Search Results : coulterville

May 272008



 I was sad that no one used my favorite mask during my dumb photo shoot, so while Christina was visiting over the weekend we went to this semi-rural area called Coulterville to take some pictures of her in rabbit-mode. Coulterville is one of those local areas ripe with urban legend, and while I’ve had some pretty intense experiences there in the past, it was pretty tame in the daylight.

We started out at this small abandoned church, but then a truck drove up and two old people started pulling out shovels and entire flats of flowers while I was standing precariously, and disrespectfully, on some stone ruin. We grabbed our stuff and bided our time on the nearby railroad tracks and woods.

 Christina was sure she was going to take ticks away as a souvenir, and I kept swearing that I heard small wildlife burrowing through the weeds toward us, so I ran and left her there to hack her way out of the vegetation.

 When I was fleeing the invisible rodents, the back fell off my Holga and one would have thought that it was a $1500 camera with the way I reacted. Meanwhile, the camera that is worth something was flopping against my chest like a candy necklace while I delicately pieced my toy camera back together. My priorities are a disaster.

"Would you like me to just dive in next?" Christina was getting irritated by this point, but luckily the old people were leaving the church and she seemed relieved to have a non-muddy, non-jagger-bushy setting in which to be bossed around. Unfortunately, we returned too soon, and the old people were idling in their truck at the top of the road. We tried to act inconspicuous, but they eventually pulled back down and the old man got out. I remained seated on the ground, camera in my hand, kind of frozen in confusion. I wasn’t sure if it was private property that we were on, and I wasn’t sure if this was the type of guy to tote around a sawed-off shot gun in the back of his pickup for just this sort of occasion.

We exchanged pleasantries and he explained that this was his family chapel and burial ground. I silently gulped a little and said, "Well, it’s very beautiful here. Is it ok that I’m taking pictures?" That seemed to placate him and he said it was fine that we were taking pictures, but then after glancing at Christina, Christina’s tattoos, and the animal mask and rail road tie in Christina’s hands, he added a few caveats about respect and vandalism. Then he gave us a brief history of the land, and I learned that the stone stump I was idiotically perched on when they first pulled in is all that remaIns of the original church that burnt down on that land a long time ago, and that the small shrine I was pretending to photograph when they pulled back the second time is his mother’s grave. He even said if he had more time, he’d have given us a tour of the chapel.

It was insanely awkward. I kept thinking "Please leave, Please leave" over and over again and this time we waited until the truck was completely obscured by trees before resuming our shoot.




Talking to that guy kind of killed it for me, because I had always been so certain that the chapel was haunted, or that skinheads were inside, roasting s’mores off  the flaming carcasses of babies and cats. Talk about dispelling a myth.



More here.


Aug 202012

Henry was gone all day on Saturday, helping out at Castle Blood. I thought, “Oh, this will be OK. Chooch and I can go off and have a cute little photo shoot, celebrate our independence, etc. etc.” But before Henry left, I called him back in the house to have him fetch the wheelchair and put it in the car for me. Independence could wait a few minutes.

“Do you think we can do this successfully?” I asked Chooch when we were on our way to the (damned) location.

He answered quite matter-of-factly, “By ourselves? No.” That kid knows what’s up.

Everything was great. We sang “Call Me Maybe” loudly and repeatedly en route. I even stopped at a gas station and bought him a drink! Look at me! Taking care of my kid’s needs! But then we rolled up on the designated site (Coulterville, an area where many of my photo shoots are located), and that was when I realized I had to lug a wheelchair; a unicorn mask; the camera bag; and a plastic bag filled with clowns, doll heads, an empty bottle of Old Crow and a jack in the box all on my own because my goddamn son is a fucking divo.

This is where Henry’s blue-collar arms would have come in handy.

Originally, I wanted to cross the train tracks and walk toward the river, because there are some really cool spots back there. But then I realized, “Holy shit, I can’t lift this wheelchair up to the tracks” so I started swearing and crying. We were going to take the pictures at the nearby cemetery and abandoned church after that, but Chooch was being totally uncooperative and we screamed, “I HATE YOU!” at each other with enough fury to raise the dead, and then not one but TWO trains passed us and we were both shook to the core because OMG WE ALMOST TRIED TO CROSS THOSE TRACKS AND WE COULD HAVE BEEN KILLED.

That made me flip out even harder, and then Chooch started crying because he lost his (broken) sunglasses and I wouldn’t help him look for them because the trains were freaking me out so bad and all I wanted to do was push the fucking wheelchair back to the car (IT WAS ALL UPHILL, THANKS).

There are people who live around there. I sure hope they heard our histrionics. Especially when I threatened to orphan him and he snarled, “NOT IF I GO TO THE ORPHANGE FIRST.”

I was NOT going home. Not after driving all the way out there. So we stopped at McDonald’s (after I flipped out for the 79879876th time because the gas light was on and I couldn’t find a gas station and then when I did, I had to make an illegal turn to reach it) and I said out loud, “Fuck this. I’m getting a frappe. I goddamn earned it.” But first we had to wait for the oldest woman alive to send back all of her food and then proceed to sit there in her dumb minivan even after she got the right stuff, and I started yelling at her which made Chooch laugh to the point of tears, but then seriously say, “Mommy, she’s just an old lady.”

AND THEN THEY GAVE ME MY FRAPPE WITHOUT A MOTHERFUCKING STRAW. I didn’t want to park and go inside to get one, because I couldn’t leave Chooch alone in the car (I checked the manual real quick for that one) and he didn’t have his shoes on plus I was all sweaty and tear-soaked and had dirt all over me from god only knows what. So I drank that bitch without a straw and had chocolate syrup all over my face; I can assure you I didn’t really care at that point. I had accepted my new role as the poster woman for Defeat.

Did I leave out the part where I called Henry 87 times while he was trying to cut doors in walls at Castle Blood, screaming at him because I didn’t know how to fold the wheelchair and it was THE WORST DAY EVER and I might as well just KILL MYSELF? Oh, well that totally didn’t happen.

We ended up going to the place where the Easter pictures happened. (Click that link if you haven’t seen those photos; Henry has on makeup in them!) At first glance, I thought the abandoned structures had been demolished, but really it was just because the area was so overgrown with frondescence that it was no longer visible from the road. Where was my machete when I really needed it?

I think I lost 10 pounds that day from crying, sweating, raging & hiking thru weeds and mud with a wheelchair. And we both have cuts and scrapes all over us from trampling through walls of jagger bushes, with Chooch wailing, “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU’RE MAKING ME DO THISSSSSS” and me screaming, “IT’S FOR ART, STFU!!”

By the time Henry came home, Chooch and I were both languid on the couch, eyes glazed over, looking extremely pathetic. “Can we go out to eat?” Henry asked. “I worked so hard today and I’m starving.” With my eyes, I mentally castrated him.

Later that night, Chooch was telling Henry something unrelated to the photo shoot, and added, “I think that was when Mommy was in the car, crying.”

Aug 072009

I was bored on Sunday so I did what any other bored person would do: called up a friend, stuffed a Ketchup-smeared box over her head and stuck her in creepy area plethoric with bad vibes, foreboding “no trespassing” signs slapped all over a boarded up church, homicidal rustling in the woods, and mysterious intonations of a drum circle wafting over train tracks.


Coulterville is my favorite place to go to take pictures because it has it all: train tracks, fields overgrown with weeds, desolate churches, haunted cemeteries, winding backroads, and menacing bikers watching from a doorway to a secret bar. And who doesn’t like the sensation of being watched from the woods while they’re crouched down, taking photos, expecting a one-eyed survivor of a chemical spill wielding a machete and a surgical kit to lunge out of a slipshod outhouse.


Alisha was all, “OK, hurry please ” because not only was she too afraid of getting disemboweled and strung up in a tree, but because ketchup apparently attracts bugs.


She just wants a hug, ya’ll.


She wasn’t just posing here. This was a real life cower-in-the-corner moment. It’s creepy there! There are signs everywhere reminding us that we’re being caught on tape. There weren’t security cameras there last time,  and I’ll tell you why they put cameras in there now: because someone finally believes me that there is Satanic activity taking place inside that church. I swear to god I was there one night a long time ago and my friend Justin and I saw a whole pack of Satanists and we knew they were Satanists because they were BALD and SCARY. Just like the Bible says! (Right? No?) We left that night really, really, really quick and remember shouting at him, “I came here to see ghosts, not a fucking sacrifice, what the fuck Justin??” and he was trying to rationalize it by saying, “Maybe they’re just here to play Release?” But you know, it was 10 years ago so maybe I could have made up that dialogue.


She is so happy we reunited last February.


I wanted her to jump in the creek and pretend like she was washed away by the strong current. Seriously, that was no bubbling brook. It had been raining all day and the water was rushing over the rocks; it was loud and frightening. Which was why I wanted her in it. In the name of art, you know?


Anyway, I’m looking for volunteers to create some tableux vivants. Just for fun, you know? Keeps me off the drugs. But for some reason, every time I ask for volunteers, people get all apprehensive? Start saying they’re busy that day? When I haven’t even mentioned a date!

(Seriously, if you’re local and interested, hit me up. In photos, not sex. Clothed photos, not sexy photos. I”m not quite there yet.)

[Ed.Note: I’m going to continue posting photos that are too wide for my blog until Henry finally, after promising for a year, fixes the narrowness. I would do it myself, but last time I tried to do anything more hardcore than uploading a picture or adding to my blogroll, I deleted the entire thing.]