Sunday, February 14, 2016
At the age of 4 1/2, Bob remembers kissing me in the back of my mother's station wagon, my mother having gone inside to pay the electric bill. Not long after that, Bob's family moved to Albuquerque, mine staying in Santa Fe, a distance of some 60 miles. Time went by, we lived our lives, and then one day, 19 years later, he came looking for me, like a knight in a fairy tale. Reunited, we became friends, then lovers, then married some 14 years and one daughter later. A few years later we had a second daughter--this time in wedlock, much to my mother's great relief.
From the beginning of the rekindling of our "romance", Bob has been the subject of a multitude of images that I've done of him over the years. I've done strange things to him, photographing him when he was asleep, watching TV, raking leaves in the nude, or simply sitting on the couch sewing, then transforming these photographs into any number of images with titles like "Two Men Inside their Mother", "Stolen Snake" or "Man Waiting to be Held". One of the biggest pleasures in my working day is when I'm done with a piece and get to watch his face when I show him in his latest incarnation. He will stand in front of the painting, face serious, not saying anything. Then he will began to nod ever so slightly, and finally he will say ¨that's great". The last thing is that he'll smile his lovely, warm, big smile that lets me know how pleased he is, once again, that I've turned a photograph into something unexpected and wonderful.
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
January 13, 1999. I was there to help welcome him into the world, staying with my sister, Melisa and her husband Mike, to be that extra set of hands you need when you have a new baby and a toddler on hand. As the years rolled by, we would only see him and the rest of his family sporadically, maybe once or at best twice a year, separated by mountains and plains. But we knew he was a special kid and were fascinated by this strong and enigmatic boy child. He didn't need approval, and he wasn't especially outgoing, but what he loved, he loved deeply, and what he loved most was nature and all things that existed in nature. He grew up with the usual array of dogs and cats, but also with chickens, salamanders, fish, newts, snakes, lizards, geckos, bunnies, and rats; anything he could get in an aquarium or a cage. He was like a wild animal himself: long long hair at a time when that wasn't what the other boys were doing, watchful, careful, and ever alert. Now he's just turned 17. Sky is tall, handsome, and athletic and the powerful connection he had with nature has taken a back seat to girls and sports and exams; college and a life away from his home looms on the horizon. I sense that wild connection to nature is still a part of him, but now as a ghost appendage, not as his complete and entire being.