Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Old Year, New Love

My first book of poetry, Perpetual Care, is almost a year old. Which means it's been in this world almost as long as I lived in New Orleans. Strange. A large part of the manuscript deals with the loneliness and alienation felt by a person in a new city, new coast, new culture, etc. How fortuitous, then, that I recently found, and fell in love with, the photography of Mercedes McAndrew.

Her year-long project, L'image Quotidienne, is a sort-of love letter to her new city, San Francisco. In the same spirit of Perpetual Care, which seeks to understand New Orleans as a whole by archiving smaller elements and moments, she took on the project of photographing one person each day as a way of learning her new home. The evolution of the photos reveals her increasing comfort with and, dare I say, love for the city.

And the individuals are as varied and colorful as one would hope. Young and old. Fashionable and scruffy. Dads. Grandmothers. Dreadlocks. Genuine smiles and obvious poses comingle. A waitress offers a bowl of macaroni and cheese. A Christmas tree vendor named Mr. Green glows in his neon orange pants. As the year draws to a close, both here on the farm and in the city, I encourage you to reflect on your own home, new or old, and the faces that make it unique.

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