I found an old Zine from a project in Maine. From roughly twelve years ago. This image was the final image in the Zine. You know, as we do. These silly little mirror images with our camera of choice. I wouldn’t shoot an image like this now, unless I was trying to prove yet another futile point, but I sure did back then. My guess is that camera probably had a piece of red tape on it somewhere, a designation clue of some sort that I stole from watching Under Fire.
What would I have told my self were I to know what I know today? Bet on the Patriots, moron. Shoot more, work harder and prepare for the digital destruction about to be unleashed on the world. I didn’t know how good things were. How intelligent we were as a species, compared to what we’ve become. I didn’t know I’d lose some of those closest to me, earlier than expected.
The laptop came with a faulty hard drive. Thank you Apple. The wedding ring, first traded for in a small shop on the edge of the Sahara, then recast in downtown Los Angeles, broke. The watch did too. The camera was sold for something else, something shinier, more promising. The glasses, looking back, look good. As does my stunning mane.
Whatever it is you think you are supposed to be doing you better do it now and I mean today. If K2 is your goal you won’t get there today but you might put aside ten dollars for the $50,000 you might eventually need. If becoming famous is your goal you might want to preschedule your therapy sessions as you will surely need them. If you want to improve as a human, well, you just need time alone. Time to think and what really matters, and perhaps more importantly, what does not. Finding gratitude, learning to think of others more than you think of yourself, detoxing from digital and learning to be kind will come from time alone as will, mostly likely, an appreciation for nature. Kill your television, yes, that too.
The camera works to intensify the experience. Those who think the camera is a barrier often don’t make pictures. Those moments you can’t forget are often seared by the flicker of a shutter or the sound of the release. More visceral than if viewed idly as a tourist, bystander or non-active participant. Post euphoric joy syndrome is real. Success via small rectangles or squares. Processed, printed, frame and hung as a silent film. A reminder of time and place. Of duty or obsession.
Yes, I would tell myself these things. Nothing for granted. I would also remind younger me that mainstream culture, popularity and acceptance are soulless, mindless pursuits for those who haven’t worked hard enough to make their own thoughts. I would remind myself I’m not the smartest guy in the room. I would remind myself I am far from it and there is much to be done, much to learn and much to better understand.
I would remind myself that crime pays. Not to be personally taken advantage of but more to understand the intention of many of those around me, or us. Trust doesn’t come with title. In fact, title now comes with suspicion. Green is still your favorite color. Solitude is still your goal. Adventure becomes more important. Air travel sucks even more. And your partner is still there, more important than ever. I would also remind me of the future. Not to dwell but to appreciate what might be. What could be and how I could be part of it. What will the next revolution bring?