When I studied watercolor, a buzz phrase used by instructors was “happy accident,” meaning to expect the unexpected.
Let me start by talking about LB and his happy accident.
“LB” (Little Bastard) is a 19-year-old Siamese cat. He looks like a movie star, but delivers an ugly attitude. This puss is living a long life because he is so mean that God doesn’t want him. Given his outlook, we were compelled to drive East five years ago when I decided on making “the wrong move” to the house I bought. My mother, in her dying days, threatened to write me out of the will if I bought it. She never liked me “best,” so I bought it.
Any attempt at boarding a plane to cross the lower 48 would have caused drama with LB. We’re used to drama, but not in airports.
I overloaded the Prius and recruited my friend Roger to do most of the driving. LB screamed the whole way and spent his nights in Motel 6 bathrooms. Roger was able to seek refuge in his own room at each stop. LB has been to two national parks, enjoyed strips of bacon from the Waffle House and savored a Big Tex steak in Amarillo.
In spite of LB’s shit personality, I love him and I forgive anything he does.
Today, he pissed on the carpet.
I know one thing for certain: it cleans up. I realize that I will be doing the same someday when I turn 19. The question arose: Was he trying to tell the two tigers something or was he trying to give me a message. The tigers came to live with us last year. LB has made it clear that he will hate them for all of their lives. My guess is that he has a bladder infection which he often gets, so he’s on antibiotics.
Getting back to photography: I have been asked how I came to make this photo in the header of the blog. I could write a longer story on the subject of being my own model. I suppose that I will eventually, but the short version is that I work cheap with flexible hours. Self-modelling is like hearing my voice in a recording for the first time. I immediately hate it. Self-modelling is also filled with risks. Just try tripping over three cats on your way to a collapsible piano bench.
I love composite photography. As a painter, I created compositions with juxtaposition. In the 1990s, when I first started learning Adobe Photoshop, my instructor was a porno guy. I learned about exchanging parts and enlarging — skills which came in handy later on in my photography. I was not sufficiently endowed nor inclined to model in those days. Nothing against it, but not for me.
Composite photography often departs from the feeling that I am shooting photography. It is more calculated and involved. Perspective and lighting have to be right. Shooting the right compositional element might mean having to go out to find one subject to use for the one specific thing. It is not a spontaneous endeavor.
Like painting, many times I throw away more than I show. There are times when I finish hours of cutting something out, only to realize that it wasn’t going to work out. I have no love of the photo below. Somebody is going to get poked by a fence. The worst of the worst, now the header, was from that shoot. It was laughable, yes it was! Overall, the wig and the dress are wrong. Nothing feels right about it, but I save the parts from my “accidents” and re-purpose them later, thus perhaps a happy accident will clean itself up.