Fragrance Crimes

Fragrance crimes

Why oh why do people think the world should smell them? Honestly! I don’t understand it! Wearing perfume so strong that it wafts through a room after a person is really unattractive. I think it is like those in cars who blare their music to the world. You know those cars, they stop by you at stop lights and if your window is open you have to immediately close it before your ears hurt. That is offensive as well but of shorter duration.

Last night I went to the theater with a friend and there were women all around us wearing really strong perfume. What do these women think before they go out? “Let’s see how much perfume I can spray on myself so the entire theater will be able to smell me?”

After about 15 minutes of this overwhelming cacophony of smells I had a bad headache and would have liked to leave but I was interested in the play.

Please ladies and gentlemen: leave your perfume and aftershave at home. Learn to be subtle with it. Brad Pitt once said “You shouldn’t be able to smell a woman’s perfume unless you were kissing her.”

Now that’s a great comment on life!

My Madrid Man

so I met this guy in Madrid  and asked if I could take his picture. He smiled as if he did this all the time and posed against his car. I really liked this guy as he was so comfortable with himself. He lived in a town where everyone was a little unusual but I liked it there. It wasn’t as if people were mean or weird, they were themselves. Maybe there is something in the air in Madrid that allowed its townspeople to be happy just with what they had. Painting their houses red and blue, placing signs on their flowerpots, cowboy boots on their graves and making a world of hot color hues. I think you should visit Madrid and if you find my Madrid man, tell him thank you for making me believe there were still guys like him out there.

Santa Fe Door

I love Santa Fe…there are a lot of places there where one can get lost in images. I forgot how I loved to take pictures when I was young. I forgot all the time spent in a darkroom and remembered only the long days in a dark room in a hospital where I developed only cancer cells. This was my first job.I think that was what made me less interested in complicated cameras. I was the family photographer when my family was young and once my daughter asked me why there were no pictures of me in the scrapbooks. I was an invisible mother behind a lense. I think I was also an invisible mother some of the time. I wanted to be present with my children but I didn’t know how to be present with myself. I think for many years I was depressed and lacked knowledge on how to find help for this. I think many of us are depressed and can’t admit to this condition as it seems somehow shameful to the world. I know now there are may people with serious emotional issues who feel this way: as if they hold a dark secret from the world. It is interesting to me that having cancer is more acceptable than having depression. If you have cancer you also are likely to get more emotional support as other folks are not frightened of you. In any case my experience in Santa Fe made me understand the importance of solitude and the creative process. I am also beginning to understand the nature of competition in life and the importance of knowing how to handle it. I will never forget my friend, Steve, telling me to try harder when I felt uncertain about my photography class. I went back to class that day with a different approach and did try harder. I produced some of my best shots during the afternoon outing to Madrid  and came back to my hotel feeling happy and relaxed. It was a great journey to a different place inside myself. I ma happy to be in a state of mind these days that allows me to make these journeys.


Santa Fe

For a single person Santa Fe is a good place to visit as it is casual and not focused on family entertainment. I am here for a photographic workshop which is probably my first since college. I find it challenging as well as frustrating as I am not as knowledgable as others in the class. We are learning how to use 35 MM digital cameras as well as Photoshop and the process is frustrating to me. I remember very well the beautiful simplicity of my Nikon camera with its simple F-stop setting and the round wheel that clicked softly when one changed the shutter speed. Now I have noticed in high-tech devices there is a fake sound attached to changes to make one aware the change has happened. I would rather have silence.

I first learned about cameras from my father who had many interests and many hobbies. A lot of very busy and successful people don’t have the time for this or the inclination but it is a good thing if you do. My father once went out to Yosemite and took a class from Ansel Adams. He came home with many photographs he had taken and was very proud of them. He decided we needed a darkroom in our house so he built one in our bomb shelter which had thankfully never been used for the original purpose. As it was 1969 by then I think he had decided the threat of nuclear war had ended or was at least in second place behind his new interest in photography. Before he destroyed the bomb shelter we had family bomb shelter rehearsals in it. There was a bike which someone had to pedal all of the time and boxes of fake food and games. Our family never played games so this box confused me. I don’t remember seeing water but this is not surprising as some of the time the most basic things were forgotten.

During these war rehearsals my Dad would explain how we were going to survive in the shelter for the requisite 8 weeks until the nuclear fallout had vanished.We were all assigned jobs to do in the event of an alert. My job was to fill several large, green cans with gas so we could drive to Vermont if we had time. There was an even larger bomb shelter there. He would take out a hand gun stored  in a box and explain it was to be used to keep the neighbors out of our shelter as there was only room for our family. I found the gun terrifying and thought if there was an actual nuclear event I would run away in the neighborhood and take my chances with the fallout. I couldn’t imagine being  contained in that small room with my family for 8 weeks as I had the distinct feeling some of us would not end out as we had gone in. Who would ride that bike all those hours? I rode my bike to school often but that was a 20 minute ride.

Anyway, the darkroom became our family photo lab  once the threat of nuclear war was over in my father’s eyes. He took a few hours to show me how things worked but wasn’t the most patient teacher so I promptly forgot. My friend, Leslie Simmons, showed me once again some weeks later. The two of us spent many hours in there watching images appear through the developer like monsters from under a green and  mysterious sea. My first job was developing photographs of cancer cells in a hospital as that was all I knew at 19. I had dropped out of college and needed to work so I took the first job I could find . After six months of trying to focus on cells, I returned to college.

Anyway back to Santa Fe…I think the most interesting thing about the class is how I tend to panic if I don’t think I can do what everyone else is doing with apparent ease. Yesterday I felt like I was in math class in seventh grade and the instructor  was explaining an algebra problem. I could feel a slow daze freezing my brain and a feeling of exhaustion come over me .I started to think I shouldn’t be there and I had no place in the class though it had been billed as being for beginners.I think there are a lot of us who like to say we are beginners even if we are not as we are afraid of looking stupid. I have taken classes and said this only so I could feel a bit of confidence learning what I needed to learn. Once we were in the lab with the pictures we had taken that day and everyone was showing their pictures on the screens I felt inadequate and as if I were somehow not good enough to be there. Looking back on my life I see this is something I have felt before: an unwillingness to admit a lack of ability or knowledge as I might appear to be weak or pathetic in some way. This is so interesting to me as I thought I had overcome this but apparently I haven’t. It is good to be in a place where I am not even close to being as good as the class as I have to ask for help and try harder. This is not easy for me. I would like to be easily the best. I think I will sign up for another class.