The Sky

Everyone likes 2’s, likes things. 2’s are good ’cause it’s easy to go out and snap a shutter if you’re going out to make a photo of a specific thing. No need to worry about Cartier-Bresson’s moments, defining or otherwise. Don’t bother with obscuring anything from yourself or the world with Barthes and his ivory tower punctum and studium. Go out, find a thing, click a shutter. Or don’t even go out, things are everywhere. The sky is a 2.

At least the sky isn’t everywhere.

If you’re going to shoot a 2, it involves planning. Pick the right time, when the light is right. Pick the right film, right for the way you’ll want to process it, right for the way you’ll want to print it. Then pick the camera. The camera you pick is the right one. But when the thing is the sky, or the sky is a second thing, all that’s out the window. There’s only one way to see the sky, the way you do.

I hate the sky. As 2s go, it’s the worst. So when it’s going to be there, I make it what I want it to be. You should build your own sky too.

A lot of people, camera people, people who are capital p photographers or otherwise, make the sky over all the time. Most of them think about it, I assume, they do. And they all seem to want the same thing. Contrast and clouds, always contrast and clouds. Do it with a yellow filter, or an orange filter, or a red. And the white clouds, and the dark sky is this beautiful thing they just love.

I like my sky empty. I like it the high clean sound of an old television; the blindness of a sun. A beautiful nothing that world down here aspires to.

I like it when the bright is thick, when it obscures as much as any darkness. What’s that 2 for you?

Religion

I don’t understand religion, but I appreciate it for what it can be for people. For me, religion is as close as anyone who isn’t ill will get to understanding. I don’t think I can explain mental illness to atheists.

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Hill Cumorah Visitors Center Shortsville, NY

It’s like, knowing. Knowing that there’s something the rest of the world doesn’t share. It’s faith.

Faith doesn’t just go away either. It doesn’t die however much edgy dramas and complex fictions pretend it does. There’s no controlling it; it is controling.

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Moroni on his plinth, Summit of the Hill Cumorah Shortsville, NY

The thing about it that makes me not try explaining it to atheists, is the imperative. An illness, is like faith, like a fire? No, the metaphor is weak, fire lacks a real, sweeping, urgency—anytime you’re far from the flames.

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The angle Moroni, holding the golden plates

See, there’s folk who got religion, and folks who’s got faith. And they take their wafers and their rites when they get the spirit, and I take my meds when I remember. And we all walk around in the world and we all get along and for the most part only want good things for everyone. And we none of us understand.