Life comes with markers, big and small: birthdays, anniversaries, first times and lasts times. We count schools, jobs, children, spouses, accomplishments, wins and losses. There are shared celebrations and shared tragedies. These marked experiences permeate the stories we tell.
Over the years I have been constructing a visual memoir using many of these markers in photographs, photo essays, artist’s books and print on demand books. In this current but on-going series of self-portraits, “Little Procedures*,” I use a new marker.
Life is full of little procedures. Some start early in life, others creep up on us as the years build. There’s the haircut, hair dye, facial, massage, manicure, pedicure, waxing, threading, shaving, drilling and cleaning. There are medical tests, mammograms, pap smears, colonoscopies, bone density tests, X-rays, blood tests and urine tests. There are tubes, ointments, cups, pipettes, clamps, lights, diagrams, X-rays, johnnies, pasties, towelettes, lights, scales, tape and gauze.
Using a camera with a twistable view screen, I am able to compose my self-portraits and take them in the midst of the procedures. I present the photographs in a small format, 3″x4″, to maintain the intimacy of the subject itself and to suggest an intimate sharing of my experience with the viewer.
“little procedure” is a direct result of a Billy Crystal one-minute monologue in “City Slickers” where he tells a class of fourth-graders that life goes by fast.
- In your teens you think you can do it all and you do.
- Your twenties are a blur.
- In your thirties you raise your children; make a little money and think to yourself – what happened to my twenties?
- In your forties you grow a little pot-belly; you grow another chin;
the music grows too loud.
- In your fifties you’ll have a minor surgery, you’ll call it a procedure
but it’s a surgery.
- In your sixties, you’ll have a major surgery, the music is still loud but it’s okay because you can’t hear it anyway.
- In your seventies, you and the wife will retire to Fort Lauderdale. You’ll start eating dinner at 2 in the afternoon, you’ll have lunch at 10, breakfast the night before; spend most of your time wandering around malls looking for the ultimate soft yogurt and muttering how come the kids don’t call.
- In your eighties you’ll have a major stroke; you’ll end up babbling to some Jamaican nurse your wife can’t stand but you’ll call ‘Mama’.
- Any Questions?