Curtis has asked that I take one and only one image a day with my cell phone “as though each day you only have one frame remaining on a roll of film”. Many days I felt that I was trying to shoot off that one last frame so that I could get a roll developed only to be followed later by seeing a wealth of images that I wished had taken instead.
1/26/2010 I found myself walking to Starbucks for a cup of coffee, during the break of East Asian photography and video. I kept looking up at the moon that evening, as it seemed to play with the buildings surrounding me. Over the past few years, I have grown weary of taking pictures of buildings in my personal practice, as that was what I was doing at work. I just felt like there was something special about the moon and its light that night. I kept seeing the moon peeking out here or hiding itself there. The images I wanted to take were similar to the image that I had taken earlier in the day for this project except that the night sky had grown black and the buildings were glimmering with light.
1/27/2010 I found myself in Chelsea that afternoon and kept finding images that I wanted to take. I think the one I missed taking the most was one of a fire extinguisher against a white wall. I had just finished reading chromophobia and, as I made my way through several galleries, I kept thinking about the white walls that we put our art on. It made me think about all the other objects hanging on those white walls. The picture was simple — the extinguisher hanging on a sheet of drywall in the corner of a stairwell. The corner was created where the drywall met the white painted brick of the exterior wall. The bricks thrust forward about 6 inches or about the thickness of the fire extinguisher and then turned again away, following the plane of the drywall. The extinguisher was framed so nicely and was just hanging there waiting to be used. It was hanging the same way the art had been hung on the walls of the galleries.
1/28/2010 the image that I made on this day with my cell phone was one that I had seen often for much of my life. I found myself having dinner at Grey’s Papaya — eating a staple snack of UWS high school students. As I ate my recession special (2 hot dogs with sauerkraut and an orange drink.) I could not decide which image I wanted to take to remind myself of this moment and many other moments like it. Should I take a picture of the view looking out to find the apple clock over the intersection of 72nd street to discover what time it was. Alternatively, was the picture going to be my 2 hotdogs as they sat on a small white paper plate surrounded by a mustard yellow counter with a small white styrofoam cup sitting right next to them. The missed picture was the food one; as I realized that I am never quite happy with the images I take try to take of food.
1/29/2010 so I almost forgot today, I found myself in a cab riding home at 11:30 without having taken an image. Sitting in the back of the cab, I realized that I wanted a picture of my ride but also realized that using the flash could bother my driver. I have always wanted to take a night picture of the back of a cab driver’s head, with the meter centered at the bottom of the frame and a view of the drive going by. Even if the view were a little blurry, the lack of focus would add to the image, reminding me of all the drunken rides home sitting in the back of a cab late at night. There is something special to me about a drunken ride home in a NYC cab. Having grown up in NYC, I knew that it was always able to avoid a drunk driving experience, by raising a hand and finding a ride for you or any friends who might have had too much that night.
1/30/2010 at this point I realized how limited I felt when I had to use my camera phone to take pictures. There was a picture that I wanted to take but realized that without the “bells and whistles” of a SLR (or as I might call it actual control over exposure), I was not going to get the image that I wanted. This evening I was walking up 6th avenue heading to the gym when I saw a bike chained up to a street sign. There was something about the bike sitting there with the helmet attached to the lock that I wanted to capture. After looking at my phones screen and discovering that this camera just could not get the focus right and that the on-board flash could not quite get the lighting right, I decided to just keep walking.
2/1/2010 once again the image that I did not take has reference in the one that I did take. The image that was not taken was one of my bathroom sink. For some reason, I was obsessed by shaving cream as a young child. I am sure the reason is linked to watching my father shave in the morning. Actually, I am quite sure this must be a common obsession since my three-year-old nephew received a toy shaving kit for Christmas. On the other hand, I have now grown a beard when I grew tired of the daily shave, and did not see the point of continuing it. I started with a constant Don Johnson look but, when all the partners and art directors at the company where I worked did the same, I realized it was time to grow a beard. Now instead of the shaving cream and hair that you usually find in a man’s sink, you will now find just dry clipped hair from trimming my beard. I know it is a trade off but I only have to trim once every a couple of weeks, not once every day. I was hoping to take a picture of this mess in my sink and compare it to the remains of shaving, but I realized that this image was just plane gross, and cleaned up the mess instead.