Friday, October 18, 2013

how did i become a couch-potato?

i swear to heaven i didn't plan it, and i'm embarassed by it, even as i pack up to move again. yes, we did move thirty times by the time i was out of high school. and ending my 50th lookout season  means i've moved a hundred times, just on that account. i'm sure i've moved at least two hundred times, if not more. so what's the beef?

my last real trip: amsterdam and paris, spring, 2001. then 911. and soon after my travel partner berta gardner died.  also i stopped writing and took up the outrageously expensive task of photography. ah, all that precious and useless equipment rotting in my storage space! as they say, after the show's over all you've got is the pictures.

and now i picture myself fat and old, sipping a cold beer and watching old movies on television. no, it's not that bad, yet. i have been watching films of people who accomplished something in the world. for example, just finished one on edward curtis, the famed photographer of american indians. of course, he's criticized for staging scenes, yet outside his twenty volumes of portraits he took a lot of street-type, informal, and delightfully natural photos i'd never seen before tonight.

and i watched THE DESERT OF FORBIDDEN ART, about the russian collector who set up a museum of state-repressed art during the soviet period. wheeling and dealing with personal contacts to collect 44,000 pieces of art, which he put in a building out the sands of Uzbekistan. hopefully this film will allow them to be preserved somewhere, when locusts come. a very heartening story.

okay, let's see, i've kept travelling on my couch. THE STORY OF WALLY, a painting by egon schiele stolen by a nazi and how the family finally received it's due, fifty years later. lots of scenes in old vienna. alas, it tarnished my view of the town where i'd had good experiences in the past. and i shuddered through HAND HELD, the story of a photographer who discovers children in thousands of steel cribs, after the fall of the Romanian dictator, deprived of every bit of loving care. the photographer's drawn into setting up a foundation to help and twenty years later we see healthy kids in a local olympic games.

now, have i justified myself? these stories took me all over the world. and all summer i kept debating: should i go on the road again? have i really become a creepy stay-at-home? i have to answer yes. when it came right down to it, i realized one night i wanted to sit at a desk, write, read, fool around with photos on the computer, and generally preserve my concentration. immediately, i began searching for a new place and thankfully found a cottage right in the middle of a student ghetto. i've changed my life without leaving town. yes, very embarrassing, but let me quote franz kafka:  

           You do not need to leave your room.Remain sitting at your table
         and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quite still and solitary.
         The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no 
         choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.

posted single shots from the summer:

Hand Held:

Portrait of Wally:

The Desert of Forbidden Art:

Coming to Light: the Edward S. Curtis Story: