As someone who lives in the grays, I immensely appreciate a cold rainy weekend in San Francisco. This morning, I made myself a nice cup of tea and sat down on the writing table with my iPad, hoping to spend time reading some articles and catching up on books that have slowly started to pile up on the bed-stand. For some odd reason, I began to look at some of my older photos. I had edited them over the past twelve months.
As I flipped through the gigantic photoshop files, it felt as if I was looking at the work of someone else. I felt assaulted by the colors — even though I had stripped out the extraneous as much as I could. It is not as if I don’t enjoy a beautiful sunset or a glorious sunrise. It is not that I don’t enjoy the pinks, mauve, and gentle oranges over the breaking waves of the Pacific. However, when it comes to the visual interpretation of these same landscapes, I can’t help wrinkling my proverbial nose as if the color was a piece of rotting vegetation?
How did I end up here? Why? I often ask myself.
Upon reflection, I have also seen a slow transition in the music I am enjoying these days. Instead of jazz, blues, and chill out electronica, I find myself hiding in the highly minimal soundscapes. Whether it is Brian Eno, Mary Lattimore, or Nils Frahm, the music I prefer now has a certain monochromatic quality — perhaps reinforcing that as in picture, texture, contrast, and expression do not need an orchestra.
Maybe it is just that I am exhausted by the constant and eternal fumes of unending communication and communique in the form of notifications, tweets, hot takes, news, and bluster. They have saturated the mind with noise, so much so that all that data pollution is starting to spill over into the rest of life, forcing me to subtract from everything. Maybe my growing distaste for color is a reaction to the sameness of our lives in 2020.
The saturation without the ability to escape and being left in my cave, I am confronting myself because I have to. I wonder if aloneness pushed me closer to a more monochromatic reality, bringing me closer to my true self, a fact reflected in how I look at my photographs?
Or just maybe, perhaps I become someone else during the lockdown? The great Gabriel Garcia Marquez once wrote, “The interpretation of our reality through patterns not our own, serves only to make us ever more unknown, ever less free, ever more solitary.”
December 13, 2020, San Francisco