Category Archives: Aging

issues, fears concerns about aging

The Passion Of Mythic Gods

Wow a morning and afternoon completely free with nothing scheduled!!!  It feels like months since I have had a window like this open.  The only thing I have to get done today is my posting for the day on here.  The ground outside is now frozen and winter in Montana becomes very slow for business that allows me time to focus on my creative endeavors.  This is the time of year I get to shut myself into the studio and just focus.  Shooting and the website will become the heart of what I do all winter.  I love to make soups in the winter and fill the space with savory smells and invite others into the space to work on new concepts and ideas.  I haven’t even had a chance to think about where I want to go next.  I know the website will become a major focus as we begin to hone and refine it.   I have begun to order some new books on male nude art, with a focus on painting.  I have now proven myself as a photographer and now need to focus on images that get more to the heart of who I am.  Topics I am most interested in are Greek and Roman mythology and I see how powerful its influence has been on so many other artists.  What is it about these images that are so deeply connect to us?  Is it the classic beauty or the actual myth that tugs at our heart that we want to identify with?  I am particularly drawn to the theme of Orpheus, the idealism of intoxicating music that lulls us and being so captivated by another that he is willing to risk going to hell in order to retrieve it.  It has been in my head for years and how we tell this story is not entirely clear yet, but is worthy of exploration.  I am quite surprised that this is a story that has not been reworked for cinema.  The theme is universal and captivating.  It seems we all live in an era of loss, a time where we all search for desire and to be connected to something we want to love.  We forget how beautiful and poetic life becomes as we begin to build barriers to encase and surround ourselves.  I know I have.  It seems life becomes more of a struggle just to maintain a normal existence.  The theme of loss of a part of oneself and what we need to do the recover it fascinates me and basically has become the primary focus of this year.  As an aging man, I want and need to revisit what was once vital to my youth.  But is seems the darkness of life surrounds and often shrouds us locking us into a protective barrier that we often cannot overcome and so we become stuck in a place we may not necessarily be comfortable or even happy.  Though I have lived a creative life most of my adult life has remained hidden behind this curtain.  Now that I have reached this place of comfort and security within my own self I begin to ponder, why did it take me so long to get here?  What was I really so afraid of for so long that held me back?  My life has certainly not been easy, but then I know neither has anyone else.  I am beginning to think our plight is to struggle with finding meaningful existence, yet I remember a time when I was so idealistic and my dreams wider then the ocean.  Now I have crossed those oceans and the idealistic dreams are back.  But it feels there is a huge hole or gap in the middle of my life filled with loss fueled by uncertainly and loss.   I think this erodes at the core of our self-expression and breeds doubt.  I think it is the mythology of hero that surpass the insurmountable odds that become so iconic and perhaps this is what mysteriously draws us to emulate them.  It’s defiantly worth of the exploration.

The Changing of a Season

It’s official, it’s the first day of winter in Montana, and I woke up this morning to see the trees above my bed, through the skylights covered in a blanket of white snow. To me this signifies the turn of the season as this also signifies the turning point of another phase of my life and existence as an artist. The chosen sampling of galleries for the website were finished last night and many of the bugs worked out through out the day so it will be officially up and running tomorrow morning. I am cleaning up link adding articles, and getting the blog transferred over today. Wow what a trip this has been!!!!! A peaceful calm is settling into my body this morning as I ride the edge of nervous energy of anticipation. I remember this feeling well from my days of working in the theater. It’s the dress rehearsal right before the show opens, when you know everything is in place and you are ready for the audience to see the production and you are just tweaking and refining the details. In a sense my entire life has been a production of some sort. As a kid I was always producing something. I think back to my brothers and cousins and all those shows I made them create in the barnyard on summer eves when we were little kids, they some how always believed in my crazy ideas and followed my strange endeavors. Will I always be this creative? Probably so, organizing the senior citizens in what ever center I end up in our scooter carts creating some sort of show.

I finally got a good night’s sleep last night and sleep in this morning. The truth is I feel like I could sleep for a week.

It’s game day in Missoula and I am still not feeling too well from the nasal thing that I have been fighting all week and so I have opted to stay home and watch the game on television, bummer. Though today’s image isn’t naked, I have to be with the Montana Grizzles in spirit so I am posting some images I took a few weeks back so I can feel like I can be there in spirit. Now that I think about it I feel like the Griz players about to emerge into the arena through the cloud of smoke to a stadium of avid and adorning fans. GO GRIZ!!!!!

The good news is I am catching up with myself and getting all the stuff done around the house that I have been neglecting for the past week.

Looking back to the Beginning

The coldness is beginning to set in, which indicates that I am coming full circle on the project. It began in the dead of winter and now, as I begin to feel winter come upon me, I realize this project has followed me through a complete cycle of my life. Yesterday I hit three hundred posts through the process of a year. I am beginning to look back through all I have written and created over those three hundred days, for some of the most interesting points to start to somehow work them into the new website. Although I was not sure where I was going in the beginning with this project, I knew I really wanted to go there. Now the goal seems clear and vividly laid out before me. I have never had such clarity in my life. The year began with so much doubt and a real fear of becoming lost or fading into oblivion – the fear of a man dying without ever having accomplished his greatest dream. This project has become the journal of that dream. The daily struggle and exploration in finding myself and the discovery of light, beauty, desire and art. What seemed a daunting task in the beginning now seems to have become a way of existence. I honestly didn’t think I would make it this far. I kind of expected I would end the year in disappointment, having realized what a failure my life had become, and would somehow have to jump off the Madison Street bridge into the cold icy waters in the middle of a cold winter night. But the opposite has now happened. Through the course of this year I have mended all the old wounds and have examined my life in such detail – some of it interesting, some not. I have come to the conclusion that what I have lived and experienced is relatable to so many others I have encountered along the way. I have confronted and made sense of all the nonsense of life amongst the shadows. The new website is really a gift to others who have helped me along this journey. It becomes not just a look at myself, but an examination for others who also live creative lives of desperation. To live in our time and our culture and become a creative soul seems daunting if not near impossible. It seems the world is stacked against us. I am an older man and do not seek fame or glory at this stage in my life, but look for relevance and meaning that has allowed me to live such a daunting existence. Today I feel I’ve crossed into a new arena of my life – one that is filled with possibility and hope and yes, desire. I guess it could be “It’s A Wonderful Life” syndrome – being able to see beyond oneself and find what is truly remarkable about one’s seemingly meager existence. Does everyone look back and say this is the sum of what I have become? I know the struggle is the same for all of us. I guess this is why I am so drawn to art, literature, movies and photography. I see that my seemingly rough life of living on the outside has been extraordinary and filled with a rich wonder. Today I feel lucky.

Our Perceived Remembrance of Things Past

Glenn and Forest didn’t arrive back in Missoula until about 11:00 last night. It was so good to have him home again. It’s amazing the things we for get about each other after such an absence. I think in may ways we always think of the people we love by the way we remember meeting them, thinner, younger, so filled with passion and energy. We remember that look in their eye and the way they first look at us those first couple of weeks when we fall in love. Perhaps this is just life in general. A remembrance of our mothers, fathers, brothers, and other people who become important in our lives. I think sometimes we don’t really see the people who what they actually are and just project the impression we want to believe or remember about them. My mother passed away about 6 years ago from a prolonged illness of self-abuse and smoking. She died fairly young, and when she passed she looked like a very old woman, most people would have guessed twenty years beyond her actual age. I ran across a file of images of her in those later years and I barely recognized her. It’s not what I remember. I feel fortunate because my mother was wonderful in my youth and gave us so much love, and yes often to the point of suffocation as a teen. I always thought my mother looked so much like Ingrid Bergman, with such a lovely warm personality and my father like a very young Charles Heston. So we are the offspring that what those two’s love children would have looked like if they had gotten together. I digress. Needless to say I had a strange night and tossing and turning getting used to new stranger in my bed. He was so tired he fell asleep instantly and snoring commenced, I don’t ever really remember snoring before. But this morning was bliss as I had the warmth of his soft body snuggled against me and all those old feelings came flooding back and I realized this was really what I missed the most. His smile as he looked over at me and said “Good Morning Sunshine” as he has done for the past fourteen years and I knew he was finally home. Today’s image is of Glenn, I searched all day to use for yesterday and finally found it this morning.

I love this quote from the opening of Tennessee Williams play The Glass Menagerie:
“The scene is memory and therefore nonrealistic. Memory takes a lot of poetic license. It omits some details; others are exaggerated, according to the emotional value of the articles it touches, for memory is seated predominantly in the heart. The interior is therefore rather dim and poetic”

I guess you could say most of my imagery is therefore rather dim and poetic for I know it is seated predominantly in my heart.

A 20-something Experience

I was invited to a party last night for one of my 20-something model’s boyfriend’s birthday. I was hesitant not sure I should go, because I knew I would be completely out of place. But this is a kid that I have really connected with in the studio and we have always gotten extremely good images. And, he had emailed me a couple of times throughout the week inviting and reminding me so I felt like I had to at least make an appearance. When I arrived on the street there was no place to park, it was dark and I was not quite sure where I was actually going? So I parked and walked with a case of beer in search of the place. It was easy to find because of the music and I could hear the chatter of people. It was a small apartment with not much furniture jammed full of people, young 20-somethings everywhere. I ran into Shey, the birthday boy as soon as I came through the door and delight filled his face as he gave me a warm hug and was glad that I had actually shown up. He quickly found George, his boyfriend who also came to welcome me. I opened a beer and guzzled it down and began to take in my surroundings. It was a lower level, possibly two-bedroom apartment, with festive decorative stuff strewn all about the room for the occasion. I quickly began to recognize many faces I had only seen on line or had occasionally chatted with on Facebook. Everyone seemed to be filled with such a drunken happiness. Suddenly, I felt like I was transported back in time perhaps thirty years earlier and as I began to mingle and fit into this 20-something crowd, I really began to realize how much out of touch I had grown from this generation. What became even more apparent was how much my photography does not fit into or with the group of subjects, that I am trying to really explore. Everyone has always entered my world and mostly seen what I am doing from my perspective. I began to look at images on cell phones of parties and postures and gestures that were fun, alive and full of energy. Even George, who I adore photographing, seem to have such life working the crowd. Why don’t I capture that? That is the vitality of youth! It suddenly smacked me right in the face that I truly am not capturing the essence of these kids at all. I still love to beauty of what I do, and I have a greater appreciation for them wanting to enter my world but I realize what a hermit I have become in my own mind. How my vision may not extend beyond myself at all, and how much I love in my memory. Hence this blog project, I guess. To enter a Spartan world of the 20-something kids, and see their lives filled with such joy, to live in such humble settings, I see how much I have grown over the past so many years and what has brought me to this place. My studio is a luxury place by comparison. How did I suddenly get here? Is it just the years of accumulation of stuff, of refining, defining, and the orchestration of life? I have always seen myself as a minimalist. I had very little when I lived and worked on the road. I prided myself on being able to live out of one suitcase. Didn’t have a car for a long time, didn’t need one. The process of growth has been enormous as the simplicity has disappeared. I am so lucky to be exactly where I am even as I try to awkwardly try to explain the means of my existence to strangers in a crowd where most of them are struggling in the end to just get by. As I crawled into my big comfortable bed with soft linens and down pillows I felt satisfied that I had ventured into that unknown, that my life has been well earned.