Sunday, October 10, 2010

Essay: Summer Stretch

Tidepool Reps Blog put together a really wonderful series of essays by, with and about their photographers and Kate and Brooke as well. Everyone's voice is in it, organized and at times written by Diane Eames. It really gets into the lives and heads of all that is Tidepool. Read it all HERE and enjoy my essay "Summer Stretch" below and HERE.
The summer stretched before us…three long months with a trip at the end. My two boys and I had planned to fly across the country to visit my parents in Schenectady N.Y. just before that start of their school year. Schenectady had always held this iconic place in my mind and heart: I was born there, discovered photography there, went to the same school from K-12 there…and eventually the city was my first serious photography project. My first job was running a One Hour Photo machine in that city. My relationship with Photography and Schenectady had always been closely tied.

Due to co-incidence, due to planning, here I am with a friend from elementary school. She’s a mom, I’m a dad…6 kids between us. We are in a mini van taking the kids to explore Draper School on Draper Avenue. This fortress like structure occupies a city block and holds our childhood within its walls and doors: here is where I first got a speeding ticket…here is where I cried on the first day of Kindergarten…here is where I tried to smoke a cigarette…here is the playground where I really got into a fight with another kid. Oh, our prom was here too. Let’s see if my name is still here under this stairway…I wrote it here once.

We pause and make photographs. The kids are quiet, like they are in a museum. They seem to kind of respect the history they sense is here in this rundown building. My friend and I, we don’t know what to think…we just keep showing the kids the place, small stories about things that happened that don’t ever really have endings.

Two days later, here we are, back in California. My sons’ are in their school uniforms. Eli is in 3rd grade, Wilson is starting Kindergarten. The kids’ memory of my school still fresh in their minds, or so I think, as I drop them off at the first day of school. Again, we pause and make photographs.

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