One New Year's Eve, many years ago, we set fire to a guitar.
Then we broke it over The Bard's head.
Yes. Imagine Bard's head just to the right of the frame. I didn't get it in the shot, because I was holding the camera with one hand, and in the other I was holding the phone on which I had dialed 9 and 1.
I post a lot about why photography is important, and what motivates me and makes up my vision, etc. But really, with friends like these, how could I put the camera down?
We had a New Years party at a house way up in Brush Creek, near the TN line, where we could make as much noise as we wanted and not bother anyone. After midnight, it started snowing lightly, and for some reason we ended up outside. One thing led to another, and we smashed a burning instrument into someone's skull. A natural progression, really.
Now, I know most people would probably call it a night at that point, but not us. I think we played The Gourds' cover of "Gin n Juice" about fifty times that night: It's two in the mornin and the party's still jumpin. Someone had some boxing gloves. We pulled our trucks into a circle and turned on the brights.
The way I see it, it's kind of early for a retrospective. I mean, I'm in my twenties, and I really haven't done the kinds of things most photographers do before they get all retrospectivey. I don't think the Geographic is going to call about these pictures of my friends beating each other senseless.
So I feel pompous and arrogant about this whole SAD Project. Who am I to retrospect? Some prominent folks read this blog--not to mention my students--and what will they think of all this self-serving talk? I'm "just a young ignorant kid with little to no experience in fine art photography." A harsh critique, but looking at the photos in this post, it's not inaccurate.
I'm not doing this project because I think anyone cares why I ditched Tri-X for HP5, or about all the cute mistakes I made. The truth is I'm showing these pictures because they mean something to me. The day I learned what aperture does, the camera I found in a mosh pit, or the jawbone my wife found in the lichen in a big granite wasteland. Pictures that have no bearing on anyone but me.
I could just keep them in the shoebox and look at them once a year. Or, I could own up to how I learned to do what I do, and be proud that I was undaunted by the fact that I had no idea what I was doing. So think of it like a year-long Barbara Walters interview, except without the crying. Or Barbara Walters.
Anyway, it's not really more pompous than anything else I've done. Plus, it's my blog and I can do whatever I want. So here's another picture of a burning guitar.
And don't worry, Bard's head was fine. Well, as fine as it ever was.