Friday, July 3, 2009

Absurdity in America

Onikaa Celebrates America, Mofo!!! Grand Ledge, MI
(Grand Ledge, Michigan 2009)

People have accused me of not being able to live fully in the moment and usually they are right. Thankfully though this trait of mine to constantly feel like an outsider is perfectly suited for being a photographer and recorder of life. My dad always makes a big deal about documenting family events, recording the dates and times things happened, again instilling us with the motto to "Be observant".

One of the coolest things is that he used to turn a tape recorder on at large family gatherings in unknown spots, so now we have these great little snippets of audio tape where my cousins and I are talking as children, people are laughing and telling stories without censoring themselves, wives are yelling at husbands, grandparents cooking in the kitchen, etc. True windows into a life and time that is no more. I value such things as priceless.

All of these examples have led me to do what I do. Though it may get exhausting to constantly be documenting life, I am always thankful a week or a year later when I look back and can remember with fondness the experience more fully because of those images. Along with the photos I take, I also write down absurd, odd quotes I hear. In context they are funny or interesting, but with no description I think they might be even funnier. Here are a few I gathered from my trip with brief descriptions:

"If you're a girl from Colorado and can't pee in the woods you've got a problem."
-Model in the mountains outside of Denver during a bathroom break

"There's shit all over the place!" "Yeah, smells like money!"
-Two indians at a cattle round up on an indian reservation outside San Diego

"I don't remember what religion they are, but whatever it is, they're very THAT."
-A friend describing family members in Kansas

"Baby, I need some cootchie medicine."
-Model in Florida who got her period earlier than expected, talking to her boyfriend

"Great, just what I want to do, hang out with bells all day."
-Sarcastic teenager's comment after being told by his mom to stand by the Liberty Bell for a photo-op

"Keepin' it tiled, baby."
-Discussing whether "the carpet matched the drapes", a model in Philadelphia replied thusly to my "you probably have hardwood" comment

"Its blacker than the inside of a cow."
-West Virginia native describing the night

"You can't go wrong with a nine dollar bottle of wine."
-Drinking at a friend's house in Seattle

"My eyebrows are only partially on!"
-A Florida friend whose photo I wanted to take though it was a little too early in the morning

"You're as cool as a microwavable hot pocket."
-Neff's description of me at a bar in NYC

"I was on the floor barking with a pomeranian!"
-Waitress in Brewer, Maine describing the effects moonshine had on her years before

And my personal favorite...

"Enjoy it."
-Megan McIsaac's response when asked what she was going to do with the rest of her day

I'm sure there are more quotes spread randomly amongst my various notebooks, but these are the best ones available for now. There is a daunting amount of data for me to review, edit, filter, and disseminate from this trip. The last couple of days looking through it all has given me a chance to relive my time on the road in a much more relaxed, free way than when I originally experienced it. It has been a blast. More coming soon.


  1. Mark,

    Thanks for quoting me. I got a good laugh out of it when I read it. You must have quoted me when the power was off at the cabin when we returned from our adventure to Dollie Sods. I now feel immortal. Look forward to seeing more of your pictures from the trip.

  2. Mark,

    Thanks for quoting me. This was when we were on the deck of the cabin and the power was off, right? I got a great laugh seeing you post the quote. Thanks, Mike