I love it when something happens during the day that I wasn’t expecting that brings a smile to my face. I picked up the phone and heard a slightly familiar voice on the other end. It was my friend Colleen who has been living in the Netherlands for the past decade. We were amazingly close friends and as sometimes happens with friendships they grow and fade over the years.
But she’s been on my mind a lot lately and I’ve been hoping to reconnect with her.
“Bonjour, mon ami!”
It took me a second… actually, more than a second… she had to tell me, “It’s Colleen,” before I could align my synapses. Picture a team of brain cells hastily running up and down ladders in some big libary-like-warehouse, opening and closing cabinets and scanning shelves, looking for the name that belonged to the voice on the other end of the phone speaking to me in French.
There is no way we could catch up on the last ten years on the phone in a few minutes, and so when we discovered that even though I was going to be in Europe for the next few weeks, she wasn’t going to be, so we made other plans to catch up before the end of summer.
But it was good to hear her voice again. She and I used to have breakfast every Saturday morning at this little diner on Lincoln Avenue called S&G. I don’t remember how long a period of time we would meet there. Months certainly… years perhaps. We tried to figure out a lot of things going on in our lives at the time, and maybe we were successful at finding about half of the answers. The rest we would both have to wait for more life experience before we could find the handle on the really tough ones.
Maybe that’s why I am looking forward to catching up with her. I think we both have a lot more life answers than we did eating greasy breakfast at S&G.
I remember packing my studio up one day and bringing it all over to her place in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago, around the corner from the Music Box Theater and shooting all day. She used to be a dancer and we tried all kinds of things. It was the first time I was able to shoot on true hardwood floors and her ceilings were high enough for her to jump a bit as well. We shot all day, until we were both beat. The first image you see is actually fairly early in the shoot. There is another photo of her doing an amazing jump which I love and I’ll have to scan again since I can’t seem to find a digital file of it anywhere, but I do have the first one I’m posting here and another we took at the very end of the shoot when we were both too tired to move much at all.
It’s funny how my files of film negatives are as much of a journal of my adult life as anything I could write in a blog or journal. All these years later they reveal my dreams, my loves, my frustrations, my sorrows, my discoveries, my self awareness. Thousands of rolls of film. All little time capsules of people and places through the years.
So many images in fact that I recently purchased a second safe to keep them in, as the first one could no longer fit them all. That and the help of a wonderful film student named Caitlin who’s helping keep things from getting too out of control this summer has resulted in my completing something that I’ve been trying to accomplish for the last four years.
So many photoshoots, images, negatives. It’s been hard to keep up with the very necessary and critical filing and storage of them all. So to say I’ve been behind in keeping all of that in order would be an understatement. But as of this week, we finally got caught up. Every roll of film, every sheet of negatives has been cataloged and placed into one of my many binders and filed away in the film safes to provide much needed protection from things that can damage irreplaceable negatives.
It’s an amazing feeling to have that accomplished. Thanks Caitlin. She’s off very soon to the very prestigious film school of the great ones, USC, to continue the very beginnings of her soon to be amazing film making career. She’s ambitious and talented and it will be fun to watch her work as it happens. But this summer she helped me with mine and I’ll always be grateful.
And in a matter of days Morgan and I will continue our own photography adventures in Paris. Our apartment there is waiting and we’ve both spent the last few weeks preparing for weeks of shooting in one of the most beautiful and inspiring cities in the world.
Nous allons à Paris le vendredi !
I’ve worked until the sun has come up many times in the last few days, only put my head down for a couple of hours and start again with not nearly enough rest, but perhaps this time I’ll be exhuasted enough to sleep as we fly over the Atlantic – something I never seem to be able to do. I think we’ll barely get everything finished in time. Just barely.
We have a dinner planned the evening before we leave, to catch our breath for a moment, go over everything one more time, the clothes, the locations, which new photos to put in our portfolios for the trip, the ideas, the art of it all, and then remember not to plan it all too well! Morgan and I have learned that the best plans sometimes are none at all, but simply to be open to the moment. And so we will remember to let Paris guide us. Listen to la Seine. Walk slowly through les jardins. Let le soleil warm our faces and find inspiration in les nuages. Wrap ourselves in la nuit. Feel les spiritueux of those who have walked les vieilles rues before us.
So we will board our Air France flight, close our eyes et nous nous réveillerons à Paris.