Above is another photo from my Hometown Tour 2004 visit. I really need to come up with a better name for this series. This one makes it sound like we were driving around town on a giant float, wearing big hats, and sucking keg beer through the tap.
That hopscotch game is one of the same that had been there since I was a kid attending that school -- I'm fairly certain the paint had not been refreshed in all that time.
Back in early December we ordered the Stephen Shore book "Uncommon Places." It finally arrived yesterday at lunch time. That book is so GOOD. Looking at that book really pepped up my mood a notch. I don't look at the work of well-known photographer's much. I think I harbour a small fear that they'll have too much of an effect on me. And I suppose they do. I'm not sure closing myself off is helping me in any way. In some ways looking has been good. In December I saw a photo by William Eggleston that caught his shadow. I had previously dismissed one very specific photo of mine that caught my shadow as flawed and shit. I'm not a cropper so if I fuck up the framing in-camera it is fucked up forever. The end. Probably a bit of a harsh rule when using a camera with the shittiest, foggiest viewfinder imaginable. You may have also noticed just how insanely off kilter the horizon is in that pic. That was not an intended "arty" effect. By my "rules" that's not enough to ruin a shot, but since using the Kiev (which has a much better viewfinder) my horizons are much straighter. But still, I hate rules except when they're my own.
I really liked that picture but simultaneously felt I had ruined it by catching the shadow. Mind you in my case the shadow was not intended but perhaps it wasn't intended in his case either. I don't know. But seeing that in a photo book gave me permission to be okay with the shadow -- even if it wasn't intended. I hate that I gained some small validation for my own photo by looking at a published photo by a famous photographer but that's what happened.
Back to the Stephen Shore book. Sigh. So good. Looking at those photos made me wish it was summer and that I was on a roadtrip. I even convinced myself that we should take the train to Niagara Falls for a few days -- a place I declared we would NEVER visit again EVER only 5 short years ago. I love that this series was photographed primarily during the mid 70s -- starting with July 1973 just days before my birth. I've always known that the aesthetic choices I make when taking photos had a lot to do with my childhood, but this really confirms it in a new way. All those long views of parking lots and cityscapes confirms my suspicion that a time portal back to the early 70's would make it a lot easier for me to avoid my ugly new car problem and all other instances of awful newification that I work so hard to keep out of photos. I'm very concious of avoiding the trap of nostalgia. To be honest I'm not sure what exactly I'd have to be nostalgic about. But ya, that era is really important to me and I really enjoyed looking at it through someone else's eyes.
I wonder about how much my photos depend on everything that's around me and how different they might be if just one small thing was different. I know for certain that my photos depend on my mood and state-of-mind greatly. I can see them change as I change. I often think back to places I've been, past trips, and remembering the landscape, speculate how different my photos would be if I were to go back today. I like to imagine the shifts that would be created by a myriad of details from the camera, my current interests, to the current state of my health (which has a massive effect on how I take photos), and all those other details.