Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Definitive Moment

Days, weeks, entire lifetimes slowly paced by my window. I was vaguely aware that the day light shifted. It was not the swift moving winter sun so low on the southern horizon, no. It was a gray second to none that is the gray of gray gradients that is the rainy winter of Portland, Oregon. My window looked down six floors to the intersection of SW Vista and SW Main Streets. It was not the quiet residential street we were promised. Not in the morning, not in the evening, and not in the night; it was the cacophony that only happens on two major bus lines, a major excavation truck thoroughfare and a haven for weekend drunks could be. I would have liked the place more if there were constant gunfire, screams of agonizing pain and random explosions, at least I would have understood the noise level.

Psychotomimetic Peacocks ended just after the aforementioned intersection. It was a coincidence, and a beautiful one at that.

This was the same place where I was gifted not one, but two film cameras. Film. And in this place, this busy intersection in Southwest Portland, Oregon, I decided to capture light.

I'm still very uncertain if photography is the art of capturing light or not. In the early days of Portland, Oregon I did all of my living in the dark hours of night. Oftentimes at night it does not rain. And the grays are just deeper in hues, in depth. At night, that's all there is is night.

I tried to take pictures using a lens to project an imagine onto light sensitive paper held in emulsion. I would imagine that those in the know would judge what a fool hearty endeavor this really is. Night is when I lived, and if I wanted to be a photographer, then night is when this had to happen.

As you look back over your life and consider all the people you once knew, and all those you were once close to, it is very easy to become nostalgic, heartbroken or worse still, a teller of tall tales. I think this is commonplace. I also think that anyone can love deeply, devoutly and purely in any friendship no matter how superficial, how brief or how centered on the drinking of gin that friendship may be.

For instance, recall all the wonderful liaisons you may have had. They all have to have had romance, or spark, or blind passion. These probably ended poorly. But even now, long after the end of these liaisons, there is probably one moment that sticks out more than the rest as the definitive moment. Your friendships too have a similar moment I'm sure, the moment when you got each other.

The definitive moment.

The definitive moment, now, for me, happened during one late night, after work, in the dark or Portland, Oregon. I wandered from Ol' Pink to the Morrison Bridge, then over the bridge to a few dark bars and then back again. I snapped several exposures. Only one worked, and even that did not work very well. Portland, Oregon to me was just like this: paltry, abandoned, decayed, peaceful. Not a bad analogy of modern life.

The landscapes in my imagination are much like the landscapes of my dreams—some place right before a street light. Empty. As I began to consider the camera as a still life of existence I found the same emptiness that I wander in my imagination, and the same vague landscapes that I have been trying to write about for years.

Under the Morrison Bridge, a late spring night, I opened my shutter as I walked with John Adamson. I had liked John very much until that night, that walk, that instant. I have loved him very much ever since.

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