each other.  Get off. 

Estranged shot on my Leica M7 with a Summicron 35 on Kodak Tri-X 400 and pushed to 800 at the Icon.  

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.    

White House

Museums must be my favorite hunting grounds for photography.  The stark white walls contrasted against beautiful fine art while patrons wander around, experiencing that art in their own headspace.  They bend their heads, twist their bodies, gesture with their arms, soaking it all up.

Sometimes I get caught up in it all as well.  I forget why I’m there and the time passes and I snap out of it and I haven’t made a single image.  On this particular day I had totally spaced as I walked around the graphical form of a house, split into a “V” in the center.  I remember that I was backing up to take it all in when someone bumped into me from behind.  I turned around to apologize when I saw that it wasn’t a patron at all.  One of the guards (who make sure that idiots like me don’t bump into large sculptures standing near a wall while they’re backing up and not paying attention to what they’re doing) had held up his hand to stop me from backing up any further.  

I apologized profusely and wandered back towards the house that I had just been looking at, a little embarrassed but glad I didn’t knock anything over with my camera bag.  The guard circled back around the house and settled with his back against the opposite wall.  He was definitely giving me the “I’m watching you” kind of look so I strafed a little to get out of his line-of-sight.  Instantly sensing an image, I shuffled slightly more to the left to completely bifurcate the suspicious guard and made the image above.  

White House, shot on film on a film camera, and push-proceed +1 by film lab


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