Over the weekend I explored the Hollywood district in Portland. George looks towards the Gorge.
I went down to the Columbia River brewery and enjoyed their Imperial IPA.
The sun was setting down Sandy Boulevard on the Hollywood theater.
I was reflecting on my last real visit to Portland, which occurred precisely two years ago at the Geological Society of America conference. In 2009, I was very busy shooting and traveling between Chico, Sacramento, Reno, Walnut Creek, then Portland. After that trip, there was a Halloween in awful downtown Reno wearing a bunny suit, sitting in with Hellbound Glory drunk on whiskey (did I mention bunny suit?). Upon arrival in Reno the day before, I had a lame car accident, thanks to Helmut’s 92 year old eyes. We were all fine, though the repair took 40 days, and the insurance battle took 2 years. Thanks to the unlimited miles on the rental, I wound up in beautiful Ophir, OR.
For 2009, I regrettably only shared my photography through Facebook. I meant to repost those pictures in this blog format as time rolled along. I haven’t been very good at doing that; my push to complete retrospective blogs was short-lived but covered a lot of interesting travels; graduate school field work in rural Nevada (2003, 2004), touring around playing with Leroy and Hellbound Glory, and my retroblog efforts wound down to my sojourn to rural Rosine, Kentucky 2007.
The book of my bluegrass adventure could write itself; Bill Monroe turned 100 this year; Rosine Kentucky is exactly 100 years older than me. I sit in a 100 year old building. The adventure has been so little to do with bluegrass, that it shouldn’t surprise me that my framed prints from the Kentucky adventure haven’t really resonated for me as I imagined. I can barely get to task of getting them in their frames, let alone a showing somewhere; maybe Wintergrass next year? Selling images from my adventures would be helpful for the financial situation where I perpetually exist. What price goes on a personal quest to find meaning, to find America? What, exactly, have I found?
The number of places I have been, and the people I’ve met are an intimidating record. I’ll share some wisdom from Townes Van Zandt in his song Snowin’ On Raton:
Mother thinks the road is long and lonely.
Little brother thinks the road is straight and fine.
Little darlin’ thinks the road is soft and lovely.
I’m thankful that old road is a friend of mine.
Bid the years good-bye you cannot still them.
You cannot turn the circles of the sun.
You cannot count the miles until you feel them,
And you cannot hold a lover that is gone.
And so I reckon I am beginning to count the miles. Indeed, the car I leased as I left for Ohio county Kentucky is a fairly precise record of just how many miles, nearly 60,000. That doesn’t include two foolish jaunts in a loaded u-haul. One way to Henderson, KY, February 2007, one way from Nashville, TN, March 2008. At least some mistakes are short-lived. The car has been registered in four states, and I’ve had driver’s licenses in three.
Reflecting back to my photos from October 2009, when I made a half-hearted attempt to return to professional geology or GIS, there to my surprise were some photographs from a distance where I write this blog tonight. Yes, it very much appears as though it is me that is being dragged around by the camera. And the light.
Clouds above Gresham, 2009. Below, the surprise shot towards Camas, WA, and the paper mill that recently took up a lot of space here.
My photography has changed technically, and results in fewer photographs. My old photographs were documentarian, often to the exclusion of good light, a dumb ‘no photoshop’ policy, and an apathy for photography technicalities. I am glad I got over that. I still long for shooting a different style with medium and large format film cameras. However, these 7 rolls of finished and unprocessed rolls of film sitting here indicates that it is the shooting that I love more than the images.
2009, en route to unexpected times in a bunny suit, a slap from a woman from Connecticut on behalf of her friend from Ithica. I guess; I have no idea what that was about. Except I added Connecticut to the list of where people who innately hate me are from. It was suitable close to such a ridiculous evening, accidentally seeing my ex on a date, and things just got worse. Bunny suit. Sigh.
Next week, a fiddle playing seismologist is playing a benefit to raise funding for a documentary film project about the Carter and Cash families. I can’t help but recall those filmmaking classes I took in 2006, the screenplay writing class in 2007, and in fact, the reason I began to shoot photographs was to test, conceptually, me as filmmaker.
My friend in Kentucky made fun of me for talking with my hands, but also said that listening to me was, “like watchin’ a movie.” Then he’d ask me to explain about the Northern Lights again.
Shot in 2009, watching the post-apocalyptic film, The Road, based on a novel by Cormac McCarthy.
Speaking of Hellbound Glory, Leroy sent me this last night, check it out:
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