Saturday Observations

Some random thoughts today.

It snowed yesterday. It was the first time I looked out the window of my new space and saw snow on the ground. Everything that I’m used to seeing out the window suddenly looked different. Clean. Peaceful. Beautiful. I’m not usually a big fan of snow and cold. I prefer warm. But lately I’ve been trying to appreciate winter. I’ll try to photograph it more this year.

It’s a beautiful sunny day. The sun is streaming in my giant windows and as I walked by a bouquet of flowers I have on my dining room table I suddenly got a strong whiff of… flowers! I looked and there they were sitting in a sun beam, so happy that they were giving off this wonderful smell that’s filling my space. Wow.

I’ve been cleaning a closet today that has sort of been a dumping ground for the “uh… what should I do with this? I guess I’ll put it in here and figure it later,” stuff. Boxes from moves past. From my old film editing company when I packed up and moved almost two years ago… framed photos… a lava lamp (it actually still works)…
a flip photo frame full of photographs I forgot I had taken… interesting mobiles I had hanging above my desk there. And another box, one of the last I packed in Lincoln Park last May. It was the, “oh, just throw the rest of this stuff in there,” box. Watches… DVDs… negative folders… candles… my bicycle light and battery and charger… and something I haven’t been able to part with through several moves, my old baseball chest protector and shin guards from when i used to be a catcher in little league. Why can’t I get rid of those old pieces of equipment? I’m really not sure, but I always seem to be rescuing them. I actually did do a pretty good job of throwing things out before I moved, so there isn’t too much that I shouldn’t just find a proper home for here.

I called my friends Charlie and Kim today. They were entertaining family, but we got to chat for a few minutes anyway. Of all the people I’ve had the pleasure to know in my adult life, Charlie was one of the first to help me find myself. A great teacher and a great friend and it was really good to hear his voice today… and Kim’s too!

I’m continuing to print and frame more photographs this weekend. It’s been really fun to see these images big and hanging on the wall. One image I can’t find the negative for is worrying me a little. I think that’s why I decided to tackle the mystery closet to see if it got misplaced in that chaos. So far no luck though. It’s the negative from the Pompei image I mentioned here I while back. I really wanted to rescan it at a higher resolution with higher quality scanners than I did when I first scanned it a few years ago. I hope it turns up. Morgan helped me decode a very powerful meaning in it the other night and I really want it up on my wall here. She’s amazingly insightful. I’ll keep looking. And I’ll explain the meaning another time. I just want to find the original negative first.

I also found a Native American shaker that a friend of mine had giving to me years ago when I moved into my first film editing suite. It is a charm to drive away any negative energy from a space. I’ve had nothing but positive experiences here since I moved in, but since it’s a Native American holiday this weekend I walked around the space here giving a little shake here and there… just in case. They knew and know things we still don’t understand about the earth, energy and how we interact with everything around us. Shake, shake, shake.

You know I just realized that I’ve used the same word completely differently in the last few paragraphs and I never connected their different meanings.


That word has very strong meaning for me. In both a good and bad sense. The good definition of that word for me is the film negatives that I have thousands of and deal with every day. They are numbered and cataloged and with the exception of the one image I seem to have misplaced, make it easy for me to find any images I’ve created in the last 20 years.

The bad definition of negative is what I guess I would define as not positive. I usually use it in conjunction with the word energy. And I guess you could say I deal with that definition of the word every day as well. There is a lot of negativity out there. Even at the beginning of this holiday season I can see the negativity ratcheting up a few notches already as the crush and demand of expectations takes an unnatural curve upward. I saw it trying to navigate downtown a week ago shortly after the Lighting of Michigan Avenue Holiday Parade that officially marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Lots of people all trying to get back in their cars and head back out to the suburbs. How do I know that most of them are from the suburbs? Well because true city dwellers have learned to avoid over crowded events like holiday parades and Taste of Chicago like… well… like something you would avoid at all costs. All of these people impatiently trying to navigate down unfamiliar streets with overtired children and looks on their faces that question whether the last four hours were actually worth the effort, cutting each other off and flipping their middle fingers at one another. Merry what??!!

So yes… negative and negative. One brings me great joy and the other I try to minimize my contact with it when at all possible. Life is too short to allow negative people and their energy to distract me from what is truly important in my life. The people I love and my art.

And those flowers are almost singing with aroma now! Now that’s positive!

The image above is one that I forgot all about from that old flip frame I found in my closet today. It’s one I took during a long meandering walk through Berlin, Germany one December day. I have no idea what part of Berlin I was exploring. I just kept walking and somehow managed to find my way back to the hotel after a rewarding day of shooting before I got completely lost.

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