We had a spat the day before his grandfather died. He didn't do anything wrong, he just did something I didn't like and I had a right proper sulk about it at the time. Towards the end of the next day, during a moment of quiet, I apologized. He shushed me, tried to say it was all his fault, and when I called him on it, told me to shush because he was trying to make me feel better. Even then, when everything's gone pear-shaped, he's still trying to make me feel better.
Fast forward a few days to last night, when a family member of mine (whose fucked up opinions still have the power to affect me negatively despite my knowledge of their fucked-upness) decided to go through most of my 365 photos thus far and systematically tell me:
A. why none of them were as good as they could have been,
B. how for several of the days, I'd taken a better shot (more accurately: a less bad shot) than the one I'd chosen to upload and that I should've chosen better, and
C. how I was a cold and unfeeling person for uploading a shot that my father happens to be standing in. Not a shot of my father, but a shot where he walked into the frame when I only had time for one take. I knew he wouldn't mind, and in light of this family member's sanctimonious bitching concern, I showed him the photo today and he shrugged and said "You can't see my face anyway, so who cares?" (Later, I mentioned this to said family member and she proceeded to say lots of charming things like "but you can see his shape *here she makes a hand gesture indicating fatness* and his saggy old man clothes!" Yeah. And she thinks I'm being mean to him by uploading a photo where he's standing 40 feet away from the camera? I dun think so.
But anyway, the conclusions were that I'm a bad person. And I have no eye for composition, and know nothing about art and have no artistic vision or imagination. And the few details she did like in my photos? She compliments the greatness of my camera. Pointing out that she couldn't get those results with my camera only got me a huffy reply that it's clearly the camera + knowing how to operate the controls that's the key to getting photos equal to or better than mine.
It was rough. Really rough. And frustrating because, even though I know she has pretty crap knowledge/taste in photographs, I still feel raked over the coals when I want so desperately just to not care. After she left I stared at my 365 like it was a tainted thing. It felt defiled. I felt defiled. The joy of the project was, at least at that moment, completely gone.
About 5 minutes after that, Oisin gets home (7:45am his time) after 4 hours of travel, and immediately logs onto skype. Without me saying a word other than a somewhat glum "hi," he's already checking flickr to see what photo I'd uploaded for the previous day. It'd been the last photo to be dissected for its flaws (and they were legion) less than 10 minutes earlier.
With him, if he doesn't like something, he'll let me know clearly and pretty quickly. But he immediately starts telling me how interesting it is, and how much he likes it, and I can hear the truth of it in his voice.
After a couple minutes' conversation, I tell him about what had just happened, and -even though he'd been up since 3am, even though he'd traveled several hours, even though he'd just come home from a funeral- he decided that right that moment was a fine time to go through every single photo I'd uploaded and give me proper, in depth feedback on each one. And in the process he he reclaimed my project for me, purged it of all the negativity and harsh criticism, unfair attacks, and resentment that'd been heaped upon it.
No, he doesn't love every photo I take, but neither do I. And when I love a photo he doesn't, he marks it down to different taste, not to my inferiority as an individual or as an "artist". And I didn't choose her, but I get to chose him. And I choose him again every day.
Clicking the photos to see them in a larger size will make you a better person. And a Nigerian prince will send you a miracle check guaranteed to increase your size and firmness. True story, the internets told me so.
And tomorrow, if you're really, really lucky, I will not give you details of today's conversation that re-confirmed that I'm dating the most ridiculously amazing male creature. But let's face it, you're probably not anywhere close to being that lucky.
Not only is it a really well-made documentary, it's the saddest thing I have ever watched. Previous contenders were The House of Sand and Fog. which was then replaced by Hotel Rwanda and Sometimes in April, which are both about the Rwandan genocide. Scripted tragedy like Sand and Fog doesn't really stand up to the power of real heartbreak.
And then Dear Zachary came along, and it is beyond real. It is... well, "heartbreaking" is so overused a word now, so trite that I don't quite think you'd get that watching it felt like something inside me was breaking too. That twisting, wrenching sensation in the chest/stomach that you get when you know things are going wrong in a terrible way, when life all of a sudden stops making sense, in the most tragic ways possible.
I was not a crier before this film, and I certainly won't be after, because my tear ducts have now officially quit.
Just right there, I was going to make a joke, was going to say they were filing a restraining order against me, but just thinking about that in context of the documentary made my stomach go a little cold. Maybe today is not the day for jokes. Maybe today is the day you hug those you love tightly. Today is the day you maybe cry a little at the senselessness of the world and the outdated, slow, and impotent legal system that every first-world country possesses. And today is the day you think that sometimes citizens might have the right to meet out justice when their government fails them, fails the ones they love, and fails everyone else in the process. Today is the day that the most staunch liberals consider, even just briefly, the idea that owning a gun might just come in handy. The day that athiests desperately wish there was an alm that could give protection, a tithe to be made, a candle to be lit that could ensure such tragedy would never touch their own lives.
But owning a gun won't help. Saying a prayer won't help. Because if there were things that could be done to prevent such senseless tragedy, it wouldn't be senseless, and it wouldn't be tragedy.
I don't know, I don't think I can speak eloquently about this movie right now, my entire body feels like a thousand pulsing raw nerves. I am not a crier. And maybe you aren't a documentary watcher. Maybe you don't like things that don't have that classical American-style happy ending. Maybe it's just not your thing. But maybe today just isn't like every other day, maybe today shouldn't be like every other day. Maybe today you'll watch it. And maybe you won't.
But today, if nothing else, say "I love you" just a little more often. Hug just a little tighter, have just thirty seconds more patience with the frustrations of loved ones, and laugh just a little more, a little louder, and with a little more joy.
I'm going to do a 365 project. Which isn't any nonsense involving cycles of the sun/earth/astrophysics things, as your foolish teachers have taught you to believe. It is, in fact, an online project to take a (decent) photo-a-day for an entire year, and to post them to flickr every day, the day that you take them. It's a photographic challenge, a challenge to artistic persistence and perseverance, a challenge to fight apathy and procrastination. Or possibly just boredom.
I don't do well with long-term projects, I'm more of a sprinter- a short burst of energy then I'm onto the next thing. So this will be challenging in many ways, but I've wanted to do this project for so long, and this is my first new year's (the traditional starting day) with a decent enough camera. So here we go. To my future 365-self, I say goodluck, and get off your lazy ass.
I probably won't post much about the project here, but each day's photo will have its own page on my flickr. They will also appear in my lil flicker widget thingy on the side of this blog as well. That way --->>>
But because I like you, you get today's photo on the house. ^_~