July was a month of escape. Which, both as it was happening and in hindsight, was something I am more than grateful to admit.
In the back of my mind, I had some idea of what I was doing, I just had no idea why I picked this day to start doing it. 365 days. A photo each day.
There is some reprieve found in small rooms with good company. No longer is it enough to say “support local business.” There are a lot of businesses – local and otherwise – but now it is a question of why we support who we support.
April is always a month of promise. Warmer temperatures. The green comes back from the dead.
The itch started with the birds. Hearing them sing through the open bedroom window at dawn meant spring was right around the corner. That window had been opening a little more each night as the air started to feel cleaner, more alive, more drinkable. The mornings were still crisp and cold, but warmed up quick through the day. Everything was coming alive.
How do you put that into a picture?
I had met Vicky months before when the weather was flat-out cold. The skies were grey when we first got together to do a handful of head-shots for her marketing business. We swore we would work together again and had a million ideas for doing so. Then snow fell, months passed, hibernations ensued. Now, with the windows opened at dawn and a showcase on the horizon, it was time to get something to print.
Lair O’ The Bear is the right kind of place at daybreak. The parking lot is empty, save for those who had spent the night around here. The traffic on the nearby mountain road is still thin and all you can hear is the slow babble of the creek right through the trees. Vicky arrives and we head off down the trail with bags of camera gear and wardrobe changes. There is a spot I have in mind – where I know the grass would grow taller sometime around mid-July, where I head to when I’m looking to drop a fly in the water.
Today, that spot is a matting of brown playing host to the bright green sprouts of the virgin springtime shoots. This is what I’m here to try and catch – the thawing of brown into the gentle reminder of a changing season.
The morning chill and hints of frost melt away as the sun climbs. I’m not entirely sure how to explain what it is I want. The first fifty exposures may never see the light of any day – and that is usually on purpose. I’m at a loss for words and it takes a moment to open up a different kind of conversation – one built on movement and cuing physical positions. Before too long not much is said, just an observation of the organic growth, the dance, the expression of a body in an environment set to come alive.
Most of the time you know what you want. The rest of the time I try to be open to what is available.
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March happens as it has to. It’s a strange, transitionary month for people in Colorado. On the front range temperatures tease up into something warm. Up in the hills snow keeps falling and draws out the pants and boards and helmets of a population left to slip.
We get back from Cuba and Mexico and wind up in the hot, dry weather of a surprise Spring in Denver. It’s the kind of weather that motivates you to do anything but sit down and be productive. So you’re sweeping of patios and washing outdoor cushions and finding session-able beers.
Of course, it doesn’t last long. The threat of March snow happens year in and year out. No one cares for the springtime blossoms getting covered in the blanket of branch-breaking, garden killing snow. Yes, we need the moisture. We will always need the moisture. This year, though, this set in of clouds is doing a number on my spirits. Maybe it’s just the weather and it’ll cycle on out into better moods with insufferable heat.
I know I have to hit the ground running. Time is money. The job hunt continues with some successes but I’ve taken to leaning more into freelance projects. Shooting photos, writing content, actually making things. The scale is smaller, the budgets are smaller, everything is smaller but they are all things I can see through to the end.
Going freelance is an art of juggling time.
When you’re full time there is some kind of negotiation between the hours of 9 to 5 where half your time is spent trying to jocky with other people’s calendars. Time spent pushing around emails to delay the inevitable outcome of something. In my experience, working within a company is an art of having grand aspirations, but settling for whatever it is people can handle in about 2 hours a day.
Going from full-time to freelance has been an assumption of more hours. Of dishing out the full-breath of my day from sun-up to sun-down and figuring out how I can make the most of it. It is, truly, exhausting.
Every year, after the Oscars, I sit and read through the work of everyone who was nominated for best screenplay. This year I realized not being in a social setting for most of my day means I haven’t had the opportunity to listen to anyone talk. So often I’ll go somewhere and just sit. I’ll sit analog and listen to the world as it happens around me. Coffee shops in the middle of the day, train stations right before rush hours, at the far end of the bar – I’ve got the notebook out but the pen is starting to run dry.