Monday, February 15, 2010

Little Demons

We spent Sunday in Santa Barbara. We visited an antique shop and looked at old postcards and black and white photographs of dead white folks. We didn’t see Mexicans. We have difficulty leaving the dead.

We visited book stores too and I walked away from Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 and Robert Crumb’s illustrated version of The Book Of Genesis. I wasn’t ready. I need to finish Cormac McCarthy's The Road and end my secret affair with J.M. Coetzee's short stories.

I took my camera to Santa Barbara and I made an attempt to photograph a stranger’s face. My hands shook. I sweated. It scared me to invade a stranger’s privacy. I was terrified when the stranger noticed the camera pointing at her. Most of the photographs came out blurry and shitty. Strangely, when I looked at the result, I felt a perverse pleasure. I felt like I had stolen something valuable. I stole a second from a stranger’s life.

Little demons woke me up early this morning.

(I saw this video on clock without hands and immediately liked it. Thank you Marcine M.)


  1. I want to read a Bolaños´book. I want to read a lot of books but Joyce´s "Ulyses" is causing me problems. I am developing a love-hate relationship with it.
    (Loved Coetzee)

    I could never be a good photograph. I feel very shy in front of people when I have my camera, so I will never enjoy such a delightful pleasures. But it´s ok. I am not good at it anyway.

    It´s always nice to read you.

  2. one of the 20 books I'm reading now at the same time (swear it, I need a Tower of Books to protect me) is Coetzee's 'Diary of a Bad Year'... and recently finished his 'Literary Essays'... both great

    ok, let's take note of the first so-called-photographing-strangers-rule: let the stranger know you're there but feel you are selfportraiting yourself... use words before the photo... people knows when you are sincere...

  3. Yo creo que lo hiciste muy bien!

    Y pienso lo mismo que implicada =)

  4. Ministry: Thank you for your visit. I also hate having my picture taken. I'm on the ugly and nerdy side. :)

  5. canto de caza: I'll add those two books to my reading list.

    Okay, about the photography lesson, thank you so much. It did feel I went about it the wrong way. However, I'm on the shy side. I can't picture myself talking to strangers before I take their photo. I was under the illusion that cameras served as a shield, a protection, and a wall between the photographer and the person being photographed. I really believed that I could photograph anybody i wanted. But once a human being made eye contact with me it was terrifying ( perhaps my abuelita Maria was correct: la camara les roba un poco de su alma)

  6. implicada: Your comment is very kind, but i'm no poet. Also, labels make me feel uncomfortable....even the teacher label, gulp!I do like to write. I started this blog to avoid working at home. I needed to do something creative after work. I'm also less cranky when i write :)

  7. todavia: Thank you for supporting me yesterday. I like your idea of going to Hollywood to practice photographing strangers.

    Recuerdas el debate de Obama y H. Clinton en Hollywood? Ahí si MIRAMOS "extraños!" wow!

    Claro, eran tan extraños como nosotros!

  8. trying,
    last weekend I took a workshop in mexico city about "identity" and we talked about positive and negative labels.
    With labels, some part of identity stay in darkness.

    I agree you refuse them :)