April 30, 2012

Desert Boots

Found me some desert boots this morning in a basement of trinkets. They were probably pulled off a dead man somewhere with feet the size of nine. Now I am ready. I can feel the outline of his phantom feet as my own make themselves at home. Some purple foamy sandals would top the list, but beggars can't be choosers. Two pair of work boots? High baller move. The Bush List is pages long, though nothing is really written down to strike through. I think I am ready.

Oh the list of things to be missed! Hand around the back of a neck while driving. Cozy bed, comforts of home. Skin on skin. The flare of fire for a night time cigarette against my favorite face. Things like that.

There is a draw to the woods that I can't really explain. It sits in me like hunger. Dear muscle memory, please carry me through, please knock my reservations down like bowling pins. It has been two years since I planted anything. My shovel feels awkward. My arms are noodles but my legs are strong.

I will be planting for two weeks beside my friend Lisa and cooking for six under the guidance of a stranger named Emily. This entire operation was birthed quickly providing little time to fret over all the things I do not know. Going in blind with desert boots!

If anyone is interested in corresponding with Lisa or myself, you are welcome to write. I will definitely respond. No laptop in the bush this year. Typewriter and ink only. I imagine my cooking schedule will leave minimal room for sleep or relaxation, but I intend to do my best in the correspondence department on slow afternoons.

Looking forward to waking up to Lisa's laughter and birdsong. Yellow light of early morn. Listening to Sonic Youth on the way to the Block, splashing coffee from rough logging roads carving rivers into my filthy body. I am ready.

Here is the HQ address:

PRT Frontier-- Bram's Camp
c/o Meg Kroeker
Box 757, 75 Pollard Rd
Dryden ON
P8N 2Z4

Queen of the Road! See you in July.

ps. In other news, Craig and I took the mopeds out for the inaugural ride of the season. Whoa. Finally tasted the nectar of speed. Now I know what he was talking about. Just as I am getting the hang of riding, it is time to leave. Something to look forward to. Oh the places we will go. There are no words to describe such thrill.

April 27, 2012

Bathgate of WPG

Gut rot Friday.

The photos in the series below are from a roll shot in a single evening. Perched on a wide sill seven floors up, the southeastern vantage point was striking at magic hour. Feels good to shoot these days. While working through the roll, I thought I was shooting color and was surprised when the camera back revealed the unexpected contrast. Does your eye take in color and contrast differently? Mine does. In this case, color vision translated well.

Ultimately at peace with the decision to leave the very place I thought I was destined for, my mind drifted to the short stint in art school as my body drifted in and out of sleep. The last ten or so rolls received back affirm said choice and show much improvement in exposure. All thanks to Scott's light meter. Thanks McLarens, I owe you big.

World of a difference. This is a small part of Winnipeg from above looking down and out.

April 25, 2012

No Time Like The Present

Hello all, this here is a photo post. An update of sorts.

Christie, this one's for you.

April 19, 2012


A 'scope review.

You had to take the test before you got a chance to study more than a couple of the lessons. Does that seem fair? Hell, no. That's the bad news. The good news is that this test was merely a rehearsal for a more important and inclusive exam, which is still some weeks in the future. Here's even better news: The teachings that you will need to master before then are flowing your way, and will continue to do so in abundance. Apply yourself with diligence, Aries. You have a lot to learn, but luckily, you have enough time to get fully prepared. 

Apply oneself with diligence. While a part of me takes these sacred advertisements with a grain of salt, the other side listens close. Time is flying. I reckon this is a repetitive theme in my writing. But it really is. There are one hundred BBQs that need to take place before Lisa and I are set to leave for tree camp in a week and a half!! Andrea. Caycie. Rebecca. Gotta see you women. Liquid dinners; screw the BBQ. 

Worked hard today zipping around a brilliantly clean home. I clean houses to make the rent. There was strong coffee and good supplies. Nice coffee break at the big dining room table with my Auntie Sue. Thought about all kinds of things. Thought about what I have been learning from Craig regarding small motors. A recent date revolved around his BBQ and a motor lesson focusing on the top end. Top End. So many concepts to digest and learn by experience. Exhaust, return, points, ground, carb etc. keep an endless flow of questions coming. Never am I made to feel idiotic, though majority of the queries are ridiculous. I froze while wrenching the other day and had to leave the garage out of shame for my inadequacy at this new trade. Came back, was handed the socket wrench with a smile and pointers for better production. Ohhh boy. But step by step, scrape, slip, snip, wrench, pull, twist and screw, I am learning how my motor runs. Yeah baby.

Tonight I am hoping to hear the handiwork run. We will see. 

Life is very good. 

April 13, 2012


Tony, King of Victor Street. Ektar 100
Photo. Dale Linklater

When there are windows of time between deliveries at work, I head to the library. The U of Winnipeg library is an interesting place. Orange stacks, weird hallways, surprise levels and that unmistakable reeky smell of history. Good place to think or get lost. New Mexico has been on my mind for many months now and when little reminders of this unknown state reveal themselves at unexpected times, I pen excitedly. Jemez Springs. I would like to behold these for myself. Sandia Mountains. These mountains too.

Meandering the stacks last week I came across this passage by John Steinbeck (in reading his name, a flash of Rags; because you love his mind) from his work Travels with Charley.

A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike, and all plans, safeguards, policing and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.

This excerpt resonated deeply when I cracked at random a photography book titled In America by Eve Arnold on my knees deep in those orange stacks. A trip takes us. Indeed. What a time in this life. Tail end of twenty five. The hysteria present at the beginning of this birth year has gone and I have landed in a place new. A place with someone where policing and coercion have no place in the understanding of the other. It is what it is, we are who we are whether we are together or apart. The simplicity of this detail always makes me laugh. Can it be so simple? Yes, I think so. I am beginning to get it, the value of security and sureness. If this reads mysterious, that is not the intent as I am just figuring it out for myself.

Understanding. Light bulb moments.

Had one of those when Craig showed me laughingly how to make a nice clean border with photo paper in the easel (my borders had been wild and sloppy until that moment). Do it like this. Ahhhh oui. Learning how to cut paper in the most practical way. These are the moments I feel very much my father's daughter.

The last four days have been something to say the most and least. I have learned a lot about myself as a printer, as the woman I have always been. Constant self correction. Arms deep in hot water bathing prints with a gentleness usually reserved for the littlest babes, looking and learning wordlessly from Craig working at his own station.

Watch and apply. Dead Meadow droning on. Time slips on like silk in the darkroom. Working on a single print for four hours and then ten minutes on the next. There is no consistency because each negative asks for a different process. Now complete, a body of work is hung and ready. Photographs with meaning hung in a line. I spent so much energy fretting how they would all work together until it was finally understood that is not the point. Each face speaks for itself. The photos chose me in the end.

I hope you like it.

Now that the Hogwash operation is behind us, minds are free to explore new possibilities. Years of work closed like a book. Put those years to bed, they are behind me now. Each face tucked into a special pocket of memory. What is next?

Puch Maxi.

In other news, I have a new friend. A little brother. His name is Dale Louis Thomas. He's ten right now. I shot this of him and he shot this of me a few days ago at Magic Hour with the Kiev while heavy activity went on inside that garage pictured at left.

April 10, 2012


Darkroom days.

This routine of brunch and then dipping down to the basement to work until breaking for dinner and going back down to print bigger and bigger until midnight is interesting. Yesterday I printed the first 16x16" photo. Seeing that image appear affirmed my love for medium format. I can only imagine what enlarging 4x5 sheet film would feel like. Nuts, no less. 

Cutting 16x20 sheets in the dark was a bit interesting but eventually I got the hang of it, knowing full well that for four dollars per paper there was no choice but to do it properly. Never waste paper. As the hours rolled on, a good rhythm revealed itself. A strong soundtrack helps. Tragically Hip, Kurt Vile and Sonic Youth have been on heavy rotation. Now it is clear that I have to invest more than five hour blocks in there at a time to find that pace. A twelve hour day felt like four. Good sign.

It's time for brunch. Pete and Repeat. 

April 7, 2012

Full / MT

Shot a photo of James Francis in his underwear this morning. Legs for days and daze. Big dumb smiles on all of us in the kitchen. Can I shoot your photo? Of course. He hadn't gotten as far as pants when Creme and I arrived at his house. I can appreciate that ease of character. I am not proud of my body, I am comfortable. Amen.

Life is rolling along. Nice Saturday. Woke with a big dopey smile, tucked myself into an arm and inhaled. Slatted light on the wall, gray day of Spring. Breakfast with two men. Fried perogies and farmer sausage to start this Saturday. Coffee black. Cold wind whipping over exposed feet. I left after the first public and affectionate adieu, turning away into the wind with the camera in hand. See ya.

Shot my way uptown, contrast vision. Nothing caught my eye. Sat down by the river port on Waterfront and thought of Simon. Welcome Port of Winnipeg. I shot the sight of that signage and with that, a memory flood. Miss you. Steve. Miss you. What I would give for an easy breakfast with you two Squirrels. Benny. Soon enough. I bet you are eating breakfast in New York together right now. I can see Simon with his own long legs walking around in gitch lit up by a pool of front-of-house light, pissing with the door thrown wide. Laughter standing up. I can appreciate that too.

Made my way home off the beaten track, running the last couple of weeks over in thought. Loud coat covered in burrs. A plastic bag filled with old photographs. Right hand black with paint about to turn gold.

Moped parts came in. Craig handed me the tail pipe and I held it like the awkward cousin holds the new family baby. On the cusp of a new education altogether. Gotta wrap up this workload by Thursday and then take apart and piece together in order to fly over the Disraeli camel back full throttle. Ready or not.

Off to the spray booth. Golden limbs and club collars. Little shingles. But is it Art? Nope just hogwash. Ideas bob along the river. Gotta fish them out with care.

April 5, 2012

Ode to Le Poulet

Good Friday moon coming up. Missing this kid so much these days I could puke. Dreamed of Leo last night. Watching him walk away with someone I had never met, screaming "he is too small for that" over and over as my body dragged on in slow motion. Nails in the soil for grip. Leonard! If you only knew how much I miss you. I would love nothing more to hold hands with you on the sidewalk. Walking around with your legs dangling on each side of my neck. I got you. Miss you.

Ode to Leonard, photobooth style.

April 3, 2012


To all you steppers out there lookin' sharp. Margot in the haus. This pair of hands gives off waves of Googone as they zip over keys. Painting for the Mother Crew. What to write? How to spell out the span of a new season and who cares to know? April is here. Amazing! April always surprises me. Where the hell did January go? That life feels like a hundred years ago. 

Yesterday I looked over at Craig taking it eeeeeasy in his printing chair while our prints exposed in two minute tandem. His eyes fixed on the line heavy with new work. Real ease. Can it be so simple? Working at ease, looking with ease. He encouraged me to take a load off, relax while the enlargers did the brute work. Sit? Me? I can barely stand still these days but the reminder was nice. Darkroom dance for two; the inaugural dance. I am really happy. I know. Me too. Feels good to be zipping around town feeling light as a wing these days, free to go where Alba takes me. Dry pavement beneath, tucked in and enjoying the ride. After a flop dinner for two, Creme and I postered the town a new one. It felt good to staple posters made with my hands to funny places. DIGITAL BE DAMNED! It felt good to dip through chain link fences pulled up at the corner like a page in a book, graceful as a dancer on a mission. 

Promo. Check.

Here is a poster I made for our exhibition. No frills.

It's all Hogwash anyway.

With that sentiment in mind I finally got down to biz in that familiar basement. Tony was there when he felt like it, watching us work away, tail tracing muscles in my legs like he has known my body forever. Cat in the darkroom. Check. Now that work is churning out like sweet beurre, I have decided to raise the bar. Contrast printing is it for the next few days and then we are moving on to color. Only Creme would approach the process like it was nothing at all. The lessons I continue to learn in his company...

Tonight holds the first lesson in small motor building. Going in blind, with just a word caught in my throat: Porting. Whatever that is. Wrenching. That's what Craig calls it. 

Gone wrenching with the rat pack. Loooooord help me. I am hellbent on experiencing this legend speed for myself before I leave for the spring adventure. 'Been riding my bicycle with the motorcycle helmet in preparation. Gotta self propel before that too becomes a thing of the past. 

New Mexico, I am coming for you.