Monday, April 27, 2009

In 1972, I started doing daily self-portraits. Part of the point of this project was to find out if I existed, if I forgot myself as I'd forgotten so much of my childhood before my mother died when I was twelve. I thought I'd take the photographs for a year, using a Rolaflex and a tripod and the white wall in that apartment on 5th Street between Avenues A&B. 

It was a great apartment, second floor, police lock, lots of windows, a big living room for the no furniture I had, a bedroom as large, a small room for Krissy that was too near the front door and too near the hallway so that years later I learned she'd lain in bed, listening to the comings and goings. There was a galley kitchen, a lot of roaches, a hallway big enough for a table. Nancy Phillips lived downstairs with Nathan Whiting. I often stopped at her apartment on my way home from work to watch Startrek on their TV. I didn't have one. Krissy was best friends with Sarah, Nancy's daughter.

Sarah is now in L.A., teaching. Krissy has moved back from L.A. and is on her way to live in New York. Nancy and Nathan are in Brooklyn. And I'm here. I never imagined being this age, living anywhere but New York and, when I began the series, didn't know that the days I forgot to take photos would be represented with pale gray squares, an important part of that work which lasted eight months.
My friend, Elsa Dorfman, says that having a blog eats you alive. A guy I met in Paneras said that you can't do a blog unless you have a special program and a thousand pages ready to feed into it. I say the hell with it. I just turned seventy and I just got a good e-mail from the doctor that a test I had last week came out negative. So, I figure - go for it. Why not have this outlet, in addition to everything else, something to talk about the everyday, about aging, about being alive, about the certainty that someday I won't be.

So, this is the first one. Just getting started.