sexy time! make a date with your art


On my calendar for July 21, 2017, at 7 a.m. it reads, “street photography | location: downtown chicago.”

If I don’t book my time, I will not do something.

Lately, I’ve been charging myself with eschewing social media, the news, and general distractions to concentrate on me, my art and creativity.

I’m trying to build new habits and give up on ones that are mentally or even physically distracting from productivity.

Just like working out, there are times when even if it’s in my schedule, I’ll almost do anything to trick myself from going. But I was determined. And I went.

Armed with a Panasonic GH5 and a Hasselblad H5D-40, I set out. I drove down, left the Hasselblad in the car and just shot the GH5. I did both video and stills.

When I got back to the car, I thought, “Fuck it. I’ll end today. I got some good stuff. I’m headed home.”

I text Tina to tell her I was on my way. Then I looked up and saw an image that I needed to take. I reached for the door handle, stepped back out, opened the back door where my cameras were, and pulled out the Hasselblad.

I took this image:

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I text Tina afterward and said, “Nix that. I’m headed out with the Hassy.”

So off I went.

I took photos for another hour. I met some people.

Like a woman who saw me and yelled out: “Hey, Camera Man!”

She was sitting outside at a Dunkin Donuts across from Columbia college. “What camera is that?”

I told her.

“Wow! What are you a fashion photographer?”

“I’m mainly portraits and interiors.”

“You gotta come talk to my class. I teach across the street.” She pointed at Columbia.

“Cool!”

We exchanged info.

Here’s her image. She called herself “The Pope.”

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After that I took a portrait of a guy. He asked for $10 to photograph him.

We did a short seven or eight frame session.

I said, “What’s your name?”

“<unintellible multi syllable word>” he responded.

“What?”

“<unintellible multi syllable word>” he repeated.

“I’m not sure what you’re saying,” I said.

“Well, my friends call me: T to the M to the ACK.”

“T-mack?”

“Yes!” He pointed my way.

“T-mack it is!”

Here’s his portrait:

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I also took more shots that I loved.

You can view those below. Enjoy.

 

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the devil wants my lenses


I take a French class every week. Recently, the topic of discussion was superstitions. We talked about Voodoo, Réne Descarte, rationality, culturally specific superstitions (French superstitions vs Turkish superstitions), etc.

I find all religions/faiths and many cultural behaviors to be superstitious, and while I claim to not be superstitious, I often question my claim as superstitious thoughts creep into my head all the time.

When something happens in a pattern, science explains that sometimes — we as humans — attribute these things to something larger than ourselves, like a deity or a devil or any other number of fairies, goblins or leprechauns.

Superstitions claim misfortune might be caused by breaking a mirror, opening an umbrella inside, walking under a ladder, being taught a lesson by a parental god, being tested by a wily devil, not praying the right prayer, or simply failing to knock on wood that one time I said, “I have the best lens choices in the universe!”

Knock on wood. 

Over the last couple weeks, I’ve had to replace two lenses. These are literal misfortunes, as I feel like replacements have cost me a literal small fortune.

One of the lenses was — in a general sense — inexpensive (around $600). The other one was for my Hasselblad, which is the rough equivalent of buying property in Trump Tower.

My Hasselblad is medium format camera. Working with a medium format system is like owning a luxury vehicle like a Ferrari. You don’t take the car in for anything without seeing your wallet lighten by many pounds.

I had to buy a battery for it recently and it set me back $375. A battery for my DSLR would cost between $40 and $65, for a generic brand or name brand respectively. There’s  no generic option for Hasselblad.

Buying a new 35mm lens — which I use most for interiors or architecture — would be $5200. On eBay, you can find used ones for $1500-$4500. But that’s risky as I found out. I ordered a used one off of eBay and it was dead on arrival. So I had to send it back to the seller, which ties up several thousand dollars until the return is processed.

Because we have a big interiors job next week, I ordered another one. I don’t use credit cards, so I’m basically tying up liquid cash.

Another unfortunate lens mishap happened in my studio. I was using a camera to videotape an update. Here’s a shot below of part of the space. There’s a long strip where I can throw a ball with my dog. We occupy the area behind where my camera is for photography.

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I had my dog with me last week. I was washing my car in the shop area and I had a camera setup to record an update for a vLog. The floor was wet and it’s already very slippery.

As I was about to throw the ball to my dog, she was headed straight for my camera on its tripod and her head was facing me as she ran away. “Nooooooo!” I yelled as I sprinted after her. She turned. Started slipping. And I slipped trying to get to the camera, but it went down.

If a camera is a face and a lens its nose, it landed smack dab on its snout. The lens shattered. Fortunately the camera was unharmed (cross fingers and knock on wood).

Ha.

On the surface, it’s tough not to see these financial blows are not some kind of message from an unseen force attempting to discourage my creativity.

Is this a message from the Lens Gods or the Productivity Gods saying, “We don’t want you to be productive?”

We want to use financial stress as a distraction! 

My view, though, is to not let those superstitions to prevent, paralyze, stymie creativity. I’m pressing on. These things happened. They just happened. That’s it. They were accidents. They were and are explainable by natural causes.

My human brain might try to attach mystical explanations or place more emphasis on them because in a pattern … lens lens lens lens + money money money money = stress stress stress stress stress — that somehow is attractive.

There is no amount of prayer, of self sacrifice, of worshiping the unseen that will bring back those lenses nor would it protect my other lenses that still work.

Shit happens. And it’s when I try to attach superstition to natural events that I get caught up in distractions from creative expression.

Well, fuck that.

 

 

 

contemplating getting back on the path to creativity


For about a year and a half, maybe longer, I’ve been in a creative slump. My goal lately has been to yank myself out using the tuft on my neck that you pick puppies and kittens up by when they’re getting into something they shouldn’t.

Creative slumps suck.

As an artist, it’s easy to point at all the extraneous factors that are at fault. Certainly there are external factors that come into play. For example: doctor’s appointments, an accident, or any other life moment that may distract from productivity.

I’ve seen other artists — people in general — complain about the current political climate and blame that for certain levels of anxiety and lack of productivity. I share that sentiment completely.

It may be too early to shout out to the world about getting out of this slump, but I’m putting myself on the path. And with hard work and perseverance, I hope to stay there.

I’ve been seeing a therapist lately, and we’ve been exploring my fears, insecurities and how they pertain to self-expression.

Like other artists, I allow fear to prevent me from creating something, for fear it’s going to turn out shitty. Not creating anything defeats the purpose of the creative.

I recently completed this self portrait.

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It is a motion portrait, btw, so look for movement.  It’s one of many things I hope to do to stay on the path. I’m not saying it’s the BEST image in the world. But it’s an image. It’s an executed idea. I had the vision. I made a version of it. I’m sharing it with the world. I’m moving on.

In a way, it’s a metaphor for how I want to grow out of this place of fear and become bigger in the eyes of my audience. Whoever that might be.

I designed the visual with a couple different people in mind as the subject. One girl didn’t respond at all to my request. Another one told me she wasn’t the one for the job. At least she responded.

The image is a compilation of eight images composited into one. I’m working on a behind the scenes video now to show how I put it together.

Enjoy.