Reminder to Self

Some people, no doubt, are born, and destined, to be common, to live out their lives to no significant purpose, but that is relatively rare...Most people have the power to be creative, and some have it in a god-like degree...But many people–perhaps even most–are content with the passing pleasures and satisfactions of the animal side of our nature. Indeed, many people will account their lives to be successful if they get through them with only minimal pain, with pleasant divergence from moment to moment and day-to-day, and the general approval of those around them. And this, notwithstanding that they often have within them the ability to do something which perhaps no other human being has ever done. Merely to do what others have done is often safe, and comfortable; but to do something truly original, and do it well, whether it is appreciated by others or not–that is what being human is really all about, and it is alone what justifies the self-love that is pride.
— Richard Taylor, Restoring Pride

Aranea Flos

My Favorite Photographs

My favorite photographs are ones that have an element of quiet violence–ones that aren’t thrusted upon your face (those are too obvious), but that rest easily within the boundaries of the frame, with brazen guile.

We’re all domesticated savages acting on this grand stage with a modicum of decency and propriety, but under the hot lights, within us exists the sinister desire to conquer others, to exert our will over circumstances. The thirst for power, not the quench of love, surges through our veins, and that instinct prevails.

Wading Through the Hebel

All of life is a mist, like an early morning fog that burns away at the first daylight of death. Yet, in its wake, left behind is the necessary moisture that hydrates the earth.

For the ones not in the knowledge, their perception will remain hindered by its obscurity, lamenting their existence fleeting and meaningless. They curse The Most High–a miasma of irreverence that softly and quietly steals the breath from their lungs as they sleep.

Ssssssh. Keep sleeping.

Ssssssh. Keep sleeping.

Ssssssh. Keep sleeping.

The Coy Dance in the Garden of Sin

After a certain length of time without hearing from her, I was convinced she had opted for the fish option, so I set out to find the answer.

Yes, I know. Let Me explain.

The young girls in that town were given the choice to remain terrestrial, or aquatic. If they chose the latter, there were secret methods the elders employed to bludgeon them into coy fish. No, not coi fish, coy fish. After metamorphosis, the eagerest of fishlings were hired by local botanical gardens to lure lonely men during the slow season–artfully exploiting their primordial inclinations toward conquest.

Personally, I chose not to frequent those places. As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly, and I had learned from My past experiences. Besides, there always seemed to be a malodorous current of bodily secretion and sin, and I had sensitive skin, so I would watch from afar. I have to admit though, it was fascinating to see how the fishlings and men would interact.

She understood that morality were oscillations–echos that rattled from facade to facade within the gothic cathedral of Self, and sometimes, I would rest nearby to be her gargoyle.

Burning in Knowledge, Drowning in Faith

I walked along neglected trails, following a foreign light that led into a dreary forest that clutched tomblike secrets. Step by step I could feel restless bodies stir below My feet, their decomposed limbs entangled within the roots of the earth, and as they groaned for redemption the ground convulsed like a mother holding her stillborn baby for the first time.

Every so often the canopy loosened its bony grip over Me, revealing cannibalistic skies that consumed everything within it, except for the slew of winged serpents that possessed an unexplainable immunity. I stopped for a moment to rest, and admired their grace and beauty as they soared without end–they breathed not fire, but ancient knowledge.

In those days the great serpent was said to be bad, but as I forged ahead, I inhaled the naked understanding that bad is the siamese head of good, and both are protruding atop our torso, looking at eachother, for we are the great serpent, and we are eating ourselves alive. In His infinite wisdom, The Lord, our God, is voyeur to the devouring of flesh and spirit of His children, and that is neither good, nor bad, but necessary.

But only the illuminated will master that unavoidable fate, and find refuge in the bottomless skies above, far removed from the legion that murmur below.

Hot Tea

She gave Me a potion, so I drank it.

I spent the waning hours of the night wandering the streets of Downtown, noticing things–mildly disoriented, mildly curious. I was approached by 2 hookers (on separate occasions), a drug dealer, and later Pepe who asked for a lighter, but I don’t smoke. I asked him where I could meet a beautiful woman, jokingly, and he told Me about his cousin’s friend, Concepción, who was also a hooker. I just wanted to be touched, but I only had $39.82 in My bank account, and I hadn’t paid My electrical bill yet.

I noticed a sexy girl walk inside a 7-Eleven, so I went inside to accidentally bump into her. We were both waiting in line, and I saw that she was leaving behind a faint trace of beach sand. I asked her if she had gone to the beach, but she looked at Me in a peculiar fashion. She was holding a Four Loko and a banana; and I, a stale hot dog. It was one of those kind of nights.

Pustule

I itch. I scratch. I now bleed.

I look down, and feel the warm ooze of sanguine fluid as I rub my middle finger and thumb together, mixing inconspicuous amounts of pimple pus into the crimson stain drying before My curious eyes.

I look up–she's looking back at Me.

I'm devoid of shame, and she doesn't gag.

We've both had our fair share of pimple pus grace our blemished lives, and we're stronger for it when people stare.

Greys, Gloom, and Gas

Verily, I say unto you, you will know them by their feculent underwear, and stinking tastes–tastes that are sullied from their malcontent.

Their idiocy glistens in the midmorning sunshine as hurried pedestrians shield their somnambulant gaze with their unoccupied hand, phone in other–greys and gloom emanating from their glowing screens.

I watch, as the colors intermingle with the perverse stench of a Guatemalan woman's flatulence next to Me on the bus. I start to feel that familiar feeling of animosity toward them–I need a horse blanket to wrap Myself with, to mask the suffocating reek of stupidity, mediocrity, and silent stranger fart.

Fortunately, the world doesn't function to serve herd animals and their little joys, and occasionally, plagues eradicate the weak.

Quietos Fratris: Roll #1, Frame #8.

I uploaded this a little while ago, but realized shortly afterward that I had jumped the gun and forgotten to retouch the dust marks off the film. So here it is again, sans distracting dust marks.

But while I was doing this it got me thinking about process, and the myriad of things we do as image makers to achieve a final image that satiates our thirsty mind's eye, that go unnoticed to the end viewer.

I think of all the untold secrets that my photographs have contained in them, that I don't care to ever discuss, and in this way I achieve a sense of intimacy with each and every one of them. Photography is a graceful relationship.

Color/Flare Study: Roll #1, Frame #25.

These early rolls of film (2010-2011) would lay the foundation to my understanding of controlled lens flare, and manipulation of colors while shooting. Although my creative process is inherently grounded in serendipity, over the years I've honed my secret technique. It's this constant struggle between wild unpredictability and controlled precision, failure and reward, that keeps me pushing myself in my craft, and keeps me humble.

Each one of my portraits has so many variables: double exposure, reflections, flares, colors, that can throw off the composition so easily, and because of this, I've come to the realization that each successful frame is truly a gift from an enigmatic wellspring that I don't fully comprehend, but try to tap into.