More Duhamel

A few short observations about Denise Duhamel that I want to jot before I forget.

I wonder about people who change the color of their hair often. On a book jacket, her hair was dark (black?). A review on the net claims that she is a flaming redhead. When I met her, she was a blonde. I sort of admire being able to change yourself like that. I feel like I’ve been stuck with the same old dreary self my whole life.

Duhamel described a class she took in media studies she took in New York. Dennis Leary was the teacher. The class was unconventional; it was before he “made it” and the class was asked to attend his shows at a comedy club and help with his material. She made the observation that comedy was found in the timing, more often than it was found in words. Maybe that’s my problem. My timing is all wrong. Weird character flaw for a photographer.

I wandered outside of the Bourbon Street Café (located on 7th street downtown) and noticed a building in the alley. It was a hotel under renovation, with empty windows that stretched to the sky. No glass. Each one identical. Bleak fluorescent lighting fixtures stretching to the heavens. It looked like a little hamster village, though it would be impossible to photograph adequately from the little narrow alley. Too much parallax, staring upward with neck bent uncomfortably. When I walked back inside, I couldn’t talk. I have noticed that this happens when my mind starts thinking about making a photograph. Words and pictures operate in different centers of the brain. Denise and the others were talking about dialects. She’s from Cannuck, Canada. French was frowned upon growing up, so she never learned to speak it. Maybe it’s all that time I’ve spent thinking about photographs that causes my synapses to misfire, making me such a crappy conversationalist. Photographs were always the privileged dialect, in my head anyway.

Writing is different. I can do that. Talking is hard. I keep wanting to revise what I just said. That doesn’t work; you can’t unspeak a foolish comment. You can only add, and add, and add, until people just don’t want to hear from you anymore. Shut up, Jeff.

Denise made the observation that the sexual difficulties of couples that are married for a long time may be related to the incest taboo. It’s somehow not right to have sex with someone you live with. It made a certain amount of sense.

The café served everything deep fried in batter. You couldn’t tell the difference between the alligator, shrimp, oysters, beef, chicken, or whatever. They were all gold. Except the gumbo of course, it was black. I figured out how to photograph the hotel, though I didn’t do it: there was a parking garage across from it that would have allowed me to confront it head-on. That would do it. Cages don’t look right in oblique views. You’ve got to look at them straight.