Day 83: Heart Shaped Box

Miles and I listened to Nirvana a lot. I always liked their music. When I was in college, they became the biggest band on the planet.

When I was a sophomore, I took Russian 101 at WVU with Krisi and Laura Karner, two sisters from Charleston. One day in the fall they both walked into class a little late. Laura wore a NIRVANA tshirt. They were both talking very loud. After class, we talked and they told me that they had gone to Pittsburgh the night before to see this great bad called Nirvana in a little venue. It was really loud, they said. They were talking loud because they could not hear themselves talk. Their ears were buzzing. It was the best show they had ever seen.

Miles and I listened to Nirvana a lot when he was young. The rawness of the sound and its simplicity was appealing I am sure. Nirvana was one of many bands from those days that he listened to later in his life as he got older. I know he listened to the Pixies, Dinosaur Jr. too. One characteristic of that music is the contrast they played with. Nirvana was great at the time because they played with loud and soft. In each song, there was often a quiet part followed by a much louder section. I do not know music, but I know enough that Nirvana sold a lot of records that employed this basic trick. It is simple, but effective in the right hands.

I am sure I told Miles about this. But he was also smart enough to figure it out on his own. I can see from his photography that he used a similar understanding of contrast to tell a story in pictures and to create an impression for the reader.  He made a lot of zines and in his zine collections, I can see him playing with contrast. In a single photo, he exhibits an understanding of light/dark or action/stasis, landscape/people, natural/artificial. You can read many of his zines with these axes in mind. He explores contrast and moves the subtle narrative described in his images forward with the tension, harmony, tension, and release inherent in single images and in images presented together. He was so smart. He was so good. I miss him so much.

I think you can see what I was talking about in this series of photos. You can see it better as a zine.


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