Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Countdown to the Great Migration.

A few days ago while working at Espresso Junction, I slipped downstairs to the Antique shop and found this beauty German-made medium format camera released in the early thirties. A Voigtländer Bessa. Curtis, the guy behind the counter gave it to me for a song because I give him free coffee on the regular. Thanks Curtis, I owe you. Meet the lastest addition to my camera stable.

Anyway, I took it home, did some reading, figured out how to read the aperture, how to load film and release the shutter etc. Today I took her to Don's photo to see if James could help me figure out the trigger (or in very, very humble layman's terms, how to actually shoot the damn thing). He kindly hooked me up with an external trigger cord (no idea what the real name for that device is) and I went home and loaded it up. How exciting! Medium format cameras use 120 film (the negative is almost six times as large at standard 35mm film) and thus one can only shoot 8 exposures per roll in this camera at least (I have no idea about others). The best part about this kind of film is it can be developed using the negative instead of having to take the extra steps to make a contact sheet (a contact sheet is a photo of rows of ones negatives used for easier selection while developing; see below).

It feels nice to be excited about art again. I have felt quite static in my art making these days. Along with the guilt that marches in during these spells, there is humiliation and despair. What are you not making anything? Make something! Do something. These are examples of daily inner thoughts. I wish I would draw more, but something within me is holding out on any and all production right now. In relation to my abilities as a planter, I am all about production but it is quality that slows and often stops me. Same rules apply in art making as they do in planting and in cooking: trust yourself, clean up as you go (thanks Mum for that one), be honest (Cal's voice), do it with flair, and stop apologizing.

I have no clue what art school will be like. The idea of it is terrifying (but the good kind, like the feeling one gets sitting at the crest of a rollercoaster just before you dip headlong into hell [rollercoasters are exciting things]). The doubt in my ability to keep up with my peers has been coming and going for a few months now. It is frustrating and tiring, because I know it is irrelevant. And yet, it presses. I need to stop thinking school it so much because it is eating me alive. I just want to shoot and learn and touch nice fabric and paper and paint, I want to print something HUMUNGEOUS just because I can, I want to learn the hallways and all the places in the school with the best light. I want to read colorful books and touch the looms in the Textile Department when no one is around. I want to print in the dark with my eyes closed, comfortable with the knobs and dials at eye level, set back and sturdy, hidden from sight completely. I want to dip photo paper through chemical baths and do lightening quick math in my head. I want to learn CMYK printing.

I will learn a lot, no doubt about that. How often I will be humbled beyond belief is the question. Bring on the humble pie, I guess. The time is definitely nigh, which is a wonderful feeling. Yesterday I cried and cried into Mitch, tears spilling all over his tattoos and little veins, and he listened. It is so nice to have found someone who I don't have to justify/explain my ticks and my tears. He listens and I feel comfortable as my truest, barest self leaning against him wailing. And that is only one reason in one million why I love him. The thought of leaving my mother and my sister (and everyone of course) brings me to tears every time I think it, or write it (tears currently rolling). Thankfully, the excitement building up to our Great Migration (as I call it in my head) trumps any and all fear, doubt, anxiety by a long shot. We are moving to a new city! Whoa. I have never done that before.

Art making or no art making, I am leaping with all my guts, headlong into the unknown. It is Year of the Tiger after all. When Mitch and I were carrying our groceries home down Assiniboine yesterday, I realized that in one months time I will have no idea what is in store beyond the present date. Right now I have a pretty solid handle on life because all I have been doing is working. No complaints other than the usual suspects, but there is definitely structure in the many numbers, dates, short orders, shifts, appointments, and responsibilities to others that are weighing me down in the here and now. It is pretty predictable at Casa Smith these days. M and I are lucky if we get to share a meal these days.

On that topic, yesterday we did share a meal that Mitch cooked and it was incredible food!!!!! I had just finished a long day cooking at Black Sheep and he sent me out of the kitchen and on to the bed until it was time to eat. Whoa, bless bless bless summer vegetable cooking. I wish I had a picture of said meal, but I do not. Picture this in your mind and lick your chops: roasted garlic, shallots, cherry tomatoes, quartered mushrooms, asparagus spears tossed with lightly oiled angel hair pasta and garnished with flat leafed Italian parsley and parmesan. Oh my darlin, oh my darlin.....

Peace, there are leftovers calling my name.


  1. Cool toy -- methinks you'll make magic with that beast. Great post, too...transition time.

  2. Dear Jer, you are amazing. Whenever you pepper my post with affirmation my need to zip straight over to your house triples, quadruples. Merci times infinity, you have no idea how much I appreciate your kind words. Also, it must be said that I have no idea whatsoever as to how to operate this German beast. We'll see....

    Be well good man, Megs

  3. Oh, I so thought of you last night, and this nifty old camera. I was watching this documentary about an American photographer...even if you don't like her pictures, seek it out for a glimpse into her artistic process and career arc: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Khn5GN9cHWA