Tuesday, May 5, 2009

      I've always used a camera defensively, a way of hiding in social situations. Or perhaps entertaining myself since I'm bored so easily unless I've listening to a good story, someone telling it to me or eavesdropping on two people talking. It's very handy at social gatherings because I'm shy, a quality that never goes away no matter how much I enjoy myself once I get there.
     It's so  much easier now with a digital camera, to photograph my brains out as I did at the celebration for Gloria Hellmann, to have dozens and dozens and dozens of photographs that I can go through quickly, twice, discarding, and then send to T. J. I don't assume that they will care for very many of them and know I could pare down more, but I don't. How can I know how they will want to remember this day. I am sure that the photographs they took will be the most meaningful for them since they know who they want to remember and why, what that person means to them, the place he or she has in their lives. Of course, they didn't take many pictures. I'm sure no one took as many as I did, though just about everyone took pictures, everyone does.
    It was so much more difficult with film, but the pictures were so much more interesting, I think, more measured, black and white, but that had it drawbacks. Developing the film, making contacts, eventually printing. Printing was a curse, I thought, envying those who loved long hours in the darkroom. It's odd to see Karl Baden, one of the few people I know who uses film, now using a digital camera, grabbing photographs in his usual serious way. He has a great eye and a nice slant.
     I recently found some photographs I'd taken of a friend twenty or thirty years ago. I hadn't remembered taking them, much less printing them, nor had I ever given them to her. They are haunting, looking back at that serious, young woman. I actually liked them, though I'm sure I didn't at the time and only like them now because I've seen her recently, photographed her again, can appreciate the passage of time and the gratitude I have that we now know each other, again. But I've never particularly liked photographs. I would have done video if I'd had any money, when I started. Video was in its infancy and it would have taken far more resources than the sorry amount I had to do anything with it. But photographs, except for the quality of memory and my obsession to remember, are not particularly interesting. I'd rather hear the stories.

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