December 9, 2011


Moving to Winnipeg in the new year. Hallelujah. It is time is the same thing as I am ready. My home came down like a finished circus this afternoon. After you pull down the center, it doesn't take long for everything else to come with. I realized while packing that the artwork hung on the walls is the center of my home. It is the first to come down and the first to be put up.

What makes a home a good one? Light. Niki Trosky and Sula taught me how to light a home properly. Andrea taught me how to build a functional kitchen (what I didn't already know from my mother). Rebecca taught me the importance of candles. Yosh brought about the Listening Station and Josh Ruth the art of hanging art. Homes are wonderful places. I look forward to the next.

Giles here I come. Can't wait to sit on the counter and drink coffee, dogs and fitness. Bread baking, in house workroom. Built in cabinets just begging to be opened and closed. Last night I listened to people move around the home I have built in Montreal from behind a closed door. Not interested in interacting, I listened to the movement and exclaims until Kurt Vile slid around my head and sang to me. Thank god for the album Smoke Ring For My Halo. This is the one home I have ever felt one hundred miles from home in my own room. When I say home I mean house. Displacement in my own home is something I refuse to settle for.


Yesterday I went to Zoi's house, the first friend I made on my own Montreal. Mabel's personal rescue ranger. Zoi rescues cats. My cat introduced us. I can safetly say that there is no one else like her. Tiny little greek woman, wise as the hills, a fierce whispering tiger. Zoi set me up for a future in darkroom with such incredible kindness and generosity. Pushing my loot down the street from her house a few weeks ago felt like highway robbery. Thanks woman. She listened to my indecision and advised me to seek fun in the new year.

Here are some goals:

- take an art class in something new
- take a stand in my art
- birth a freaking website already!
- write a story, even if it reads terribly
- have a lot of fun in the adventure
- archery
- ride more horses
- master the feel of the Bessa
- use my lightmeter more
- ride through winter/ buy new lights

And just for the hell of it, here is the most recent roll I have shot (with the Voitlander Bessa). Critically speaking, the exposures are mediocre at best (which satisfies me well enough), the composition is nil (shot some great portraits but they were lost due to me not knowing how to set up) and blurry. Other than the fact that the one photo I was excited to see of Abdul the cook in an ally was lost on film, the camera's working mechanics encourage me to keep shooting until I figure out the balance. No hand-to-eye focus on this pup. The external trigger is a new avenue. Makes me feel like I have lived a life before this one, releasing triggers under black throws. Twenties. Probably just as baffled then as I am now.

There are many more factors involved with the Bessa than other other camera I have used. First. Load (120, rectangle exposure, don't F up the reel). The tension from the fresh roll pulled over must be taught but graceful in order for the film to take up evenly on the empty roll each time the camera is wound. There are no teeth to guide while advancing; eventually there comes a feel for the take up. Watch the film backing roll through the light safe peep hole. See a number? Stop advancing.

In the making of the actual picture there are many aspects to consider: aperture, shutter speed (which I am lost on as it needs to be reset manually), distance, advancing.

Adjust aperture based on the intensity of light (I have only shot in daylight and usually set the aperture (diaphragm opening for light) somewhere between 5.6 and 8. This seems to work with a shutter speed between 25 and 50. Adjust dials as necesary. Guess, I am always guessing. Terrible habit. The metal body clicks, there is no denying the feel which helps to memorize the steps. Then declare the line of focus (depth in feet from subject to camera). 2 ft, 4 8 15 infinity. Choose. Set dial.

Everyone stay still. It was really thrilling to yell that on the verge of exposure at the first wedding shot with the Bessa.

Chelsea & Adam's wedding; Manitoba, 2010.
Once all those aspects are established, you can push the trigger in the right hand while trying to stay very still, camera at waist view, eyes registering the image reversed. Release. Major parallax. The trigger opens the shutter allowing light through the diaphragm to expose the film and remains wide open until the next order of operation (unsure about this). The shutter is closed by the flip of a slim metal arm on the body. After all of those steps, the film must be advanced. As there is no reminder to do so, I often forget and fumble over (see below) buggering each shot. It usually takes three or four double exposures out of seven until I remember to wind.

Nerd alert.

Mechanics are exciting! I find it incredibly difficult to shoot with grace with the Bessa. Clearly, as I have learned this week, there is no point to rush the image making process as the picture will inevitably be lost. DAMN learning curve. It can be awkward fiddling around while a stranger waits patiently, two garbage bags hanging.

December 5, 2011

Zen for men

I lay in bed smoking over the edge. Embers coming to rest on a golden bird head perched on the edge of the dish. Can't sleep, in spite of the hour. In my head I remember a time when I walked home from a great tryst wearing nothing but black pantyhose and an oversized white t-shirt with the word Groomsman in royal blue across the front. Fur jacket, winter sling-backs. It was the dead of winter and blind cold. I walked past the back end of Bread & Circuses (the place that raised me into adulthood) and Brendan laughed at my exposed ass at five in the morning. I wore an apron the rest of the way home.

Things like that. It is wonderful to be asked to recall a story, any story.

Last night I dreamed of Deb Loewen's house. I have never been to her house before. I had a birds eye view of the house, open in it's concept. Big kitchen. No one had heads but all her family members were in the dream. Big play house. Her boys in pajamas. A wooden counter top.

I was a sleep walker as a child. Wandering camp grounds. Walking along water and waking with sand in my sleeping bag. Waking up on a beach in Thailand, having left my hammock after an unpleasant attempt to sleep. Adventure always appeals, especially in sleep.

Looking forward to the adventure ahead; walking home in the early morning and listening to the birds.

Once I fell into the embrace of a spruce tree after wandering off from a great party at Caycie and Emily's Arlington home. First time I ever two stepped with a man. Kip was his name. We danced. I love dancing, being led at that breakneck pace by someone bigger than me. There is no better feeling in the world. I fell into that beautiful tree and lay under there looking up at the laterals crawling up the spine of the spruce. Lost my keys and my money that night to nature but thankfully Frin had my spare after a long and sobering walk home.

Writing with heavy frames for concentration. A candle lit beside the bed. Don't worry, I will be careful. I don't think I looked at Simon when I told him I was moving to Winnipeg. Simon Richards, you beauty. I was wiping a low stainless steal fridge door vigorously and he was sweeping. We have worked alongside each other in that kitchen for eight months. He introduced me to some of the best people I have ever met. Steve MacLeod for one. Good men. I am grateful for the family of friends I have in Montreal.

Dayna are you in labor?
Sara are you in labor?

Strength be with you. I can't wait to hold your children.

I have been holding some babies in Montreal. I have been baby sitting the babytwins Leila and Malek. Each week their faces change! It is wonderful to watch. Ten months, just like Leo when we were starting out. It felt so good to feed those babes and then pluck them out full and happy one by one. Leo came over sporting a new look. Big boy. Short hair makes him look five! He harassed the babies and squished my face like clay.

Hay Leo. Fishlips always bring his guard down, I find. Leo and I don't see each other as often and he is always hesitant. So we learn each other anew each time starting with an espresso. Le Poulet's latest in kitchen exploration. He knows his kitchen. I love cooking with him. There is a new awareness of each other in his transition from baby to boy. Memory grows, information sticks. Pot. Pan. Lid. Please. Whip. Whisk. Milk. Egg. Oil. Salt. Pepper. Words tumble out. I can't even imagine what parenting is like.

Growing tired. Tomorrow is today already. Monday. Going to print and try to make something out of paper. I have been seeing all sorts of cool things on the internet (great ideas that have been done, that have been done, that have been done) like a horse jumping out of a large poster. Street art. People reaching out to touch, the questioning of reality. Is it real? Yes. I want to make art like that. How can I reach that within myself. Projects lie around in the pit of my body like piles of blankets. My ideas need a good beating, a hang in the wind, a clean fold. Time to organize the linen closet of thought. At this time of new beginnings, I am trying to figure out a way to combine my passion. Jack of all trades, master of none. Surely there is a balance.

Floral duvet cake.

Today I learned that the entree comes before the main. The explanation I am from Rosenort does not always hold water. Good to know the order of operations though. Sundays in the kitchen are always moody and quick and stern for me. I probably look angry but I am just thinking about bacon and potatoes and fruit and olives and red peppers and bread called baguette even though it's clearly ciabatta. Life is funny.

Can't wait to ride my bicycle in winter in Winnipeg. Quiet in a sleeping city like nothing else.

We sleep when we're dead.

December 3, 2011

Desktop Diving

Pull it.
Honky Tonk. An ideal version of home.
Sugar Shack with doors thrown wide. I miss this place more than many.
A photo by Alfredo Lopez (hand printed). One of my favorites of his.

A damn good friend to me/ 2010.
Courtest of Ben Vautier.
Rejoice. Artist unknown.
Praise the Lord. Courtesy of Robert Strobridge.