“Feeling lost, crazy, and desperate belongs to a good life as much as optimism, certainty, and reason.”
“It doesn’t matter how many times you leave, it will always hurt to come back and remember what you once had and who you once were. Then it will hurt just as much to leave again, and so it goes over and over again.
Once you’ve started to leave, you will run your whole life.”
“The concept of social justice, which purports to promote equality among the lines of gender and ethnicity, is based on intersectional feminist theory. Per the theory, certain classes of people are naturally oppressors, while others are victims. There’s nothing more divisive than that.”
Perhaps I ought not delve into it too deeply if I don’t intend to follow the whole conversation through before moving onto the next project – but it is portrait month, and I do think this is an interesting one. This is a portrait self-proclaimed revolutionary, activist, and savior of the people; that hasn’t quite been my experience of the man, but I certainly have to respect the passion, even if I don’t quite understand the method or appreciate the affectation.
”Photography is about finding out what can happen in the frame. When you put four edges around some facts, you change those facts.”
This is Craig. He calls himself C-Sharp. This is a rare photograph because this man is always donning large, reflective sunglasses; he’s always hiding behind his hat and sunglasses. He suffered a stroke, years ago, and struggles to walk; he shuffles up Main Street with his guitar and plays the occasional song before inching up the hill to the soup kitchen. He’s been around the block more than once and, despite his physical limitations and he lack of teeth, he makes are and carries a positive attitude.
That’s more than I can for most folks that have everything they could need.
Today’s portrait is for you, C-Sharp. And ‘Portrait Month’ will continue tomorrow with another fresh face. See you there.
“To sit for one’s portrait is like being present at one’s own creation.”
Today we have a portrait of Danny Baker. It’s not about the model of the car or the year of manufacture – it’s the mileage, folks. And I think Danny has driven far and wide, through some rough terrain.
I could write a hundred-page essay about ‘Omni,’ and I’m still considering it. There’s no way I could distill the qualities of this person into a quick post like this. I met Omni on 4th Avenue near downtown Tucson. During the entire time I knew him, he was living out of his car, a Dodge Omni, and spent his time in local coffee houses writing “spells” into Bibles lifted from hotels, playing open-mic nights, scribbling artwork and signs on cardboard, and strumming the strings on street-corners. He was a pleasant guy, and often made friends with local college students and kindred hippie spirits, so he never went too long without a decent meal or a shower.
He wasn’t ever anything you’d consider ‘normal,’ but he was always smiling, writing music, and entertaining people with his wild conspiracy theories. I imagined he’d had brushes with the law, but it’s pretty inevitable when loitering is your lifestyle. I remember hanging out various flop-houses where he was allowed to crash, and abandoned apartment units he discovered were unlocked. I watched him scrub his teeth with salt in lieu of toothpaste, and I watched him make friends with non-English-speaking emigres who could play the bassoon, guitar, trumpet – and I hung out with them in their squatter spots, candle-lit with no electricity, making music and trying to communicate without a common language.
Omni wasn’t mentally together; many likely assumed that he was on the Asperger spectrum. To my knowledge, he has yet to be diagnosed. Years after he left Tucson, after he packed up his gear and drove out of my life, I learned that he wound up in some legal trouble in Colorado. To my knowledge, he’s still behind bars after having hunkered down into a chemical toilet to spy on girls using the toilet during a yoga festival. He was spotted running from the scene, covered in feces, and was later apprehended. The news didn’t necessarily surprise me, but it was sad to learn that this guitar-playing vagabond had somehow wound up in a position like that.
I don’t forgive him his trespasses, but I can recall very pleasant moments with him, and recognize that he is mentally ill. I suppose we’ll see what happens as his legal situation unfolds. After violating his parole, he has been sentenced to six years in Boulder – you can read about it HERE.
On the journey from Creel down into the canyon city of Urique, we were held up in a small little town called Bahuichivo. This is where we ditched our van, paying a local hotel owner to let us park it in their courtyard, and walked down the road to the train platform to wait for our bus. We were stuck there for a few hours and, while my travel companions decided to try and keep cool in the shade on the side of the building, I decided to walk around for a bit.
I’ve never been much of a street photographer, but being a foreigner in a foreign land almost made it easier to stick a camera in people’s faces and not feel as embarrassed. This is one of the more unique looking individuals milling about the train yard. If I had better language skills, I would have tried to talk to him (or at least get a name) but instead all I have is this portrait. It certainly looks like this man has seen some things in his life.