Joan Didion has been in my mind in the last few weeks not only because of her death last December 23 but also because she wrote, (as I best recall), "I write because I want to know what I am thinking."
In my solitude with two cats, writing my daily blog, gives me solace, and, thanks to Didion, a purpose.
Now I would wish for someone to create an equivalent statement as to why an old photographer should keep snapping photographs.
The closest I can get to that is related to my mentor Brother Edwin Reggio, C.S.C. telling us in our religion class sometime in 1959 at St. Edward’s High School in Austin, Texas why we came into this world. Without mentioning God he said to us that our purpose in life was to find out what we did best and to do it. He added that the tragedy would be to not proceed.”
This means that even if I no longer get photographic assignments (and I don’t) from magazines, newspapers, ad agencies, law firms, etc I must keep on pressing that shutter while I can physically do the pressing.
On Wednesday I had a friend pose for me in my living room studio (I moved it from my small garage studio because of Covid concerns as my living room has more breathing space). Because I shoot a lot less, I tripped over flash cords, light stands and had my Fuji X-E3 camera outright prove my suspicion that inanimate objects have free will. It refused to obey my instructions and I hand to find roundabout methods to do what I wanted. Luckily camera failure brings many surprises and this time there were many good ones. My subject, C was patient and did not react much to unenthusiasm. I believe I may have taken some of my best photographs in many months.
What is interesting is that the session happened when I sent C some scans of a recent National Geographic History Magazine (I am subscribed to it) article on Nefertiti. It seems that C had once dressed herself as Akhenaton’s wife. We were both intrigued by sculptures of her showing a very close to the skin, semi-transparent cotton material that had an interesting pattern of lines.