Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Meditating on Photographs

My roommates are moving out today . . . They lived with me for three months. I can recall the first couple days we were living together . . . the house abounded with joy, they even gave me a present.

And now? Now there are a lot of muffled sighs. They've hardly spoken to me for the three months they lived in my house. In the beginning, I thought we were going to eat meals together. That never happened.

Things started to go sour the day Julie, one of the roommates, told me they were moving out in a month. She said it so nonchalantly, "Oh, by the way, we found a new place."

"But we had an agreement?" I said.

"Yeah, well, one of our friends broke up with her girlfriend and we're all going to rent a house; it's cheaper."

We never had a written agreement, and therefore I couldn't even get them to forfeit their deposit.

One of the strangest things, while they were living in my house, they never even used the common area. With the exception of eating dinner in the kitchen, they used to come home and run up to their room and shut the door.

It baffled me that a couple who chose to rent a room in a shared house could be so anti-social. But such was the case.

Granted, my living habits are not very typical. I keep late hours and work from home. But in the beginning, they really didn't seem to mind. It was just before they decided to leave that this atmosphere of resentment started to surface.

These photographs by Kim Holtermand sum up my mood right now. As fall approaches, the feeling of beautiful cool detachment comes over me . . . I love fall as many do, and I am detached from the petty worries of my life . . . I love the crisp awareness that fall brings. The large empty spaces in these photographs give me an immediate sense of the hollowness. That hollowness is not a superficial hollowness but the hollowness of consciousness, the emptiness that is pure and large and cannot be destroyed.

These neon lights too reflect me in this moment. I am still illuminated with color, hopeful against the grey, metal background of my surroundings. These neon lights remind me of the lines I make in my art journal, using colored ink.

I love lines, a precise mark is beautiful.

A sort of industrial photograph should remind us of what we've become. We've become machines . . . but engaging this season can help us from remaining machines. Roomates will come and go, but fall endures somehow.

Kim Holterman's Website



TrinaMb said...

Bittersweet, the possiblities of new beginings some 3 short months ago, the harsh reality of not receiving the comraderie you had hoped...

Enjoyed your refelctions on Fall and it's importance to you in pictures.

Madawnn24 said...

I to rent a room in my house & the guy never leaves that room. Only 4 work & bathroom.Since i work from home & every facit of my life is surrounded by art, I personaly need to have good energy around me. Not sure what makes him decide to come out of his cave & join in what ever is going on. But i find it doesnt always mesh well & i secretly wish he would return to his dark cave. He does get it & quietly excuses him-self as just being shy.
As artist, people & things that surrounded us need to move us, provoke us & are engaging. So this will work out best for you in the end
Clear the air,clear the energy.
Best wish's

Kate Sherrod said...

Bah! Roommates! They clutter up one's bookcases, blast ridiculous music and dance around the living room at inappropriate hours, clutter up the refrigerator with bizarre and noisome comestibles, turn the thermostat down way too far, drag one out of the house for midnight bikerides when one would much rather be reading pointless facebook updates and insist on planting vegetable gardens in one's backyard. Who needs the hassle?

Just kidding. Lovely post, as usual, Lethe. I especially admire the use of so wildly atypical a range of images to represent the onset of autumn.

Lethe said...


Yes, bittersweet it was!


The "dark cave" is an especially apt description.


I realized that these were not pictures displaying Autumn . . . Winter if anything, right?

But, in defense, I did say the pictures reflected my mood . . .

Kate Sherrod said...

They are slightly wintry but that makes them all the more perfect for reflecting said mood, the pictures. Makes the post all the more striking as a whole!

Lethe said...

I think I was also avoiding the cliche Autumn picture post


rosebud101 said...

Room mates. The stories! Be glad they will be gone. There are many more to come! Many more to go. You will be fine!

persistentillusion said...

Sadly, I had this experience with a former roommate only I was on the other side of it. She clearly didn't want anyone there and only chose to get a roommate because she needed help covering the rent.

We were friends before I moved in but it is hard to handle the energy of someone who doesn't really want to share their space.

(NOT that I am saying this about you! Just your post reminded me of it.)

Living with other people and sharing space with them is truly a delicate balancing act.

Gretta said...

Human nature is so fickle; we are wise not to depend on things that are not possible, and certainly not hang our happiness on three months of "perfect" strangers!

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