marketing image for Esther's Follies, the long running, very Austin
comedy club on Sixth Street.
A spoof on the Wendy Davis track shoe story...
Can you feel it? The world seems wound up and anxious to sell us stuff. I've been getting Sony, Nikon and Olympus e-mailed "newsletters" non-stop for a week. They've trotted out their new stuff, marked down their old stuff and today, especially, they are trying to get me to take some of their refurbished stuff off their hands. There's something about hunkering down for the winter that just makes researching and reading about photographic gear seem so... comfortable.
Sadly, there's very little left that I have a keen interest in right now and the things that I would like to play with (Leica Monochrome, Leica S2 medium format system, Cray Super Computer (for video processing the new h.265 codec files) and any Zeiss lenses I can cram on the front of an m4:3 or Nikon body) are so extravagant and expensive that I can't consider them and the paying of income taxes with the same brain.
So, instead I'm inventing little exercises in which I actually use the gear I've got or can borrow. I am writing a short, short film about the extinction of sex due to cellphone addiction, and the ensuing collapse of the human species. I'll try to convince Frank to bring along his collection of amazing video gear and help me film it. I'd like to shoot a film that's not about anything but it is a collage of moving images revolving around various winter swim practices at my pool. Dark cold mornings, bright tropical January noon workout and everything in between woven into a piece that I can just stare at and enjoy without the need for words.
And then there's family and travel. I love my family. I love Belinda's family but even saints need a break from time to time and during the holidays I always remember some prescient advice one of the media buyers at my old agency told me over drinks as we both waited in the Austin airport to catch planes for two different coasts. He said, "When your family starts to wear on your nerves you have to learn to emotionally disconnect. Pretend you are making a documentary film. Pretend you are shooting a story about the occasion. Step back and be an observer rather than an active participant and I guarantee you'll have a lot more fun."
The same can be said for travel. We're all going to hit the airports at one time or another between now and the end of the year and chances are that our flights will be delayed. If you are traveling solo it's a wonderful time to pull out the camera and spend some time getting exercise and shooting whatever you'd like to photograph in an airport. You could make up a story about your shoes. You can look for interesting faces. Stand at a window and make images of taxi-ing airplanes. If you are traveling with a beautiful model then you can spend the time concocting one of those wonderful and inane fashion stories and then fulfill your fashion photographer destiny.
Traveling with kids? Invent a narrative that happens in an airport and spend your time shooting the story instead of filling up on airport food and crappy $5 coffee. Photography can happen anywhere. At any time.
I'll be in San Antonio, Texas tomorrow. Studio Dog and I are paying a visit to my parent's house. We'll go out to lunch while Studio Dog secures the premises. I'm planning to take along the camera and lens combo that's been my rock in a swirling sea this year. The one camera I have never considered selling or trading. I may not shoot with it all the time but it's a bedrock sort of tool for those times when I'm in desperate need of a "safety blanket." I'll be carrying the Panasonic GH4 and the 12-35mm. If the parents start telling stories about the great depression or relatives I've never met I'll pull out the camera and start filming.
If you are in an airport when you read this I hope your plane is on time, that you are traveling with a wonderful and engaging person who you can cuddle with when appropriate and that you have the camera you really want right there in that bag by your side. Just imagine. Things could be much worse. You could be shooting with a Nikon 43-86mm zoom lens bolted on to the front of an original Canon EOS-M mirror less (evf-less) camera. And you could be waiting for that plane outside....