Monday, April 19, 2004

I'm going to do something a little strange. I'm going to take you on a trip through a photo album in your mind. Since I can't post photos on here this will be an exercise in imagery.

This first picture is me sitting, holding a camera with the strap around my wrist beside an ex girlfriend of mine at a family function. My family is very strange and comedic, and you can tell this girl is forcing an obvious fake smile, while two relatives of mine beside her are beaming with authentic ones.

The next series of pictures are all headshots of me, taken by me on a crappy disposable camera that wasn't mine. Most of the pictures are very close, too close for comfort, but still very funny; I have the biggest smile on my face in every picture. My favourite of this set of five pictures is one where my nose is in the top left corner, one half of my smile is in the bottom left corner; my head takes up 2/3rds of the entire photo. The other 1/3 is a hand with a bluish-green ring on it, which is funny because I don't wear rings, especially bluish-green ones. This hand is obviously a hand of someone holding the camera trying to stop me from taking pictures, which explains my huge smiles in every shot.

The next set of 4 pictures was not taken by me, but by my sister Sylvonna taking pictures OF me at christmas. It's really funny because I, for the most part, hate christmas at my house. I get meaningless and thoughtless presents from my parents which seriously hurt my heart. Instead of getting depressed, I was opening all of my pictures with feigned enthusiasm. The first shot I'm holding up a necklace and sort of modeling it and smiling a coy, sarcastic smile. The next shot is of me holding up a t-shirt I got from my older sister that has a picture of a headless stickfigure and the caption reads "need head". Classy. I don't wear extra extra large (medium or large, thankyouverymuch), and I generally don't wear shirts with any sort of identifying features or logos, let alone one that has 'need head' on it. The next picture is of me holding my long skinny hands out and putting out a pouty lip as if to say "where's my presents", and the very next picture is of my little brother Samuel ceremoniously holding up his presents for the camera, my dad opening another meaningless present and me yawning and overly large, exaggerated and dramatic yawn. You can see down my throat.

That ends roll #1, very long time ago.

The next set of pictures is around new years (I never said YOUUUUUU COULD WEAR THATT!!!!!!). The first couple are beautiful pictures of my sister Sarah, my best friend Sara, and the three of us all dressed up and ready to go, but completely blurred out and useless, since I had shutter speed on way too low and the aperture open way too much for a handheld shot in the current lighting, so they were all ruined. I went to the camera store to tell the guy that my camera was screwed up and roll after roll is getting ruined. He told me I was an idiot and schooled me for at least an hour on aperture and shutter and what they both meant in laborious and grueling detail. He actually left work after he was done telling me, as he was done his shift...

The shots that did come out of that roll were amazing, and the photo place comped them all for me because they thought they were screwed up, but they were all blurry on purpose. For these last few shots I had the camera working properly. I took pictures of myself reflected in my guitar, and they made for a very eerie and fuzzy shot, like vaseline smeared on the lens. They look really cool; two or three of the shots again outline my very long and skinny hands, they seem to catch my eye when I'm taking pictures for some reason. My favourite guitar-reflected shot is a picture of those very same slender fingers putting a portishead cd into my cd player, the background and ground itself are very undefined and it looks as though the cd player and hand are floating randomly. The next picture was at the height (or depth) of my depression. I didn't shave and I wore a hoodie with the hood up almost 24/7. I decided to do a couple self-portraits that turned out very good, if you like the serial killer look. One didn't turn out and is very blurry, but still makes for an interesting shot, and the other that wasn't so great was very shadowy and it even scares me to look at it for too long.

The next pictures were taken with Phil at the tattoo parlour, taken by best friend Sara, but I instructed her on using my camera incorrectly (she's good behind the lens as well), and they also all turned out in the exact same boggling blurry fashion. There is a hand-held shutter speed setting on my camera, under which you can't take handheld pictures clearly without a tripod. We didn't stay above that value. Anyway, the pictures are in the process of me bleeding and tattooed, one with glasses on, shaggy hair and hairy chest, Phil working his magic. Next, showing the absolute redness of my back (fairly clearly) with Saturn almost finished. The third and final phototo, showing the triad of Aquarius my sign and two ruling planets, arranged shoulder neck shoulder. The last photo, which I really like, and which Sara may not have realised at the time, is a photo of the flash on the wall. Centering the picture is a spread of sharks. No shark jesuses however just sharks. Funny all the same.

The last picture rounding out the roll (which may be two or three combined) is of BW from a behind-left angle, hair done up in a ponytail, drinking champagne on her champagne birthday, one of the first times we hung out. One hand contains the champagne glass and in the other, in clear focus in the picture is a biological psychology textbook, showing a neuron and axon and all the dendrites. Did I mention it was her champagne birthday!??! STUDYING!?

Next roll. The first picture is of a cat. I needed something to take a picture of and the cat was there. It's a pure white cat, and the picture is of it sitting in the sun with a rainbow cast across its face. This is the same cat that my dad tried to convince me was nice, saying "let him lick your face, he won't bite, he's a nice cat". I said no, he's going to bite my face off I know he will, that cat's a bloody bastard. "No no no let him lick your face, he won't bite....see I'll do it". He puts his face up to the cat and it affectionately licks it a few times and stops. "See! go ahead try it". Fine. I try it. I put my face up to the cat and it starts licking it. Lick Lick. For a second I'm like, aww what a sweet cat, my dad was thing I know, lick lick CHOMP. The cat bites me in the face after a couple licks, and bites hard. I knew he was going to do that, the little bastard.

The next few pictures are cottage pictures. There's one of a horsefly perched on an evergreen tree, and the fly is in amazing detail, it's retarded. The next one is of a toad in the green grass. First in profile, and then head on. I lay down on the grass and the lil guy hopped right up to the camera so I snapped a few shots. The next shot is off in a bog somewhere where I was with my grandpa on the four-wheeler; he needed to build some bridge or something. The picture is of 10 or 12 majestic trees past their prime, old sun-bleached soldiers standing leafless, lifeless, bare and tall in front of a lush green and dense younger forest backdrop. The next shot is one I perched my camera on a rocky cliff to take. It's of my two sisters and I strangling each other on the edge of a gigantic cliff. The drop-off isn't as drastic as the picture makes it out to look, there are few sublevels, but in the shot it looks as though we're as close to the edge as we could be and we're screwing around like a bunch of monkeys, perilously close to death with each others hugely smiling faces in our choking hands.

The next picture is one of my favourite pictures. I say "hey grandpa smile I'm going to take a picture", having already focused the camera on his unsuspecting face for a few minutes. He throws his arm up to shield his face and the shot is ruined. Or so I thought. I look at it now, him sitting there in the cottage on a couch, his strong and overly muscled arm is shielding his face, and you can see that his hands are so tough and worn and haven't really relaxed in 65 years. Hands that never stop working, nails permanently stained, old t-shirt on with paint on it, forearms muscled like no tomorrow, indicative of countless hours spent using a screwdriver or wrench or hammer, muscled in a way that only those tools could shape slowly and continuously over the years.

I managed to get an amazing shot of some minnows for the next picture, in 3 feet of water, looking down from the dock, in perfect focus. There is still something reflected in the left of the picture shining on the water's surface I have yet to figure out. You can see the sun dancing off of the ripples in the water, the sand below and the shadows of the minnows drawing your eye falsely away from the real fish. There is also a reflection of the minnows at the surface of the water, which look like a bad blurry picture of a minnow. So the light hitting the same minnow is casting three different images, making four minnows look like twelve.

The next couple of pictures I have are profiles of my sleeping sisters in the car on the way in to town. It's a long drive. I took a few cloud pictures next, since the weather wasn't too favourable for sun tanning. The one day I managed to get a perfectly centered picture of the only cloud in the sky, which was obscuring the sun. The next two pictures are probably the most amazing shots I've gotten so far. The first is one of my sister Sylvonna kneeling in front of a few daisies, her hair done in braids close to her head. You can see every freckle on her face, coming out to meet the sun. Her face isn't smiling, just looking at the camera, slightly off centered and framed by daises in one of the most beautiful pictures I have ever seen.

The next is a very close up shot of a dragonfly, completely surrounded by bright green shoelace plants. The leaves of the plant are not much thicker than the dragonfly perched upon it, and it looks like the shot is taken in a rainforest. Very multifaceted and the bright blue and black dragonfly contrasts the green foliage behind it.

The next two pictures are back at home, one of my brother Samuel and the other of my brother Kenny. Both pictures are done in lighting that hits their face at a certain beautiful angle, completely blacking out one half of their face. My brother Samuel is adorable and you can see a stifled cuteypie smile peeking out through the shadows. The picture of Kenny is a rather stoic shot, for a 13 year old. It's a nice head shot where half of his face is obscured by shadow, the other half lit up to show his pale skin and serious face. It's hard to take pictures of kids when they are so used to the expected say cheese and smile!!! type photos. They didn't understand when I said don't smile, have no expression on your face. Although, the pictures of Kenny and Sam turned out great; they managed to not really smile, except Sam, who had the slightest hint of a smile creeping over his lips, making the most amazing picture I could have ever asked for. The same shot like this I tried with my sister Serena did not make for a good photo, however. She was unable to de-expression her face, and the look of her not smiling is of her going "like, uh, whatevER, how am I supposed to NOT smile" in a sort of sarcastic, who-do-you-think-you-are kind of facial expression.

The next roll is the roll before I took my camera to Japan camera and had the guy instruct me endlessly on photography. Some shots actually turned out. I had my camera with me on my way to school in the summer term, the term I decided to go back to school for some extra classes, to get me out of the house and to stave off the depression. I took a bunch of pictures while cutting across a parking lot. I took pictures of the clouds reflected in minivan windows. I also managed to get a couple pictures of the sun without my camera blowing up. It won't let me take shots when too much or too little light gets in, so I wasn't able to get pictures of the sun previously. That and the fact it burns my eyeballs staring at it trying to focus the camera, magnifying its rays though the lens. The best shot I got is like the sun you always see in movies; the one where a beam of light is coming out of the sun in triangular patterns to the north, south east and west directions, with other triangles of light coming out of the northeast, southeast, southwest and northwest directions of the sun. Looks like a star or a sun you would draw in a grade school picture. It also has those characteristic circular light patterns coming off of the sun to the right, you know the ones that look like sun after-images that illustrate the beaming nature of the light so often shown in movies.

The next picture is a great shot of me reflected in a minivan window. In it you can see my spiky hair, squinched-up-and-sweaty-from-the-sun-picture-I-just-took face, along with the slender skinny fingers again. Behind me is a perfect backdrop of clouds and sky, such that it looks like the picture is taken from a plane. The only ruining aspect of the picture is the gigantic and blurred window seal and car door frame sticking out like a sore thumb in the extreme left of the picture. I'll have to crop that out.

The next picture I took, which really started me off on my "extreme" project, that has yet to be developed, is of my hair gel. I have this Dep hair gel that is apparently SO extreme.....The first shot I have, which didn't turn out, is of the extreme gel rating scale at the bottom of the bottle. The scale starts at 4, meaning not so extreme and goes to an explosive TEN!!!!! that is way off the scale and like 3 times larger than any of the other, lesser numbers. Also, they spell it X-treme, with a black and yellow super bolded X. So obviously this gel is way off the end of the extreme scale. The next shot is of the same bottle, at the top there is this yellow little word bubble that says: New energy complex!!! So apparently this company has discovered a new form of energy that is some sort of "complex", which they have isolated and put to use in hair styling products. The next picture is a picture of a door which says EXTREME going from the top left to the bottom right. Also attached to this extreme door is a note saying "this computer lab is booked for the remainder of the term. If you have any questions, please email”. They might as well have said "if you would like to leave us a nice little note, please feel free to send us an email at the following email address: Or maybe that's just me. I just sort of liked the juxtaposition of the words "please", "gripe" and "kids".

The last roll is from my black and white roll that I basically had to send away to china to get developed. It took a small piece of my life away. The roll consists of mostly pictures that didn't turn out, a couple pictures of me dropping my camera on my trampoline when I was figuring out the aperture time delay while it was open and splaying light from the full moon all over that piece of film. Also some other needlessly black and white pictures, e.g. a picture of the moon on a dark black night, good thing I had my B&W film cause if it were colour, the white moon and black sky wouldn't have looked quite the same..........I got about 10 or 12 good shots out of 27 on this roll, a couple of the full moon and clouds on a pitch black night, pictures taken handheld, which is pretty amazing, since they aren't too crappy with long shutter delays. I really should have used a tripod with a huge exposure time, but I don't have a tripod. I tried holding my hand REALLY still, which never works.

One picture I like, that I took for my friend Sara, is a very Coupland-esque picture of all my products I had lined up in the bathroom. I had most of the crap on the back of the sink, razors, hair gel, shampoo etc, but then I decided to cram it full of as many products I could find and take a picture of it, inspired by the book shampoo planet. It turned out okay. It looks more cluttered than impactful. The other needlessly black and white picture I took was of my black and white cat, framed by a white railing in my house. It would look exactly the same in colour, and probably with more detail, since this B&W film was pretty shitty. These shots of this cat are shortly before it went feral, and we had to take it out to the 'beach (crystal beach, not THE beach, you monsters) and let it run wild with the other street cats. I have his life pictured in my head like the movie Aristocats, so I'm sure he's fine. Anyway, the picture is of him and you can see the insanity in his eyes; the first two shots are of the cat crazily looking off centre and not at the camera but framed by the poles of the staircase railing. The last two shots are of the cat leaning his head out the railing between two rungs, with one paw sticking out and eyes half closed as if to say he's so tuckered out from all the crazy cat play.

Remember that shot I told you about with my brother Samuel and half of his face was shadowed out and he was backdropped by a nice purple couch and wall (I left those last parts out, but he was, and it looked cool)? Well, this is the same shot, but in black and white, I ran out of film on the other roll and had to switch to my black and white and got one more shot of Sam. This one is equally as adorable; I fixed the light a little bit so that both sides of his face are visible, but he's got his chin lifted up a bit higher and is smiling a small adorable but not full smile, and looking off to the left of the photo. He's the cutest kid.

The last three shots took me like 4 hours to set up and none of them really turned out that great AND they should have been done with colour film in great detail, since my guitar is so colourful. I was taking pictures of my guitar, and the colour pattern on it is called "sunburst", so you can imagine what that looks like. I've seen people on tv with my guitar now, and I swear I had it first. Well my colours at least, they probably have the expensive version of my guitar. It's bright orangey-red in the middle and sort of explodes into blackness on the edges, it’s really cool. But it REALLY loses all of the effect in the black and white photos, and I should probably redo these. I have a couple pictures of it starting at the bottom bridge and pegs looking up the fret board. The strings are kind of stretching up and away from the camera, giving the picture a lot of depth and dimension, but still it didn't turn out the way I wanted. What I was trying to do was get some sheet music I had reflected in the black and very shiny pick guard thingy of my guitar. I have one shot where the sheet music is appearing to be floating in space and completely in focus reflected in my guitar, but the rest of the guitar is so blurry that it looks way too obvious. I have another of the same shot with both almost in focus, but I still kind of blew it and they didn't turn out the way I wanted. If I had a tripod, I would have been golden, getting the music and guitar in perfect harmony (ha.ha.) I mean focus. I should probably stop complaing and making tripod-related excuses and just go buy one.

Well that's about it for the imaginal picture show. I wish I was actually going through these pictures with someone else, and not just pretending...


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