You know when the anticipation of the events of a singular day become so scheduled and fragmented that the day itself ceases to exist? The events that you look forward to are swallowed in the chaos that surrounds the tasks at hand. Sometimes the meaning of time lies in moments passed and very rarely those that I look forward to. The future is never now. And now never lasts.
with Maisie, Erin, and Julie
Musik City by Tan now floods the corners of my bedroom, muffled by a familiar darkness and sound of the gratuitous Columbus summer thunderstorm. I sit in my bed, hands and wrists still numb from lack of sleep/nutrition, head still reconfiguring sun and moon simulations of the past 24 hours. From the day I found out about the solar eclipse back in May, the preparations for this event took a sharp exponential turn during the last week. Columbus appeared to be entirely sold out of protective eyewear for the event as I bounced around from Midwest Photo Exchange to Lowe's to Half Price Books, Giant Eagle, and the UA Public Library. By the time that I arrived at each location, the glasses had supposedly just sold out. Why was the universe working against me during the time of one of it's greatest displays of power?
Nathan and I took off for Nashville, Tennessee at 8 AM on Sunday morning, making frequent stops at businesses in small towns who were rumored to have eclipse glasses. We asked locals and made phone calls that only added an aspect of comedy to our wild goose chase. (Soon, Dixie Rose would inform us that she has eclipse glasses.) Upon arriving into Nashville, we stopped for late lunch in our favorite hippie-vegan-punk style restaurant that exists in every city. After salads and a discussion of what it means to be an adult, we were on route to Nathan (Snell) and Dixie Rose's new home.
We rang the doorbell and immediately were greeted by literally too many people to remember every single face (cat and dog included). The last group of visitors came through to show NS and DR their controversial Harmony Korine style indie film. After a few hours passed, it was just the four of us (and Eno and Kitty) chit-chatting over G&T's, playing improvised games with thrift store figurines. Tipsy enough to go out, Nathan Ward designated our drive to the honky-tonks on Broadway. We watched country music over fried pickles and observed pre-eclipse strange behavior of birds flying over the river from a rooftop patio. The drunken night ended over my first Game of Thrones experience.
NW was abruptly awoken by me accidentally knocking my clumsy foot into the plug of the air mattress, what he described as a "camp" move. Dixie Rose, being the incredible host that she is, cooked breakfast sandwiches for us to prepare for the big day. By 10 AM, we were on route to our viewing location, swooping up Dixie's BFF Pierrette on the way. About an hour later, we drive around the final unpainted winding local road and climb up a long driveway to a 6-story house, hidden by a forest of bamboo, amongst other trees. We walk through to the back to find a private pool with many other guests. Lony Frank and his wife Jodi hosted this viewing party. They greeted us warmly, offering watermelon and potato salad as well as stories about Lony Frank's missile engineering during the Vietnam War.
As the eclipse began, the sun was high above our heads while our bodies were submerged in the perfectly temperate pool. We watched as the darkness of the moon slowly slid in front of the sun. Anticipation grew as crescent shadows became visible and the temperature between shaded and non-shaded areas became cooler and uniform. The contrast of the world was still highly visible but it was if the brightness level had slowly dragged down.
Totality came suddenly. The world around us turned from a dimmed brightness to a haunting gray-blue. We felt silence as the black circle glowed in the sky and watched a panicked group of birds take flight across the display above us. Venus suddenly became bright and visible, followed by Mercury soon after. Two minutes of disbelief, fear, and awe were spent by some in the pool, floating with ears covered to silence out any remaining noise to amplify the incredulous events before our eyes. As quickly as the darkness grew, even more quickly did it fall. Light returned to us and the birds flew back to where they came from.
The rest of this story is 12-hours of nonsense, anger, hunger, and laughter with Nathan Ward. We did whatever we could to avoid the eclipse traffic, but we had to just go through like everyone else. Nathan feels heavy on my heart, and claimed an even bigger home on it after the eclipse. Totality of the moon in front of the sun will now sit side-by-side with this lover of mine.
Although my adoration for Ayn Rand and her philosophies is often met with challenge, certain aspects of her convictions and novels seem to play out in our modern society. In Rand's lexicon, she often returns to the motif of violence. If you have read Atlas Shrugged, perhaps you recall the scene (without giving too much away) where Dagny Taggart must enter a building immediately to save the life of an individual, but she is first met by a guard who enters a paradoxical episode when he cannot decide if he should let Miss Taggart into the building or choose death. Needless to say, he chose death implicitly by not choosing to act rationally. I understand that this is an extreme, but the moral point of this scene is one that reflects todays society (which I will touch on momentarily).
One quote came to mind which inspired this post, "The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man's rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence. A proper government is only a policeman, acting as an agent of man's self-defense, and, as such, may only resort to force only against those who start the use of force." I cannot recall where Ayn Rand said this, but it reminds me of the scene described above. Just as an aside, I have read Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, and Anthem, and I recognize that her philosophies fall under unpopular opinions, but I do wish to only highlight this one aspect of her ideology. To put quite simply, Rand expresses incessantly that violence is never warranted unless it is a response to violence, or more metaphorically, in response to a threat to one's life. Perhaps this is only my interpretation of her novels, but I find it relevant and rational.
To those who act irrationally and disrupt the lives of those who choose to live and to live as rational beings, they are a disruption that cannot be penetrated by rational behavior. White nationalism is the posterchild for irrationality. I think it goes without saying that our society needs diversity to thrive, that deep down the family tree, many of our ancestors were black or jewish (focusing on the groups which neo-Nazis and the KKK specifically hate), that this country itself was taken from Native Americans by a group of immigrants and has been welcoming in immigrants since its conception, that the color of your skin, your religion, your beliefs, do not have an implicitly hierarchical nor contrived system in society, and that no one singular group has historically or sustainably thrived. White supremacists are irrational, and when they appear before us with shields and bats, they are warranting violence in response.
And Mr. (not-my-president) Trump who can proudly state to this country that there is "blame on both sides" is fervently wrong. For a moment he showed courage when he condemned the alt-right groups who have been supporting him throughout his campaign and presidency, but he quickly retreated to his cowardice that marks him in the irrational category alongside these extremist groups. If he wants to define the "alt-left" as "very violent", look at the sources: police shooting unarmed black men and women, hate crimes against muslims, LGBTQ community, blacks, and other minorities, and now white supremacists objecting the removal of a symbol of a time of hatred towards black people. If you want to define the alt-left as a violent group, then you are damn right they are, and Mr. Trump has done absolutely nothing but allow it by perpetuating hatred and implicitly encouraging violence by lacking to condemn these hate groups and acts of racism.
I cannot believe that so many people in this country supported the election of such a heinous, irrational, racist, etc etc etc etc president.
Javi, Mallory, Julie, and Nathan
Although we have a heinous, unfit president in office, it is still important to recognize the freedom that many of us have in the USA. People immigrate here from all over the world to share that freedom, and I can only hope that we continue to welcome these humans with open arms. On July 4th 2017, many people gathered in solidarity to share their anger with the current political state or celebrate our freedom in Columbus's lefty, punk-rock Doo Dah Parade. I marched with the impromptu Doo Dah Drum Corps (which I have been referring to as the Drunk Corps) to celebrate this holiday. July 3rd was a special night as well with fireworks, flat tires, doubling up on a bike with a six pack of beer, bottle rockets, anticlimactic sparklers, and an undertone of romance. These two photos are from Red White and Boom.
Hugs & Kisses, Neswordz, etc. etc.
Here are a few additional photos from Molly & Phil's wedding last month. See the rest in the "narrative" directory.
We heard bluegrass through her window, saw a fraction of the city through thick fog, corners and rooms lit up by Dan Flavin, and multi-colored pine trees.
Kahlil, Erin, & Maisie
Maisie is a natural with those twisty turny body moves. This shoot was inspired by the color blue and Maisie's blue tea cup.
Yesterday I saw the David Lynch documentary. I was surprised to find that his artistic roots lie in painting and sculpting. I was not surprised to find that he has a dark sense of humor and a very dark and repeating theme of fear in his upbringing and artwork. I find overlapping themes between the work of Lynch and the work of Jeff Mangum, who has openly described the nonsensical nature of his work and the inspiration coming from his dreams (see Pitchfork interview ca. 1997). Horror is erotic and fascinating to me. This element resonates in many of my photos, in a subtle way. My dreams generally take place in familiar places, homes to be exact, usually of people that I know. I am crawling through the walls of these homes and squeezing my body into unknown passages. Lately, I am focusing on just photographing suburbia. We all build these boxes that we live in, build connections in, face horrors and realities in, and in the suburbs, two drastically different stories sit just a few feet away from one another. While my photos are colorful, they feel underscored by darkness. Perhaps this has to do with my own upbringing and dark childhood memories that were contained in my home. However, we all have these memories. One of my favorite Neutral Milk Hotel lyrics reads:
Blister please with those wings in your spine
Love to be with a brother of mine, how he'd love to find
Your tongue in his teeth in a struggle to find
Secret songs that you keep wrapped in boxes so tight, sounding only at night as you sleep
And in my dreams you're alive and you're crying
As your mouth moves in mine, soft and sweet
Rings of flowers 'round your eyes and I'll love you
For the rest of your life when you're ready
I got to spend the day with two very inspirational women today, Courtney & Kate. They work together to create magic, over and over again. After watching them play with lemons and flowers, we walked around the neighborhood and stopped in front of some strangers' homes.
Julie and I shared a role of expired slide film at the WInter Flea back in February. I think that these are all photos that I took, but regardless, they captured the spirit of that day pretty well.
Thank you Emily for waking up before sunrise to shoot with me. Your face is stunning and your natural standing pose is artistic. I love being up and out on the streets when no cars are around, while people hit snooze on their alarms, when the street lights turn off, when the realization of a new day begins.