Covid-19 … Homework … The Vibe of Life … Truth of My Reality

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I’m not paranoid in any way, well except for what my shrink tells me I am. I just don’t fathom what the leaders of the country are doing or thinking.  See, we been in lock down about 44 daze and it’s grueling at times.  I miss walking about with a camera. I miss the smell of the streets, the feel of others around me dodging others as they walk to their destination, the vibe of life. I guess that the VIBE of life is essential to making photos and it’s what I long for the most.

About 2 weeks in isolation, I started to go thru my Light Room catalogs. I felt then that it was a good time to re-discover some photos and I was pleasantly excited. I noticed that the photos I selected back then are the same ones I wold select now.  The thing is, as I toured my photos, I started to have a longing again. It became over whelming and made me very uneasy.

Roland Barthes  in his writing of Camera Lucida,  talks about the studium and the punctum. I believe i am allowed to have my own take-away.  Basically I agree with Barthes about this but i feel different and here’s how I think about it.

As a photographer, I am concerned with 2 essential elements in a photographic experience. I see the Studium as the scene in the image. I see the photographer and what he/she adds to the image as the Punctum. Of course, the strength of each set of elements makes or breaks the photo. Of course this is a very basic approach but I want to keep it light so it gets digested easier.

Well, back to the history of my efforts. As I’m looking at photos of sessions past, one thing keeps resonating in my mind. I see the scene as a place of visual energy. I see the punctum as the element in the photo that makes the magic of seeing work within the scene. . The scene is more of a constant in the process and the punctum is more of a pronounced variable. It’s the punchline to the shot.

I am going thru many photos. The ones that have a star don’t interest me too much as they were born already. I was looking for future stars.  In Light Room, I use a single star to mark a shot that is born. after a few days of this I was emotionally fatigued. I mean, I just was saddened by what I was seeing. No, not the actual images, I love all my work and it brings me great pleasure.

I missed not the punch to the photos but the scene. The scenes kept calling to me, were putting pressure on me to walk again, observe again, hold my camera in my hand again, find the next shot again. The photo that have stars don’t do that because they are not virgin images. I saw the places that I awakened to many times, I could smell life again. I longed for the experience of living again and again and again….

The only way to defeat the Covid-19 is to be in isolation. I agree and accept that as a viable solution. It causes much anguish in my life. I can’t go and shoot. I have poisoned my mind by looking at past experiences. They filter in my mind and heart and stir things that can’t happen just yet.

Tanya and I are doing our part in the world. We are together n this experience and it damn sure ain’t easy. I keep seeing and feeling the photos I want to make.

Then, then it seems many do not agree about isolation. They want to open cities and states. Why, MONEY, that’s why. They want the freedom to do as they please at the cost that is yet undefined. So I question their motives and never question the stance Tanya and I take.

What bugs me is, all this time in isolation, I think 44 days already and others are going around in public most without a mask. I feel kinda betrayed because I know that what they do is wrong.

In the Old Testament, Charlton Heston went to the mt to have a chat with GOD. While he was there, the Jews were making false GODS and worshiping them. When him and GOD finished the chat, GOD told Charlton to go to his people cause the need him.

When he got down the mt to his people, he saw them running around without mask, they were not doing social distancing. He was sooo angry, he threw the 10 COMMANDMENTS at all the TV’s and PC’s.

He stated to the crowd, what are you doing? We need to follow instructions. GOD says President Trump is right about social distancing and mask.

Well, that’s how I feel. I can’t go out at all and because I mat infect someone or they infect me. It’s a duty to mankind and I do it as prescribed. I can’t look at mt catalogs because I am at a loss for the reality of my life.

Hope ya ain’t pissed or bored……

18 thoughts on “Covid-19 … Homework … The Vibe of Life … Truth of My Reality”

  1. To quote Yossarian on paranoia as described in Joseph Heller’s ‘Catch-22’, “If no one is trying to kill me, why is everyone shooting at me?” Don may be the only one in Philadelphia to be actually in possession of an N-95 mask. Take no chances. Cheers.

    1. Oh, I have N95’s I tellya. I have used, but refurbished and then medium use and clean, almost all clean. Then the Primo, brand new, sealed N95’s but you can’t afford it Bill…hahaha
      Stay safe and well…. in time we can meet for lunch but not yet.

  2. Don your camera life is the therapy for your PTSD. Of course you are frustrated, what Nam combat vet would not be. Now you are pinned down in your bunker and you feel helpless. I understand the frustration Brother. Do not feel alone their are many including me in the same landing craft that just cannot make it to the beach. Just hang in there knowing the Lord is watching over us. He will not send us anything that we cannot handle. He knows us and what we went thru and his hand is with us.
    . For we have Him leading us at the point.
    God Bless Semper Fi
    Joe T

    1. Thanks Joe, words from the wise. Your right, photography is my steady hand for PTSD, that and my shrink. I’m hanging in there and as my grandfather taught me….”Ya get used to hanging if ya hang long enough.”
      Take it easy brother and thanks for everything.

  3. It drives me crazy, too. I’d love to go out and shoot again. I can’t believe all the people I see from my window, running and biking along the path, carrying on like nothing is wrong, and of course not wearing masks. Hopefully this will be over soon and we can go back to capturing life with our cameras once again.

    1. Tina, great to hear from you, been a long time. I have the same situation here in Philly. We are in lock-down I believe 45 days and I look out the front window and people walking dogs, playing ball, walking around. Crazy as it seems, the only ones wearing mask are Tanya and I in the house. Like you, I long for the day to be able to get out and make photos.
      Take care Tina, be blessed

      1. I used to get mad, but now I realize we can only take care of ourselves. My mother and I went out for groceries last week, and before that we hadn’t gone out in more than a month (also for a grocery run). Luckily the mailboxes are inside the building, so once or twice a week my mom goes downstairs to get the mail. I’m just amazed at all the people I see walking around like there isn’t a pandemic going on.

        1. Oh yeah, people are totally not connected to each other. My wife Tanya has a regimen about mail and other things delivered. She wipes everything before touching it or handing it to me. As you have up there, we have here. Many walking around like future zombies. Crazy….
          stay safe take care…. good to know your ok
          .

  4. Interesting thoughts Don. I get it. We all want to be out, but if we are, we kill each other, mostly unintentionally, but largely unavoidably. I had lucky timing in that I burned out on photography a couple years ago (I couldn’t just walk down the street enjoying the view, I had to be making images out of everything – that’s exhausting after a while), and I’ve transitioned into a very consuming obsession with playing my guitars again (after many years away from that). I’m not very good at it, but I love it and have never burned out on it (I just didn’t have time when my family and job were taking up all of it). And the timing really worked for a pandemic – I’m inside a lot playing anyway and I still takes walks in the uncrowded parts of West Chester, which is most of it these days…

    Stay well, stay sane – try to do all that stuff.

    -Ray

    1. Hey Ray, good to hear from you. I get the burnout ans luckily, I am able to fight thru it. I guess it’s one of the things that when I’m lost, I can see the light of day…. I move to that and eventually, I get out. Hopefully you’ll find your way back to it some day.

      Ahhh the guitars. A heartbreak for me. I developed essential tremors and it cut back on my ability to play. Then it turned to full blown Parkinson’s and I will never play guitar again. Maybe I would have a hell of a vibrato…. laffs. Anyway, good to hear from you, stay safe and in these times not easy.
      Take care Ray…….

  5. I feel ya Don. Feeling the same way here in NYC. I am working my job at home, looking out the window, and know that there is where I want to be. We take a family walk everyday for an hour or so, sticking to fairly empty streets. The people in my neighborhood loosely wear masks or wear any protection at all. There are barely social distancing. Especially the teenagers and young adults. I dread going to the supermarket. In the meantime, I am trying to be creative by going through my archives and when the opportunity arises, making new imagery. It’s tough….

    1. Keith, yes, very taxing so say the least. I live in the North East section of the city. That means I am fortunate enough to have a nice garden. That alone keeps me busy. Like you I am doing my recent archive and no big surprises, but still some photos I like. I haven’t been on the street in a while and now Tanya won’t even go for a walk around the neighborhood. So the world is now the home and the garden.
      Take care my friend and be blessed.

  6. Thanks for the post Don. Your words have captured what so many of us are feeling and going thru right now. We are not alone in this. Take care and stay safe.

    1. Dave, to be honest, I thought I was the only one with a Tanya. Laffs….It’s a hard time right now in many respects. I feel if I let people know how messed up I am, they may feel somewhat better. This does not apply to you Dave, you’re no spring chicken either. Come-on, you know I got nothing but love for ya….

  7. Oh gosh, you said it. I don’t get many chances to shoot street since I live hours away from any cities where crowds and street life are happening. Small town life on the west coast is sleepy, let me tell you! But I had already been jonesing for some street sessions before this came up, and now I’m positively bored out of my skull and yearning to get back to a place where life is lived sufficiently in the streets to get a chance at capturing it. Who knows how long that will be for me? Oh well. As you say, it’s the right thing to do.

    1. Ya know most of us earthlings in the USA are going thru similar experiences. I was in town today and honestly, it was a closed up and not may people around at all. very depressing. Hopefully the tide will turn soon.
      stay safe friend

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