07 July 2008
we don't want freedom, we don't want justice, we just want someone to love
I had the day off from work today, so I drove down to the Salem fair to take a few photos and maybe buy a giant corndog or a basket of fried oreos or something. When I arrived (around 12), a person at the gate informed me that I couldn't get in until 4 o'clock, so I went to Given's Books and sifted through the stacks. I ended up buying Charles Wright's Appalachia, Harry Caudill's Night Comes to the Cumberlands , Camus' Resistance, Rebellion, and Death, Robert Walser's Jakob Von Gunten, and the book that accompanied David Byrne's film True Stories--all for $12.87, less than I'd pay for one new paperback at Barnes and Noble. While filming True Stories, Byrne invited photographers William Eggleston and Len Jenschel to document the movie (what a gig!); the book collects those photos along with Byrne's photos, the movie script, and several essays, reviews, etc. In case anyone is interested, Eggleston's photos for the book can be viewed here. Some of the photos were taken on the movie set, and others were taken in the surrounding area in Texas.
A storm rolled in just as I arrived back at the fairgrounds; rather than leave without visiting the fair, I waited the storm out in my truck, watching the windows fog up, looking through the Eggleston and Jenschel photos, and reading Camus' thoughts on the role/responsibility of an artist. After the storm passed, I strolled around the main loop at the fair a few times, but I lost some of my enthusiasm for taking photos. Because of the storm there weren't many people milling about, which was kind of nice because it made things less chaotic, but it also meant that my camera was obvious to everyone. Every other person seemed to be shooting me hostile looks, which made me self-conscious and made it difficult to photograph odd things I noticed--like giant idealized corndogs or hundreds of tiny plastic American flags arranged around temporary tattoos proclaiming things like "Sexy Bitch." To me, such things have obvious photographic appeal, but to the vast majority of people photographing a corn dog sticker is beyond weird. Which is kind of ironic, given that one of the main draws of a fair is the heightened level of absurdity.
In any case, here's a scene from True Stories featuring Byrne and the St. Thomas Aquinas elementary school chorus (finding the book was a bit of serendipity, since the film is--at least in part--about the quirkiness of America). Also, the rest of my photos from the fair.