Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Becoming a Young Lion

No Young Lion 

It all began a month ago right after my last shoot.  Around the day Ian Curtis of Joy Division being 35 years dead prompted me to watch the movie “Control,” re-listen to his music, and remember that my other favorite dead too young rock baritone, Jim Morrison, also needed some listening to. Not that I go for any extended period of time NOT listening to more music in a day than most people experience in a month, but for weeks during yet another installment of my dark night of the soul, I seemed to be immersing myself in the stuff with a vengeance and liking the feeling.

Young Lion
One day on Facebook I floated the idea of classic rock images for my next shoot. To my horror, I then floated the idea of using one of the most iconic rock visuals of all time, Jim Morrison’s Young Lion photograph, as my source material. It would seem as this project proceeds I am determined to make it evermore difficult for myself. Admittedly, this one went way beyond difficult to downright terrifying.

For anyone possessed of sense and senses, it’s obvious that Morrison is a man, a very beautiful man, possibly one of the most beautiful of all time, and I, well, I’m not.  More than ever, this shoot was going to have to be more of a re-imagining than an imitation of the original. It was in fact, I said to myself in eerie prescience weeks ago, going to be a collaboration.  

I have always felt a kinship with Jim Morrison. The Doors arrived in my listening life when I was a teenager and Jim had been dead almost a decade already. I was an instant insatiable lover of the man, the music, the myth. I calculated exactly how long he had lived, to the day, and was fairly certain I would die within that span. Maybe even in France. It didn’t hurt that his birthday is one day after mine and we are both crazy poets as likely to be committing outrageous acts as retreating into our hideouts.  The kind of people who get doubtful looks when we claim we are shy.


For this shoot I wanted to get as close to Jim as possible. Playing the Best Of The Doors wasn’t enough. So I donned jeans, a big hippie belt, black boots and a handmade replica of his bead necklace and got myself into as Dionysian a mood as possible while remaining sober for the sake of technical ability. 

Then something strange happened. Or really, more than one strange thing happened. My fully charged batteries died. Twice. The firmly screwed into place and focused camera kept slipping slightly and needed re-securing. Images did not appear in the preview mode. At one point the tripod jumped an inch to the side with absolutely no provocation. Finally suspecting I had company I said out loud “C’mon Jim, let me do this! or am I done here?” upon which, the camera shut itself off. I shit you not.


It took me an hour to recover from the shoot and approach the task of downloading and editing images. I totally expected all files to be erased. Gradually I came to the understanding that this was not a malicious intervention, the Lizard King obstructing the little girl with the balls to think she could impersonate a god. It was friendly mischief. From one vagabond imp to another.

And I downloaded 100 photos, the best of which you see here. Many of them feel as if they were retrieved from some 1970s photo session with an unknown but very surly and possibly drunk rock star.  One with the balls to think she’s Jim Morrison. 

Nope, Jim, just me. Just us. Thanks for being there. Then, now and forever.