All in a Week's Work (or No Work)

Patti Smith (Polaroids) © Robert Mapplethorpe

I try not to drink wine and blog, but sometimes it’s really the only time I feel like sitting and devoting time to writing.  So, here I am.  Today marks exactly one week since my husband got laid off.  Yes, that’s right.  Laid off!  By request, but still kind of a shocking turn of events for us.  I’m happy to see him happy again.  Happier than he’s been in a while.  It’s also reinforced how important it is to do things with our lives that we care about.  (When I say ‘our’, I mean that in a collective sense…not just his and mine.)  This road we (again, collectively speaking) have chosen isn’t an easy one, but…really…what else are we going to do with ourselves?  I’d rather have the highest highs and the lowest lows than the numbest numbs.  I mean, if I’m going to be miserable, it’s going to be because of something I’m doing to myself; not because of something someone else is doing to me.  Am I right?  I’m right.

I also went to Photo LA this weekend.  Eh.  It was less depressing than last year, but there was no work that really stood out to me.  I didn’t even buy any photo books which is something I almost always do there.  I have been acquiring some tasty book treats lately, but I’ll save those for a future post.  There was one wall where I did stop for a couple minutes.  There were a few Robert Mapplethorpe prints of the black & white flowery still life persuasion.  I’ve seen them before.  We all have, but I recently read Just Kids by Patti Smith, and I wanted to look more closely at those prints.  First of all, I absolutely loved the book.  My only complaint is that it was too short.  Smith is a beautiful writer.  Her writing is intellectual without sounding snobby.  It’s calm and subdued, but you absorb how strong her emotions run throughout the entire book.  The only Mapplethorpe book I own is Polaroids: Mapplethorpe, and an image similar to the above Polaroids is my favorite in the whole book.  Even more so, since I read Just Kids.  When I first discovered photography in the mid 90′s, I thought Mapplethorpe’s work looked dated, and I didn’t pay much attention to it.  It was pretty and/or kind of shocking, but that was about it for me.  Over time, I’ve researched more of his work – the earlier work, his paintings, jewelry, the self portraits, etc.  It’s pretty brave, especially when you consider the time in which he was making the work and what he was announcing about himself to the world.

Anyway, the book is a definite advocate for going your own way in the world regardless of how hard it may be at times; being resolute in your path and your destination.  I’m very fortunate to be on my own path.  I’m excited for my husband to be on his own path for the first time in a while.

7 comments to All in a Week’s Work (or No Work)

  • Sorry I couldn’t make it out to LA as I’d planned to last week.

    Quiet, reflective post, this one. I’m sure your husband knows how lucky he is to have you in his corner.

  • The Mapplethorpe Polaroid book is outstanding. It is one of the very few photography books I felt compelled to buy in recent memory.
    And go Husband! Make yourself happy.

  • I loved Just Kids, too! Even though it won the big fancy intellectual award this year, I think it’s even a better read for photographers and artists. Congrats to The Husband!

  • Emily,

    I’m reading “Just Kids” now too. Someone gave it to me for Christmas. Love reading about the Chelsea Hotel.

    Also, I found some amazing images on FFFFound the other day — a series of photographs of elaborately decorated 18-Wheelers in Japan. I thought of you. Will send if I can find them again. (It’s hard to re-find on FFFFound).

    Chin up. Keep chugging.

  • nina

    such good posts from both Shur ladies today!

  • Kurt Jordan

    Lot of things just don’t make sense about the show last weekend and my wife and I thought it was just flat. But, what I wanted to share was the Mapplethorpe thoughts you have, as I too was not into his work until this year. We were in Italy and they had his work hanging with Michaelangelo’s David and drawings. To see his male nudes hanging with the classic work was unbelievably powerful.
    By the way I am an unemployed husband for one year doing photography full time. Those highs are intense and so are the lows….Enjoy its worth every minute!

  • Edie Tobias

    Oh, Emily, this made me sad for you guys in a a way, and completely thrilled in another. With so many friends out of work right now, I hate to hear of one more. With that said, sometimes it takes having the rug pulled out from under us to get us started on a new journey. The kind of journey that gives us the courage to pursue and really truly follow our dreams. This is precious time for both of you. I hope you can see it that way, and that you will use it to make your dreams come true.