Archive for August, 2010

Bark

“Nice” seems to come cheap these days. When people bore me or rub me the wrong way and I speak my mind, it seems to be the new thing to prove me wrong. “Why man? He’s nice. He really is nice. I thought he was rather nice. Trust me, he’s a really nice person. Moo bleat nice NICE NICE”. I’m so sick and tired of nice! Could there be anything more boring to be? People are born nice, they’re supposed to develop some fucking character along the way. When they fail, “nice” is all there is left and I’m seriously reaching that point where I would just like to pick a fight (and lose it if necessary) just so I could pound all that niceness into a fucking pulp.

Sweet people give me cavities. When you take all there is to a person, it’s the last thing there is left. Everyone does good once in a freaking while, “nice” people do it with such self-promotion that for some sick reason, the whole fucking world appears to deem them worthy for heaven. I’ll gladly send them on their way.
Child rapists are nice to your face. Murderers will smile. It doesn’t make them good people. It makes them nice, which clearly doesn’t stand for a whole damn lot.

What the fuck happened to reliability? Strength? Insight? All traits vividly present in the people I admire most. I must have missed the meeting where those were judged irrelevant to a good character and replaced by a whole heap of steaming NICE. Note to self: suggest “mediocre” as a better fitting term next session.

YOU BORING LOT. Never be nice. Avoid falling in that category, at all cost. Be kind, be helpful. Supportive, generous, optimistic, charming if you must. But have some fucking dignity. Have some character! Principles! Be an asshole from time to time, show some fucking spine! This god damn flood of grey faces of late is pulling my nails out.

 

 

I miss my job. Five and a half years of waking up not knowing what will happen at work, or if everyone will go home unscathed, is more than long enough to get used to it. Now that I’m tossed into this nine-to-five routine (longing for the weekend, even), I stay up all night because I just don’t know what to do with myself. If I go to bed now, I will soon be in that same place again, doing the same thing.

Don’t get me wrong, I like what I do. Working for a decent wage at decent hours doing decent work nicely puts in perspective the things I would otherwise be doing. Do it long enough, and the crazy shit pulled off in stage building begins to seem normal. The problem with that is then, that what was “normal” before now becomes “mundane”.

So that’s where I’m at now, and where I will be for a long time to come. Yes, a month is a long time.

I need to get out, but I only have a couple hours a day. I need to clean this place, but I just got home from work. Blah.
I don’t really know where this ends. Will I get used to it? Will I die of sleep deprivation?

Luckily my employer threw a small festival this weekend, which I have done voluntary work for since the very first edition, four years ago. It set my mind on the pleasure of work again (I really do love to work) and gave me some much needed motivation. Funny how I take some time off from the job just to work more.

I’m everywhere at once, and still stuck here. I work alone most of the time, with only my headphones as company. I’m not too much of a people person but in some odd way I’m beginning to miss my colleagues making fun of me. I think I’ll start MUDing again and just kiss my social life goodbye, altogether. At least it gave me some way to vent; this is just driving me up the walls. Now that I have a decent income, I can’t take it to Russia because oh, I have to work! Is it too early to ask for leave? I think I’ll be sick tomorrow. Moscow, here I come.

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The Bigger Picture

IMG_0661I kicked off with my Gargoyle idea. I would call it a project but a project produces results. So for now I’m sticking with “concept” or “idea”, which leads to experimentation. If it works in my head, it works well enough.

I’ve been through the theory, so let’s consider practice. I’ll have to find models with a freakish lack of acrophobia (fear of heights, you peasant) and willingness to do my bidding. Not an easy combination. So far I have two people, one of which I’ve actually done some test shots with. More on that later.
It’s easy finding people willing to be photographed. What’s a lot more difficult, is to find the right people. They’ll have to work with me, and I can be a little awkward to work with. And since a photograph sadly doesn’t portray your beautiful personality, I need them to have the right appearance, too. It doesn’t mean they have to be good looking per se; what I’m looking for is an obvious elegance, fearlessness and some… spark, or such. A thoughtfulness. Gargoyles are by definition ugly, and with that comes a certain wisdom that transcends beauty. Perhaps I should just start looking for ugly models.

IMG_0667

The city of Gent nears bittersweet perfection for a theme such as this. Its whole center is medieval, and has several towers breaking the horizon. The sad part is that such a city must be maintained, and cranes are fucking everywhere. It’s going to be really hard to close these out. Tourists get in the way, and people jump from towers making it politically rather difficult for us to go stand on the edge.
I might have to tune my Photoshop skills for this. I’ll be going to school now anyway, so why not.

Then, there’s the issue of safety. If there’s one thing bothering me, it’s that I’m basically asking these people to risk their lives for my hobby. I might pressure them to do things I will do, but they could be afraid to. Standing on ledges, balancing on things, all without the slightest safety. Not only can it get us both in trouble, but also the danger is actually there. A gust of wind or crumbling hold can have dire consequences that I don’t want on my conscience (not regarding the loss of their life).
Is it really worth it? This won’t make anyone any money and has no constructive value. Any danger whatsoever, is basically uncalled for and a good reason not to continue.

God Damn crane I took an acquaintance to the “duke’s castle” the other day to do some test shots, in order to explore the skyline, orientation and possibilities with different perspectives. Results are… adequate, because this is a first attempt. There are plenty of issues I am far from satisfied with, many of which I have myself to blame for. Lack of skill, for starters, but here’s a rundown:

– I need to watch the background more. The picture to the right here is spoiled because of the crane’s arse sticking out.
– I still don’t know my lens well enough. I actually thought the EXIF data (that stores your camera settings when the picture was taken) was off with one picture, because I didn’t realize my aperture can go smaller as I zoom in. Changes in contrast are drastic depending on settings such as these.
– I blame the nervousness of working with a model (first time, mind) for my lack of experimentation with perspective. I didn’t want to keep her in one place for too long so I rushed it, and it shows. Lots of things I could have done better.
– There’s things missing, that much is obvious. But that’s okay, this is nowhere near finished.

The towers aren't really that crooked There are two things I want from this:
Satisfying creative output, meaning that I want it to look like I’ve been brooding it in my mind for about a year now;
And personal growth. I want to learn, as much as possible, as fast as possible. I think this is a good way to push my limits and see what I can produce. Some feedback from the nice folks on dpreview.com would help but they don’t seem too impressed by my style or subjects- I’m lucky to get one cryptic hint from a newcomer. That I already knew about.

Next step is more personal pictures, with poses and facial expressions. I may want to try that with someone I know a little better, but I have to say this one is rather addictive to work with.
The eventual plan is to have something ready around this time, next year. My dream is to have the freedom I need during the Ghent Festival, with huge crowds in the streets and holy shit, fireworks in the background. I think I might have to file in a formal request if I want that to happen. And I might.

More later.

I never gave much of a damn about things like copyright involving any of my work. I will steal others’ work as easily as I will hand out my own. My idea so far was that if we manage to turn it into one big artistic orgy, we’ll all walk away richer from it.

That’s because in the past, my inspiration never had any consequence whatsoever. I did it for myself and didn’t do much more than fuck around with it. Now that I am nearing the border of professional work with my latest photography projects, I’ve been forced to reconsider. So far I still do it for myself and whoever wants to have their picture taken, but I’ve been trespassing (one of the many reasons I picked up the name “Trespass Photography”) on territory that isn’t happy to have me there.

My father was so kind to send my co-ordinates to the organization of Polé Polé Festival, a local world music happening with several branches in the country. I’ll thank him for that when I have the chance, but I’m afraid I will also have to tell him to curb his enthusiasm just a little.
It’s not easy to get by as a professional photographer. The real reason, despite what anyone might tell you, is because photography is so damn easy. It’s hard to get it just right, but a walk in the park to learn the basics. As a result, any redneck with his hand in his pants and a reflex camera in the other can take “adequate” pictures. It’s a rare occasion when a real professional is needed, and Polé Polé is a good example. Now, if I were to walk in and provide “above average” (where I like to think I am positioned) pictures for little to no charge, I am effectively breaking the balls of all those other photographers who need the money to get by. By going under their price, I will in the long term, force them to ask less, with all due consequences. That in itself doesn’t need to be a thing I should be concerned with (ethical objections aside), but these people might be my colleagues one day, god willing. Slowly, it’s getting that time where I need to be careful about stealing other people’s property, time or money.

Another little issue I hadn’t been very worried about is the content of my pictures. The formula thus far was simple as pie: If I don’t want them known to the world, I don’t put them on fucking Facebook or whatever. Ta daa. You privacy freaks might want to consider that one.
I’ll photograph whatever the damn I like. Buildings, people, doesn’t matter; nobody gives a shit.
That all changes however, when you are permitted to photograph sensitive subjects in a trusted environment. Not just other people’s work that will spoil a bigger thing if blindly published, but also things concerning privacy.

I might be allowed to photograph people in the nude, in professional context. Actors. And I’m getting a little sensitive about it, possibly even more than they might ever be. Because hey, you don’t see me taking my clothes off, little wuss that I am.
It’s a big thing in itself to know that I will own these pictures, to begin with. I doubt I’d be allowed if they suspect I’m doing this for anything else than photography itself. From what I can remember, they don’t really get the point of it to begin with. Then, there’s the question of what I might do with them. There is a vast difference between having oneself tastefully displayed in the name of art to five hundred people, and having your lily white ass on display for five million perverts on the web.
I am aware of all this, and there are endless ways in between. I am even willing to let them have my memory card at the end of the day and have them select the pictures I can have.
Model exposing themselves, literally in this case but not necessarily always so, adds a whole new dimension to photography because suddenly, taste becomes a factor. What is artistically called for, and what isn’t? Although it’s not the first time that I cross this line, it is definitely the first time that I do so publicly. For the sake of the models, my credibility and self-respect, I’m going to do this slowly and right.


deCadence

I’m sure other people go to the dentist twice a week and have a tooth pulled every month or so. No big deal. Because when I say I hate dentists, I get strange looks. And when I happen to mention I don’t enjoy having my teeth pulled out of my skull, they call me a wuss.

I guess it’s just another Friday for others then, when they wake up with they gum infected like a war mark from an uranium bombshell. Those painkillers for two days straight were totally unnecessary.
Who studies dentistry, anyway? What kind of sick, perverted fuck must it take to say to themselves, “I think I’ll start a career in gruesome mutilation today.”

It’s the most common thing in the world when you put yourself up on a chair that tilts you backwards, getting a light in your eyes (and mouth, yes) with power equivalent to a dying sun. I see nobody chewing metal on the street, but having your jaw stabbed with a steel hook is really nothing to make a fuss about, it’s only to check for cavities. My bad.

I can understand that two of my teeth need to go. They’re half gone already anyway and rotting away up to my eye socket. I get that. But in this day and age, with near-sentient robots on Mars and striped toothpaste, is it necessary to first shoot to much chemicals DIRECTLY IN MY FACE WITH A NEEDLE that my gum swells twice its size, followed by extraction of the tooth by tongs you might find in a carpenter’s workbox? I ask you, is it really?

If it is, I suppose I should be complaining about the two minutes it took –literally, counting the two lunch (HA HA) breaks we had in between. “I pull one of these every five years or so,” she mentioned over her shoulder, by which she meant a tooth with a root this freakishly huge. It looked somewhat like one of those mechanical claws you see at fairs, used to win you a teddy (or not) from a machine. Total size: about half the length of your pinky.

And get this. Tell me if it is “normal” then, if afterward, I can blow on my thumb and I can feel the air bubble through the hole (which now resembles the Vesuvius post-apeshit) into my sinuses. I am not kidding; that’s how big this tooth was. I am calling that demon again tomorrow and tell her this, knowing I will regret it when I’m under the knife of another hellspawn with a Latin name for a job.

 

 

So yeah. Accepting a nine-to-five job and going back to school immediately after is bound to have some repercussions for a nine-to-five job-hating, school-o-phobic like myself. Set aside the fact that, in principle, I passionately detest both, I haven’t bothered with either for half a decade.

Almost on the day six years ago, I quit the army and with it, any regularity to dictate my actions. Ever since, I’ve lived day to day and grew accustomed to it almost instantly. So now that I only work for what feels like half shifts, I’m stuck at home wondering what to do with my evening- Hell I’m not used to coming home before two in the morning. I’m also not used to working five consecutive days a week, what a drag that’s turning out to be. I always got a sour taste in my mouth when I heard the phrase “Thank God it’s Friday”, and now I’m counting the days to the next weekend. Blah.

But! The pay’s good. I make the same as my bosses, and if you divide that by the amount of time they work a day, I actually make more per hour. That’s hilarious.
All this will change soon, when I’m sent, quite literally, back to the drawing board. I quickly did the math and it turns out I get little more than €700 per month unemployment income (when subscribed, which I rarely am). While this is more than the average I make when working (oh the irony), it might be a little tricky getting used to that- and the fact that I don’t have anything to fall back on. If the school required any large expenses, I’ll be pretty fucked for months to come.

 

 

(DATED POST)

At this moment, my body is fighting a drug that cost me about €5, and I am taking three times a day. And it’s one tough fight, I can tell you.

A couple years ago, I chipped a tooth on my breakfast. Chipped perhaps isn’t the right word- It literally broke in half. What is left is hollow, and has its nerve in the open. A year later, the exact same thing happened on the other side. I’m not sure what caused it exactly, it might have been my wisdom teeth putting too much pressure or simply a flaw in their shape. I didn’t really care. As long as I didn’t bite down on anything hard with them, they gave me no trouble.

Until recently, that is. One morning I woke up, with an annoying pain in my jaw. I thought it would just disappear over time as random pains tend to, but it got worse until, around noon, I started asking around for painkillers. After no less than eleven years, I made an appointment with a dentist again and spent the next two-three days on heavy painkillers. The pain subsided after that, but instead the bastard started to infect. The dentist prescribed me an antibiotic to take away the swelling before pulling the tooth in question, because you can’t anaesthetize an infection. Those pills kept me in a semi-state of life for the next couple of days, making work an utter hell.

I then proceeded to miss my appointment, after which the swelling returned with a vengeance. After twenty-four hours, I began to look like Quasimodo with a tumor, deformed in the face with a swollen, hard, sore jaw. Again, I was told to take pills, and although they took their time, they seem to work. I will spare you the details but trust me, infections are nasty as hell. They leave an open wound when they go away, completing the pretty disgusting state you’re in for about a week or so.

I hate doctors. I hate medication. I hate dentists. If I could have it my way, they can knock out all my teeth and screw fakes in there (perhaps with some decorative finish). There, end of fucking misery. Painlessly, please.

So next Wednesday, when my face looks somewhat symmetrical again, I’m going back there to have the bugger pulled. “The rest looks pretty much in order,” I was told, but considering the average dental hygiene of my stage-building colleagues (not pointing any fingers), I’m not sure what’s the reference there. My sugar addiction probably left my bone structure looking like Swiss cheese. I’m trying to cut back, but fuck man, they put it in everything. Sugar in our breakfast, sugar in our lunch, sugar for dinner. From coke to orange juice, you’ll have to turn to water if you want to find something unsweetened. And never drinking anything carbonated or alcoholic, I can safely say I have water coming out my fucking ears.

It’s society’s fault, I tell you!