“The American Dream…”
and a Mercenary Tale
I was organizing some files the other day and I came across some photos that took me back to back to a time when I was at a personal and professional crossroads. During that inbetween time of figuring out what I was leaving behind and what was next I worked as an independent contracter for a property management company. That’s a fancy way to say I managed foreclosed homes. My time at that company got me thinkng about the American Dream.
For five mercenary months I documented the failed dreams of others. I was able to keep paying my mortgage by doing biweekly and monthly inspections of homes that were forelosed by various banks. Armed with my trusty Optio X camera I shot over 25G/10,000 photos during my time as a contractor. I shot it all: from flood, to fire, to the loss of one of the main goals of the American Dream, owning a home.
It was a mix of shooting the haunted, the hallowed, the hollowed, and the abandonded. I worked to keep my little piece of the dream by being the mercenary that documented the loss of others’ dreams.
I’ve always done my best to pursue my dreams. The experience of those five months taught that all things whether corporeal like a house or ethereal like a dream come at a cost, and we have to ask ourselves if we are willing to pay the freight.
“I was not proud of what I learned but never doubted that it was worth knowing.” -Hunter S. Thompson-
“Yes, photography saved my life. Everytime I go through something scary, traumatic, I survive by taking pictures.”
“Shots in the Dark”
or Carrying a Camera in the Middle of the Night
Do you check to see if you have your camera before you have your keys when leaving the house? I’ve been carrying a camera of some sort on the daily for the better part of three decades now (I don’t consider my phone a camera, but I don’t judge those who do). Some people have a favorite subject or location when it comes to taking photographs. Other photographers long for the golden hour. I’ve always been a fan of nighttime, not just for photography, but also for reflection.
I’ve never been much of a sound sleeper. Wandering through the neighborhood at night is both a way of passing time (trying to “chase down some sleeps” as my Pops would say) and as a perfect time to find some good shots. Night is a time to reflect, to think, and to shoot (not necessarily in that order).
Time moves slower at night. There is more time to set up shots. I don’t feel so much like a tourist or a lookie loo if I linger at night (of course I have found myself being accosted by the local police on an occasion or few). But the night provides a quiet and a stillness that I’ve never found in the day. Shots taken during the day may freeze time, but shots taken at night preserve time. Daytime photographs capture a moment, but nighttime photographs embrace that moment.
If you are the type of person that carries a camera everywhere you go, then the next time you find yourself out after dark take a few moments to look around. Enjoy the time to reflect, think, and take a few shots.