Posts Tagged ‘photography

28
Jan
09

The Last Supper with More Than a Grain of Salt 2

This print of the last supper had always hung near the breakfast table in my parents’ home. It was no different here at my mother’s last apartment, although it had fallen off the wall and sat around for a few months. I set it back here the other day, and it seemed a fine place for photo. A detail shot would reveal drops of this and that, and a spattering of tomato sauce.

It is a bit of an odd assortment off things on the cupboard, most sitting for weeks without notice from mom. Tomato sauce, orzo, salt, vanilla flavoring, the Greek coffee pot (the briki), and assorted trivets. A couple times in recent months my mom had cooked food with some odd flavorings, like baked chicken with a heavy dose of cinnamon or ground cloves. Eventually she gave up on seasonings and then finally on cooking much of anything besides boiled eggs, green beans, or broccoli.

Today, we went to Kaiser for an eye check-up and to start the process of getting a new pair of glasses. She had misplaced her only pair. It turns out that her right eye needs just about the strongest lens available. The doctor could not determine a prescription for the left eye at all because she is nearly blind from a cataract. So, we’ll be going back for cataract removal, and then eventually for a prescription for the left eye. Shit, no wonder the apartment was a mess. And no wonder the chicken was seasoned with salt and clove instead of salt and pepper.

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07
Jan
09

The first time I told this story

The Last Time Ever, originally uploaded by neocles.

this is what I said:

“We were getting into our bunks when this strange light seemed to come down from the sky, and there was this rumbling noise and the camper swayed a little. It got really loud, then suddenly–very quiet. And we felt this pressure, and then I blacked out. When I woke up, I was alone.”

05
Jan
09

Leaving Home For Good – Family Snapshot

The Grocery Cart #2

The Grocery Cart #2, originally uploaded by neocles.

My mother, Efrosini Serafimidis, will be 90 years old this month. For the last five years she has been living down the street from us in a little one bedroom apartment. We moved her up here to Albany from Fresno and the home in which she had lived for over 30 years. I was resistant to moving her at the time, but my cousins insisted it was necessary. It is not easy for a person in their 80’s to switch gears like that. She still complains bitterly everyday about this place, and I think she still is a little resentful towards me on that count. But she did okay for two or three years.

The last couple years have been increasingly challenging. She has had a hip replacement and big surgery on a broken elbow. Also, she has been pretty lonely during the days when we are at work, and the lack of interaction and stimulation has taken a toll on her.

The next move is now necessary. This month, Effie will be going to a board and care facility somewhere nearby. It is going to be hard to do, and the transition is going to be a struggle, I’m sure. But her hips are not holding her up very well, and she is suffering from some dementia. She has wandered off a couple times, but her incredible luck with coming across non-Greek-speaking people who are charmed by her old-country, head-scarved, four-foot-ten-inch figure has held up. Each time we got her back none the worse for the wear.

Of course, Sarah and I both work full time, and have a five-year-old to attend to. And living in the Bay Area has its own challenges. So, I would not say I have been an overly conscientious caregiver, but nonetheless, I see her and give her her meds almost every day, try to keep her reasonably safe and fed, bring her back and forth to my home, clean her apartment, pay her bills, take care of her legal and financial matters, manage the renting of the family home in Fresno, and so on.

Chief among the challenges of moving her to a care facility is going to be the dissolving of her apartment home and figuring out what to do with all the things in it. We got rid of a lot of stuff when we moved her to Albany. But a lot of stuff is still packed away in her apartment. I am very nostalgic about these things and have a tough time just trashing them even though they are otherwise pretty worthless.

In response to all this I am planning a photo series. Right now the idea is simple snapshot-like photos of, basically, every object in her apartment. Where possible, descriptions will accompany the photos. Eventually, the series will include photos of each and every object I still have from my parents. I may be an old man myself by the time I finish.

04
Jan
09

Purple Nova at the French School

    

Purple Nova at the French School, originally uploaded by neocles.

I noticed the purple Nova while biking to work one morning. The intense color caught my eye. I took a couple shots, and I noticed right away on the camera that the color was not as bright and not as purple in the image. This was true on the computer as well, and I sort of forgot about it for a while. I didn’t think it would amount to much.

A couple weeks later, I started fooling around with the post-processing work on it, and got something I rather liked. I eventually uploaded something to flickr, and it suddenly turned out to be one of the more interesting and popular things I’d produced in awhile. (Bear in mind that I measure these metrics in small fractions of what most flickr pop stars do, so my data set is pretty limited. Nonetheless it seems meaningful to me!) I guess the moral of the story is that you can never tell what is going to resonate with people. At least I can’t.

14
Nov
08

Night Rambler 5

Night Rambler 5, originally uploaded by neocles.

It showed up one day earlier this week. It sat quietly over to the side minding its own business, not making a peep. I went by once and noticed it immediately, but I, too, didn’t say anything. Life is like that a lot these days. One makes mental notes and tries to find them later amid the clutter of scraps of paper, children’s toys, empty wine bottles, and job postings.

I went by again and the tug was more insistent; the mental note came floating down from the rafters, landed in plain view. For two days I shuffled it to the top of the stack of other mental notes.

Sarah had noticed it sitting there and said something to me about it. Tuesday night it was still there when I left the house to run the errand in another note. I threw my tripod in the car on my way to get milk.

On the way back home, i went by again. This time I stopped. I didn’t care that it was night. The moon was almost full. The golden convertible gleamed in the cocktail glow of moonlight and sodium vapor.

It was accidental at the time, brought about by the time constraints of modern suburban living. But these two great tastes taste great together: suburban neighborhood car photography, and night photography.

21
Oct
08

a poem for our times

The Coil and the Supplicant

The Coil and the Supplicant, originally uploaded by neocles.

The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

William Butler Yeats

04
Jun
08

The Junked Edsel and the Biodiesel Carnival Bread Truck

Last Friday, May 30, while biking to work, I stopped to take some quick shots of this junked Edsel parked off Murray St. just west of 9th in Berkeley. I rode through the empty lot, which is essentially an old railroad right-of-way, and set my bike down against the curb. This was far enough back to not have it appear in the shots I was taking. Near the bike was a large white pickup truck parked at the curb.

I had taken just a few shots and had my back to my bike taking the shot above. That is when I heard a loud snapping and crunching sound. I turned around to see the big white pickup running over my bike!

The truck, from Berkeley Unified, pulled over, and the driver got out. He looked pretty surprised himself, saying, “Jesus, that scared the hell out of me.” He apologized and was generally nice about the whole thing, as was I. I was too stunned to be angry or to even take a picture of it, if you can believe that.

The driver said, “That’s the problem with these big diesels, you can’t see right down in front of you.” My bike was a ways out in front of him, so I am not quite sure how he missed seeing it. Maybe he did but misjudged the location as pulled away from the curb.

We exchanged numbers and he drove off, leaving me to assess the damage. Fortunately, he only got part of it, mostly the handle bars. Most of what’s up there was crushed to bits: bell, light, gear shift, brake handle The bars, gooseneck (do they still call them that) and the seat are pretty bent up too. Surprisingly, the rest of it was in good enough shape that I could slowly ride it to work and home again. A professional inspection will tell what shape the frame is in.

Hopefully, I will be able to get the issue settled and bike repaired so I can get back to saving fuel, money, and greenhouse gases. And shooting more commute shots from the safety of the sidewalk.