The camera allows for the capture of things which can't be seen, and more importantly it enables these visions to be shared. I used to think a picture was a captured moment in space, but now I’m learning to bend both space and time as I attempt to share what’s flowing by me. Stillness is an illusion; a constructed ideal. We can get close, but we only meet in passing.
In the United States, we blow up mountains to build roads that cut through the terrain most directly. Italian roads wind with the contours of the land and tunnel through mountains to preserve the landscape. The record of the vibrations caught my eye, reminiscent of electrocardiograms. Maybe a poet could help me write something about recording the pulse of the Earth. Maybe a mechanic could help me replace the shocks on the car.
I’m attracted to long exposure photography because I don’t know exactly what will happen. It’s an exercise in intuition. Just like with my ceramic work, I research and experiment and practice, then seek a balance of knowledge and wonder. For me to be interested, the work must be at least 25% experimental, with the other 75% simply acting as support. If I know exactly what something in the kiln is going to look like, than I don’t care to look.
The first time I saw Michelangelo’s Bacchus at the Bargello it ruined all the other sculpture for me. Everything else appeared so course and crude. Upon my second visit, when approaching the work from the front I was first disappointed, and wondered if indeed the sculpture was still where I had last left it. But as I circled counterclockwise, and over a drove of tourists saw the down-pointed finger that had so struck me last time, I felt a fool for my doubts. In that finger I had previously seen more life and softness of stone than anything in my experience.
This year, I was able to look past the finger and stepped back to see a greater composition, and project my own meaning onto the work. While one finger points down, the opposite hand counters by raising a chalice of wine (which was removed then restored, unlike his penis which was not restored). I saw the fierceness in Bacchus’ eyes and in the jutting forward of his chin, and interpreted the down-pointed hand as levying much more force than previously. A gesture of ownership over the ground upon which he stands, and a challenge to any mortal (or other artist) that would dare challenge him. After all, he's a fucking god. Schwasted, but still a god. The ecstasy in the eyes and gesture of the faun eating his grapes creates a contrast that makes Bacchus look even more vicious and ready for a fight.
In short, Michelangelo’s Bacchus is a hip-hop superstar. Hard as fuck, tiger-skin bling, and his bitch in ecstasy, he challenges everyone, but at the same time beckons us to follow him to that which is undoubtably lit. The takeaway is that studying history from afar has sometimes made me feel far from it. This experience with the actual object was a reminder that history is not only something that happened in the past. We are part of it, as it is part of us all.
Stones and stars, young and old. The more I try to stay still, the more I see everything move.
Tuscany is so beautiful it’s cliche. I’m embarrassed to shoot landscapes and historical objects and food.
Between working the restaurant and staying up to make pictures of the stars I don’t sleep any more than I did in LA, but I feel much more rested. Or maybe just more comfortable being tired. Those tiny cups of coffee help.