Old Box #12: You Will Own Nothing Unless You Own A Camera And Enough Obelisks to Make A Hi Res (Rise) Picket Fence

Protect me, Dear Camera, for these are scary times, times that develop so fast no library pigeon will visit the fountain of stop bath between the old and new wing, everyone in the sculpture garden imitating one of Henry Moore’s organic, bronze gobs. A mind like one of Calder’s mobile’s, skeletal. Wire hanger optimism. You’re an artist. You know what I’m talking about. It’s scary out here. I ain’t religious but I got a landlord with a sword mightier than the next fraud. Dress the part, finger on the side of your face like one of Rodin’s Thinkers, only more interested in the photo album of life including political scandals that involve cameras. A White House intern, Salgado was right there near Reagan when those shots were fired. I am near a library, so many hungry, so many homeless.

My intellectual property is figurative. Yours, abstract. Thus, I was surprised to see Antonino, a fiction (himself) within a fiction sitting on a park bench across from a tennis court with his back to the bay reading, of all things, Cortazar’s “Blow-Up.” For his film, Antonioni changed the protagonist named from Roberto Michel to Thomas. The irony starched me. Inside, I steamed but there was a boy and a girl in the water conjuring spirals. It was one of those days when the waft from the public bathrooms was more fragrant than the bay so the last thing I wanted to do was plan or agree to anything. All I wanted was to close my eyes and experience the photographs (I had yet to take) as they flipped by. My cameras are so old no one thinks they can be hurt by them. Antonino sounds like Antonioni, but I refuse to climb inside and unpack that without a magnifying prism and a crank handle.

Electronic Leak Detection Agent / St. Petersburg, Florida / TSE / 2019

Easily influenced by literature, Antonino purchased a Contax and started wearing ascots. He liked to keep it on when he posed for nude drawing classes. Twice he brought along a tripod and used the self-timer to make images of himself as he was being reimagined in pencil. The square, gummy erasers were his favorites. It was the only time in his life when he felt Roman, and he was proud of it. I am supposed to be taking photographs and here I am reading again, daydreaming again, and surrendering to the mental text born of someone else’s literary invention. Soon there will be some kind of hero’s journey disguised as the fire that precedes the silence of a studio visit, a narrative of loosely knit non sequiturs, delicate criticism. I can imagine anything i want. Wise of you to come here just for the pictures, no need to unfurl all of synonyms in Caesar’s syntax, no need to resist the opportunity of becoming a real fiction.

GiGi, the Aquarian / St. Petersburg, Florida / TSE / 2022

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