Friendly Ghosts


New Mexican Roads

Sunday, a good day to start a new project. The photographs were all made in New Mexico. They came out of my deep archives. I’ve built a small portfolio of these pictures, all the while wondering what was I thinking for not looking at them closely.

Yeah sure, a little time and space adds a little perspective to the selection process. But eleven years? That’s a bit much.

It’s weird looking at these pictures, especially the black and white pictures that I shared last week. Some of them make me sad. Some of them make me realize how many wrong turns I took establishing my “style” of imagery.

Worse. Some of the people in the pictures no longer walk on the earth.

The black and white work is some of my best, yet I made many of those pictures in the 1970’s. I was untrained, unschooled and mostly just photographed what I saw with no attempt at style or even proper cropping. It is raw. It is emotional. As I work through the archives I can see my work evolving, but it doesn’t seem to have the same energy.

Musician Stephen Stills said something interesting in an interview a few years back. He recorded a group of songs in 1969 that eventually showed up on a record called, “Just Roll Tape.” He went into the studio one night and asked the staff to just roll tape and not even monitor it during his playing. He recorded every song that became famous from then until maybe 1985 or so. All in one session.

When asked about that as opposed to his dry song writing period that came later, he said something to the effect of when you are young you have energy, the physical ability and you don’t know anything so you do whatever you want. As you age, he said, you get too cute, you over write songs, you worry about the studio, about money, about touring and so on.

In short, everything gets in the way of the purity of your work.

Guess what?

You can never get back to it.

Embrace you inner child — remember that — sounds great. Ever try doing it? It’s impossible.

That’s really the problem.

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