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Under Construction
A photo session in Emeryville

February 4th, 2006

I Never Know
Friday. MRE and I had some sake with lunch. Then, late in the afternoon, I had two glasses of wine in the Oakland City Center. This is a bit much for a work day, but I didn't think it was enough to sleep the fitful sleep of the inebriated I slept this night, getting up at some god awful hour to wash down two Tylenol with many glasses of water. I don't think I'll do that again. (Yes, I too hear the laughter in the background.)

Saturday. Yesterday's rain is gone. Breakfast at the usual cafe. The purchase of a large bottle of Coca Cola at the local ersatz 7-11 on the way home, a good predictor of what I was up to last night, the head otherwise manageable. The Chinese New Year Parade is this next weekend, what I tend to call the first photo event of the year, although this may no longer be the case now that I've done a few of these studio sessions. You can do a studio shoot in the middle of winter in the rain, in the snow, in the dark of night under a moon. Progress, I suppose.

I've had a couple of conversations with MRE where he's suggested my photographs tend to be of not particularly happy looking subjects: “unhappy”, “depressed”, “troubled”, “feeling down”, “feeling blue”, “not on top of it” people. I have a bad habit of listening to people as objectively as I can instead of taking the more sensible approach of blowing them off and I've been, well, thinking about his statement.

I wouldn't say “down”. In what work I've done with portraits, where I've had to communicate a concept of what I'm after, I've suggested they slip into their own thoughts, as if no one else were in the room, and drift off into a state that “unconsciously” puts a basic brilliant expression on their face so I can photograph it. Some have suggested I need further refinement in my methods.

Odd that I should be thinking about this for so long. I finally just sat back in my chair and looked at the fifty or so photos I have taped to my wall. Those folks don't look down and depressed. They're obviously (in my own humble analysis) deep thinkers, rock and roll adepts, individualists, unique makers, shakers and points of sanity in an otherwise chaotic universe. How rude that I would even consider them upset or depressed. I'm a lot more upset and depressed than any of my subjects and I, gentle reader, am obviously one hell of a happy online whiner.

Where did that come from?

I never know.

The photograph was taken at a studio in Emeryville with a Nikon D2x mounted with a 17-55mm f 2.8 Nikkor lens at 1/160th second, f 6.3 and ISO 100.