Two weeks ago I shot a single roll of film on a Saturday. On Sunday, I developed it in my kitchen. This is my first experience developing film by hand, and I absolutely loved it. Can’t wait to do much, much more of this.
Some particularly ambitious people take part in a yearly event called NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), wherein they write an entire novel during the month of November. Think “quantity-over-quality” as a creative exercise taken to the extreme.
I don’t want to do that, but I do love the idea of pushing myself creatively. So I made up NaNoDeMo: National Novel Design Month. It turns out I like giving myself dumb things to work on all month.
The theme for the year seems to have been intense, month-long projects designed to push myself creatively. In October, I participated in #Inktober, which challenges participants to draw something with ink every day.
I originally intended to do some monolithic theme, with thirty drawings exploring a single physical location—an imaginary motel—but ended up just kind of going with it. For some I used a brush pen and limited myself to a minute or two, others I inked with technical pens and colored meticulously in Photoshop.
It was a really delightful project, and I’m glad I did it. I have no idea if I’ll do it again next year, but I’m happy to report I’ve already been drawing more in the 1.5 months since I finished.
Two weeks ago, my grandfather passed away at ninety-six. It’s been something of a whirlwind couple of weeks. I did the only thing I ever know to do. I took lots of pictures.
Death feels like such an exotic thing sometimes, but then suddenly you’re going through someone’s possessions with a simple purpose: they don’t need anything anymore. We will all be buried in our nicest set of clothes, and everything else will disperse into the world.
Peace Garden. Interior Courtyard.
Is a sparrow who kills a hummingbird in cold blood and proceeds to eat him a cannibal? Is he something else?
I am getting ahead of myself.
Peace Garden. Interior Courtyard. Brooklyn.
The sun is shining and there is a woman with a clipboard. I do not know who she is, and I do not know why she is holding a clipboard; I assume she works at the hotel, because why else does a person have a clipboard? She comes outside in something of a rush. She seems alarmed, but calm. She tells me that the sparrow has just murdered another bird and spirited the body into the bushes where it now pecks the carcass.
I know this story already, because it happened, is still happening, mere feet from me. I watched the whole thing. I stood up aghast, removing my glasses to get a better look. “I thought it was a bumblebee” I’d said. There had been the living thing, buzzing about among the petals of the forsythia bushes, and then the Sparrow, a gliding swoop that plucked it from the sky and pinned it helpless to the ground. There was a struggle. There was a great deal of buzzing. There was a retreat to the bushes, and a metallic whacking sound as the sparrow grasped the poor thing in its beak and bashed it against the metal wall of the planter. And then there was…well whatever came after. I’d had enough of watching. After that, it was the woman with the clipboard.
Where had she come from?
How did she know?
What else had she seen?
Artwork via https://www.audubon.org/birds-of-america/chipping-sparrow
Going through old film photos. Sadly I can’t remember what film this was, but I definitely shot it with an Olympus OM-10. Given how outstandingly grainy this is, I’m going to guess it was some cheap Fuji 400.
Tucumcari, New Mexico
Can’t wait to go back and spend a little more time in one of the most photogenic towns I’ve ever seen. I’m working on a larger piece collecting photos and thoughts from my trip to New Mexico last year; it was transformative and I have a lot more to say about it.
I attended the Rally Against White Supremacy in Dallas in August of 2017. Security was a top concern, given the events of Charlottesville, VA exactly one week prior, and the Dallas Police Shooting the previous summer.
I originally took my camera to document great protest signs but was struck by this scene of a black police officer standing guard at the rally’s perimeter.
Post Office, Mineral Wells, Texas.