Black Hole

Black Hole

I’m not sure why it’s so hard for us to take care of each other.

Why even just one homeless person struggling to survive in this world is not a crushing weight of shame on all of our backs. Why we’d rather fight to carry guns than give them up. Why we defend corporations that would see us dead if it meant making more money. Why we let these dragons speak with their money to our legislators though it means the end of our livelihoods, our environment, our health, and our children. Why we’d rather invent religions and power structures to control people instead of blessing them and loving them and esteeming them as our own.

Why we’d rather step on necks. Rather the police kill whom they please. Rather the world burn up. Why we always seem to choose to have a little more even though it means taking from someone else. Why we believe horrible lies like God gave me this money and I deserve it. Why we have the concept of money at all. There was a better way to do this.

Why do we insist on building mortal empires. How did we ever think that subjugating our fellow human beings in any form or fashion was ok and not morally reprehensible.

How do we live with ourselves.

A Golden Hour

A Golden Hour

I’ve been in Berlin for about a week. And in the entire time I’ve been here, I’ve seen about four hours of sunlight. Most of it was that magical golden hour light, which I thought was strange at 2pm in the afternoon. That was before I knew that sunset in Berlin happens before 4pm this time of year. And due to some strange luck, I found myself at the Victory Column followed by the Brandenburg Gate. For such a short window, I don’t think I could have been in a better spot.

Photographers that I know love the light found just after sunrise and just before sunset. It’s almost magical the way the light during those times is diffused.

I think about how the best light is separated by a period of time when light is hard to find.

And being in Germany, a country completely over fascism, I think about history repeating itself. How we make the same mistakes over and over again. America’s recent decisions, our citizen’s lack of critical thinking, believing that stupidity should be tolerated cough nazis cough and not dismissed outright.

Despite how the news outlets are spinning the attack on the Breitscheidplatz Christmas Market, Berlin (and Germany), has no tolerance for this alt-whatever bullshit. No one is afraid. We were all back in the markets the next day. Berlin has made it through the night to its next Golden Hour. America’s Midnight, on the other hand, is only beginning. May the morning come quickly.

The Nearest Light

The Nearest Light

When I was a kid, the nearest light I could see from my own house was a quarter-mile away. Sally and Doug lived there. I knew their daughter, Julie. The next nearest light was more than a mile away, but I could see it across the fields that grew wheat and milo, depending on the time of year. I didn’t know them.

I’m not sure how it started. The dream of living somewhere else. It seems like it’s always been there. I had no idea how I was going to live in the city. Buildings and skyscrapers and busy sidewalks, subways and restaurants; I lived in the middle of nowhere. I had no business in the city. I had no business being surrounded by light.

And I’m still not sure how I got here. Standing on a sidewalk snapping the streets I dreamed about when I was a child. It’s not quite how I imagined it to be. I still carry the expanse of Kansas with me. Inside my head, there is nothing between us but empty countryside a mile in each direction. And maybe you can feel it, the distance. It’s ok. I don’t know how else to live.

But I can see your light. And I’m drawn to it. To what it means, to who you are, to what the future holds.

Let’s talk about light.

The Fish Cleaner

The Fish Cleaner

How long has he been doing this.

Pulling fish from a bucket. Killing it with a club to the head. Cleaning it with a knife. Keeping what remains for fish stock. Rinsing the rest away with small bowls of water and a scrub brush. Repeat.

There is honesty in work like this. I’m not sure I can say the same for a majority of the tech industry. This man is providing a good that will feed and nourish people. You could probably count on one hand the number of Silicon Valley companies that have even this small amount of integrity.

Uber could give a fuck about the industry they’re “disrupting”. They could have built their business in such a way that respected the systems and people already in place and slowly moved the industry to be better. But you don’t make billions of dollars when you respect hardworking people as much as your venture capitalists.

When did we, as a human race, decide that money was worth more than integrity?

For me, I’m more interested in calling a fish cleaner my friend than someone like Thiel, Trump, Paul Graham, or Sam Altman. Maybe it’s the fish cleaner’s eyes, or his hands, or the humbleness of his work, I don’t know. But when I see this man, for just an infinitesimal shred of a moment, I remember my religious upbringing and can imagine what Peter must have been like when Jesus first found him and said follow me.

The End Is The Beginning Is The End

Koh Lanta Panoramic
Shot in Koh Lanta

Maybe you’ve heard the Smashing Pumpkins song and will get the reference in the post title. Maybe you won’t. It doesn’t really matter. But last night, I took this photograph — well, these nine photographs. And it’s one of these photos that I can’t stop looking at. The light on the left and the impending darkness on the right. The beautiful palette in-between.

I’m heading home soon. Back to Oakland, back to work, back to an America that voted for Trump. And maybe I’m the pessimist, but I think I’m going to need to look at this photo a lot in the coming years. I think things are going to get dark and ugly and frankly, I’m preparing for the worst. And I’m trying to remember that I’m not a coward, that just because I have the money to live here and wait it out doesn’t mean I should. In fact, it probably means I shouldn’t.

Sarah Kendzior says that we should write down our memories (among other things) now, because the coming years might make us forget. This photo might very well represent my good and beautiful life up until 2016. I want to hold on to it.

And the song says: Is it bright where you are
And the song says: Have the people changed

The answer to both of those questions — now, in this moment — is a resounding No.