In the Days Before the World Stood Still/Happy Equinox/Finding Brassai

Shop window in Gion, Kyoto, Japan featuring a Kimono for sale and hanging lanterns, taken at night

Much has happened since I posted last. In many ways, it almost seems like the world stopped. COVID-19 aka the Corona virus has brought many things to a stand-still. I won’t bore you with all of the details about what you can do, how we can cope, and the like, there’s already a host of that information out there and frankly mine would just be piling on that already full tower of babel. I will say everyone here in my little hamlet of Cedar Park seems to be holding up OK. We had some issues getting groceries and the like, but there’s still enough food to make it through and we’re not in dire straits right now.

Today is the equinox. I bet you forgot. I almost did too. Happy equinox. Happy spring! It’s so easy to forget these little things, even the happy little things, when it seems like the world is spinning out of control, isn’t it? This is the earliest spring in about one hundred years and nobody stopped to enjoy it. In many ways, that’s more sad than the dreaded virus.

For myself, I am opting to treat this COVID-19 seriously but I’m looking at ways to keep up both my spirits and my creativity. As you might know, except for the daily bike ride fodder, I no longer watch television of any sorts, including the network news. I have been watching a new (to me) season of The Amazing Race. It’s been a great distraction, with the duos recently traveling to Namibia. I enjoy watching travel shows while riding my bike, it helps make the time seem faster. This has been quite the treat for me, even if it’s a show that’s probably old to you (if you see me, please don’t tell me who wins this season, yes?) For battling COVID-19, I have opted to stick to what we’ve been told, turn off the chatter, ignore “the sky is falling” messages but pay heed to the real issues. Keeping food and supplies stocked and checking in with friends near and afar is now the new normal. Many of my friends are travel photographers, teachers, and the like, and this is starting to filter through the photo community in a big way. A lot of workshops have been canceled, classes canceled, travel opportunities both near and far have been halted, plans change. I had many friends almost stuck in Europe, some stuck in Asia still, a few in South America, and I think at least one person in Colorado who can’t get back to the west coast. Many of us are stuck at home, even if not stuck physically afar, with the four walls closing in fast. It’s a stressful time for many and trying to make the most of it can seem like an insurmountable effort at times.

A lot of folks have been getting their inner “Brassai” on by running around shooting, taking advantage of the now empty streets. Brassai was always one of my favorite photographers, I should look too to do something like this for a project while the opportunity is ripe. He used to run around and shoot empty and near empty streets of Paris at night and his images are hauntingly beautiful. If you want to check out some of my favorite Brassai, here’s a link to get you started: 

always said I was going to do some sort of a Kickstarter project called
“Finding Brassai” where I got a camera like his and tried to recreate
his classic images in modern times. Think anybody would chip in for
that? Could we do a PBS special or an Amazon streaming show? I doubt it, right? Still kind of fun to dream about. Ah, maybe
someday. Until then, there is always this opportunity of running around
the local quarantined neighborhood shooting near home instead. One of the beauties of Brassai is that, now that it’s been done in Paris, almost anybody can do it back home too.

Most folks have started trying to make the most of the time, looking for ways to enjoy the home front. I’m sure a lot of closets are getting cleaned, laundry done, and, heck, our dogs are collectively loving this time with plenty of walks and ball toss play. It’s a good time to turn off the negativity, focus inward, and refresh as nature tends to do in springtime, even if you don’t have any immediate plans to get your inner “Brassai” on as a photographer. Fellow Covidians, I hope you make the most of your time spent home, as I am trying to do and I hope you enjoy the equinox. As the seasons change, so too will this pass, right? I hope you find your Brassai, enjoy the equinox, and stay away from the dreaded COVID-19 as best you can.

Until next time…

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