Watching the sea from a quiet place…

I am sitting here on Paros, in a small cafe called ‘Pebbles’.  The sun is out and sky is full of big, puffy white clouds.  It is chilly and windy so the large picture windows frame the blue Aegean, the scattering of small islands and the tip of the peninsula across the bay.  Near the tip, where the rocks meet the sea is a small church.  The blue dome is darker than the pale blue sky above it.  It is the Church of Agios Fokas whose name day is September 22.  I am not sure what he is the saint of, or why he was martyred, if at all, or what miracle he performed.

I have only a small amount of work to finish in the darkroom.  Two more re-prints tonight and then I can begin the selenium process. After that I can matte the 13 pieces that will go into the flip file at the student show on December 9th and choose the one piece to hang.  I am pleased with the results and believe they show great skill, craft and an elevation of the commonplace to a higher status.

My digital work seems to be at a standstill with six finished pieces of the twelve I wish to complete.  Truthfully I am waiting to hear what the Director’s decision will be on nude figure studies among the students.  I still feel as if I have been discriminated against either due to my age, gender or sexual orientation (which is indeterminate-love is love and should follow no gender.)  To be honest, I have no desire to photograph anyone nude anymore and my current work does not contain any examples of this milieu.  A few days ago another student shot a nude figure study with a female student and for all I know this has been sanctioned by the head office.  I applaud his work for I feel that this an art school and this kind of work should exist and continue to be a part of the process.  It is not a cloistered convent or monastery.  I feel sad about the turn of events for I feel that my future here on Paros hinges on the decision to come.  If the answer is that some can and some cannot, then I will not return in the spring and, indeed, may even leave before the student show in less than two weeks.  I am willing to admit that in the past I have made horrible and devastating moral and ethical choices.  I am also ready to stand up for the fact that in the past 10 years I have not made these kinds of choices due to radical changes in my life and lifestyle. Instead I have tried to stand firmly on a rock of honesty, willing to admit when I have been wrong and trying my best to not condemn others for their own human failings.  All of this takes a great deal of work.

So this quiet cafe overlooking the ever-changing sea is good for me today.  Keith Jarrett is on the stereo and his meditative piano blends well with the sound of the wind outside, the wash of waves on the rocks and the gradual sinking of the sun to the western horizon.  I have turned over my problems to those who can help me the most and hope that the worst is merely a figment of my imagination and that this has been just a misunderstanding.


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