September 19, 2008

Picture Threads

Someone named Henry send a short email today saying, "You said you would answer questions, here's mine: What's your thought process when you look a picture? Thanx.
-Henry in San Diego."

A few minutes ago I saw the image below by Cornelia Hediger which is part of a new show here in NY:
cornelia-hediger.jpg

The collage evoked both Kelli Connell's work and Hockney's groundbreaking series of polaroid collage portraits:
david hockneyImogen & Hermaine, Pembroke Studios, London, 30th July, 1982, by David Hockney
That thought inspired me to dig up a book about polaroids which I found, but didn't end up reading because I picked up a book about photobooth art which was next to it in the shelf. And then thumbing through that book I thought about how photobooths allow the same sort of interplay of space and time, and how much I enjoyed all the photobooth art books featured on the photobooth blog this week. Here and here for example:
jan-wenzel.jpg
All this reminded me of how much I love photobooths and how, like polaroid film, they will soon be relegated to memory. And then I thought a day in 1975 when I went to a photobooth in Monterrey with my grandfather and how he told me to make a serious face and how he would make funny ones and how he kept half of the strip and I kept half of the strip and how that strip was our little secret. He kept his in the back of his wallet and I kept mine in the bottom of a treasure box. And I remembered how I always felt connected to him across the miles when I looked at my half of the strip. And then I imagined my treasure box rudely stuffed into some larger cardboard box and transported to some storage facility in the middle of nowhere in East Texas. And I thought about the heat and humidity there and how my picture of my grandfather with me wearing my most serious face in that photobooth in Monterrey is probably faded and yellow. And I missed my grandfather who I just realized has been gone for ten years now. I remember how at the end of each summer he and my grandmother would hug me tight and cry and tell me they would never see me again because they would be dead in the new year, and how I would cry too because I would believe them. Then I thought about how our youngest son has my grandfather's ears, and how our older son has his laugh and I felt that tug of a connection across both time and ether, so strong that it hurt. And I thought about how it always comes back to these things.

posted at 03:04 AM by raul

Filed under: night musings

TAGS: abuelito (4) collage (1) cubist (1) ears (2) memory (15) photobooths (1) polaroids (2) space (2) time (25)

Comments:

09/19/08 11:16 AM

great post. i was just talking to someone the other day about photo booths and how i wanted to build one for my studio. we drank a bit much and walked in search of one. we found an old one at this dive and spent about $15 dollars in it.

something so interesting about those photographs. almost like it captures a true essence of being.

09/19/08 08:12 PM

This is all so beautiful. The pictures, and your story, and how it is still unraveling.

Thank you.

09/20/08 11:42 AM

Yes. Just so.

09/20/08 01:59 PM

I love reading your blog .. this entry reminds me of the red string of fate, the eastern myth that ties people together throughout their lives. perhaps the photograph is the red string in reverse? one where the strings get longer, reaching out through time, stretching and fraying, but never breaking ..

09/27/08 09:54 PM

I too was reminded of David Hockney; I too agree on the sadness of losing photobooths, I searched for one in Havana and they've deissapeared even there.

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