Welcome to the latest installment of MFA|EDA’s 4th Friday Alumni 6Pack. This month’s dispatch is from Jeremy M. Lange from the Class of 2018. Here we go.
I have never learned to love it, as a friend told me I would when was recovering from knee surgery, but I have learned to appreciate the morning efforts, especially now. Up at 7am, out the door in 10 or 15 minutes, 30 minutes or so later, home for coffee. Physically, it does what it is supposed to, and more importantly, lends some mental clarity when I can use it most.
A New Nothing
This is a website run by Ben Alper and Nat Ward where a pair photographers carry on a conversation via the back and forth trading of photographs. One photo prompts another in response. It is a complex idea, executed simply. Below is the latest update to the conversation that Will Warasila (MFA|EDA ’20) and I have been having. It forces me to dig into my archives or go make new photographs, both of which are exercises in exploration, joy and frustration.
Soccer (and parenthood)
I play soccer with my son nearly everyday in the afternoon. We both play competitively, when the season can resume, and our time out front of the house, or solo at a park, kicking the ball around keeps us on our toes. It also adds the element of family bonding, shared interests and the humbling realization that he will very soon be, if he is not already, a far better player than I will ever be. It makes me proud and happy.
Bike riding (and marriage)
My wife and I have always ridden bikes together from the moment we met each other in Richmond, VA in 2001 up until today. Sometimes we go far, sometimes not, but we always find new things and feel the rush of freedom we found in bicycles as children return, except now we feel that rush together.
We rode today, Saturday, and her bike wasn’t quite right. When we got home I spent some time working on it, taking things apart, greasing stuff, getting dirty. My first job was fixing flat tires at Bull City Bicycles, now Maverick’s Smokehouse, sometime in the late ’80’s. I was 10 or 11 and they paid me in subs from the sandwich shop up the street, where the Federal is now. After todays’s repairs, my hands smelled like they did then, grease and oil, satisfaction.
Skateboarding (and parenthood)
Last week, my daughter asked me to go skateboarding and I hesitated. I have been skateboarding since I was 12, thirty-one years ago. It has largely formed how I view the world, how I interact with architecture and authority figures and is responsible for over 90% of my close relationships, I am close with a couple of the people I started skateboarding with. But lately, it has been harder for me to get out the door and do it. There have always been ebbs and flows, as there will be over 3 decades of doing anything, but when much of your identity is based around this thing you do, that you are, it can be really tough to see your interest wane. It makes you question who you are.
So when she asked, I balked. But she pushed back and eventually we went out, to skate down the few hills in our neighborhood. My daughter made it down the biggest one, a hill that she has previously been defeated by and riding beside her, weaving back and forth in the middle of the road, the cloud of doubt and anxiety that has covered much of our waking hours lifted. Especially now, I have to remember how much comfort items, whether it be food or skateboarding can help others, and ourselves, feel less out of whack and secure as we continue into the unknown. Never stop jumping fences.
I find humor in dark places quite frequently, and even in the face of a global pandemic, we have to remember to laugh and enjoy the life we have. In my belief system this life is all you get, so spend it with those who make you laugh and find joy where you can. I made the below photograph 3 or 4 years ago in Utah, but laughed out loud when I tripped over it on a hard drive yesterday while looking for something else. Seems far too appropriate for our current times.
What can I say? Emmet Gowin is a national treasure and I have spend a lot of time with his photographs recently. I leave you with a quote and a photograph of his and the advice to find some more…..
“This is the gift of the landscape photograph, that the heart finds a place to stand.”
Emmet Gowin, Subsidence Craters, Looking Southeast From Area 8, Yucca Flat, Nevada Test Site, 1996
Be well, stay healthy.
Next up: EB Landesberg (’13)
See you then.