It's the journey, not the destination Mel Curtis's thoughts on a life in the world of photography

Oscar Night In Seattle


Went to an Oscar bash last night in downtown Seattle. It was kind of fun. Perhaps a bit loud or perhaps I am getting too old to dress up and party. Or maybe it just wasn’t my cup of tea. But stepping out on the street to get the car, the city was alive and vibrant. Seattle has changed so much over the time I have lived here. I suppose it is a good thing. It’s not like I can do anything about it. I guess I lament the rising cost of living and the sudden onslaught of traffic and youngsters glued to their phones like zombies. But I still do like it here. And hope I can afford to stay here if I wish.

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Fits Like an Old Shoe

Agreeable gray…. Sounds nice. It is very pleasant and neutral and as they say on HGTV, it is what buyers want. I have always used grays in my studio and living spaces. And red too. Here’s my old studio.

MPC Studio

Carter likes bigger colors, hence we have a deep blue bedroom and salmon in the living and dining rooms. And chocolate brown in the master bedroom. I have a feeling we will be painting when we decide to move. But for now we live here and we like it. The stupid thing about watching HGTV and doing the real estate work I do is that it makes me want to change the whole house. Toss out everything and start over. Not so much a renovation but a re decoration. Get rid of the plants, the furniture, the rugs…everything. Except maybe the art. But even then we have so much art we could replace all that too. But then maybe all I really want is another place, a downtown condo that I could decorate and escape to occasionally, pretend to have another life, leaving my “fits like old an shoe” home the way it is, always having that comfort food to come home to.

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Pleasant Abstraction


There seems to be a fine line between a pleasant abstraction and just an out of focus picture. It is definitely something you have to play with and shoot a lot. But the process is definitely fun. Like my Instagram stuff. Just me playing around, mostly out of curiosity. Wondering what something might look like. But the instagram stuff is also about the place where I live and streets I walk down every day. The images have become little documents of the changes, the change of light, the change of seasons, the change of activity.

So yes, go shoot for yourself. Like your infrared stuff. Just have fun and don’t worry if any one likes what you are doing. Just please yourself. It is very liberating and I find it has always kept me sane and balanced. I frankly have never cared for much of my assignment work, but one has to eat. I do  good job, because that is what I get paid for. But I have never found it to be truly satisfying down deep. And yet my work is the closest thing I will ever have to children. So I nurture them and hope they have a long an happy life. But I live with the notion that at the end of the day, I may be the only one who appreciates them. And I am ok with that too.

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When Everything Seemed Ok in the World


It was very fun last night and very peaceful. I got up early today, before sunrise, and it was so pretty and quiet. It was just lovely. Later I took Barney for a walk, his first in snow. He had great fun at first running through it as it was deep enough to come up to his muzzle. I went slow to take a lot a of photos and chat with others out walking. At a point that is usually half way in our typical walks, he started running towards home. He looked at me as if to say, come on, I’m cold, let go home. His poor little feet were covered in snow. He raced ahead of me and led the way home. Funny little dog. Now we have a cozy little fire going and Carter is enjoying a new photo book on Obama. But tomorrow the snow will most likely be gone, but was nice to have the magic for 24 hours, when everything seemed ok in the world.

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Wiggins Street

16 December 2017


That photo of you as a child with your Christmas card is cute. In front of grandma’s house. Which is no longer there even. But it sent me running for an old photo or two to send to you. I have tons of family negs and prints, quite a few from life in Indiana.

Wiggin Streetv2And wouldn’t you know that the first print to fall from my box was an image of the Victorian house on Wiggins Street. It’s funny; my memory has it being a statelier house. This one is rather modest. But then so was Mabel. Question is, who is that mysterious person on the front porch?

Also found this photo of your parents. Late 1940’s maybe? With Carol. It is fun picture; I love the fedora on your dad. I have bunches of these old negs and if and when I ever find the time, I want to scan a few. Unfortunately there is not enough time to work on all my little projects and bring all these old images to life. So I organize them and hope in time they will find themselves in appropriate loving hands.

I trust all is peaceful in your world and you are surrounded by beauty and a loving supportive family. All is good here. I continue to make art, even though I have no idea what art is… I just make images, I guess, or what I call emotional book marks, little threads of evidence of my life on the planet.

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A Matter of Time


The passage of time is a funny thing. When you are a child, it seems like it takes forever for Christmas to arrive. And yet as an adult, five years fly by in the blink of an eye. One thing for sure, we never have enough of it. Never enough hours in a day, never enough time to do all things you wish to do in life. And we never know how much of it we have. We weren’t born with expiration dates. So we don’t really think about it a lot as we go through life. We make plans like there is always going to be enough time. And yet we are never fully prepared for the moment that time runs out. I guess we tend to think it never really will. But it does, and we reset the clock, and move on.

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Hard at Work


I ponder the concept of retirement. When I was younger I thought it would never happen. Or at least in the conventional way. I assumed at one point my assignment work would simply go away. Then all that would be left is my work, my projects. But often my projects have grown out of my assignments. That client work takes me to places I wouldn’t go on my own and opens door to possibilities that I hadn’t thought about. My work has always been about those possibilities. So what would happen if I close those doors? Of course as time marches on, those doors will quietly close on their own.

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Pushing The Buttons


I suppose I am a tad restless these days. Trying to figure out where to go with my work and wondering if it even matters. I often feel a pull to return to my old way of working. In black and white, maybe even with film. But I don’t really want to deal with the mess or expense of it all. Yet my refrigerator holds a stash of film and paper, just in case… My new works come pretty easily. But that is the nature of digital. Digital is easy, immediate and largely only requires pushing buttons. But one still has to see, still has to compose, still has to recognize the creative possibilities that lie in front of use every day. One still has to make creative choices, and sometimes the creativity is knowing when and where to push the button.

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The Ashen Skies of September


It has been a strange summer around here. Coming of the wettest winter and spring in history we entered into a period of the driest stretch in history. And it has been hot as well. Then there was the eclipse, which was rather cool and then the forest fires that blanket the region in smoke and orange colored skies. And ash as well. the orange fog was kind of pretty in a way, but also a bit frightening considering the source of the fog. The forests are on fire, all up and down the west coast. Very odd.

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Dynamic Range


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