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Family party in Seattle.
July 26th, 1999

It's Embarrassing
I drove over to Shattuck Avenue to see The Blair Witch Project last night. Although a movie meant sitting in a seat for two hours, something I'd been doing the entire weekend, I needed to get out of the house and the theater was playing the movie on both of its screens. Some of the journalers have talked about trouble sleeping after seeing this movie so I figure that's a pretty good recommendation, seconded, as it happens, by the two long lines I discovered at the theater. I drove by and drove on. Lines I don't need (insert standing in line rant from recent journal). I guess I'll wait for the rental.

I'm thinking maybe I should run both cameras with black and white film, axe the color and start going further afield on one of these weekends Telegraph Avenue after I move into the new apartment. Just drive a reasonable distance to somewhere interesting, check into a motel and cruise the area with the cameras. At least it will be new territory and, if it doesn't quite juice my interest, it will at least get me out of the house, something that seems more and more difficult. I can see the attraction of the photo journalist's life spent on the road going from assignment to assignment. Everything is new and on deadline so you look, you shoot, you analyze later when you've got the time except you never have the time because you're under a new sun in a new city with new people who are fighting it out with the riot police, throwing bottles and telling you to take their picture before you miss deadline for the evening edition. No going to the same district in the same city month after month scratching your head and trying to come up with a novel perspective on a scene you've shot a hundred times. I'm hoping for some interesting places in my new neighborhood as it's close to the downtown and a hundred different projects within walking distance.

This idea of picking a project to shoot is still on my mind and I've been thinking about one or two possibilities. I've also been thinking of putting Telegraph Avenue. together a couple of single subject html pages. I found a humor piece about cats recently, for example, and shooting some pictures I can work into the design seems like fun. Be nice to have an objective in mind when I go on a shoot. A newspaper photographer going out with a reporter on an interview has to come up with something graphically interesting, something a little more than a head shot, something with a little twist that helps tell the story. Day after day. Makes you think. Makes you stretch. Makes you crazy. I find I look at pictures in the newspaper from the perspective of the photographer who had to grab my interest with something that didn't look like every other photograph ever taken of Mr./Ms. X who is being interviewed about their recent trip to Mendocino. Same with the cat piece. Every now and then I shoot some pictures of Mr. Wuss and some of them turn out, and some (most) of them don't. Still, no idea in the shooting other than hey there's a cute pose shoot the picture get it back from the shop put it in the files along with the rest of them because I'm not going to put any more fucking cat pictures up on my journal. It's embarrassing.

The banner photograph was taken at the family party in Seattle. The two croppings of the Telegraph Avenue photograph should probably have both been left on the floor, but it's an example of a beginning. You look at it, you crop it a couple of different ways and then you go back out and shoot it properly maybe a million times to get something that isn't too trite that some Time-Lifer didn't do 100 times better fifty years ago. (I'm not really complaining. I do like these snapshots and they seem to keep my interest.)