Sunday, December 25, 2005

A few more days of this last years 15mm portraits of myself, and then I'll move on into the next year.

Sometimes, when you break into a new artistic stride, the more you repeat the process, the more you become familiar with what you're doing on an intimate level with your body of work. Why have I been taking these photos? At first, I said and I thought, that it was to record moments in my everyday life, friends I meet, strangers I speak to. But as I go on with the project, I see there's something more to this than even met my eye. Something compelling me to work with the camera until I work out what it is exactly I'm after. To question something past all previous interragations of myself, and to force myself to answer up. Like backing myself against a wall, I am photographing myself until there is no place to conceal the least part of myself.

But something always hides from the self. I have concentrated on these photographs for a year, mostly close to home, and in everyday and natural situations. My days are rather predictable, and of late, rarely do I leave a 15 mile radius from my house. This is where my life is, and has been for a number of years.

In the old days, 60's, 70's, and even the 80, my range of travel was the Miami Metropolitan area, with rarely an excuse to leave it. The world traveled to Miami/Dade a great deal. Things were happening. Things were obviously changing. And yet, because it all came here, I didn't have to leave.

Now, I wonder still if I have to leave.

Changes are being made, people are still coming into Miami/Dade, but it no longer is an event. I am no longer working for newspapers -at any regular pace-and I am far outside any "scene" that may, in whatever snail's pace compared to the previous decades, they are happening. Days of Rosie O'Donnell, Estavez, and Versace seemingly stirring up a Miami Life taste treat for the country, lingering memories of Miami Vice, and art Deco colors, seem like only a passing fancy here now. Yes, South Beach, as it always did, entertains the current population fad, and they in turn tempt a few visitors, to join a night life I have long forgotten, and was never really tempted by in the first place.

Versace was murdered in the midst of the South Beach Revival, and for a while we were on the news and brought onto television screens everywhere. But after that, whatever sparkle had been felt, a slowly drifting sparkle like the leftover smoke from a fireworks display, went away. Miami is now just a place that is not Baghdad, that is not New Orleans, that is not....well, wherever the next next goes. We have finally
reached that point, after which persisting until life seems gone out of everything, some small emotional climate change will try to produce another renaissance.

I hope not to be here by then. I have the idea that I will photograph myself out of the Miami/Dade consciousness long before it happens. Some of us will probably have to leave, to make way for those who will come, packing the new Renaissance with them.

So these few days, you will see my establishing shots, let's say, of the picture of my latter years. These will be the ground laid, the departing station for what comes next. Perhaps nothing will. Perhaps the Renaissance won't come. Perhaps the Copa Cobana will not ever return to Miami. Or maybe Miami will become a jungle, forgotten by all the lives that continue to drift upwards into the sky as generations pass by. Perhaps giant orchids will overtake Miami/Dade, and will reach higher than the Empire State Building, or Taipei 101-giant pink purple, rust orange, yellow green orchids eating up the South Florida land mass.

Perhaps by then I'll know who I am, and will come back to once again photographing the "what's happening" in South Florida.


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