Denver Street Art

“who journeyed to Denver, who died in Denver, who came back to Denver & waited in vain, who watched over Denver & brooded & loned in Denver and finally went away to find out the Time, & now Denver is lonesome for her heroes,” -Allen Ginsberg, Howl and Other Poems

I walked around the city for a few hours today. The sun was bright and high in the sky, which alters the colors of everything I see. I donated some clothing and food to the Denver Rescue Mission, but my attempts at gaining access to photograph the inside of the mission were rebuked. “Pictures are Taboo,” he said. “Get permission from admin,” he said. Frustrated, I asked him why. He just kep repeating the words admin and taboo.

So I walked away and turned my attention to the grafitti that the area is seemingly covered in. The River North District is bursting with color. I return here frequently to browse Denver’s street art scene. the landscape stays the same, but the colors are constantly changing and found in abundance. In these alleyways, among all the spray painted walls, and chemical smells, and original creations from the brains of amazing human beings, I find solitude. I find peace. I find a quiet moment to contemplate life. I could roam these alleys for days, but the responsibility of parent hood tugs at me to get back to the car, to cut this trip short so I can make it on time to preschool for the pick-up. I don’t have ten bucks to pay the late fee if you don’t pick up your kid on time.

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Denver Street Art

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September 6, 12:25 a.m.

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I utilize the notes feature on my iPhone frequently. When I find ones I like I post them to the blog. The good ones always seem to be written in the wee hours of the morning:

I live my life out of the social norms on a daily basis. I was born cross eyed which directly affects my physical appearance in one of the most important places: the eyes. Making eye contact is key to social interaction. All I really have to do to weird people out is walk around without my glasses on and look them in the eye. The reactions vary widely. Some turn their heads and just dont make eye contact with me. If I try to start a conversation or ask a question there are times when they don’t even realize I am talking to them since I have to look at them at an off kilter angle that they aren’t used to. Every girl that has been kind enough to look past the eye thing and date me has had a friend who thought it was weird that she would date a guy with a crossed eye. Cross eyed people are the butt of the joke, the ones who are hard to look at because their eye turns imwards or outwards or even just wobbles around all the time. We are known as “the one with the wonky eye” I am a walking taking thinking social outcast. I was born into it. When I am confident and outgoing it really puts people off. It’s so difficult for me to make eye contact, then when I make it a point to do that I get the routine odd reactions. So I spend most of my time looking down at the ground and hating myself for having fucked up eyeballs.

It effects my photography as well. People already think I’m weird, now here I am with a DSLR and I’m pointing it in your face. I’m bald, almost 40, bushy bearded and I’m taking your picture. When I go through my images there are usually three types of expressions I find, the ones who look confused.

The ones who look surprised

The ones who look angry and untrusting

The ones who don’t care

The angels (smilers, happy energy)

The bolder I get with the camera, the more intense the reaction is. With some people it just feels like they are so aware of you and you can get a sense of how they will react. It’s as if you can feel anger or happiness emanating off of them.

For me this is my worst weakness as a photographer. I’m overly aware of feelings. I can’t get past a negative vibe so easily. Some people just shrug it off and shoot (Bruce Gilden comes to mind) do you think Gilden doesn’t get screamed at?

Off topic. Anyway.

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Walking Around with Penny

On a chilly Wednesday morning, my daughter and I decided to get outside and have some adventures. We traveled the city on foot, taking our time and exploring all the little details of the world around us. We marveled at the colorful, musical, interactive art installations at the Southmoor rail station, which we only discovered because of the kind act of one young lady on crutches. Struggling down the stairs with her one crutch, she shouted after us to wait so she could explain to my daughter how the art in the tunnel could be manipulated. Complete strangers, the three of us shared an elevator and chatted as if we were old friends. We happened upon a fire truck testing out its hoses in a vacant parking lot. We felt the cool mist from the hoses spray clear across the street. We sat and stared at manufactured rainbows and water shooting hundreds of feet into the air. She took her first ride on the light rail today, and the look of excitement on her face made the three miles we walked seem like nothing. Today, it was a good day.

I write this, because I am blocked. I am torn between assignments and deadlines and story ideas, and pressure. The pressure is all self induced. I put myself in this situation, and now I expect something from myself that I’m not sure I have in me. I’m trying too hard and overthinking everything. Or maybe I’m not trying hard enough. Or maybe I’m not good enough.

I write this post simply for the sake of putting thoughts down in words. The practice of remembering details and trying to paint a picture. The work of remembering moments that I can come back to later when I have alzheimer’s disease. That is if I can remember my username and password. I can’t even do that now, and I have a supposedly healthy brain.

I’ve spent virtually every waking moment with Penny since she was born. The only extended time I have spent away from her was when she had to spend the night at a friends house while my girlfriend had surgery, so it is inevitable that I would eventually bring her into this blog.

I’m still searching. What is the story I want to tell? I have a major photo essay assignment due in three weeks for Photojournalism. I want to nail this one considering it is what I would like to do for a living. I know, I know, I’ve heard all the stories. Journalism is a dying art and the job market sucks and the pay is low. That doesn’t deter me one bit from wanting to pursue my goal of becoming a journalist. I don’t need a lot of money, just enough to survive. My payment will be the experience of living the life I choose, not the one that I settled for so I could have a bunch of material crap that doesn’t mean anything when I’m dead and gone.

We are getting rid of our stuff, we are preparing to live our lives the way we want, we are freeing ourselves and celebrating our non-conformistness (not a word but I don’t care). I want to see new things and old things, and tell stories about them. I want my daughter to experience as much of the world as we can put in front of her. I never talk about this, but her mom is a two-time breast cancer survivor and also has the BRCA gene. If Penny has that gene, which is highly possible, it just makes me more determined to get us all out on the road and enjoying life to the fullest before she has to start thinking about death, and cancer genes, and all the hard stuff that life throws at us. We’ll get her tested for that gene this year, along with a scheduled surgery for my girlfriend to have a mastectomy to remove her only remaining breast. In my life, we plan for these things as a neccesity, we have to budget our money according to life saving surgeries and preventative care. So we look forward to our traveling lifestyle. We see it as the light at the end of the tunnel, something to keep our minds off the hardship and pain we are about to endure. That goal keeps us going through the tough parts.

I’m lucky. I know this. I have been down before, and I never thought that I would make it to the life I occupy today. Maizy showed me that anything is possible, she picked me up, dusted me off, boosted my ego, slapped me on the butt and encouraged me to go out and do something with my life. She made it all possible, and she still does.

We have sacrificed, and simplified, and planned, and now that plan is in motion. Here comes the scary part: the follow through.

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Walking Around with Penny

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