Second Week of October

Second Week of October

Kisatchie

Second Week of October by Joel Aversing

The crisp air, falling leaves, bonfires and football games, a few things that come to mind when you think of early October, but that’s not why the second week of October is my favorite time of year. It’s hunting season, but more importantly it’s a time when all the men in the family get together and forget to act like gentlemen and go camping. Manners go out the window, as we drink beer and whisky around the poker table and curse at the refs when they make a bad call against LSU.

Now I only go hunting once a year, so I can’t tell you I go for the sport, or just to shoot off some rifles and shotguns, that’s a small part of it. Yes all this is primitive and it feels good, but to me what’s more primitive is the gathering of a family or “tribe”. Enjoying each other’s company while I cook breakfast on a makeshift stove while having a MORNING beer, and listening to my brother in-law telling me “you’re burning the bacon, that shit is burnt”, these are good times.

Makin Bacon

There was a time when my son would come out camping and all he wanted to do was see what he could burn in the campfire. He was such a good fire poker. Now he’s toting an old crack barrel shotgun that’s actually four times older than he is and the pellet gun now gets left in the closet.

The young nephews have grown, have beards, and kids of their own. Pop still says “meet back at 9:30 unless you’re having fun, I got nowhere to be”, and the men secretly still try to out-cook one another. My son still likes to tag along with his Grandpa but is willing to explore the Kisatchie wilderness on his own.

Campfire

If I’ve learned anything in the last fifteen years hunting with the family it’s that change is constant but a family’s bond is forever, and to bring plenty of toilet paper because you will be sh*tting in the woods.

Paladin

The Fleeting Summer

The Fleeting Summer

The Fleeting Summer by Joel Aversing

As the heat rolls in and the days grow longer, the unmistakable sounds of summer emerge: the sizzle of meat on a hot grill, the splash and laughter of the kids in the pool, the distant sound of your neighbor mowing his lawn and more personally, the sound of my son repetitively bouncing his basketball on the pavement, as he strives for the perfect shot.

fleeting image_1

As I watch him, I realize that he’s at that magical age, a few weeks shy of 14, two months away from high school, a time of much change in his life.  He is straddling the line between childhood and becoming a full-fledged teenager.  Sure his age makes him a teenager already, but his actions, rolling around in the backyard with his dog, cuddling on the sofa with his mom, tell me he’s not quite there yet.  Though, there are some days where his attitude and constant texting with girls remind me that he’s on the cusp.

fleeting image_2

This summer will be a journey of self discovery for him.  It may be his last summer of freedom as next summer his hours may be filled with a part-time job.  He’s old enough to stay home alone now and for us to trust him to walk to his friend’s house unaccompanied.  I’m grateful that he enjoys exploring the outdoors just as much as he enjoys exploring the worlds in his video games.  Above all, I hope he takes the time this summer to enjoy his last few months of childhood, digging holes, poking things with sticks, exploring old buildings and shooting his favorite basketball shot over and over again before this time is gone forever.  One last crazy summer of freedom, and I’ll be there every step of the way with my camera capturing each moment of his transition from child to young man.

fleeting image_3
All shots were taken using the Lumia 1020 WindowsPhone. Post processed in Fantasia Painter and Oggl.  

Searching for Carcosa

Searching for Carcosa by Joel A

Fifteen years ago, a mid-western young man fell in love with a red-headed Louisiana bayou girl and without a thought left the snow and flat plains behind for the wetlands and pine trees of Louisiana.  Culture shock was a given.

Long before “YOLO”, Louisianans have been marching to the beat of their own drummer, declaring “laissez bon temps rouler”.  Most of the world may hear Louisiana and relive drunken memories of stumbling around Bourbon Street, but New Orleans is but a small part of what makes Louisiana unique.

Recently, a large number of people’s attentions, including my own, have been captured by HBO’s “True Detective” and though the lead actors, Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, sizzle, I believe the Louisiana scenery steals the show.

Though filming in and around New Orleans, the director captured the gritty realism far removed from the French Quarter and it’s what contributes to the believability of the story line.  Deep in the marshes of the Louisiana bayou, hidden behind the natural gas plants and oil refineries, you can believe that Carcosa exists.

“He said there’s this place down south, er, all these rich men go to, er, devil worship… He said, er… they sacrifice kids and whatnot, women and children all got, all got, murdered there… and, um, something about some place called Carcosa, and the Yellow King. He said there’s all these like old stones out in the woods, people go to, like, worship… He said, er, he said there’s just so much good killing down there…” –Charlie Lang – “True Detective”

Even I, someone surrounded by the state every day, was drawn into the locations mentioned in the series, I couldn’t wait to grab my Nokia Lumina 1020 and see if I can capture the abandoned, forgotten quality of some of these scenes that make you wonder what could have happened there and why everyone left.

I drove the real locations mentioned in the series, even though the director may have filmed far away, the Creole Nature Trail area which has been ravaged by two major hurricanes in the last ten years.  Areas where FEMA trailers still dot the landscape, alligators outnumber people and sometimes three meals a week served on their dinner tables will consist of seafood caught themselves.

I drove Hwy 31, down by Bayou Teche, through Breaux Bridge, past St Martinville, close to Spanish Lake where the show mentioned the Bunny Ranch existed.  I walked around Lake Martin, past signs warning me not to feed the alligators.

As I drove through some small towns, past derelict buildings, I remember Matthew McConaughey’s character, Rust’s quote from the show, “This place is like someone’s memory of a town, and the memory is fading.”  The Louisiana marsh is disappearing almost as quickly as its population.

Yet the population that remains is determined.  Though the show that inspired this photo trip is steeped in violence, murders and drugs, and I know that these things exist here in Louisiana, as well as everywhere, the people that I encountered were the most welcoming I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet.  From the young boys crabbing on the dock, wanting me to see the big fish they caught, to the Cajun musicians I stopped to listen to at the Savoy Music Center in Eunice or the owner of the meat market that helped me pick out some of the best stuffed sausage I ever tasted, their Louisiana charm was contagious.  No Yellow King or stick figures in sight, at least not this trip.

No Grand Romantic Gestures Required

No Grand Romantic Gestures Required by Joel and Stac A

Roses will be delivered, candies will be consumed, lovers will delight…
The day of love is almost upon us.

It’s also the day for Grand Romantic Gestures.  You picture, John Cusack and hear Peter Gabriel playing.
When I was young, I, like many others, may have had daydreams of someone serenading me across a crowded room, picking me above all others and cementing publicly that their desire for me was greater than their pride.

As I matured, my tin heart had to have many dents popped back out, and I started to realize that most of those grand gestures are not so much about showing someone that they are your only one, as it is hoping and praying the gesture allows you to be their only one.  It’s an act of desperation by someone who may realize deep down that they haven’t truly won over the object of their affection, and perhaps a huge billboard sign will convince them.

I’ve changed my views on “romantic love” more times than I’ve changed my hairstyle.  Though, I’m still not ready to give it up completely.
This morning as my partner and I cuddled in bed, copped feels and laughed about ridiculous things, it felt as if we were newlyweds.  As I drove to work, I thought back to darker times, a few years ago, when I was questioning my commitment.  Honestly, think what you want, but love for me comes in waves.  Sometimes it crashes on me in desperation, almost knocking me over with its fury.  Sometimes it barely laps against my feet, tickling my toes with its emotion.  And there have been many moments of low tide, where my heart appears cracked and dry, waiting for the waves of love to wash back over it.

It’s probably different for you, you may be desperately in love all the time, but for me the only thing constant about my love is change.

What keeps me committed during long periods of low tide?  It’s knowing that even when I’m not sure I want to be around him, he’s there wanting to be around me.
Sometimes the grandest gesture of all is to swallow your pride and put societal views of romantic love aside and give someone a second, third, sixth, eighth chance to dent your heart all over again.
Love may start as a spark, a special connection, but a long term relationship is about unequivocally stating your needs and opening yourself up to allow a willing party to meet those needs.

I’ll end by stealing/paraphrasing words from a Relient K (yeah I’m in shock too) song
You’re still the Cusack on the lawn of my heart.

To Your Dreaming

Look closely you can see the fluidity of things.  

Look closer for clarity.  

You’ve reached a soft collision.  

Let it pull you into your ocean.  

You’ve sailed into your dreaming.  

This set, with some revision, was originally featured on the mobile photo/story app, Backspaces.  It is an experiment in time lapse, macro and abstract minimalism.  The apps used in this set were SlowShutter, Hipstamatic, Lomora, Phonto and my Olloclip.  The original bases for the photos were flowers.  I was inspired while listening to the ethereal darkwave band Claire Voyant, which also inspired some of the photo titles.   This series was an attempt to display the softer aspect of my work and the emotions that I felt while creating these shots comes across in both the photos and the accompanied short passages.


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