I Got A Boy in Kalamazoo-zoo-zoo....This image and other fabulous ones like it appear in the misterg8s blog.
In a perfect world. . .
I met g8s in college because we lived on the same floor of the same dorm and we had a beautiful friend in common. (We actually met at a Denny's during my infamous elbow dancing phase, but that's another story entirely.) I had a memory today of going to his room and saying something like, "Hey...We're, like, meant to be friends." We chatted briefly and agreed this to be a good thing.
Later, I remember seeing him in the staircase and he said something like, "Hey. I want to shoot you sometime." By shoot, I assumed he meant with a camera, not a gun. I had heard from mutual friends that g8s was an amazing photographer and I felt such glee at being chosen by him to be a subject.
The first time I sat for g8s, I was actually standing. It was nighttime and it was cold like only Michigan can be. Freshly nineteen years old, I was wearing a tuxedo for the first time. We were on the black tar roof of an adjoining building that linked two sections of the grand old Trowbridge Hall dormitory. We called this rooftop -- Pebble Beach. When I first arrived at college, most people seemed to hide the fact that they smoked cigarettes. I suppose they were still preserving vestiges of youthful innocense. Those of us who didn't hide our dirty habit from the world, gathered in clusters on Pebble Beach and defiantly blew our cancerous Basic Light clouds to the wind.
I recall feeling a little unprepared at our shoot, not really knowing how to be in front of the camera. Most of the shots from that day were probably pretty dull. At one point, I stopped trying to pose and lit up a smoke. I remember looking away from the camera and in that moment, a relationship was born. In the print that g8s made for me, my hand is blurred in the motion of pulling the cigarette away. I am looking away and smiling because it is cold and it feels good to be outside. Instead of trying to look a certain way for the camera, I was relaxed and easy. Somehow, g8s is always able to sense those perfect moments. He has always had a knack for showing people the best version of themselves.
I have heard him speak about the qualities of light and dark. You speak to him and realize that he is one of those people who actually listens and observes. He doesn't just wait for his turn to speak. In the contact sheet above, I get to see the people that I have loved the most in the world, places that have meant so much to me and a world that is still so thrillingly mysterious to me. I always want to be able to see the world the way that he does.