Wolf Moon January 2, 2018
I don’t think I ever knew what perfection was until I met Tomas Pantin'. In 1984 Tomas' hired me to be his darkroom technician. I processed all of his film and printed the negatives. He walked me through every print until I got it to his high standard. Looking back on it, I don’t know how he tolerated my stubborn, easily distracted, brain, but he was very patient with me. First, I would get the contrast and exposure right, then he’d say dodge this (hold back some exposure to a part of the print) I'd do that, show him the print, then he’d say now dodge this part, and I would go back in the darkroom, make another print with the changes and show him again, then another adjustment. This could go on several times until the print was perfect step by step. Then he would say, now make 6 of them or 8 or 10, depending on how many he needed. It was really hard, long hours, in the darkroom, but I was learning from one of the best photographers, Perfection. It is a great achievement for me, and has carried my work to the level it is today. My prints are as perfect as I can make them, and I thank and curse Tomas’ for the knowledge, because knowing it and trying to achieve it in any thing else I do is maddening. Living in west Texas for 29 years you learn the person you might hire to do something, will probably do a poor job. And so, I am the plumber, the electrician, the painter, the whatever. Here's the hard part, I am as bad or worse than the person I might hire. And, if I didn’t know what perfection was I wouldn’t drive myself so crazy when my attempts sometimes look like I’m using a chainsaw to do scalpel work. My averages are pretty good. I can usually fix it, but the days when nothing goes right creep up and I grind my teeth to stubs. The late great Billy Faier, who was a fine musician, said there was no such thing as perfection, and we argued about that, and every other subject for that matter. He confessed to perfect moments. He said he played on stage to a very large audience with Pete Seeger, and it was perfect. I do think that lawyers, doctors and all professionals find perfection in their work, but for me the perfection path is very narrow and I embrace it and am thankful that I can at least do one thing well.
The 28th of December was my 29th year of living in Marathon. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. I thank Giddings Brown for hiring me to cook at the Gage Hotel, and JP Bryan, whose own vision for the hotel provided me with the opportunity, and most of all Clif Ladd, who invited me to come out with him Thanksgiving 1988, and stop by the hotel to meet his friend Phil Thomas, who was the chef at the Gage at that time, and planted the seed in my head by announcing they were looking for a second cook.
Please feel free to forward these emails to anyone you think that might be interested. Also, I have been writing these full moon stories for several months and I am going to archive them on my website. I just haven't figured it out yet.
We have two Blue moons this year, that's two full moon in one month, in case you didn't know this one and one in March.
Happy New Year, and Happy Full Moon. Thank you all for supporting my life in the desert.