490

490

Somewhere in Boston

Right after photo school, I worked for a time as a commercial photographer for a company in transition between analog and digital. We produced slides for corporate presentations, a precursor to Powerpoint, on hulking computers the size of washing machines, output to slide film. The original part of the company, neglected and slowly dying, did conventional analog photography with an amazing ancient wooden 16×20 camera with shutterless lenses, mounted on huge rails, and more conventional studio shots. We had one client who built syntervac (sp?) furnaces, which I never knew what they were. Large custom on-off items which I photographed on the factory floor. I used a lovely old wooden Deardorf 8×10 camera, painting the fill-in light with a lightbulb mounted in a sort of a cake pan. Primitive, and I had no idea what I was doing, lucky that I managed to get useable exposures. I had plenty of free time to play in the basement studio with cameras and lights. I made liberal use of all the “free” slide film and processing, and spent many a lunch “hour” wandering The Fenway shooting slides (see above). When I left after two years, I managed to abscond with a WW2-era Linhof field camera and a few lenses (which I foolishly sold). So ended my one brief foray into professional photography.

I’m on the Instagram!: @harvinstephis

Advertisements

474

474, Montreux

From the boardwalk along Lake Geneva in Montreux.

I don’t seem to take the standard tourist photos when I travel. Then I get home and wish I had. The boardwalk was a crazy open-air market, all kinds of people and vendors. It was a treat to come from my tiny world of small-town America into an international throng in Switzerland. I didn’t do a very good job of managing street photography from a wheelchair. Next time.

Look for me on Instagram: @harvinstephis

Gravity always wins

I fell down the other day. Not so much fell as slid (gracefully, of course) from the bed to the floor, muttering through gritted teeth, “no, no, no,” all the way down. Once there, I ran through the I’ve Fallen Checklist: am I bleeding, (if yes, how much), what parts of me can I move, and is there anything right around me that I might use to get myself up off the floor. Assuming that I’m not injured, and can’t get myself up, the next question is where is my phone – my I’ve Fallen And I Can’t Get Up alarm. I don’t go ANYWHERE without it. I called Alison who was downstairs, and told her that I needed some help. I had muscled myself up on to my knees (luckily I didn’t herniate myself), but that was as far as I could go. And naturally, my spastic leg (Dragon Dictate wants to say, “spaz stick.”) chose this moment to freak out. We gave it a good shot, Alison and I, but we were unable to shift the Great White Whale. The 0h-0h Squad was called.

Within minutes, the Fire Chief and three strapping young men were gathered around me in my bedroom. Luckily for all of us, I had pants on. After a brief conference, they lifted me bodily off the floor onto the bed like a big baby. I heard the chief mention as they went down the hall that the last time they had rescued me Alison had made some cookies for them. She assured them that she’d carry on that tradition. Gotta keep the Oh-Oh Squad happy.

Aside from the humiliation of the predicament, I was left with a lingering sense of helplessness, that, if left unchecked, would spread in all directions, like an inflamed nervous system. A fall like that, brought on simply by the force of gravity overpowering my inability to resist it, can happen anytime. And as undramatic as the actual fall was, finding myself on the floor unable to roll over was, if not dramatic, at least sobering. I’ve been sobered like that before, and I vowed then as I did this time to be more vigilant of exactly where I am in space and where the tipping point is. Vigilance and the admonition to Be Careful are good things to keep in mind, but they only go so far. And in the end, gravity always wins. I need to put that on a T-shirt.

The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law outlines 10 Reasons People with Disabilities Should Oppose Judge Kavanaugh’s Nomination:
He is a threat to your health care.
He would allow the President to wield dangerous power.
He is dismissive of the fundamental rights of people with disabilities.
He won’t protect the rights of workers with disabilities.
He would narrow the protections of civil rights laws.
He promotes school voucher programs that leave students with disabilities without key protections.
He discounts the role of the administrative agencies that enforce your rights.
He would allow states to impose restrictive voter ID laws.
He imposes barriers for people seeking justice in courts.
He will not fairly protect the rights of all people, including people with disabilities.

Write, call, tweet, pester your senators now.

101

100

Claire, 1983, Boston

This image is from a small body of work (pardon the pun) that I put together as a final Master Work for NESOP in Boston. I had never worked with a model, clothed or not, or worked in a studio, and this was Clare’s first time modeling – clothed or not. I invited her into the school’s studio to see what we could find. I think we worked well together, and she went on to work with me on the entire project that included nudes, still lifes and landscapes in medium format and infra-red. Sadly, most of those images were lost. I graduated with honors, thanks in no small part to Clair.