Sunday, October 16, 2011

A 20-something Experience

I was invited to a party last night for one of my 20-something model’s boyfriend’s birthday. I was hesitant not sure I should go, because I knew I would be completely out of place. But this is a kid that I have really connected with in the studio and we have always gotten extremely good images. And, he had emailed me a couple of times throughout the week inviting and reminding me so I felt like I had to at least make an appearance. When I arrived on the street there was no place to park, it was dark and I was not quite sure where I was actually going? So I parked and walked with a case of beer in search of the place. It was easy to find because of the music and I could hear the chatter of people. It was a small apartment with not much furniture jammed full of people, young 20-somethings everywhere. I ran into Shey, the birthday boy as soon as I came through the door and delight filled his face as he gave me a warm hug and was glad that I had actually shown up. He quickly found George, his boyfriend who also came to welcome me. I opened a beer and guzzled it down and began to take in my surroundings. It was a lower level, possibly two-bedroom apartment, with festive decorative stuff strewn all about the room for the occasion. I quickly began to recognize many faces I had only seen on line or had occasionally chatted with on Facebook. Everyone seemed to be filled with such a drunken happiness. Suddenly, I felt like I was transported back in time perhaps thirty years earlier and as I began to mingle and fit into this 20-something crowd, I really began to realize how much out of touch I had grown from this generation. What became even more apparent was how much my photography does not fit into or with the group of subjects, that I am trying to really explore. Everyone has always entered my world and mostly seen what I am doing from my perspective. I began to look at images on cell phones of parties and postures and gestures that were fun, alive and full of energy. Even George, who I adore photographing, seem to have such life working the crowd. Why don’t I capture that? That is the vitality of youth! It suddenly smacked me right in the face that I truly am not capturing the essence of these kids at all. I still love to beauty of what I do, and I have a greater appreciation for them wanting to enter my world but I realize what a hermit I have become in my own mind. How my vision may not extend beyond myself at all, and how much I love in my memory. Hence this blog project, I guess. To enter a Spartan world of the 20-something kids, and see their lives filled with such joy, to live in such humble settings, I see how much I have grown over the past so many years and what has brought me to this place. My studio is a luxury place by comparison. How did I suddenly get here? Is it just the years of accumulation of stuff, of refining, defining, and the orchestration of life? I have always seen myself as a minimalist. I had very little when I lived and worked on the road. I prided myself on being able to live out of one suitcase. Didn’t have a car for a long time, didn’t need one. The process of growth has been enormous as the simplicity has disappeared. I am so lucky to be exactly where I am even as I try to awkwardly try to explain the means of my existence to strangers in a crowd where most of them are struggling in the end to just get by. As I crawled into my big comfortable bed with soft linens and down pillows I felt satisfied that I had ventured into that unknown, that my life has been well earned.


1 comment:

Elizabeth Lister said...

That sounds like so much fun! I'm glad you did go to the party. I think the secret to staying young at heart is staying in touch with young people. I can't believe that people in their twenties are now 'young people' to me. Seems like yesterday I was one of them ;)