in my neighbourhood

It’s been a long time since I went for a walk and just watched and listened. Yesterday I had the pleasure of two short walks of watching and listening – and one was with my camera. I learned why they call it fall:

Bits of black walnut shell fell like tear drops from a great height – a squirrel eating on a telephone wire.

A gust became a blizzard of maple keys.

A single leaf spiralled straight down.

I like noticing things like that. Also the woman in a white sweater with big pink roses who walked beneath a big tree whose leaves were half green and half pumpkin. I would never wear a sweater like that myself, but it clashed so gloriously with its surroundings.

I photographed none of that. Here is some of what I did photograph.

Supposedly the city’s going to cut down this dead tree

after the raccoons


I never get tired of RVs

Now that I’m at home so much more, I’m thinking a lot about picking up my neighbours project again. I stopped when the derby girls picked up for a couple of reasons. Time is an obvious one. But also, I was unsure of what I was trying to do, why I was making the pictures, how it would come together. I think I’m a lot clearer on that front, and I have new ideas for how to move forward on it.

The other day Pete Brook posted an interview with Michal Chelbin. I loved it not only because her portraits are stunning (you really must click through from the interview to the sneak preview) but because she’s so clear in what she’s trying to do, what works in her photography, why she photographs in Russia and the Ukraine, and why she’s drawn to photograph the people she does. I really believe it’s not enough to make beautiful pictures. You have to know why you photograph who, what and how you do. Alec Soth said that when he’s advising thesis students, it’s almost like getting the student on a therapist’s couch, seeking to understand their own work.

Anyways… my neighbourhood. I tried to leave last summer, but the deal fell through and nobody wanted our house anyways (I think that also contributed to stopping the neighbours project — how to continue when I don’t want to be here?). I don’t feel comfortable with the houses so far apart for some reason, and there are too many streets without sidewalks. Too many garages and central air conditioners and lawn maintenance companies. It’s hard to see the people here. But my son goes to a good school and it’s not a bad place. So I guess we’ll stay for a while. And while I’m here I will try to work on the neighbours project — I think it’s a little more amenable to life with a baby than the derby project where the subjects are a little further away…

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