November 30, 2011

Soon and very soon

November thirtieth, doors are open and the house breathes in and out. Mabel the cat follows the warm spots as the sun moves through the house. The morning arches over to afternoon. I went for a walk after a nice morning in. Checked the mail on the way out and found Tony Chestnut lying in wait. Feels so good on, thanks woman. Mini skirt, new look for me. Very bold comparitively, but the snug leather affirms it was a good choice. Tis the season for the old winter wardrobe switch over. Chanel sold me these incredible wool trousers in June. Been saving them for a day like today when I could wear them out with little shoes to the laundromat. Sassy folding. Exchanged hard and good looks with a handsome helmeted creature. Bagel jammed in his mouth as he looked. Hello. Simon inspired me to take my Voitlander Bessa (the old german acordian fold waist view from the thirties) out for a spin and on the way I met James, who is becoming a regular and favorite subject of mine. Maybe it is the Diane Arbus biography that I have been reading, I have no other explanation for my portrait prowess today. It felt good to hunt faces again. What is interesting? Who is incredible in their beauty and strageness? James lives on my street. Hard times these days, though he is very generous with his face. I shot my way to Monastiraki and took the owner of said little shop's portrait through the glass looking in. Bessa.

It goes quick, probably because when I am working on a guess, I might as well shoot fast. Look at the light, think about it. Think about distance. Think about intensity. Think about time. While cruising the shop I found a little chowchow for Sam. If you can picture it, Monastiraki is an odds and ends shop on the corner of St. Laurent and St. Viateur. I can go in with just quarters jingling in my pocket and leave with a treasure. Paperform usually. It is my favorite way to shop. Paper hunting. I love papers. Postcards, name tags, file folders, books, prints, old photos. You name it, he has it. Today I looked at a big cardboard tube about a foot in diameter, complete with a lid. Stenciled on top it read SEAT in great block letters even though it was clearly not a seat. An old mailbag caught my eye. Forty five dollars. The pièce de résistance of the shop is an old wooden letter holder (long envelop style) painted a very specific dark emerald green. Gorgeous. Two hundred and fifty dollars and worth every penny. Too much. Oh well. Good thing looking is free. Billy Madras, owner of Monastiraki has incredible taste and his displays are next level. Little touches.

Today while in the shop we got to talking and he asked me "why are you here in Montreal?". For school was the reply. I caught myself there, pausing to ask myself the same question again knowing full well school is no longer the reason. For change. For a test.

I miss home. Winnipeg is my home.

"Why do you stay?" he asked. I stumbled over my reasons. There are many reasons to stay and to go. Now after having left the shop and walked around making a few more pictures and really thinking about it more, I love the craziness of the city. It really is wild. You just never know here! Adventure is in the wind, in the people. A gathering town for wanderers. I had a crazy man yell into my face the other night while walking home from Janelle's house. I didn't know how to respond except go WHOOO and run home. I wish it was possible to photograph sound in those moments. Little bells ringing, what would that look like? Anyway, this is a wonderful city bursting with potential but I am also afraid of it. Art culture here is strong and sharp, it intimidates me to just JUMP INTO IT. Anglo art. But I hold back, unsure and hesitant.

Today in an effort to work on my chef photo series (at the laundromat this afternoon I saw a picture [sans camera] across the street that would have been the right fit for my series. A bagel baker, relaxed in whites, knee up against brick, smoking a cigarette in a very specific way, sparkly eyes). A while later I met Abdul, a journalist turned restaurant proprietor who works two days per week to stay limber. Contrast vision zero in. I fumbled with my Nikon F2 and missed the shot after realizing my film was full.  So I did my best with the Bessa (always an exposure gamble) and went on my way.

These days I am also working two days to stay limber and spend the rest of my time reading, making pictures, making soup (Grandma I made your recipe for Heine Zoup and it was pretty killer) and thinking about projects. Envelopes, this is the time to sew! I am off to print. My friend Zoi gave me her old Durst C35 enlarger so now I have two. Still missing a timer and a 75mm lens for the Omega B22 enlarger and then I will finally be able to start printing from the medium format pile of negatives. Other than silkscreen, I have never enjoyed the process of a trade as much as printing pictures. Quick repetitive steps.This is how I learn best.

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