Sometimes, I pass by my old haunts and am struck by the force of memory. Places I haven’t been to years or haven’t really thought about in years either. Like the parking lot beside the old bar we used to commute to, the bar itself, standing on the sidewalk with a man named L— and laughing at the speeding cars on the highway.
It’s inevitable to walk along the same stretch of road as a teenager, then as a young adult, then again because there are times you’re doomed to repeat the same things.
Sometimes I only feel like I’ve been there before even when I’m there with different people, and my head is out of it, and behold, nothing really new. This is especially true for clubs and bars. Only the music, and the prices change, and it’s always interesting to see the changes happen.
I love time lapses. A man photographs the same tree, everyday, for a year. In a similar project, the photographer splices parts of the photos together until it forms the entire tree, from winter to winter. A year-long moon in 2.5 minutes. I’ve always been drawn to photos like that. So damn cliche, because it’s easy. It’s a snapshot of a whole year, through a lens, through an object that remains relatively anchored.
Sometimes articles covering these projects mention the effort it takes to actually do the project, usually mentioning some sort of personal adversity. But I like to think about it.
Getting up from bed everyday to take that photo. The days they are maybe shaking off a bit of the flu, or a bit of a head cold before they drive to the location. Sometimes it’s raining. Sometimes, it snowing. Sometimes it’s unbearably sunny.
The quality of the light changes. There are days they drag a tarp out from the back of a car to cover the photo area because the rain is too strong for the shot. Maybe there were a few days they couldn’t bring the car, so the photographer walks there, dragging equipment along. Maybe they take the photo from the comfort of their backyard, so it’s simply a matter of setting up and brewing a pot of coffee. Maybe they trek to a riverbank, everyday, and it’s at the edge of town. I like to think about this because the sheer effort of the everyday occasionally baffles me.
If I made a photo like that there would be a lot of dead space. For the days I can’t get up. For the days I sleep all day. Where the train shakes my noisy apartment and I lie there in dirty sheets thinking maybe I’ll eat today. Or not. Where my maximum caloric intake drops to 500. Where I feel self indulgent, and horrible. Where I regret taking an apartment on the 33rd floor, because 33 is a very good number. No one can possibly survive 33 floors — the only thing stopping me is the long fall, and my fear of the afterlife. Sometimes I think there’s a hell for always being sad, a secret sub level that you earn your membership too cause you’re always too goddamn sad, or too tired, where there’s something wrong with your brain and it’s wrong just to exist, sometimes. Instead of harpies picking at you, you slowly get buried in ice, or in packing foam, a forever void, and that’s it, but the sadness never goes away. Whether or not you walk the same places everyday.