The background is not in the background.

8Day 8 – I have two beautiful, stationary days of shooting on location at my friend Andrea’s, where I also happen to be staying now. After tumbling the river both blissfully and ravaged, I am given an eddy to fill myself with air while still basking in the glory of nature. After the back and forth of traveling incredibly modern distances several times a day, I now scarcely have to walk if I don’t want to.

I shoot on the roof and in the apartment with model Dylan DeCandia. He’s new to this and is filled with a mix of enthusiasm and cautiousness. Being a new model is so much about building relationships and growing your personal brand however you can. There’s a lot of trading ideas and figuring it out as you go. We start on the roof and I want to try and get some movement shots. I use the analogy of a speed skater moving from side to side, which gets him to move brilliantly. It’s not until later that I find out he is really and truly a hockey player and I wonder why that analogy occurred to me. His bare feet are permanently caked with tar residue. I imagine they still are today.

I’m full-on working with a flash for the first time in my life and there is a lot of guessing going on. The user manual is in Japanese and the English translation is basically still in Japanese.

Can you hear the sound in the background on this video?

I spend the rest of the day at home, getting caught up on organizing and editing photos for the first time this trip. An apartment building in Brooklyn gives you the feeling of small town America in the mid-1900’s. Neighbors depend on and take care of one another. They feel invested in each other’s survival. On my first day there I realize that the din underneath the sound of Andrea’s vinyl I have been playing on loop, mostly to the tune of David Bowie, has been the next-door neighbor’s dog barking without end. It has the effect of someone repeating “why are you hitting yourself?” In a noisy city, it takes some time to notice that that’s maybe out of the ordinary. The collage of sound is constantly changing and it is perhaps the constancy that makes the barking out of place.

I have this tremendous disability with background noise. DylanIt’s been the greatest inhibition to my work as a choreographer. I usually spell it out to dancers on the first day that background noise stops me in my tracks. My brain will follow every tangent in the room and noises are the most tantalizing. It will go well for a little while, but eventually the understudies have to communicate. People have to make sounds. Imagine you are having a conversation with someone, listening intently to important information they are giving you while at the same time, there is another person standing with their lips right to your ear, also speaking quite urgently. That’s how I experience background noise in the studio. There is nothing background about it. I can’t park a car with the radio on.

Another neighbor knocks on the door. Her eyebrows are knitted into a V and her mouth is half open. It’s similar to the expression of mild surprise. Somehow worry is a perpetual surprise. The anticipation of magnitude and the practice for the outcome we imagine. She asks me if I know the neighbors with the dog. She isn’t mad about the barking, she’s concerned a human is inside and hurt or dead. The building listserv launches into action and people committee up to find the best way to help. The police eventually come and we collude in finding a way in through Andrea’s fire escape instead of breaking in the person’s door. There is a somewhat happy outcome in that the owner is on vacation and the dog sitter is intermittent. The dog is lonely. The listserv evolves into a plan of action for future issues and has anyone ever even met the landlord?

I sit at the door and talk to the dog while editing photos.

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4 Comments

    1. I’m in the process of deciding what exactly to do with over 100,000 photos! I am holding off on posting complete sets until I get that figured out. A lot of people have asked me when I am publishing a book and I think I could make a really nice one, but I’m wondering if the days of photography books are gone. Thanks for your interest and I will let you know if I end up post whole series. 🙂

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