Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Version of Every Day and Dogs

I had to stop myself from calling L .last night to ask if I could take her class on drawing or printmaking. I just longed to do something else, something new..................

But I am doing something new -- a video of JS telling very complex, often painful stories, that are eventually redemptive. And I've taken endless digital photographs of him at AuBonPain...maybe 500 photographs, none of which he will like. On Monday I tried to take some that I think he will suit his needs (the subject usually has completely a completely different idea of what he should/does look like than the photographer...some photographers never try to please the subject...others do commercial work and spent their own time trying to make the client this case, I am beholden to him for his stories and must make the effort to give him a few images that would be important to him).

This photograph was taken when he was talking and he certainly won't like it...I love the setting, though I was using the point-and-shoot, rather than the new Canon, G11, and so most of these images were soft, out of focus. That was a disappointment, but again these images are all a crapshoot. He talks and I snap, not looking at the image I'm taking because then I'd break eye contact. I want them as an overlay, too use as images over the video so that it's not just a talking-head, or so that it's a talking head with other photo taking heads over it. In class yesterday someone mentioned that he uses the digital camera set on black and white. What a good idea. I can just change the images in Photoshop, though that's not quite the same thing, not the same intent. I'll play a bit with whether they look better in color old and preferred friend, black and white. I can't imagine ever liking color much.

Though I'm aware that he won't like the many, quick shots I've taken, I do like them...he has beautiful skin, very blue eyes and I love the expressiveness of his face as he talks. I think a few wrinkles by his eyes add an important quality. And in some of the photographs he looks like a young kid, that burst of energy.

I'm very rarely impressed by photographs, though I really do like the ideas behind them. What I like about teaching is
watching students as they try to work out a concept, a thought, an emotion through a series of photographs. Some times sequences really can convey a cohesive mood or thought, as images a young man from Nepal took last semester. They were about a journey - death - to an afterlife. Some of them were painfully expressive by themselves. Others served a purpose and since the intention was clear, they were useful.

I do like words, stories with photographs. I would find it hard to write in the blog without images, but that doesn't mean I care that much about them individually. But I've always loved the taking of photographs and I just love photographing Greta who is a most delicious puppy, now 4 months that a pleassant young couple adopted. I'm not often drawn to dogs, except to photograph (though I found another great dog in this park near Starbucks, FattieMattie), but I find Greta remarkable to look at and to touch. It's as if her coloring is melting.

We'd gone for a walk in the park near Targets where Cindy appeared. She's owned by a fourteen-year-old whose father drives every morning from where he lives in Sommerville, I think, to Everett so that he can walk the dog. His daughter is at that age where she just doesn't taake her out enough and besides he really loves the dog who is fortunately a smaller version of an Eskimo dog. At one point he put her up in the crotch of a tree so that she'd pose for me. Perhaps I should have used one of those photographs, but I prefer not knowing what I'm doing with the point-and-shoot, holding it at dog level and being surprised by the shots I might get. That seems like a pleasant game that I enjoy playing.

Happy is well designed for co-dependency on my daughter, her eyes plead, she nuzzles closely, she waits patiently. As she did this morning when Krissy went into Target for a few items, came out having been charged too much for one and went in again to get her money back. This is not the sort of narrative that I was talking about in class yesterday. I meant something far more imaginative and curious, something interesting, ideally done in black and white. But it amused me to take the photographs and the one thing about digital is that it's remarkably easy to deal with.



  1. Great photos. I love photography because it captures a moment about whose 'before' and 'after' you can spend a whole life speculating. :-)

    Greetings from London.

  2. 'It's as if her color's melting.'


    I have very much appreciated your photographs and video interviews on your website, Melissa. Thank you.

  3. I wanted to comment Melissa on the post ahead of this one, but for some reason I can't and now I see that you can't comment on your comments here either.

    I wanted to tell you there that I am back in the land of the living and how good it is that you must be well again, too, despite the computer hassles.

    Don't get too speedy. Take me for example. Look where it's landed me.