Tuesday, August 28, 2007

~Untitled 19 by Comrade Kevin~

I shyly entered the cool surroundings of the coffee bar and in long practiced habit took a seat to the right of the speaker. I'm a creature of habit and inevitably sit at the same table for every event.

I make a point to arrive early in order to take in my surroundings without the distractions of other people. I prefer to ease into crowds--feeling the energy of each person as he or she arrives, files in silently, and adds his or her own unique flavor to the proceedings.

My companion was in the process of securing some new esoteric blend of tea while I settled in with my camera. I'm a bit of a purist. Despite the ease of digital technology, I prefer the messiness of film. There's something very organic about the process that reminds me to take my time and not rush. I find it ironic that the very warmth of celluloid film is in its fuzzy imperfection. Digital may be faster, easier, and more precise but I much prefer the old standard.

I catch the first performer rehearsing sotto voice for the crowd. I'm using a very fast film tonight--the slightest tremor in my hands and the result will be blurry and out of focus.

As usual, I feel a case of sarcasm brewing deep inside me. I can only attribute this to some deep insecurity within myself. You see, I wish I were the one up there reading in front of the crowd. Every introvert wishes for the courage to face the adoring masses. Instead, I have to capture other peoples' bold behavior, trying to live vicariously through their expressions.

It's an ideal art form for someone as shy as I am. I make my photographs like my dreams quiet, uncluttered, simplistic, to the point, and calm. Above all, calm.

***Bravo Comrade. Lovely. You've been here before.***

~How Thunder Stepped into the Sky by Ann Walters~

Her name was Carmela and she spoke in chocolate words with breath like a long slow lick of the skin. Her voice, ah, her voice – what wasn’t it? It was a goddess bathing. A rhinoceros at full run. The muffled drift of snowflakes over corpses on a battlefield. Carmela never walked when she could sing, never slept when she could rinse her hair with water from the village well. The missionaries failed, as did her parents, her husband, her children. Her heart was never theirs. Nor did it belong to the trees, the grass, the river’s wide ego. She could not be held so tightly. Her name was Carmela and she lifted herself up into the sky on a single strand of chestnut hair. She crouches there still, her teeth a brilliant flash, her voice the rush of a child from its mother’s womb.

***Brilliant, Sharon! Such an unusual and textured turn of a phrase. Many great pieces for this image, please read the comments!***

~Corky's by Comrade Kevin~

The blueish haze of cigarette smoke greets me as I enter this haven for the salt-of-the-earth. If you happen to have the habit, there's really no need to contribute. A person could inhale at least a pack in thirty minutes.

Here, the mullet, rooster-poof bangs, and monster trucks reign supreme. Yellowing framed pictures of sports heroes, football coaches, and local celebrities cover every inch of whitewashed pine.

This is the domain of teenage waitresses and the boys who pine away after them. This is the domain of bad teeth, greasy food, and forearm tattoos. This is the domain of elderly women who drone on and on about members of their church community who have developed tumors.

***This photograph was taken in Memphis, TN. The diners there were not anywhere near as entertaining or colorful as you paint them, Comrade. A touch of sadness about developing tumors...this is a common overheard conversation.***

~My Little Schizophrenic Spider by Clarke O'Gara~

Sarah looked at it with her hand clasped over her mouth, then burst out laughing. "What?” Her bother Andy shouted from the living room.

"Andy, Andy, it’s so funny, this time it pulled out the circuitry from the back of its own head!” She rolled around her room ecstatic as Andy rushed up stairs.

"You’re doing this on purpose now Sarah.” He accused, with his stern ‘older-brother’ tone.

"Well of course, duh! Why else would I be playing with this crap? I set up the last one so it was schizophrenic, that’s why he killed himself. This one is going to be manic depressive.” She laughed.

“Since when do you know about schizophrenia?” he asked. She replied by tossing her father’s Dictionary of Psychology at him. “How are you making them mentally unstable?”

"It’s easy,” she said pulling the A.I. chip out of the little anthropoid, “you just remove the right emotional limits in the software and you can replicate nearly any mental illness,” she chuckled again, “you really should have seen it Andy. He went crazy tried to rip out its own A.I. chip.”

Andy used to shout at Sarah for pulling the legs off spiders she found outside. Now he was sickened by her nonchalant torture of consciousness. “Do they have sadism in that dictionary?” he scowled.

***A moral question, for sure. It makes you wonder about the two of them, their histories. A nice turn-around (usually the little boy is the budding sociopath).***

~Untitled 15 by Fran~

The train lazily wound its way up mountain passes. The air was clear - almost shimmering. The sky was a blue that one associated with renaissance madonnas, but that reminded me of the color of the rarer form of cotton candy.
For hours, we slowly made our way. I was exhausted beyond belief. Days of walking and wandering in the high altitudes of the Andes left me breathless and tired, both physically and emotionally.
On the train I would doze off, only to be disturbed by a well intended but annoying waitress. Did I want more coffee? Water? Some food?
No. All I wanted was healing. Consolation. Peace.
Two days earlier, when I was in no position to go home, I saw on TV that the levees broke.
My city, my home- gone.
I could only do this one thing and carry on.
***A similar moment shared by many. Nice snapshot.***

~Untitled 14 by Comrade Kevin~

Dad didn't like France. He told us this so many times that my wife leaned over the front seat to tell him to cool it.

"What's so remarkable about a silly statue I could see on television without having to get off my duff?"

He didn't take to the cooking, either.

***Charming! Could this man be analogous to the general American populace?***

~Untitled 13.5 by Comrade Kevin~

Amy's cubicle is graced by all of the usual suspects: crudely finger painted works of art created by her three-year-old. We all have to endure being introduced to them for the eight millionth time.

Perhaps if and when I have children, I will do the same thing. As for right now, I fail to see why they're so special. I produced some variation of the same when I was that age. I took no particular regard in doing a good job--I just wanted to finish another activity before being set free to climb up the tire swing on the playground.

After Mom died, I found all of my childhood drawings in the bottom of the china drawer, under the the good silverware. She had kept every single one. The bottom of the drawer was littered with the remains of glitter that had fallen off of one of the paper plates supposed to represent some religious icon.

***What a wonder, the way the brain can connect my cubicle with a touching childhood memory.***