Archive for January, 2010
Julia Baum’s photography website features two things she enjoys shooting: redheads, and suburban tract homes in Santa Clara, California. The latter seems to be one particular neighborhood, built in the 1950s as a uniform neighborhood of white, boxy homes in the same floor plan. What Julia is studying in her photography is that how, 50 and 60 years later, these once identical homes now have vastly different landscapes and facades. Yes, the homes are still modest, but what was once as consistent as any neighborhood could be now has as much personality as just about any you could find.
All photos in this post copyright, Julia Baum.
This is a photo of my mother with her best friend, taken in the late 1940s when they were 17 or 18 years old, on their class senior trip to Chicago.
Doris, with Mom
I never met my mother’s best friend from high school, or saw this photo, until the day of my mom’s visitation at the funeral home.
It was four years ago today that my mother died of cancer. I think she would have died in the night before, as we all slept — had my sister, brothers, father and I not returned to the hospice at about 2am. It seemed like our presence brought her back for a few hours. We held vigil for a while, then finally cleared the room to give her space to do what she needed to do. (A hospice nurse eventually told us that some mothers just won’t start to let go with her children in the room.) And so left the room, had some dinner, and went back to her for just a few minutes as she finally left this earth. I think it was about 10 minutes before 8pm.
In year’s past, I have remembered this day by doing something that my mother would have enjoyed — cooking one of her best meals, having a martini, or going to a place she enjoyed. This year, I’m treating it as a normal day. I am at work, getting ready to head into my weekly status meeting. Tonight, I will go home and make some food for Lucy and have some dinner with Jay, and go to the gym to be tortured by David, our personal trainer. Then I will watch some TV and have a protein shake and probably edit some photos or read or look at art blogs. Like any other Tuesday.
This is Victoria, one of my most recent headshot clients. She’s an opera singer.
I’ve had an unusual month on the studio. In the past, there have been Januarys where I didn’t shoot a single person. But this year, I’ve been about as busy as I could handle. If this pace keeps up, I’ll be paying off the credit card that I vowed to get rid of this year by June.
Do you want to know what’s embarrassing? It’s when you’re in the mood to watch television . . .
and you briefly pause at one of those insipid documentary shows about life inside a prison . . .
and you stop to watch only because said documentary is taking place in a prison that’s 20 minutes from your house . . .
and they show the back of a strapping, young parole officer, who’s wearing khakis and who has an incredible butt . . .
and you call your loving partner into the room, saying, “Come look at this boy on TV with the nice can” . . .
and your loving partner walks into the room, just as the strapping parole officer with the nice can turns around and his name materializes on the screen . . .
and immediately both you and your partner recognize the parole officer as a person you have told stories about, who, years earlier — when the parole officer was just a “straight” 19-year-old Abercrombie employee/college student — would call you periodically and ask if he could come over and “hang out,” with you. (Hanging out was, of course, straight-boy code for certain sexual favors he wanted.)
And then your loving partner points at you, laughing, and says, “it’s THAT Kyle, isn’t it?”
That’s what’s kind of embarrassing.
But it’s good to know that Kyle still has a nice can. (And that it’s been documented by a television crew.)
AP Photo/Wilson A. Bentley
The above image is a photograph of a snowflake, isn’t that amazing? It was captured by photographer Wilson A. Bentley, who was famous for photographing snowflakes in the late 1800s/early 1900s. This images is part of a collection of 26 that went on sale today (for $4,800 each) at the American Antiques Show, presented by the American Folk Art Museum in New York.
Even after reading the Associated Press article, and understanding that a toothpick and a microscope were involved, I can’t quite imagine how Bentley captured his subjects. Neither can too many other photographers, I guess, as hardly a photographer has tried to shoot individual snowflakes, since.
Bentley did find, by the way, that through the course of his career, no two snowflakes he captured were identical in design.
Here is an old photo that I recently rediscovered of my last dog, Zoe, eating a cheeseburger and cottage cheese. It was taken on what I remember to be warm and lovely fall day on the back patio of our old apartment, close to Broad Ripple.
And of course, before you start judging me harshly, asking rightful questions like, “What the fuck is the matter with Scott, feeding his dog cheeseburgers?”, please be aware that on the day this photo was taken, Zoe was approximately 15 years and 7 months old. She was senile, arthritic, and obstinate; she had bad sinuses and may have had cancer. And she had an unusual and annoying habit of waking me up at three in the morning so I would let her outside to wander around the backyard for an hour.
But despite her health problems, she was also certainly old enough to have earned the right to eat whatever she wanted to, if you ask me. And if I live to be her equivilant — which, as best as I can figure, would be 109.66667 years old — I hope you’ll grant me the same.
At the time this photo was taken, Zoe was under the special care of a veterinarian, who wanted to see her no less than once a month for an assessment. Every time we had one of those appointments, I feared that it was finally going to be the day when the vet looked at me and said, this is the end of it. One of those appointments was coming up, hence the home-cooked meal. It was the first of a few of these dinners that Zoe just loved, but that had a last supper-like connotation for me.
Zoe didn’t care that I stood over her and wailed while she enjoyed her cheeseburger.
I can’t even talk about how sad and disappointed I feel about saying “Senator-Elect Scott Brown.” I mean, it’s clear that Coakley was a complacent candidate who ran a bad campaign; she really didn’t deserve to win. But for the love of God, the day that the Democrats can’t get it together enough to win an election in Massachusetts, you know there are deep problems.
I really don’t have my head around this enough to even know what I think, so I don’t have a final assessment. Except one thing: odds are good that my party is going to disappoint me yet again. It just seems like Democrats can’t do anything besides wring their hands and worry when faced with challenges. I’m starting to fear that “change” has come and gone. The Dems still haven’t managed to pass anything of substance in the last year, and I don’t see anything monumental happening in the next 10 months, since now they’re all going to be worried about keeping their jobs . . . so they can continue to do nothing.
At least there’s one silver lining, as my friend Kristin reminded me on Facebook: Polls show that the majority doesn’t like the direction the country is going (I can accept that; I don’t particularly like it, myself). But polls also show that the majority still doesn’t trust the Republican party. So there’s something that we can hopefully hold onto until November. I guess it just depends on how big a mess the Democrats make between now and then.
You might think that at this point in my photography career, I would be above taking candid, camera phone photos of random cute boys in public. And the truth is, I don’t remember the last time I took a secret photo of someone. But this one, holding an ADORABLE puppy in a pet store, was too much for me to resist.
First, I have two things I’d like to ask of you . . .
- If you are an Indiana resident who has had difficulty visiting an unmarried partner in hospital, or who was refused council by medical personal about his/her partner because of not being married, please send me an email if you’re willing to share your story. I have someone I’d like to put you in contact with.
- This Wednesday, the committee will vote on sending SJR-13 to the Senate floor. SJR-13 is a constitutional amendment to forever ban same-sex marriage in Indiana. Please contact the members of the Indiana Senate Judiciary Committee and ask them to vote NO on SJR-13. The members of the committee are
Chair: Senator Richard Bray
Republicans: Joseph Zakas, Ron Alting, Randy Head, Travis Holdman, Scott Schneider, Brent Steele,Democrats: Tim Lanane, John Broden, Lonnie Randolph, Greg Taylor
You can contact them at 1-800-382-9467 or by following this link: http://eqfed.org/campaign/SJR13Senatejudiciary2010_VoteNo. The link also contains talking points if you’re not sure what to say.