I went early in the afternoon to see Robert Zuckerman’s photo exhibit. I met Robert on a movie in the early nineties. Robert is a wonderful still photographer for the movies but I especially love his personal work. What immediately struck me about him was his caring, compassionate heart. Robert sees people. He goes out of his way to make someone’s day lighter. His project Kindsight is about everyday people, the humanity in people. The moments are informal. The overall sense is one of upliftment. Check out Robert’s blog.
I’ve been working on three different projects at once. One project is my mother. This project isn’t so uplifting but I’m shooting what I am compelled to and seeing my mother is a gift for both of us. I am able to visit my mother alone which was not always the way for me. I started earnestly back in December after an emotional time. But what is becoming increasingly clear is that I always have my camera with me. The camera offers me an extra layer of protection if you will. Going to visit my mother is still not easy. But it’s not as difficult as it used to be. With my camera I am able to see beyond my naked eye. I am trying to create an emotional connection instead of the distance that I created all those decades.
I find an odd doll that has somehow ended up in tucked in her wheelchair in her room. I’ve found it once before. It’s kind a creepy plastic face and someone took the time to knit it an informal dress. My mother holds onto this doll as if it’s her child. I see how she sometimes grabs it too tightly, just like I do to my cat.
It’s not until I come home and ready myself for the downloading process that I begin to get ready to truly face my mother and myself. After the camera is plugged into the USB connection, the photos start to appear quickly before my eyes but not so fast that I don’t immediately know which photos will end up in my ongoing slide show. I have a total of thirty photos that I have shot since I began this project. I’ve watched the slide show dozens of times because of the editing process. I think “today I’m not going to cry” and I honestly believe I won’t. Because how many tears can one person shed over and over?
I’ve read that Michael Jackson always said “I love you more” after someone said “I love you”. Today when I was leaving my mother, I said “I love you” to her to which she replied “Quiero mas yo”. “I love you more” in spanish. I felt my eyes water as I walked out of her tiny room where she has lived for more than thirty years since her brain damage occurred.