In a time long, long ago in a land far, far away. A fairy tale could start like this. The feeling of a fairy tale creeps me more and more when I think back to the time in February with my friend Harold photographing in California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona.
Without doubt, distance is not a purely physical matter. The physical distance is increased by the impossibility of visiting him due to a microscopic being that causes overwhelming damage in his country. Not only the health of many is affected, but also the economic prospects are terrible.
Harold and I had after a 5 days workshop in Yosemite Valley a peaceful evening in the fields near Caliente (CA). It was silent, only little noise penetrated our ears. The smell of meadows wafted somewhere. We were still protected and did not know.
The title of the novel „Gone with the wind“ comes from a half line of the poem „Cynara“ by the British poet Ernest Dowson, who spent most of his life in France. His verses were translated to German by Stefan George. Arnold Schönberg and Frederick Delius set selected poems to music.
The author of the novel, Margret Mitchell, was well-read and knew the melancholy character of „Cynara“. The reception of her novel in the 1930s saw a resilient and admirable Scarlett O’Hara and a wonderful life in the southern states before the war. The ambivalence of the protagonist’s character and the unhappy end of the novel faded into the background. By the filming 1939 this neglect was still solidified.
The new translation into German from 2020, based on the 1936 edition (The Macmillan Company), adapts the author’s original intention of a clear and simple language. With a sometimes cruel relentlessness, the work depicts an American condition of life: the shaping of personality through money. This opens the reception of a realistically written development novel about a young women from the American South who is exposed to strongly changing living conditions before, during and after the war from 1860 to 1872.
My friend Harold led me on our way to The Pinnacles and Trona to a spot with several freight trains on sidings. Around us a sometimes close and then again distant sandstorm. From above the midday sun in a dusty haze. Immediately I felt the disaster of a broken economic cycle, which affects the entrepreneur and the workers alike.
Eventually, these trains will be gone with the wind, too. A straight ahead leading track made me the illusion of a still running business, because the switch was set correctly. And a railroad crossing was also present.
I really don’t know what goes on with these trains. Maybe, a private company runs them to mine rare earths. Or, they are standing there for 30 years doing nothing. No money to make with it. Has this sight been a premonition of the current crisis that could leave us in a state of disintegration and decay ?
It’s been for two weeks and two days, every day very special and filled with exciting photographic moments. Two men got closer about photography, art and life. It’s over now. We had to go home.
On a turn-out along the I5 near Lost Hills we stopped to change drivers. There we found fields of blooming almond trees with a lovely and sweet fragrance in the air. Following a verdict attributed to John Wayne („A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do“) we immediately grabbed our cameras and did what photographers have to do.
After a certain amount of time, when the almond blossom is over, Harold’s and my friendship will last and life gets even better. Provided you like almonds and you don’t have any dietary restrictions.
Berkeley is my first stop. Here I meet my friend Harold and his wife Phyllis. Last decisions to take. After a very long day with a pleasant flight from Frankfurt to San Francisco the night was interrupted by short wake-ups due to time shift.
As breakfast was not included in my hotel room I went around with a camera at my hand. The morning sun just came over the hills. Small signs explain the advantage of succulents during the increasing drought of the region, because so much water can be saved.
As I move on, I am increasingly surrounded by students who have left for lectures. A lot of homeless people catch my eyes. One of them stands there with his pants half pulled down and shouts at everything and everyone with an aggressive tone of voice. He is near the globe with many layers of complex surfaces that I want to photograph. I’m glad I can disappear.
An hour to sunset: we climb up the Berkeley Hills that show a splendid view on Golden Gate bridge and San Francisco downtown. Many young people drinking and smoking drugs up there.