Josh smiles wryly in the dark, holding the pinhole camera he’s building for me.
I have a slight obsession with the pinhole. He created an aperture hole by poking an attached slice of a coke can (that was firmly fixed to the inside of a wooden box) with a guitar string. We picked up some 200 ISO film last night, and we’re going out today to test it out. A homemade pinhole camera!
Oh…my goodness. Where to start.
I posted an ad on Craig’s List to pick up some extra cash. I am not above scrubbing toilets.
Josh and I got to Kate’s house a few minutes early. [Name has been changed for confidentiality purposes.] We peeked through the windows.
Kate had already told me on the phone, that she was a heart patient.
What she failed to disclose, is that she is also a semi-hoarder.
And…her house hasn’t had a good cleaning in years.
We knocked on the door a few minutes early- no answer.
I caught the look in Josh’s eye and it was obvious that he was thinking the same thing.
We made our way quickly back to the car.
“Look. Let’s just call her. Tell her that it’s going to take longer than we thought. We can come back again,” Josh said.
“If we leave now, we’ll never be back,” I said. “It’s just how things go.”
So we started rationalizing.
“What if it was our Aunt Ida or something? Or a family member…”
“Why did we come here? To leave?”
“What is so important that we have to do besides help this woman?”
And so on.
And so between us both, we decided that we had no choice but to return to Nan’s house, and do the best we could for her.
I knew she was a fiercely intelligent woman; I could tell within seconds of meeting her. Her eyes beemed with an intense light. Her skin was amazing!
Nan was probably going on 60 or so, and I liked her right away. A very earthy, down-to-earth woman. My kind of person. No BS, no fronts. Just herself.
“Kate, you look like a psychologist,” I said to her.
“I am,” said Kate.
And so we stayed for five and a half hours and cleaned our butts off. We put in a few extra laps for her, and it was our pleasure.
I’m used to making $20 per hour by myself when I clean, given my 25+ years experience and proficiency in the area, but Josh and I are both doing the school thing, and we’d rather clean houses privately, and on our own time, than to work a public job and so on. Also, we get to meet many interesting people this way.
Kate cut us a check for $125. We kissed her dog Daisy goodbye, and locked up behind us.
I can barely believe we did what we did there in only five and a half hours. Unbelievable.
Grocery shopping. (Beer, watermelon, rasberries, vanilla ice cream, sodas, smoked mussels, etc.)
Dishes. Bubblebath. Cleaning my own house. A bit of reading in my schoolbook, “Alcoholism and Other Drug Problems”. And finally…
I’m realizing only today why I’m so creative. Because I’ve had to improvize my whole life. Having next to nothing to work with, forces you to try harder. You have no choice but to experiment because you really don’t know what else to do. Over time, your style becomes defined, refined, and unmistakable.
Having to sell my rig, more than once, I was left with only my Canon G3. It’s a 4 MP dinosaur. Because I had nothing else, I decided to not only learn how to shoot in B&W + manual, but revel in it.
That was about two years ago. I’ve been shooting for about 7, but B&W rules me. I’m completely infatuated with the marriage between light and shadows. To me, black and white is already a story. The images within an image become the actors on the stage, or props, I suppose, but even if you have only one blank wall, and a cheap camera set up to photograph that wall, with a bit of natural window lighting hitting it (through parted curtains, say), then the clouds passing over the sun become the filters. The passing clouds increase and decrease the gamma and contrast naturally.
The story of B&W is one of masculinity and femininity. Life and death. Hot and cold. Love and hate. When stripped down to their very elements, they are in their most powerful state. I have little interest at the moment in HDR, filters of this or that kind- and while they’re great (and I have experience in those as well) I can’t escape the beauty of being stripped down to almost nothing, and simply working with what ya got.
That’s not to say I photograph things in the nude.
I’m experimenting with a new webcam I got. It’s a cheapie $18.00 Logitech. But it’s capable of shooting in B&W (Heaven……….!) and so I’ve been sitting here in my computer chair, painting shadow swans on my wall with my hands. When I move my hands back and forth to and away from my chest, the shadows become elongated horizontally. Such a simple action. But it changes the dynamics of everything.
And here are some snappies:
This is generally how I feel several times a week.
“Ahhh…..close the curtains!”
(Migraines make the light absolutely unbearable.) Oh, and I wasn’t faking it. I did indeed wake up with a migraine.
I intentionally bleached the lighting, and jacked up the gamma so the blacks would be double heavy.
Choppy, grainy, bleeding contrast, toasted exposure- what’s not to love?
(Yes, yes, I’m kidding.) But the shadows on my neck from my fingers are intentional.
It’s a fair statement to say that I am obsessed with shadows.
Perhaps I’ll post a video today.