Sunday, January 1, 2012

Meatball Photography

I'm not sure why, but I like this image. It was selected from the thousands I have that range from very, very ordinary to downright bad (with the occasional good exception) that I shot during brief stops on motorcycle rides within a 200 mile radius of home (no, the geographical limit is not imposed by an ankle monitor and a parole officer, although my grandmother, still alive and spry at 98, was a career parole officer for the State of California until her retirement in about 1975). In "M*A*S*H" (the Richard Hooker novel and Robert Altman film, not the TV series, which was okay for the first few seasons but went downhill fast when Trapper John left, Henry was killed en-route back to the States, and Hawkeye evolved into a sanctimonious caricature), they referred to their brand of intervention as "meatball surgery," a term that has remained in my head for decades. They operated on soldiers with horrific injuries under primitive conditions and did the best they could and then sent the survivors to a rear area for better treatment. I have used this as a metaphor for all kinds of completely unrelated processes and phenomena throughout my life, mainly because once something gets into my head I can never, ever get it out of there. I call my style of picture-taking "meatball photography" because I do it with basic gear,  under extreme time constraints (ride, ride, ride, that's the thing; stop for a little while at some spot that looks like it might be interesting and rip some shots off real quick in a state of semi-photographic pseudo-concentration, in between snacking briefly on some kind of gluten free vegan Kosher thing called a Lärbar), then ride off again. Once in a while, this method produces something that seems to be enhanced, rather than compromised, by my peculiar procedure. The gritty, contrasty qualities of the above photo were influenced by this method. It's a state of mind, I think. I want to really go off the deep end and make some connection to Steinbeck's peepholes in the fence and how your choice of viewing portal shows you "...whores, pimps, gamblers and sons of bitches" or "Saints and angels and martyrs and holy men." In other words, the same thing. I will avoid that particular exercise in grandiosity right now, though, and simply say that once in a while my fractious mental processes work to my benefit to some degree, and I count myself lucky if that happens for maybe one shot in every thousand. That's why I like this particular picture--its imperfections mirror my own.

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Originally posted 6 August 2011

© Pseudocognitive

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