It’s been an amazing three days. Bittersweet and sweet. Looking to the future and looking to the past.
On Sunday morning I got up and decided it was silly to be renting a storage unit when I live in a huge space now, so I reserved my iGo car, I got a Honda Element van, and managed to get everything back here in only two trips. Of course I picked the hottest day of the year and I forgot to ask anyone for help, but it worked out just fine.
It’s been a little odd going through all the boxes. It is a bit of a time capsule. I remember getting the storage space at a time when I was looking to maximize every square foot of my little one bedroom apartment that had become a photo studio, dark room, music studio, film editing suite… oh and I slept there as well. It’s funny to see what I deemed important enough to not throw out. Not too bad really. I think I only really need to jettison maybe 25% of it now, so I was being pretty ruthless at the time.
But what I didn’t throw out are things I’d completely forgotten about that I’m glad I get to go through again. Videotapes of a musical I had a starring roll in about 18 years ago. I thought that was gone forever. Tapes of the MTV Spring Break from the 80s that I won a trip for two at Daytona Beach. I had a bit of a radio career way back then as well and there are some audio tapes of me on the radio from that era.
Books. Some that seem horribly out of date now that my interests have evolved, but some that I really loved that I know are probably out of print. Great photography books. You can see going through the titles that I’ve had my eye on my photography prize for a long time.
Jeans, jeans and more jeans. I remember packing them away one miserable day when I knew I had gotten too fat to wear them. They were the smallest waist size I had ever been as an adult and there must be six or eight pair of them. I think the optimist in me just couldn’t throw them out. I had hope that some day I would get my health under control and be able to wear them once more. It’s kind of nice to find them again now, because it won’t be long now until I’ll be able to slip them on again. I’m getting closer every day. I’m really close!
My photography! One morning years ago I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of a steady stream of water dripping outside my bedroom. Someone had overfilled a washing machine above me and it was pouring into a closet that I had been storing my framed photography from recent gallery exhibitions worth thousands of dollars. I rescued what I could and apparently that was one of the catalysts for my getting a storage away from my leaking unit because I now have boxes and boxes of framed museum quality photographs that I had honestly forgotten about. I’ll probably inventory all of them and have a bit of a sale. They do have the distinction of being original prints when I was still doing my own darkroom work on silver gelatin prints.
And then there’s my music gear. At one point in my life I was just getting my film editing career off the ground and I decided that besides that there was really only one other major thing I could have going on in my life at one time. I was just getting confident in my photography and although I loved playing music, composing and recording, I thought at the time my photography was stronger than my music. Even though I had sold a few original music compositions for television commercials and other videos, I had to pick one and put the other one away for a time. I picked photography. The music went into storage.
So now I have racks of keyboard gear and effects and all the stuff that goes with that. I haven’t decided what to do with it. I may keep some of it because even though it’s been a while since I played music on a regular basis, maybe it would be nice to sit down and play again. Not that I have any more time now. In fact I probably have less, but we’ll see. Maybe selling some or donating it to a school or something would be in order.
It will be a few more days before I can get through all the boxes and find out what other secret treasures I stored away all those years ago. A little fitting that I decided to collect all of it again on Memorial Day weekend. I know that Memorial Day is not really about a storage space time capsule. But for me, maybe it is. I’ve been through a lot since I packed all of that stuff up. It’s good to see how far I’ve come.
The bittersweet part was getting to spend a little time with my friend Ryan before she moves to California in a week. I’ve known Ryan for six or seven years now and we’ve gone through a lot together. She came by my studio on Saturday after Morgan and I got done shooting for the day and the three of us had a nice dinner and cosmos up on my roof. It was really a great time getting to enjoy one last evening together under the beautiful Chicago city lights.
Ryan has been such a strong supporter of me and my art and many of my successes this past year have been because of her encouragement over the years. I’ll miss her terribly.
I love you Ryan. I can’t wait to see what great adventures the next few years will bring you. You deserve the best that life can give a person.
The beautiful photograph of Ryan above is from our trip to Vegas last year the evening that Ryan and Morgan told me things that made me realize how much I loved living and how I really needed to change my life if I wanted to accomplish everything I wanted to. I will live a long healthy life because of them. Thank you both.
And speaking of accomplishing things, there is so much going on photographically these days that I actually have an intern now. My first one. We had a little orientation session on Sunday and I think it’s going to be really good. I’ll have Caitlin until August when she heads off to USC to do amazing things with her future.
There is so much work to be done here that if I spent the next month not sleeping and just working on everything, I still wouldn’t be done, so it will be nice to have some assistance with everything. Of course getting everything ready and organized enough to have someone come in and be able to make heads and tales of thousands of negatives is a job in itself, but it’s one I’ve put off for too long. Having to go through the process of preparing for an intern has really forced me to get so many things in order. It’s a win win.
So the organizing began today. Going through boxes of negatives and contact sheets and notes written on scraps of paper to help identify them all. But even though I was on a roll, I managed to pull myself away and ride my bike over to my friends Mark and Melissa’s for a wonderul holiday BBQ. It’ such a fun group of people and I got to meet more artists like myself, just trying to get their work out in to the world. It’s amazing how simply being an artist gives you a bond with other artists. It doesn’t matter the medium- design, pottery, ceramics, photography, whatever- you can see the thing behind their eyes that pushes us all forward. We couldn’t stop doing it any more than we could stop breathing. We talked and grilled and ate and played cards and then I rode home through another beautiful Chicago summer night.
I’ve been doing a lot of bike riding lately. Even though a three mile walk is nothing to me these days, it just takes too long to walk five miles or more, so my bike has been a good way to fill in those gaps and not have to resort to cabs or public transportation. And it’s nearly as fast in most cases.
And of course the shooting continues. On Saturday, the lovely Morgan and I had enough time to get a couple of sets shot just as the sun was setting. This image is one from that shoot. It’s much softer than images we’ve been creating together lately and it’s been something I’ve wanted to create with her for some time, so I’m glad we got to get our toes in that end of the pool. Of course with us there seems to be a never ending list of ideas we’re working on, so we’re never sure what each shoot day will bring. But those days remain my favorite days. Shooting, creating, experimenting. I feel most alive during those moments.
So yes, it’s been a weekend of remembering the past, paying attention to friends that are with me today, some if only for a few more days, and forging ahead to the future. I wonder what a time capsule of this year would look like in ten years. Interesting I’m sure.