Monday, May 16, 2011

R.I.P. to a V.I.P black book

The unthinkable happened last week. To me at least it was terrible, however it may be a little bit difficult for some of you to understand. I’ll try to explain.

You see, I have many black notebooks in my life – they’re usually about 8.5 x 11 inches in size and they all serve different artistic purposes. Sometimes, one will be designated to a particular class or process I’m working on, while another one might be dedicated to a specific shoot or a developing concept. They’re full of just about anything you can think of. Personal notes, other artists cards or promotional slips, cut outs from magazines, polaroid’s I’ve taken, location addresses I’ve shot at, test prints, influential artists work - everything - sometimes I even go as far as to stick in actual perfectly finished prints, and, what’s even worse – film negatives! 

Just last week in class one of my professors commented on the thoroughness of my journaling and I was sort of teasing with her about how I would be just so devastated if I ever lost one of these black books… and blah… blah… blah, I was on a bit of a high horse about what a good student I was. Well, guess what happened just a few days after – yep – gone. Jinxed myself or something…

Here’s how it went down: I parked at the parking garage near school where I park for class every day. I remember specifically packing it in my bag that day because I had to tone cyanotypes and my “recipes” for the tried and tested perfectly toned cyanotype where kept safely in this particular notebook. I went to the digital lab, where I printed some negatives for contact printing. Next I went to meet with a professor in her office. Then, I went to the dark room. By the time I opened up my bag in the dark room to fetch my prized notebook, it was mysteriously nowhere to be found. Yes – I retraced all of my steps – nothing.

Okay, so I would be devastated if I lost any one of these important notebooks that I keep, but this notebook, this particular notebook was my masterpiece. It was the queen of all notebooks that have ever come before it or could possibly follow it. It was the notebook that I kept for my historical processes class and it was so complete, I can’t even begin to tell you how much information and love I had crammed into those pages. I have lost the step-by-step directions of how to capture, process and print cyanotypes, Van Dyke Brown prints, gum dichromate prints and tintypes. I have lost numberless prints, test prints and negatives. I have lost notes on artist’s whose work greatly influenced my own. I have lost the instructions for how to mix chemicals and my personal notes on what works and doesn’t. I lost polaroid’s and pinhole images.

I have lost a lot with that notebook. However now, now that it’s gone, what I feel like I lost the most is my enthusiasm. All of the information and all of the hard work that I had put into that book felt like proof - proof that I did something and learned something even through the entire struggle that has been this course. It was the breadcrumbs that were going to lead me to greatness. And now I’ve lost both my book and my enthusiasm.

So, what’s the lesson? I suppose I should practice the art of letting go. I’m trying to remember that all things are fleeting and nothing lasts forever. I had a wonderful time making that book. Everything in it was meaningful and now that it’s gone I suppose there is more room for something else, presumably, a new book that will aspire to fill the sad, empty spot on my bookshelf where, for a mere moment in time, the queen of all journals slept.


  1. I'm so sorry! I hope it turns up!

  2. I had all of my contact info in the back, but I'm pretty sure that if someone was going to get in touch with me, they already would have. :(

  3. Sounds like is was a great book filled to the brim. You are an inspiring person. Hope your mojo comes back two fold. Kick ass and don't take names!

  4. My experience has been that as soon as I really let go, the important lost item comes back.... take it as you will but there is real power in letting go...
    (oh and pain..... ouch....)

  5. oh, Beeswax Enlightenment is me, Leana!!! xoxox