In the garden, as in how intimately you learn about each garden you make each year. Every garden is different, and as the seasons go on (it feels like fall today) I wonder how much time will I have left? Answer: That plot of land will be there in December. But as I have finally mustered the courage to pick up a paint brush again, my sense of color quickly changed, and it changed how I use a camera.
When I say, In The Garden, I mean IN it. Inside it like a rabbit might see it. See it for all the magic and beauty and fantasy that's there.
I have a little Fujifilm point-and-shoot that I bought while I was traveling in Canada when I once again had broken I think it was my third Nikon Coolpix. It's shock and water resistant and I carry it just about all the time. It's my little friend, my little sketchpad, and what I like most about it is I never know exactly what it's going to do. It gives me a lot of control, but many times it, well, it doesn't take over, but it's almost as if it says, wait a minute, why don't you look at it this way?
It's still during the pandemic, when it seems it's still going to to be a year or more when I'm trapped in my apartment, on my porch, in my garden, when I'm almost too frightened to walk to the post office. When you jack the ISO all the way to 3200, the results look like charcoal drawings.
Today at the doctor's the PA said, you'll need about three or four months to recover; that's not really a lot of time, and I replied, yes it is. Someone died the other day--they were 71, and I thought, that's six years away for me. Imagine if you were told you were going to prison for six years. Imagine you were told you only had six more years to live. Covid-19, for me, made time very important. Now it might be two years before I can visit the Musee de Cluny again. See Barcelona. See Chaco. Hike the West Highland Way. And in those two years, who knows what may happen...to me...to things. For a claustrophobic, when your world locks down, when it closes in, in any way, it affects you. It affects your breathing.
Three months ago, when Covid-19 became a real thing and anyone who had paid the least bit of attention in high school science class knew exactly what we were in for, the first thing I thought to jettison was achievement. Suddenly, my ego-driven desire for attention didn't seem all that important. I actually unfriended a bunch of people on Facebook who, truth be told, I was simply trying to impress. Suddenly, the idea of trying to impress some white, male, millennial with an intentionally bad haircut just to promote my images seemed awfully embarrassing.
With Covid -19 we couldn't not only travel internationally, going to the grocery store became a major excursion. (Frankly, it still is; see above about high school science class.) Then I lost my passport and my knee flared up and wow, my world got really small. My world narrowed all the way down to my backyard vegetable garden. That was pretty much the only place I consistently go, and even then I'm like Christina's World, I hobble back there and then crawl around with my camera. But that narrowing and slowing down didn't go unnoticed. And that's where I am. My world got really small...
Yesterday I made one image. One image I really liked. It made me happy to do it, and that was fine with me. It made me happy unlike the rejections I get when 800 people send in five images and mine wasn't one of the 4,000 the curator had to choose from. (How fucking ridiculous is that?) Or it made me happy, unlike the feeling I get when only five people give one of those hearts on IG. (How fucking pathetic is that?)
So for now, if anyone wants me, I'll be out back, crawling around with a DSLR with a 35 mm lens attached--a lens that I used to use all the time but for some reason traded it in for a 70 - 100 mm zoom--and sometimes a flash. And if I can make one good image, the day is pretty good. That's how small my world has gotten.
John Greiner-Ferris is an artist in the Boston area. Sometimes he makes images. Sometimes he writes. Sometimes he does both.