staring at shadows
The local repair shop is holding my laptop hostage and my memory cards are filling up. I have exactly 50 images left on the last card in my Pentax right now. I have an old laptop that is missing, an old iMac desktop that is filled to the brim and basically serves as our TV, and this old dinosaur of an iPhone 4s with a cracked screen.
I paid full price for it-around $500- to avoid signing a contract with the phone company. $500 bucks and two years later it’s a relic and I’m forced to upgrade if I want to have access to a new operating system that is waving goodbye to this old brick of a 4s.
I’m supposed to be doing homework. A background piece on
Coloradans for Responsible Reform, a group formed to fight against anti-fracking initiatives in the state. The deadline is two weeks away.
I have a fake website to build, a photo essay on a local metal scrapper who also helps the homeless, and I just finished writing a fake script to an annoying YouTube video called “The Morning Guy.”
My comfort zone has been obliterated. Now I have to call people and talk to them. I have to arrange times to meet and go through the agonizingly painful process of meeting them in person. I’m trying to quit my habit of being anxious cold turkey.
I try to forget I have a lazy eye and be confident. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
I’m feeling that stress. I’m trying to prove myself as a photographer with limited gear and resources. Shooting exclusively with a 21mm prime because that’s really all I got. It’s a challenge.
Plus I use a Pentax which everybody looks at like it’s an alien artifact or something. In my peer group if it isn’t Nikon or Canon then you’re a weirdo who doesn’t understand that those brands are the industry standard.
I’m trying to be a better writer. I’m trying to learn how to code my own website. I’m trying to be a good dad to my three kids. I’m trying to keep a blog with a strong following. I’m spread pretty thin right now.
Three days a week my 4-year-old daughter and I get on the F-line to 18th and California. We ride it all the way from Arapahoe Station to Auraria West, about a 20-minute journey.
It’s usually during rush hour and we almost never get to sit down. Sometimes Penny will refuse to sit next to strangers even if I’m right next to her and others I will just sit down and hold her on my lap. I’m afraid I drilled a healthy fear of strangers into her head and now I’m paying the price for that.
I also have a 20-year-old son going to the same college. Which must be awkward for him, but we don’t run into each other. We did once and it was cool, filled with awkward silences, boring small talk, and a fatherly hug at the end.
My 16-year-old is a rising star in the drama circuit. He’s been in at least 4 productions in the last year. He played a mayor in the musical Urinetown, a baseball player in Damn Yankees, and a boy who feels no pain in some romantic one that I can’t remember. I love watching him sing and dance and recite all his lines with no problems. It’s amazing.
He walked out of his high school yesterday in protest of a suggestion by the school board that their U.S. History curriculum should promote the more positive aspects of U. S. History while staying away from topics like civil disorder and social unrest. Revisionist History. I respect him for joining his fellow students and exercising his right to protest.
I don’t see either one of them nearly enough but I think of them everyday and I’m immensely proud of them both.
So that’s why the blog is being neglected and I’m sharing tons of iPhone pictures. I’m in flux right now. I still feel compelled to photograph everything I see and I love sharing it with all of you who read this blog.
I’m not complaining. I love my life. It’s just very challenging and there are times I feel like I’m making a fool of myself. I’ve had to suck it up a lot lately and that can be exhausting.
I promise that I’ll get back to quick and dirty posts with images and haiku soon.
I know it takes a lot to read through an entire post and for those of you that made it this far I thank you for listening, and for your kindness and support.
The ultimate goal is to be traveling across the United States in a spiral pattern in our new VW Vanagon. We’ll be on the road full-time in search of our final destination. We have no idea where that is or how long it will take, but we are determined to find out. I hope to share my adventures with all of you.
Now I have to go and brush my daughters hair and take her outside for some practice on her bicycle.
Things are tough all over.
No matter how far away you stand your smoke still showers my face. I breathe in your stench as I sit on a cold metal bench made purposely uncomfortable out of iron slats. Homeless proof. Nothing a thick blanket couldn’t remedy. A sliver of the moon still hangs visible above me. The sun is rising in a thin soft yellow band across the horizon. It melts into the dark blue sky and sheds its light. The silhouettes of pedestrians move across the bridge. Old people push walkers, bicyclists pedal their bikes, mommies and daddies and little kids in a hurry. The half-awake masses stumbling to the starting gate.
This is not a van. This is a bus. A Volkswagen bus with a Westfalia camper conversion. “The Pig” was there when Penny was born. Maizy and I took her camping in it when she was 2 months old. From that point on we toured as much of the Rocky Mountains as we could before the engine finally blew up. We beat up this already beaten bus. We rode it hard and conquered some of the highest mountain passes in the United States. I took her to 14,000 feet at Mt. Evans and got some epic pictures for my refrigerator in the process. This bus even made a Go Westy calendar a few years ago. I never did get a copy of that calendar.
We loved this bus. When the engine blew and we made the decision to give it up a little piece of me died with it. It was an impulse decision and a bad purchase all the way around. I paid too much. It was too rusty. It had very little in the way of heat. I once drove it in a blizzard with bald tires. We passed several cars and trucks that were overturned or stuck in ditches along I-70, barely able to see, hands freezing, inching forward ever so slowly. I think our top speed was 14 miles per hour on that stretch.
There was just something about this bus. We have a “new” 1982 Vanagon Westfalia now. Everything that was wrong with the pig is what is right with the new van. We plan to travel the country as slowly as possible in it. It has a stove and a sink, it has two beds, it will have a good heating system. We just have to keep it running which may or may not be a challenge. It’s all a part of the adventure now.
The laptop is in the shop and the iMac has a full hard drive. So I had to dig into the archives until I get my ThinkPad back. I took this photo about 3 years ago with an old Nikon DSLR that I borrowed from my oldest son. It was the first DSLR I ever used.
the 16th Street Mall
an open air asylum
for all walks of life
Someday I will leave Denver. Until that day I will keep my camera on my person whenever I walk about its streets. I have recorded the lives of thousands of strangers in this city over the past three years. I silently observed and I learned a lot. Now I am curious to know the stories of the people I capture with my lens. This is still my struggle. The challenge of breaking the ice with strangers and getting to know them on a deeper level. I didn’t imagine it would happen over night, and I didn’t think it would be this hard.
In my efforts I have found that it comes to you if you open yourself up to it. I have spent time talking to more people. Mostly the ones who approach me first, but I have made decent headway in opening up the conversation. I enjoy the anonymity and quiet self reflection of capturing images as inconspicuously as possible, but I find myself wanting to know more when I stare back into the eyes of the human beings I photograph.
I guess it’s a natural progression. I hope so at least. Thanks for listening. I just wanted to get that out.
Spray painted bonsai
The graffiti on the door
Street art of Denver
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By Lisa Smith Molinari
Le frontiere, materiali o mentali, di calce e mattoni o simboliche, sono a volte dei campi di battaglia, ma sono anche dei workshop creativi dell'arte del vivere insieme, dei terreni in cui vengono gettati e germogliano (consapevolmente o meno) i semi di forme future di umanità. (Zygmunt Bauman)
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Brussels based, cat loving, shoe obsessed, photography lover
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