Trippin Tripods


You know how Oprah does those “What do you know for sure?” columns and ads, her hair being blown by a fan while she gazes into the eyes of John Travolta, sighing with disbelief at her “AH HAH” moments. I had that happen, but with a tripod. It is a known fact that I have been asking, begging, inquiring about a freakin tripod, a tool every one of my classmates owns but me. My manager even told me to stop harassing my tables, my class laughing as I auctioned off ovaries, my quest began to take a perfectly exposed still life photo. I have watched with envy all the ways my friends twist, turn, swivel, mount, while I learned from the side, irritated. My first tripod came from a beloved bartender, a beautiful shiny gadget, almost as sturdy and cool as the bad ass ones at school. I held it up in victory and so we sat her up, opened up her legs, and shit damn, but yes, she was missing the screw to attach my camera.
Sigh.
My next attempt is a blog for another day, a man I was seduced by his claims to have the very thing I needed, his charm ended up with an epic story and an offering of what looked like an umbrella, but I was very grateful. I headed to class with accomplishment, even though it was a sad little thing, opened next to the giants of camera gear, making my best bud gut laugh. The thing was probably the skinniest tripod ever made, my teacher pulling me up to class for my turn to meter a gray card, its legs wobbled like it could snap like a twig, the whole class had their hands up to their mouths, and as it started to tip over from the weight of my camera, my professor stopped me. It made her too nervous. One person commented it was totally sketch, a sweet blond said duct tape helped everything, the IT boy of digital rubbed his chin seriously, advising me not to break my lens for what looked like a tripod used by families with hand held digital cameras on vacation.
And so, the shooting began, and now I was over it, done asking and begging, looking through others lenses, not sure why I could come up with everything impossible to be in a school without the basic tripod.
So, I did what any creatively obsessed artist without a palette would do.
I made my tripod into a duplicate of me, my feet barefoot without even thinking twice, my tube socks off, my quest for tape and glasses, my earrings and belt whipped off to do something while I waited for a tripod someone had put down without notice.
It was fun and I loved her, but she was not exactly still life potential. My studio professor is a dude who is nothing short of genius in his art but cool enough to have skateboards and fish tanks in his class, arms covered in black ink, which to me, is the very definition of sexy. He suggested I take her out of the studio and into the school, mostly design and copywriters around, all busy doing what they do, like copy stuff and shit, I guess. They are interesting with their big ink portfolios, all hovered around computers looking at font, discussing concepts and snapping fingers when a bright idea comes along.
I was just going to take her on a little adventure, maybe to the vending machine, the lighting obviously ridiculous and useless, but the concept of it just made me laugh.
The reactions were even more hilarious than I thought, especially because I didn’t think about what they would be, and so while I put her in position from place to place, people came by, stopped, stared, laughed, backed up and stared, and laughed some more.
Then she started making friends, people asking her to have a smoke, stopping to admire her legs or her belt, others walking by amused, or turning around like whiplash, asking for a photo op, all making me laugh harder than any concept I had imagined. Like the raccoon copywriter who acted like she was a real person, not waiting in line for the copy machine for her, without even a bit of hesitation, dry and smooth in wit. He was wearing a freaking raccoon hat, so what did he care, she hadn’t done anything to earn his respect.
When I realized half my class had wandered out of the studio and into the community fridge, setting up pranks and abandoning their photo projects, I realized I had picked the perfect shirt for her.
“Most Likely to Be Famous,” and she is a little feisty, talks a lot, and bothers people trying to get real work done. I decided I might want to bring her in on my tripod quest, certain if she got this much attention, a sign for a tripod might just accomplish that. And if it is not meant to be for me to own my own tripod in a professional photography career, at least I will have gotten some laughs, made some new friends, and got me thinking outside the box.
Like, when she is going to meet her first boyfriend.
Or what she should wear for Halloween.
Or how people would react if she were set up, me in the car with my photo lens, waiting for the reaction as she waits to pick up Kat and Lola at the bus stop.
I think we are going to get close, me and her, my ideas popping up non stop, a quest for adventure setting me on spin and dry, a series of shots lining up in my head.
Oprah doesn’t have shit on me, cause I may be duct taping a shady pole for a professional shoot, but I finally have someone who gets me, and I like her style.


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