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February 9th, 2011 - Scanners

Just a few old scanned prints for you today, gentle reader.
Something got me thinking (and I can't imagine what, owing to the picture) about this photo the other day -
I dug through a musty stack of old 35mm prints (Google it if you don't understand) and sure enough, it was still there.
I took this picture at THE GREAT FRESNO FAIR® in Fresno, California, in er, 1983, I calculate. 
I was selling computer pictures from an "Independent Concessionaire Unit" (aka "Carney Joint", or "ICU") down the alleyway from a "Velvet Painting Artist" that painted live at the fairgrounds. He was a short, Hispanic gentleman with pretty severe Vitiligo that spoke little English, and could be seen in the shadows of the horsetrack grandstand, painting away on his latest velvet masterpieces.
This beauty, with ET drinking a can of Coors on glorious black velvet, was too much to just walk past. He was a little hesitant of my photographing his work, but I tried to make it as quick and painless as possible.
I wanted to buy it and keep it in our carney motorhome, but my trailermates wouldn't go for it, as it was about three feet high and would probably mean one of us sleeping on the roof. This I did many nights anyway, but I was voted down.
Note the velvet smoking-jacket (velvet on velvet, that's like rhyming the same word with itself) and the lack of a left hand, which we conjectured was holding a filter-tipped cigarette in an extremely long holder, or a pipe, ala Hugh Hefner. 
The artist also had some groundbreaking works of Elvis in various gyrations, horses, and Mexican deities, all on wonderful black, purple, or blue stretched velvet. What can one say.
So I scanned that, and also in the stack was this picture of a picture, one of my old favorites of my brother-in-law Mikey deep in his Freak stage, holding a baby that is beginning to pull his beard.
There's just something about the American flag, the raincoat, and the chain, that sets it off, with the feeling of it all being kind of a "found object."
Maybe there is some deep symbolism, it's my place to let you interpret for yourselves.
With the print in the photo beginning to turn sepia from it's time in the sun, to me, it lends an emotion of time to the whole thing.
I usually like pictures with a lot of symmetry and order, but there is something about the "this is the way things fell" disorder to this one that I like. Shows you how much my photography has changed in thirty years. 
I can actually like my own stuff now. Occasionally.
That photo was taken in Twain Harte, California, circa 1982.
My last scan from the stack is a photo of my hand on these rocks behind my sister's family's house in Sonora, California, probably taken in the mid-1990's.
I was actually photographing the landscape and sat down to change lenses or something and noticed this rock that seemed like it had a series of gouges ripped out of it in the shape of a huge hand.
When I put my hand in it, it felt so natural and comfortable, I just sat there for a minute. 
It felt like being a tiny part of a much bigger, older earth and really brought me into the moment, and for a little while, there was nothing else.
After a while, I snapped the picture with a zoom lens and it didn't come out super sharp, a little disappointing, but I still liked the concept. And the memory. Sometimes it's okay to shoot pictures just for the memories you know.
I have since been back to that same pile of rocks many times, and I still haven't been able to find that particular rock. Maybe it was just the light, or the time of day, or some karmic conjunction, but to me, it was a cool thing.
So look for light you like, and have a camera ready when you find it.

P.S.> And don't forget to look through your old pictures once in a while.
- T.

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