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Under Construction
San Francisco Carnaval Parade

June 26th, 2005

Life Is Short
Saturday. A vision of quitting over lunch. I was sitting down the way eating a tuna fish sandwich (everything on it but onions and cheese) remembering I've known three or four women over the years who have made their own clothes, more to design originals of their own making than any need to save money. Or can you save money making your own clothes anymore now that they all come from China? Anyway, I got to thinking a series of portraits of women wearing clothes of their own design might be nice.

How about portraits of men wearing their own designs?

Well, yeah. Sexist to think men might not be making and designing their own clothes, I guess, although I've not met any (who've mentioned it). I'm sure it's been done, how could it not have been done in book form or on the web, but that thought lead me to the fact I couldn't really do anything about it within a realistic period while I was working, which led (where else) to thoughts of quitting, which then led to thoughts of checking out what it takes to maintain some kind of health insurance while unemployed, which led to my going home and writing this.

Iteration number five hundred and forty three on the same subject.

Do you suppose I'm trying to tell myself something? Maybe artandlife needs an amateur ensemble designer portrait annex. What better name? And then I thought “I haven't even developed the film that's sitting on my kitchen counter yet” which seemed germane, since renting studio space, advertising for subjects, shooting the portraits and posting them to the web called for more than spending an afternoon doing film in a tank in the sink.

Sunday. The Gay Pride parade went OK, my part of it anyway. Breakfast at seven, over to San Francisco on BART at eight, shoot the parade as it formed up from eight-thirty to eleven, back home before noon, download the images onto the computer and burn copies to DVD. They look OK. Overcast, no sun, so the color is wonderful. I used the 70 - 200mm f 2.8 exclusively and, although it's big and heavy and ugly, boy-howdy does it shoot good pictures.

And, of course, I am wrecked. Running around shooting is probably a good thing to be doing except the feet hurt and the head is fuzzy and looking at what I've written above makes me depressed. I don't have the energy to shoot a series of portraits of women in or out of their clothing. I haven't done any of the product shots I promised some time back and there are things that need to be done at the office that are making me depressed. I was thinking I'd go by the office coming back from the parade on BART this morning, since I'd parked just across the street from the building, but no way Jose, not a chance.

I see in the paper that Chet Helms died yesterday after a stoke at the age of 62. Chet was an early member of the Texas wave who came out of Austin to San Francisco during the late sixties and was the founder of the Avalon Ballroom, putting together such bands and Big Brother and the Holding Company. Barry Melton of Country Joe and the Fish is quoted in the obituary as saying without Chet there would have been no Grateful Dead, no Jefferson Airplane, no Quicksilver Messenger Service and no Country Joe and the Fish.

Chet had an office up the street from the Rip Off Press in the late seventies and he'd drop by now and then and come to our parties. There were a lot of Texans from that original group living in San Francisco until well into the seventies. Didn't know him well, although we talked once about sharing an apartment, but he represents in a whole lot of ways the San Francisco I came to see and in which I played a peripheral part. He was 62, six months older than I am now. Still, there were many too many from that time who died in their thirties and forties, what's so special about 62? Well, as we grow old(er) and and wiser and the list gets longer we finally learn, really learn that life is short.


Maybe take in a little sake and a California roll just down the street, don't you think?

The photograph was taken in Rockridge last night with a Nikon D2x mounted with a 17-55mm f 2.8 Nikkor lens at 1/125th second at f 5.6 at ISO 100.