Posted by Emily Gleeson on Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Well. I got out the old VCR recently. Don't ask me why, it's a long, sad story about the loss of free cable, broken DVD players and frustration with internet TV. I'm bringing it back old school. Along with the clunky rectangular dinosaur came a box of old VHS tapes lugged out from the deep dark dank of the basement. I thought I had watched them all but there was a movie called "Smoke" that caught my eye. It looked dated, but since it was "new" to me, I threw it in. It starred Harvey Keitel and William Hurt so it was hard to tell what to expect. Not too long into the movie those two actors sit down together, drinking beer and reminiscing about this and that when Harvey hands William a photo album. You quickly find out that they're all the same picture, well, different pictures of the same shot I should say. Harvey explains that he had been snapping pictures of the same corner just outside of his cigar shop every day at 8 in the morning for years. He called it "his life's work". I took a moment with that one: Life's Work. There is something grand to it but only because of time and repetition. One picture, two, three, thirteen, wouldn't hold the same weight. But a hundred or a thousand, phew, boy all of a sudden you've got an in depth documentation. And while it seems at first glance so simple - the same picture over and over again - it's the subtleties of light, different faces, the change from pants to shorts, cars once there and then gone - that pulls together the magnitude and scope of the everyday. It made me rethink the word bored. Sometimes days roll in to each other, weeks go by without meaning, or so I think. There's an innate beauty to everything and it's my own fault if I can't see it on a daily basis.