I had been photographing this laundromat window in Bristol VT that had passages from the scriptures pasted on their window. I looked away from my viewfinder and noticed this woman standing off to the side. “I love the messages on the windows. I often find them quite inspiring,“ she said.
“They change the scriptures quite often you know. We are having hard times right now and are in-between homes. I don’t want to be living out of my car—not with two kids.”
She said that she hoped the worst was behind and that things would start getting better and I wished her the best. She was clutching a laptop in her arms for some, as yet unexplained reason, when I asked her to pose for me in front of the sign. She readily agreed. After taking a shot she turned to go into the laundromat. Just before going through the door she turned and said,
“I am bringing in my laptop to be repaired after I get the laundry. I hope they can do it before my classes tomorrow night. Have a pleasant day”
And that was it. Hooray for this woman and hooray for the 47%. Mitt Romney can go fuck himself!
Every now and then, when photographing in the street, people—complete strangers come up and talk to me. I love those moments—those connections!
Sometime in the past there was this king in France (one of the Phillipes) who like most kings had a very large ego. Just outside of this hall was a terrace and when he was on it he did not like the view because he thought the river was in the wrong spot so he had it moved to a place of his liking. So here in the 16th century, 10,000 peasants using shovels diverted this fucking river to please their king. He could of used 10,000 peasants to make his palace a bit warmer and cozier, but a king is only interested in big projects. This was his living room but it is devoid of furniture because his decorator was probably in the dungeon.
That was then but this is now. Today very little has changed. There are fewer kings, but many more “investment bankers” whose egos have surpassed the kings of ancient France. Their collective greed has far exceeded the royal greed of yore but just like those ancient rulers who believed their power was ordained from God, these jokers believe their wealth is ordained from their “brilliance”. Perhaps they are right. When they screw up, it is the peasants, (taxpayers) who bail them out and allow them to continue fucking up the country. Perhaps the US should follow the traditions of France and adopt the guillotine.
Day 8, Project 14
Ah, a boring day in Rome. Nothing is going on as I schlep my way up behind the Monument Victor Emmanuel to an obscure little museum which is tucked in behind it. I don’t even remember the exhibit I saw—oh yah M.C. Escher and not a bad one, but when we came out there was this small terrace which overlooked the city and St. Peters in the background. I just took a few quick pictures and forgot about it almost immediately. That was over 5 years ago and suddenly I rediscovered this one. Orgiinally it did not look interesting—they never do but with some work…
I saw this woman on Northwood Avenue in West Palm one evening and was attracted to her straw hat. She looked so solemn and peaceful and I really wanted to take the photograph but I did not want to disturb her so I moved on. I felt like such a schmuck passing up the shot so after 20 minutes of angst i went back and she was still sitting there.
“I like your hat. Do you mind if I take your picture?” I asked
“Thank you. Not at all.” she replied
I took this photograph and a few more and thanked her. She then handed me a pamphlet from The Church of Revelation down the street and invited me to their bake sale. It was a fair deal. I never made it to the bake sale but I probably think I should have.
Next to my good friend Brian Nation, I am the world’s second best procrastinator. My mind is flooded with projects that are never completed and most of them are never even begun. It’s like that great epic movie “Intime” which began in my mind sometime in 1962 and was never even started. All I had was a shot of a woman in Paris— in a park walking as the camera slowly zooms from a wide angle shot to a close-up of her face. She turns her head, her hair moving in front of her face and stared blankly into the lens. That’s It — that’s as far as I got. If I were Steven Speilburg, the next step would have been film school but I am David Saxe and the next step was oblivion.
As a photographer, there are always projects in my head. Some are just fantasies and others end up on my web site. I still have a few bouncing around in my scull but they are incomplete. Sometimes I just don’t have enough images. One of them is on dogs. I don’t know why I chose dogs. I never even had one (I had a lot of cats though). Another is on umbrellas but that one is hardly started (I only have one picture.) And again, another project is called “All about God.” This one is almost there. The picture above is the first in the series and by the time I get back from France, hopefully it will be done.
It’s not really a great photo but I always liked it. A few years ago while wandering through la Cemètiere du Montparnasse in Paris, I stumbled upon the final resting place of Man Ray. As you can see it was his also his last “objet de l’art.” I already wrote about this place a few years ago but I only used this image this time because I am off to France this week for a holiday and I needed a good send-off.
All my favorite photographers were either French or lived there for most of their lives. In fact Man Ray went there as a young man and stayed there for most of his life. The only reason he ever had for leaving were the Nazis but he returned right after the war. Yes, it’s picturesque— but that’s not the reason for its attraction—its something else. The food, the wine, the people, the history,—naw— there is something else going on and I just can’t put my finger on it. Sometimes, after a nice quiet relaxing lunch, I sit in one of those cafe’s, slowly sipping my way through a bottle of wine and I watch the action in the street. People are shopping, talking to neighbors, checking out other people, picking up their kids from school, or anything else that they do and it is just at a different pace. It’s like everything is in slo-mo. France for me is just one long dream sequence and although the wine probably has a bit to do with it. there is also and underlying truth and that is that they are operating at a slightly different pace that here in America.
The other night at a restaurant here in Vermont, the waiter came by and asked us if we were still “working on it”. I hate that term! Food is— or should be more than that. In fact it is right up there with sex as a favorite human pastime and nobody thinks of sex as work unless you are a hooker or a porn star. But this schmuck come over to the table and asks if we are still “workin’ on it.”
I think that has something to do with the attitude in Europe and why we are a bit lacking. We tend to see things here as related to business (profit, bottom line, red ink, etc.) or sports (slam dunk, winner, loser, home run, etc.) while they tend to equate things with the senses (I sincerely doubt they have a word for slam dunk). We wolf down our Big Mac and coke at McDonald’s in 12 minutes while they take a few hours over a few glasses of wine. Its just different.
On the other hand, I sometimes think my best photos were taken after a bottle of wine. I get up from my two hour lunch and begin to walk at a slightly different pace and voila!
I grew up in Québec which is 85% Catholic. I never heard about religious shit because nobody really rammed it down your throat. The only hint was the enormous amount of churches in Montreal— about one or two on every block (just kidding).
I’ve been living in the US for almost 18 years and God is everywhere. I see guys reading bibles in airport waiting areas.People come up to you on the street to convert you (they don’t even ask first if you are Christian— they just want to save you— from what!). If you watch the news there is at least one or two stories about preachers , abortion, collections, and other crap. Football players kneel down and pray after scoring a touchdown. Lottery winners thank God for their luck and Sarah Palin thinks having a handicapped child is a blessing. Is everybody nuts ?
I have no problem with religion but I do have a problem with hypocrites and zealots, and in America, that’s what religion is all about.