Seven in the morning, Cindy and I are at a gas station outside Hemet, California. We’re leaning on the hood of our rental car, eating breakfast burritos and drinking coffee. Across the parking lot, on the other side of a chainlink fence, a group of men has congregated, looking for work, waiting.
Some kind of commotion begins and one of the men from the group comes running over to us. He says, there’s something wrong with that guy, I think he’s dying.
Somewhere in the background I hear someone call an ambulance. People are gathering and doing what they can to help the dying man until the medics arrive. There’s nothing we can do, so we stand there, in the parking lot.
While we’re waiting, watching, the guy who has come over tells us, I’m Johnny Slaughter Junior. Junior. My father’s Johnny Slaughter. Senior. He was a soldier in Vietnam, my mom’s Vietnamese. I grew up in Vietnam with her, I never knew my dad. He wasn’t there. When I got older I came here to look for him. I found him but he told me he don’t want to know me. So here I am.
In the distance a train goes by, its whistle blowing. The medics arrive but the man is already dead.
Back in the olden days (that’d be circa two thousand and six) photoblogs were the coming thing. If you were a photographer and didn’t have a blog you were dead in the water or something, or so the thinking went. Many photographers started a blog and most of those blogs petered out after a couple of posts. My blog, drool, persisted, from the first post on August 11, 2006 to the last on September 14, 2014, when I called it quits.
These days Facebook, Instagram and other short-form social media platforms have pretty much supplanted long-form thinking in the FotoWorld™. But for some reason I’ve decided to resurrect drool, even though I’m not sure if I can keep it up (or, indeed, even get it up).
Like before, I intend to post every Sunday. Let’s see what happens.
Read on . . .
One of the main reasons I photograph is to learn about that which I’m photographing (the subject). I spend a lot of time (and emotion) on my personal projects and they are all aimed at subject matter that I’m both interested in and want to gain more understanding of. The point of doing it, for me, is discovery. (Well, that, and getting out of the house.)
Spending a lot of time on a project allows the subject to seep into me and colour my reactions. The pictures show me my reactions and, thus, I learn. That is not to say I don’t have my own aesthetic proclivities, my own opinions. I do. And those, too, seep into my work.
But the world is so multi-faceted that it just seems silly to approach any subject in a categorical way. When you merely execute a plan to arrive at a foregone conclusion you discover nothing.
This was the very first drool post, titled, of course, FIRST POST.
FIRST POST august 11, 2006
Some people tell me I’m funny.
EXAMPLE: Me: “Do you think we should move over there? Some people: “You’re funny.” Me: “But I only said ‘Do you think we should move over there?’” Some people: “It’s the way you said it.”
Funny, I guess.
I never really got it (being funny) until I met Christina, my assistant. I’m pretty sure that she’s funny the way I’m funny . . . just the way she says stuff makes me laugh. Now I get it: funny.
I think I might be a lot less funny now. But I suppose that’s not really up to me to decide.
Anyway, it seems somehow fitting that Christina would also figure in this first post of resurrected drool. After all, besides my direct family, she’s probably the person I feel closest to. I hope I don’t sound too maudlin (see, I’m less funny) when I say she’s like the daughter I never had; and I swell up inside when she tells me I’m her number two dad.
Now where was I? Christina.
Straylight Press (my publishing company) published her first book, Back to me, a few years ago. Now she’s back in town (visiting from Cali, where she’s lived for a bunch of years) and we’re working on her second book, titled Born. About her first year as a mother.
Yes, more info/hype will be appearing here as the project progresses, but for now . . .
I’ve taken up gardening. Here are some of my poppies . . .
I welcome your comments. No vitriol please, but contrary opinions and insights are welcome. (As well as bugs and typos.)
Please note: This iteration of drool is using a different template from the previous drool posts. As a result the formatting of the previous posts is a bit messed up.