No, not THAT kind of pool, the kind with green felt and a bunch of little round balls and multiple pockets for them… that kind of pool. It turns out that at the site of a long ago abandoned station on a long ago abandoned railroad line in the Anza Borrego desert, is a pool table complete with cues, balls, rack, and questions galore.
My friend Cynthia had spotted it a week or so earlier and thought we needed to go there and do some photos. She wanted to have me put on some of my western gear for a shot. My old and dear friend from back in my college days, Brooke Medicine Eagle, is in the area for a few weeks so she also agreed to put on some of her traditional garb and we decided to do a Cowboy and Indian shoot… sort of a “how the west was lost” kind of surreal and metaphorical shot.
On the way we stopped in Jacumba Hot Springs for lunch and I introduced Cynthia to the old railroad cars parked there. Well, of course we had to do some shots there and she produced some really cool shots that I want to share with you. She did a really mind-bending shot of Brooke in one of the old abandoned cars…
I’m sorry but the only other model available was me so I grabbed some gear and she also did one of me in the doorway to one of the cars. I admit I like it.
We went from there to Ocotillo Wells and then off road to the site of the old station. On the way we drove through the vast wind farm and its giant mills. As impressive as they are at a distance they are even more so up close.
When we got to the destination, all that is left is the concrete pad and… the pool table. So, I got back into character with spurs and smoke pole slung over my shoulder and Brooke got into her buckskins and she and I shot a game of 8-Ball while Cynthia photographed us in this bizarre, outlandish place.
Cynthia was after some unusual shots based on this “out-there” concept and I think they really succeeded. So much so I may use one, at the suggestion of a close and evil minded friend, for a final exam requiring students to analyze and interpret it. He is also a professor and I now shudder to think what his own tests are like. My students have it easy!
Speaking of surreal, here is a shot of Brook at the pool table. And I guess I need to restate it, this (other than the toning) is a straight shot and not composited.
While we were around the pool table Cynthia also managed to catch this shot of me that I think is sort of a perfect signature “avatar” for me. I love the texture and tones in the sepia-like print.
And then it was, alas, back to reality. Bummer.
In other news…
After receiving some great feedback I’m now starting the final draft of the book on Making Schools safer. I really would like to finish it and have it out to print by the end of the month. It has required some really dark and grim research into, to borrow Conrad’s phrase, “…the heart of darkness.” And I’ll be very glad to finish it and move on. But I do think the topic and the need to get beyond narrow ideologies and look for both short and long term solutions is of critical importance to us not just as teachers but as a society. I’ll let you know when it is available so you can judge for yourself.
And, I’m also starting to hammer together the video I shot over the Spring Break for LaMont Burns concerning cooking tips and techniques using his bespoke BBQ sauce and marinade. The next blog post will, I think, discuss the issues surrounding that shoot for you guys getting into video. It was a most interesting production.