Saturday, September 26, 2009
Numbah one son
Vinyl Freak, Oakland, June 2009.
My son is Zoolander. To photograph him is to be subjected to an array of gestures and facial expressions, each one more inauthentic than the next. We have tried to work around this minor inconvenience: he makes his faces, and I go nope ... nope ... nope ... maybe ... nope. Then I say "we're done," his face returns to neutral, then I take my shot.
I have photographed my son, Miguel, throughout the many stages and ever-changing hairstyles of his young life. One of my favorite photos of all time was taken at his high school graduation (left), an important milestone for him, but meaningful to me for having captured him as a young adult among the company of friends who have remained close to him through the years.
They say boys are easy, girls are hard. Maybe, maybe not. Miguel has an easygoing charm about him that he uses like a "Get Out of Jail Free" card to get himself out of trouble. He may annoy or frustrate, but one can't stay angry with him for long. Underneath his cultivated sophistication and fancy jargon, he is a naif with a good heart; distracted, yes; all over the place, yes. A work-in-progress, most definitely. But I'm convinced that in time he will attack life like the creatures in his beloved Monster Hunter, and triumph.
The picture on the left was taken in Greece in the island of Spetses. The villa on the hill is reputed to be the Villa Bourani in John Fowles' novel, The Magus. This picture was taken during a quest, aided by cryptic clues, to find the villa; it is a proof document of their successful search. In Fowles' novel, the villa is inhabited by an eccentric recluse who opens up a world of mysticism and mystery to the protagonist, and transforms his life forever.
The road to adulthood for Miguel is akin to finding Villa Bourani and discovering what it has in store for him. Like Spetses, it will be hot as hell, prickly, and may require body rolls on the dunes. But finding the villa can be a sweet moment, indeed. Now all he needs to do is get back on the boat and begin his new adventure.