New Years '08

An hour to the new year, and I’m in the train station.

Trying not to throw up. Trying not to think about meet­ing new peo­ple. Trying not to think of hav­ing to see peo­ple I hate.

One of the sta­tion doors is propped open, but there isn’t a sin­gle per­son inside. The sta­tion, nor­mally bustling, is empty, with just the buzz of the lights to fill the empty space. Not even a wait­ing taxi out­side. Everything ster­ile as a hos­pi­tal. I wanted to take a pic­ture, but I could barely move, so I pulled out my note­book and man­aged to scrib­ble two words:

It's quiet

Another debil­i­tat­ing panic attack.

Pat and Jen’s party was post­poned, so I had already decided to stay home. It was ten when Aaron called me to go over1.

Halfway through the bus ride, I was filled with a sud­den rush of anx­i­ety. Maybe it was the peo­ple on the bus, or the fact that I wasn’t men­tally pre­pared to be at a party. I couldn’t breathe, yet I was hyperventilating.

I had to get off at the next stop, which turned out to be the train sta­tion. As I sat inside, the anx­i­ety would pass in a cou­ple min­utes, then come back in a wave as strong as before. I called Aaron and told him I was going to head home, but he insisted, so he sent Rob and Doug to pick me up.

I arrived drained and exhausted. It was a hell­ish night.

I can only hope the rest of the year goes bet­ter than this.

  1. The only way I found out about the New Year’s party was from Rob’s com­ment. Aaron never told me about it him­self, so I wasn’t going to pre­sume that I was invited, because I never take my friend­ships for granted. []

Last Day Of The Year

Outside, the snow­fall is fast but light. From the blan­ket of white on the cars, one can tell how long it’s been snow­ing. Against this white is the aching orange glow of the sky, and the warm flu­o­res­cent street lamps. The blinds of the houses across the street are all closed and the lights are off.

City in a snow globe. Lifeless. Plastic. Shaken.

In the dark­ness of my liv­ing room, Emiliana Torrini sings to me about love in the time of sci­ence.

It shouldn’t hurt me to be free
It’s what I really need
To pull myself together
But if it’s so good being free
Would you mind telling me
Why I don’t know what to do with myself

It’s the last day of the year. The lit­tle clock on my screen tells me it’s six min­utes to 2 a.m. I should be in bed, but this is the only chance I have to write.

Where did the time go? I thought I would be bored, or lonely, dur­ing the hol­i­day stretch, only to dis­cover that it wasn’t long enough.

They say that the days, months, years pass faster, the older you get.

Maybe this means I’m get­ting old.

The Challenges Of Expression

For feed­back, I showed Frédéric some of my ini­tial work for the next expo­si­tion, a cou­ple con­cept pho­tos that cap­ture the essence of my theme.

He told me I was being shy. That my work isn’t shock­ing or dis­turb­ing enough. Technically, it’s per­fect, but lack­ing the qual­i­ties that make it art. For my sub­ject, there’s a fine line between artistry and com­mer­cial­ism, and I haven’t yet crossed that line.

It made per­fect sense, what he said.

My sub­ject includes a lot of skin. But as a pho­tog­ra­pher who doesn’t have an estab­lished rep­u­ta­tion, I find it extremely dif­fi­cult to get peo­ple to take their clothes off, even for non-nude pho­tos. I’m try­ing to work on a lim­ited bud­get, with lim­ited mate­ri­als. I can’t afford to pay peo­ple to be my mod­els, so I rely on the favours of friends1.

There’s so much more I’d love to explore with eroti­cism, but I feel sti­fled by how uncom­fort­able peo­ple feel about being naked, along with a strong sense of propriety.

Working with mod­els is a chal­lenge in itself. There’s an ele­ment of uncer­tainty and unre­li­a­bil­ity when deal­ing with peo­ple, and being a con­trol freak, this has proven to be extremely frus­trat­ing. It would have been sim­pler to pho­to­graph objects instead of peo­ple, but human shapes are the source of my interest.

It’s also dif­fi­cult for me to pho­to­graph what is not con­sid­ered “con­ven­tion­ally” beau­ti­ful (to my tastes, at least). Bless the beau­ti­ful, I once wrote.

In addi­tion to all this, it’s hard for me to for­get the mean­ing I’ve always placed in what I cre­ate. For this exhibit, I’m try­ing to cre­ate out of pure aes­theti­cism. It’s not an easy thing to do, but I have to let go of these old habits.

At this point, the suc­cess of the show is still uncer­tain. Hopefully I’ll be able to pull it off in time. January will be busy. I know if I can over­come these chal­lenges, I’ll be able to over­come so much more.

It’s become a test of myself more than any­thing else.

  1. Tiana was nice enough to put out an announce­ment on her blog for model help, and care­fully noted that I’m not creepy. []

Christmas Observer '07

Another Christmas with Shirley and her fam­ily, although this time Bill’s fam­ily came down as well. I spent Christmas Eve night and Christmas day at their house, par­tak­ing in the Christmas expe­ri­ence with those who believe in the impor­tance of such a ritual.

Presents under the tree

We were wrap­ping presents (from “Santa”) until mid­night on Christmas Eve. The tree must have been raised the two feet off the ground to fit every­thing under­neath. Negotiations went on through the night as to what time to wake up, but the kids woke us up at 6:30 any­way. Looking back on the pic­tures of 2005, you can tell how much they’ve grown in just two years.

Loads more pic­tures behind the cut.

Continue read­ing “Christmas Observer ’07″…

Holiday Stretch

Hi there.

I’m already in hol­i­day mode. Sure, I have one day of work left — Monday — but my brain has checked out. I even took the day off yes­ter­day and made it a long week­end because I have extra vaca­tion days left, and they can’t be car­ried forward.

The chaise lounge on which I do my writing

This is how I spend most of my time nowa­days: on my new chaise lounge from EQ3, with a mug of tea by my side, in a gen­er­ally unkempt man­ner. Unshaven, with the flour­ish of a cowlick in my hair.

Last year, in which I declared that Christmas is dead, I stayed home out of spite, not directed at any­one but myself. This year, I’ve decided to go to Shirley’s for Christmas Eve and Christmas, and Pat and Jen’s for New Year’s.

But there’s a stretch of a sev­eral days in between in which I have no plans. Even though it’ll be a chance for me to do some extra writ­ing, work on my photo projects, maybe even relax a bit, part of me wishes I was busy like every­one else.

I know I don’t have any­thing to com­plain about. I’m lucky enough to be spend­ing the “impor­tant” days with friends who are impor­tant to me. I’m even lucky enough to have a choice of where to go. But I know that dur­ing the stretch, when other peo­ple has some­where to be, some­where to go, I’ll feel some­what for­lorn. They’ll have a place where they belong.

Maybe I’ll belong here, at home alone, on this won­der­ful chaise.