I've been talking a lot about book projects lately. In-progress things, future workings. Dillon's getting a book someday soon. A new model, Austin Xavier, may be getting a book really soon—assuming this month's running Patreon poll goes his way (as it looks like it will). And it's always something of a mind-fuck, gearing myself up for anything that may take literally years to make and do.
I started in a medium, poetry, which is accustomed to long processes. Some poets, like my favorite, Ocean Vuong, only write 6-7 poems per year. Photography isn't usually like this...
Yet maybe it's the art of the inventing process—tracking purposefully a series of moments, or curating a theme out of the disparate, or linking 'accidents'—which breathes art into an art of the moment. I'm not saying there isn't art in the snapshot. Nor that the moment doesn't have its own particular technique and honed eye essential to capture. As John Berger said, "What makes photography a strange invention is that its primary raw materials are light and time." Perhaps my point is Berger's extension—time. Time elevates, or can, anyway.
That's why I'm coming back to this picture of Franklin, one of my favorites, taken back in 2015. Fans know it already, or at least this shoot. I didn't edit this image until two years after it was taken; the original edits skipped over it entirely. And the funny thing is? I don't know why... I can't remember. I haven't the foggiest idea why I ignored it and edited everything else. The other pictures aren't bad. There's some work in it I love, as much, even more.
But this picture has become a favorite, I think, because it's a reminder that our eyes develop overtime too. They see different. Better. Stranger, maybe. Who knows?
I like this picture because it's harder, more intense, than my usual fare. Yet still has the signature warmth I've come to love in my own work. The slight suggestion of muscled biceps, the implied nudity, the little trail of hair leading down from Franklin's belly. The pink of lips, the perk of nipples. The feathered light in Franklin's hair which makes it seem, almost, painted with brushstrokes.
I hope it's obvious why Franklin deserves his own book, too. In terms of time, this might take the longest. Hopefully not. I miss this boy. And long to see him—a friend and muse—again.