Observer Obscura

90% of what I shoot for your typical Picture Story is edited out. And that’s okay with me. I see so much to capture when I get in that mode of being, too much.


No matter how inspired any shooting session might be, the edit is really what saves the work… Presenting everything is embarrassing besides: in camera, I’m sketching.


And I really like to take the time to live with the work; as much time as I can manage. There’s a lot learned by stepping away, sleeping on it, going elsewhere.

But, but, but… But this is something different, this is Vanessa’s moment. This is her story, her triumph, and to think of modifying this document of a perfect afternoon with an edit, it just doesn’t compute. Fundamentally, this is a gift of documentation, and more is more.

No live audio was captured, so a simple soundtrack is all we need. But what? Sequenced back-to-back, every frame shot of the Observer Obscura installation exports to an 11m 15s sequence. I checked in with iTunes, who was busy blasting Soundgarden (fast times!), and I immediately noticed the uncanny.

Stranger still: it works.

It’s not perfect, except it is. And perhaps when you create from a place of love, you get the assistance of strange forces. Ordinary magic, let’s say.

Congratulations, Vv!

I’m proud to know you, and so glad you let me be a part of such a defining day, on my birthday.

At 36, a spectrum of birthdays have come and gone in enough ways and in enough places to allow me the freedom to grow June 8th past self-celebration and into something else — I like this way. Every single day of life is essentially a day of birth, and I’ve noticed that the more I work to make my days about everyone else, the sweeter the fruits.

They’re good, very good, these times.

13 June 2012, 17:48

Your Turn


Desiderata (“Things Desired”)

GO PLACIDLY AMIDST THE NOISE AND HASTE, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

AVOID LOUD AND AGRESSIVE PERSONS, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

ENJOY YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS AS WELL AS YOUR PLANS. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

EXERCISE CAUTION IN YOUR BUSINESS AFFAIRS; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

BE YOURSELF. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

TAKE KINDLY THE COUNSEL OF THE YEARS, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

BEYOND A WHOLESOME DISCIPLINE, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

AND WHETHER OR NOT IT IS CLEAR TO YOU, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.


Max Ehrmann, 1927

4 June 2012, 16:39

Your Turn [1]


You Love Me Well

I pedal away from a space I had no connection to two months ago-
I am filled with love’s satisfaction.

I pedal away with memories,
With too much liquor in my belly at too late an hour.

I breathe deep to push hard up a long, sobering hill:
Life, you love me well.

24 May 2012, 14:13

Your Turn


Rest In Peace

Ricky’s Theme — Ill Communication (1994)

4 May 2012, 15:01

Your Turn


Radiant Baby

Consciousness is an inexact proposition at best. The stages and forms ebb and flow as they do, when they do, and seemingly right on schedule. External forces exert themselves as we apply them and every why is explained in hindsight.

Periodically, it all shuts down to rest the animal form — or the unquantifiable force that manipulates it. Frankly, I’m unsure myself, as my daily experience of this cycle is completely null.

I don’t often dream when I sleep: I depart to points unknown and the universe goes with me. So, I know life as a workshop.

I’m learning much about personality construction in watching and participating in Benjamin’s process of remembering his. Elsewhere, I observe how the world transforms as I explore methods and attitudes of observation. In micro and macro, within and without, I’m studying choice. I don’t get it, not even close, but I see it in all of life’s parade, like wispy, diverging roads that float just ahead of each us, insubstantial till we step. In this workshop, it seems to me that we get to be as we choose to be.

75% of the way in to the building of a loft means waiting for joint compound to dry. A 3-4 hour window perfect for fresh air, a snack (read: pie), and all the other work that needs doing. Today: writing, mainly.

Dust off/grab the notebook/& a twenty/stroll out into high winds and warm sun. Warm enough for shorts and cool enough for soup. Perfect.

Outside the soup spot was a dog, a good one. Inside was a family of three: a casual-but-suited father and his children. The girl may have been 8. The boy, lightly autistic, with eyes like stars and a disposition of perfect joy, was aged exactly five. I know a 5 year-old when I see one, and this one was radiant.

I put myself at the window seat I favor, beside the family. With my face to the sun and back to them, I tuned into the delightful conversation between father and son.

I felt the boy’s exuberance behind me like a reflection of the sun’s warmth.

Before leaving, I introduced myself to Michael, asking if I might in turn ask his son’s permission to quickly photograph him. I explained that I found his son magical. Michael, the boy, had long before seen my request coming (I felt the anticipation on eye contact, as I approached) and was vigorously asserting YES before my ask was half over.

Father-Michael laughed at his son’s prescience and politely declined. I lingered to chat for a moment, and learned that Boy-Michael would be six soon. “In Janumember”, he said, glowing at the thought and tripping on words.

I thanked the family and carried on for pie, just next door. The distance is about ten paces from door to door, and I spent them weeping. Writing the words now again summons the feeling; it’s the emotional equivalent of looking at the sun.

Ten minutes later and Boy-Michael is outside Four and Twenty’s door, face pressed to glass, pointing at me in delight and with highbeams on. Of course they’d get pie.

I gave Father-Michael a great dad high-five as they passed me, opened my notebook, and wrote two words: Radiant Baby. None of the words that followed were the ones I set out to write this afternoon, and here they are, as they always were, waiting.

27 April 2012, 19:09

Your Turn [2]


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