The other day I had a call from my very first friend in this world.

    She had returned to New Zealand to be with her dying father.

    I was 6 years old when I first became aware of her. Even at that age she had dimensions of personality that made the other kids in our class appear a little dull.

    We spent a childhood together.

    At 15 we became lovers.

    Perhaps a year later I left her for a poet.

    It was not my finest hour but the poet introduced me to another woman who would also become significant in my life ... and so it goes.

    The other day I had a phone call from this lover from the past.

    Her father is dying.

    She wants to give me one of his cameras ...

    I choose the Olympus Trip 35, now considered a bit of a cult film camera.

    She has it serviced and sent to me.

    "You owe me lunch." she said.

    "I do." I replied

    And then I thanked her for our shared youth together.

    It meant a lot to me.

  • One Kindred Spirit
  • Hand Colored Silver Print & Digital Image

    "After Bird Cloud (the house) was finished I knew it was a poem of landscape, architecture and fine craftsmanship when one of those yellow thunderstorms swept in near sunset with gold light spilling onto the ground and a rainbow. From the big windows I watched as the cliff went saffron as a candle flame, thunder marched around and hot lightening slammed the cliff. Pods of wind burst against the house with a side dish of chattering rain. In the east the towering bulk of the storm was a sulky purple-blue the shade of new denim, but in the west the sky was opening, showing a tender blue like the lining of an antique Chinese robe."

    Annie Proulx

    Birdcloud - A memoir


    Sartre offered a clarification about his much misunderstood phrase:

    "Hell is other people" has always been misunderstood. It has been thought that what I meant by that was that our relations with other people are always poisoned, that they are invariably hellish relations. But what I really mean is something totally different. I mean that if relations with someone else are twisted, vitiated, then that other person can only be hell. Why? Because … when we think about ourselves, when we try to know ourselves … we use the knowledge of us which other people already have. We judge ourselves with the means other people have and have given us for judging ourselves.

    As Rugnetta explains: "Hell is other people because you are, in some sense, forever trapped within them, subject to their apprehension of you."

    Early New Zealand

    How to make a Salted Print

    Step 1: Lie on your bed and stare at the ceiling.

    Step 2: Think about time as a "block" and how our movement through the "block" creates this sense of linear time. Think about the past and the future within the "block". Maybe they are in reach, like the present seems to be.

    Step 3: Continue to stare at the ceiling while the English "gentleman", scientist and inventor William Fox Talbot does all the heavy lifting, inventing and perfecting the Salted Print photographic or "photogenic drawing" process in the mid 1830's.

    Step 4: Read a book, look at photographs and imagine you are a French Count dispossessed of title and fortune and cast adrift on this ocean of time.

    Step 5: Stare at the ceiling some more while in 1923 James Smith does other heavy lifting in the Taranaki region of New Zealand, taking photos using the glass-plate negative method. Watch a foreign language film with the subtitles off.

    Step 6: Get off your bed, put on some clothes and stop drinking raw milk. You're too old to die young and tuberculosis is no longer fashionably romantic.

    Step 7: Drive to a faraway town to meet an elderly couple in a park and buy James Smith's collection of glass-plate negatives. You like parks. You photograph a park bench that has something written on it about a gentleman and his little dog.

    Step 8: On the long drive home you think about James Smith and what you learned from the elderly couple. James was a "bachelor" they said. Perhaps you already know the first negative you will print, even before you know it.

    Step 9: Time needs an observer to exist, so you exist. You are the vehicle, the machine that's passing through.

    Step 10: One Salted Print, handmade by One Kindred Spirit from a glass-plate negative by James Smith - Bachelor, Man of Many Talents.

  • One Kindred Spirit