Photo: Brian Luman
–––––– on Flickr.
Photo: Brian Luman
Sometimes I write about my photos on the train:
Not many of my photographs (if any, besides this one) can sum up a relationship. Especially a complicated one between brothers. Me, a photographer, and Brandon, a writer, who also happens to live hundreds of miles away. And we long to see each other on a regular basis. In the photo of Brandon under the street light in Russell, Kansas the memory of him is compressed onto the late night. The burning lamps that fog everything, including my film and the cool summer night air, where a heat lightning storm has gripped the plains for the night. And it has also managed to grip the excitement and pure imaginative, curious, bright sides of our brains. We want nothing more than to remain in that moment. Ask Brandon, he will tell you, he will explain his longing and our excitement for each others wit and laughter. Our ideas, the way we bounce them off of each other. The way the lake that night bounced bolts back to us on a whole new plane. A horizontal rippling bolt of energy once again on a late, late night in June where the bolt could extend forever if the lake was so generous. I remember this was the night he first read me his poetry. As we walked down the stairs of the hotel, I with tripod in hand and him with a composition notebook and pen. As I extended the legs of my tripod he waited at the bottom of the stairs explaining the world through his written word, reborn with the slyness and eagerness of his tongue, with a pinch of hesitation. We walked forever and I made images and he made mental pictures as well. He remembers these empty streets, and the plains far out there, welcoming every lightening strike and giving nothing back. Just staring back at the sky waving with its corn stalks and agricultural limbs. We found crude things, like used condoms, beautiful placid puddles of water, still as the dark air, between strikes. We made our way around all the way passed the over pass that connected us with the unrecognizable and literally out of reach world we had known at the beginning of the day when we first left Ohio. It seemed we were alone indefinitely, besides the ghostly truck drivers and their empty cabs, waiting for home, but stopping in the loneliest place their headlights could find. We passed under the over pass… Even more empty was space now, we had no sense of anything now but our excitement and love for each other and our little world that we almost seem too big to occupy here here in Russell, and now we had to photograph, or rather I did. Because, memories are best kept in the presents of others and there is no better way to share with the generations than a photograph. Soon I will be old, and look, I am already older now. So I photographed. Before the night ended we were visited by a savior in uniform. A police officer warning us of our only company, the ghostly truck drivers that moved in our personal world. We were so consumed at this point that we simply moved on. We knew a new day would come, so we sat and adored the world from the roof of our Pattie Wagon and went to sleep, thinking of tomorrow, because what is life without tomorrow, but fear and disappointment in the eyes of these still living. Life is wonderful and I love the way I am, and the way the world has made me. I am a lightening bolt and the blank stare of the Midwest landscape. And so is Brandon, and so is the rest of the world.
First and only draft. These are mental exercises, I do not claim to be a “writer”.