circumstance

Circumstance

“What are you listening to?”, he asked her as she awkwardly glanced up from a laptop covered in stickers.

There was a time when people like this would bother her, eager, curious men looking to bait her curiosity through something she seemed passionate about.

She noticed his old jacket, cuffs torn from wear, faded blue, forgotten yet loved all the same. Two small pins stuck on its right breast pocket; symbols she did not recognize, or maybe she did, she couldn’t be sure. In this shaken state anxiety clouded her memory to the point of annoyance and distraction. Fuzzy, tangled brown hair, thin silver framed glasses resting on his nose, he had a look on his face that frustrated her. Something between confusion and acceptance.

She realized he had left a few moments later, her gaze met his for a moment and he recognized her need to be left alone. Did she know him?

Her croissant was cold now but she hardly noticed as she took occasional bites. Flakey crumbs had split off and left a greasy mess on her keyboard as she wiped them away. Focus broken she rest her face in the palms of her hands not realizing others nearby started to take notice of her.

Focus. Eyes closed for a time, red was all she could see until a deep breath filled her with calm enough to open them again and discovered he was sitting across from her now. Their eyes met and she froze, confused until she remembered her name, her skin, her breath, and her legs nervously shaking under the table. A smile found its way to her face and she stood up, packed up her things then left the small coffee shop without saying a word.

He sat at the table for a time wondering where he went wrong, was it the breakfast he offered her? Was cereal not enough of a welcoming gesture after a night spent with a stranger? Earlier that morning they lay together in bed, legs twisted together as sunlight cast a warm glow on their bodies. Up until that blank look in her eyes moments ago he thought they had made a real connection. Did he know her?

Their names were etched into the now empty table, understated and at peace. The air was still, the noise of other guests swelled then vanished into the pure white of time. A phone rang but no one cared to answer.

In unison, voices around the world echoed out into a deftly constructed void. Prayers, focused and pure, circled the atmosphere. Through all this noise time is bound to make a few mistakes. From this angle, even God had trouble understanding how this managed to happen.

She found her way to a bus stop but realized she had forgotten her favorite scarf on the back of her chair and imagined it tying itself into knots, hiding from anyone who may have noticed it there. Time grew bright and vengeful around her but she chose to forget it, let today be what it is.

At this same moment, two blocks over, she also stood in an empty lot, scarf tied loosely around her neck, warm and comforted she looked down at her feet, faint smile across her lips, and gripped his hand a little tighter.

He sat alone on a bench in a park he did not immediately recognize and looked down at her scarf twisted in knots on his lap. The hollow beat of a drum pounded somewhere behind a rusted garage door and his head started to nod along. An expression hard to place came over his face as he started to hover a few inches above the bench. No one noticed but God. The rhythm set in motion nearby left him euphoric but disoriented.

The air felt thick on his skin as he floated there, drifting among waves of foamy white. He felt his hands start to speak for him as the rest of his body disappeared and his head was filled with images of the ocean stuck looping at fractured speeds.

Focus. Eyes closed he could only see red, thick and opaque. He knew he had to open them but was afraid. He felt five soft fingers slip into his hand and squeeze tight. Terrified, he opened his eyes and she was there in front of him surrounded in pure white. Her eyes were filled with tears that began to drip down into an uncontrollable smile as the white began to dim into the color and shape of a city.

The bus pulled into an empty stop as the sun set over a field where they stood hand in hand, confused, terrified, but ready for whatever was to come next.

(Written earlier today out of the blue while sitting down to work on a separate post meant to be the first one of the new year here on 50ft. The other post, not yet finished was about perspective and its importance in our lives but somehow, this story was waiting in my mind instead. I tied up loose ends and did my best to polish it up so I could share it. Hope some of you enjoyed it!)

(Desktop of the image posted along with it now available below. It is a film scan and was upscaled to fit the high resolutions of modern screens FYI.)

Blanket

Blanket

On a cold afternoon in Seoul earlier this year YoungDoo and I climbed into a friends car for a long ride out to a coffee shop shaped like a twin lens reflex camera. Two stories of charm and warmth on an otherwise chilly day in Korea. Our timing worked out quite well as we arrived in time for both a sunset over the surrounding farmland and a coincidental flurrry of snow which amplified the modest trip into one that still comes to mind as a highlight of our time there last year.

I managed to capture this shot through a window in the side of the cafe which, if I am remembering correctly was tinted and offered up a strangely magic photo of the landscape outside. This image takes me right back to the glowing masterpiece that was that moment and I hope that you find some comfort in it as well.

This image came to mind after day dreaming of a nice, light snowfall among the unusually warm December we have had. Enjoy.

Beginning to look

Beginning To Look

Better late than never they say, so here is a little something for your desktop decorating needs for the holidays. While not as dramatic as my Blue Christmas image form a couple years back, this kind of kitschy decoration often comes to mind this time of year so why not highlight something simple. Heck, I even threw in a few bokeh holiday balls for good measure because, Christmas.

On a related note, I made a simple composition with my little OP-1 keyboard using a sample recorded from a holiday radio station. Without going to far into it, my history in making music still holds heavy inspirations from the heyday of late 1990’s/early 2000’s underground electronic music from labels like Warp, Reflex, NinjaTune, Tigerbeat6, Merck, and Schematic. I’ve long had a love affair with artists who create music with an inspired exploration of sound.

That said, heres my take on a holiday classic. May not be for everyone but I enjoyed making it. The tracks hypnotic repetition felt somehow natural to me when I first stumbled into it. In taking this iconic moment from an iconic holiday song and repeating it indefinitely I was sucked into its grip and surprisingly its feeling of warmth didn’t change as I heard it over and over again. I hope some of you enjoy it, let me know what you think, of course.

I have some great photos on the back burner to share with you guys and I will be choosing the winners of the cool little 50ft keychains soon! If you are among those fortunate enough to get a break this time of year I hope you enjoy it and to those that don’t, I wish you the best as well. See you again soon.

Fifty Foot Lifestyle

Update: I have mailed out messages to the winners of the tags at this point, thanks so much for your kind words and for the interest and support of Fifty Foot Shadows!

Time to reflect and then give something away! I know its been quiet around here this year. My creative side has been on hiatus as I switched tracks for a while to contemplate a life more dictated by priorities. As with the end of any year, I have been looking back as well wondering what the next year will bring. Life will only get bigger as more important decisions are put on the table. My hope is that I can find a happy medium between obligation and creativity because inspiration has been flat as of late but I am looking to renew trust in my abilities behind a camera and start shooting more again.

In the new year (or sooner if I get the pieces together) I plan on announcing a long considered and way overdue subscription service here on 50ft to bring a couple of new ideas to life and shake things up around here. There will be a couple of levels to the service that I will detail when I make the announcement. Among other things, this has been something I have been making notes on and hoping to get off the ground for over four years now. I really can’t wait to get it off the ground after so much needless planning and second guessing. It will provide a perfect launch point for a renewed focus and drive.

For now though I wanted to do something fun for the holidays and give something away to a few of you. I came across these cool custom made brass tags online and knew straightaway that I wanted to have some pressed to share. I love this sort of humble accessory and so I had five of them made to give away for the holidays (six total so I could have one too). I don’t plan on making any more of these in the future so they are a highly limited edition keepsake from the land of fifty foot shadows. They work as a handy keychain accessory, zipper pull, or anything at all you may want to hook them too. The letters are hand stamped into the brass tags so it should last for years as long as it’s not lost.

I think the best way to give these away is to simply use the comment section again, leave a note below and in a couple of weeks I will randomly grab a few names and contact you via email to let you know that you won! Simple enough right? I will mail them anywhere in the world so there are no limit to who can enter. I know it’s a modest gift but I wanted to show you guys that I appreciate you, even if in a small way. As always, thanks so much for your support and generosity. The future is bright!

Tis

Tis The Season

The chill is settling back in, albeit slowly, the trees have mostly shaken off their leaves for their poetic yearly run as the living dead, and thousands of little lightbulbs are starting to light up around town. It could only mean one thing; Christmas is near. Like a candy cane stripped boulder blocking out the sun, its hard to ignore. I had written a long few paragraphs about the way I have seen this holiday evolve through my life but it ended up feeling a bit too dark so I’m going to keep my musing short and to the point.

Don’t feel burdened by this time of year, life is way to short for that. If all you are going to buy for some distant relative is a random Sharper Image disposable novelty then maybe just consider a card instead. Expectations and obligation should not enter into the equation. Maybe listen to the words of the endless holiday songs you will inevitably hear and remember that this time of year can be truly joyful if we focus on the love and happiness of family and those close to us rather than the pressure to buy anything and everything that’s cheap or on sale because you think you have to. Balance.

Rhetoric out of the way, I have made a few gift idea posts in the past and people have always seemed to enjoy them so let me take a moment and point you back to my previous entries here, here, and here, because as far as I know many of the things on those lists still exist and they are still great ideas in my book.

I took some time to add to that growing collection again this year. Not an extensive list and some items may seem old hat, but there are a number of things I have considered writing whole posts about here so this has been a good excuse to share some cool stuff I use every day and think others could find handy as well. Anyways, I do hope everyone is entering the season in good spirits, have fun out there! Follow the link to see the list. (more…)

Pine

Pine

Speaking of memory, heres a photo that fills YoungDoo with thoughts of her childhood. As I was editing this down for a wallpaper use she immediately recognized the tree and landscape behind it as her childhood home in a small town in South Korea and started rattling off memories of the space distant in her mind.

The ability of a photograph, new or old, to pull forward and organize thoughts is amazing to me. No matter how many photographs are captured in today’s society with its abundance of mundane snapshots, there is still plenty of room to creatively capture our lives and the things we come across as a means to inspire and cultivate an emotional response from friends and strangers alike. I could swear I have said this before among these pages, but photography truly is a gift and it can be so incredibly rewarding if you take the time to treat it with the respect it deserves and requires to sustain a place in our lives for generations to come.

By the way, enjoy the new desktop! I have been using this one myself for a week or two and thought it was time I get it out there for you guys. See you next time.

Eleven

Eleven

I have been digging through old photographs a lot lately and it has reminded me of one of my key motivators to pick up the camera every morning. To remember. There is not a day that passes where I don’t fear it will go forgotten completely if I don’t do at least one thing to remember it.

Too many days pass by well under the radar, may as well try and discover something worth remembering in each day. Give it some meaning, even in such a small way. The simple act of noticing something beautiful is often enough to leave me feeling satisfied.

Time is clear, distinct, but far from patient. Being able to cheat the system and look back on forgotten days is a self motivating pattern. A way to remind myself that every day offers something to look back on and be thankful for and in that, photography is an inspiration palindrome. Or something.

While poking around for a new wallpaper to share I came across this image shot in Korea earlier this year. We were walking to one of my favorite little coffee shops in Seoul, Coffee Kitchen, on a bitter winter afternoon and out of the blue one cross street had the bright, blinding sun setting down between buildings calling out for my cameras attention. Hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the last taste of sun that day back in January.

Fallish

Fallish

Swift and unperturbed, the wind took this day hostage and left a blanket of brown and green in its wake. The fall is creeping in, giving us a peak into the coming months of cool days and rest. The past couple of weeks of calm, grey weather is feeding my desire to create. It’s comforting to me, means its time to start getting cozy as the colder months blow in and I can’t wait.

I’m starting to notice the distant call of words, photography, calm music, and artistic expression off in the distance and thought it’s high time I made my way back to these pages to share with you guys. I look forward to digging into the fragments of work I have around from these past busy months and get the ball rolling around here again. Hey there October, good to see you. Lets see where this fall takes us.

Mums v1

Mums

Sunlight has been little more than a long lost memory around NC as of late. The dismal weather we have been having was refreshing in my book but I think I am in the minority there. Just before the rain rain YoungDoo bought this flowerpot full of mums to welcome the coming fall weather.

They proved to be a colorful reminder that not everything was all grey and murky through the storms and on lighter, hazy days, charming little drops of rain would collect among the flowering plant. I took advantage one day as I was leaving for work and snapped a few photos that I thought would make for nice wallpapers for anyone else who could use a subtle reminder on a cold gloomy day. Enjoy!

mums v2

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fiftyfootshadows.net

fiftyfootshadows@gmail.com