Australian film maker and photography curator Jack Pam parks in my driveway in an old Honda Civic. He rings the doorbell, my wife and son Wilson answer and let him in. He wants to talk to photographers featured in the forthcoming anthology Hijacked - Vol1. New Australian and American Photography that is coming out in April. At first I thought maybe I should have him meet me at some hipster coffee house in SF, like, say RITUAL or something like that, where I'd be surrounded by urban childless scene-sters. He'd be fooled into thinking my life was really like that, I'd gain some art-cred, and we'd all be good. The veil would never have been lifted. Whew.
Inspired by the emotional honesty depicted in the Tierney Gearon film, I think it best for him to meet me at home. The chaos: the laundry, diapers, silverware on a bookcase, a deflated jumpy thing sits in the corner. The kids come in an out, Eli is making electronic noises, Wilson is talking like a robot. My wife is getting frustrated with Wilson and he breaks down crying. Eli immediately begins taunting him. Jack tries to ignore the chaos and proceed.
JP:What is up with couches?
TA:Yes, we have two of them, one in front of the other.
TA:Oh, the kids were making a fort or something.
Jack references the suburban living rooms and kitchens depicted in Sex Machines and chooses our living room as his staging area. We discuss what ever Sex Machines was supposed to be about, and then dig into the new project, Weird Pictures Of My Kid. Jack tells me his dad, Max Pam, a mega photographer out of Australia, has shot him so much over the years that he'd be recognized at art openings by gallery attendees.
Oh...was that the reason for this meeting? Adult child of a photographer comes by to try to understand the work of another photographer who is photographing his child? Is he building a case against me? Ready to punish me for photographing my kid, exploiting my kid, just as was done to him?
No, it doesn't seem that way, he never pounces...and he just seems to approve. He leaves me with this observation:
Oh, I see. "Sex Machines" was not emotional, it was really about the information. This new project seems to be about the emotion, and the information, the literal stuff, seems to be secondary. Would you agree?
I kind of think I do agree. At least for now.