Hey friends. I hope everyone is hanging in there. The past few weeks have really been trying for all of us, and I'm looking forward to the day we don't have to consistently worry about the state of the democracy all the time. I've officially been off Facebook for a week, and to be honest, I haven't even noticed the difference. It's been... relieving. Freeing in so many different ways. Some folks can stay on there and remove themselves from it. I'm not one of those people. I'm a 0 or 100 kind of guy - do it all the way or don't fucking do it at all. Certainly an Achilles heel that's brought both success and trouble my way. In any event, it's been a delightful week without it, and I'm not sure when, or if, I'll be back there.
I'm still working out the details and design of ThisisGoober.com. I'm in the process of new logos, trying to find a photographer here in Pittsburgh who can take some shots of me, the final touches on what I want this to be. I have another really exciting thing coming down the pipeline, but I won't share it just yet. You'll have to keep tuned in!
Sometime this year, or perhaps even when this pandemic is finally under control (whatever the fuck that looks like, if it's even actually going to be a thing), I'll be creating and self-publishing my own photography book. Initially, I set out to create a book that encompassed my entire film photography catalog. High school, college, 2016 to the present - I wanted to show the best of the best in what I do. One of the very few things I know I'm good at. Photography is like a drug. I imagine each capture feeling like the way a musician finds the perfect chord progression, the perfect stroke on the artist's canvass. It's magic, there's no other way to describe it. I thought maybe the collection would be crafted perfectly enough to show people I actually am good at this, and something I could look back on and be incredibly proud of.
2020 was different. This was the year that changed the way I take photos. It changed the way I look at the world. 2020 feels a lot like the way I look at my life around the time of 9/11. It's marked by "Everything Before" and "Everything After". It's hard to imagine life pre-COVID. I had mentioned today to Courtney how much I missed just even having the option of going to a comic con, or a movie, or a fucking bowling alley. Anything that used to be a part of the social norm we enjoyed freely for our entire lives, the parts that aren't safe to do anymore. With the worldview shift, there's just no possible way you can possibly go back. It's irrevocable - it's never going to be the same.
I didn't intend to have this project fall into my life. Much like the 1 Second Everyday videos, this photo experiment grew organically and became something more than just a way to capture moments during this completely fucking insane time we're all living through. It's hard to imagine that we're coming up on almost a year of this pandemic. I had rolls of film I needed to shoot, and this became my normal. It became an escape, a way to track the days that felt like weeks, and the weeks that felt like years. Tracking and documenting the moments that we were forced to be together, whether we all wanted to or not. It became so much more than some rolls of film. It's a living documented history of an ordinary man, with an ordinary family, living through extraordinary times. I never imagined I'd be capturing our daily quarantine life, Philadelphia post-protests, the gasps of humanity trying to keep itself treading water, the constant reminders of the fleeting but unwavering optimism of life.
"Stay home, wash your hands, wear a mask" - mantras we repeated while scrubbing our knuckles until they bled.
"It may not be okay right now, but it will be."
I remember how isolated I felt at the initial onset of the pandemic. How unusual the entire experience was. Could we go outside? Could we do anything?
What do you mean there's no fucking toilet paper anywhere?!
This "desk" here at my old home in Coatesville became my every day view. I picked this spot purposefully so I could see outside to the beautiful spring weather. I can still smell the fresh warm air coming through the windows, mixed with that flavor of Bang Energy I was drinking when I captured this shot. I can feel the anxiety of another trip to Walmart and whether everyone would actually be wearing a mask this time around.
The sunshine, the breeze, the trees - I needed the juxtaposition from the grind I saw on my calendar every day. Endless conference calls, Teams meetings, revenue tracking spreadsheets. It didn't help that I worked in Center City and the building I managed experienced an occupancy loss of 26% in three months due to pandemic-related closures, job losses, and cancelled student events. It was an absolute nightmare. I worried constantly about my job - whether I'd continue to be employed or whether I'd become another victim of the destruction COVID-19 was inflicting on employment. Whatever luck or happiness I felt because of my gainful employment was washed away quickly by the memory of daily death rates climbing, an "administration" either completely unable to or willfully ignorant of the realities happening in the country, and the complete destruction of previous accepted societal norms.
I'm excited to start compiling this book, and write my stories, musings, and thoughts. I don't have a timeline on when I'll finish it. It'll be like everything I've done, I suppose -when the time's right. You'll all be the first to know when it's ready and where you can find it.
I remain perpetually optimistic that things will be okay. Not just because Biden's going to be inaugurated Wednesday, not just because we have the vaccines on the way. I remain optimistic because we have no choice but to be optimistic. I'm a firm believer that the feelings and emotions I put into the universe are the responses and echoes I receive back. The more negativity I have in my mind and thought process, the more negativity will come my way. I know it may seem unreasonable to even say this based on everything that's happening in our world right now, but things will start looking up. Things will get better. This is a wonderful life.
It may not be okay now, but it will be.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Around the time of the onset of the pandemic, my friends and I recorded a series of voice memos about how life was changing. We released it as a special episode of Foundation Radio. I listened back to it recently, and it's one of the things I'm most proud of ever creating or being a part of.
Thank you again for being here with me on this experiment. I love all the feedback I've been getting and I hope that, if you have any, you'll share it with me.
Write again soon. Peace.