SIERRA NEVADA

SUMMER 20

















A CAMERA ACCIDENT

Set on tripod at the edge of the slab it was always going to be a risky proposition. Sure enough: a gust of wind and the entire apparatus topples over, disappearing in the chasm. I hear it bouncing repeatedly over hard jagged granite, cascading down like a 5m high virtual waterfall. OMG!

Yet upon retrieval, only minor cosmetic damage? What with the exposed drawn out lens, the open LCD screen, the precise inner mechanism, the protubing outer buttons... How can that be?!

This is sheer luck that my sheer stupidity does not deserve.


 

LOST DOG LAKE

It has been a long day. With the last of daylight i reach base camp via a steep, uncertain, exhausting route. Dinner and rest are just around the corner. I’m stoked!

But greeting me upon arrival is a dog. Here, at this nowhere pond lost in the forest, a kilometer from the nearest trail; a body of water so small it’s astonishing the map has a name for it: Lost Dog Lake.

To ears for a while now attuned to the sound of wind over rock, the piercing uncontrollable barking at close range hurts. The animal is me is enraged, the human outraged: freaking barking dogs do not belong in the wilderness.

Only later do i make the link: Lost Dog Lake indeed. Get lost, dog!


 

ON STAGED PICS

In the age of GoPro videos the tripod selfie appears old-fashioned and lame: everything staged, any semblance at naturalness a shameful artifice (even this backpack on rock slab ― substituting for self ― is set for optimum effect).

GoPro has been deemed “a perfect instrument for the look-at-me age [  ] But because it primarily points outward it’s a record of what an experience looks like, rather than what the person who had the experience looked like when he stopped afterward and arranged his features into his pretested photo face.” *

By contrast, traditional self-portraiture is pure, unalduterated narcissism. Which is fine by me: as someone who largely operates behind the scenes, his life and work hidden from public view and recognition, a certain dose of photographic feedback may actually be healthy. The seen reflection steals me from the intangible realm ― all the while reinforcing and celebrating the archetype. It gives me shape, perhaps even substance.

Dwelling at the cave-mouth i stare inside and project outside. I extract archetypal essences by perceiving shadows and through the prism (or prison) of my body give them life. I am a man of many hats.

* Nick Paumgarten ― We Are a Camera: Experience and memory in the age of GoPro