In Search of Treasure Island

“The beauty that shimmers in the yellow afternoons of October, who could ever clutch it?” Ralph Waldo Emerson

I found the Emerson quote in the new National Geographic book Life in Color. I bought the book a few days before this year’s Treasure Island Musical Festival. I photographed the two previous festivals and I was looking for inspiration. TIMF is a colorful festival and I needed expert photographers to explain color.

 (bryan farley)

I attend this event with one of the vendors, so I do not shoot many of the musicians. When I attended the first time, I was disappointed, but I quickly realized that I was able to see the event better. This year, I took more than 700 pictures each day, which is not many considering how many musicians performed. You can see my edited pictures from 2014 day 1.

 (bryan farley)

I spend most of my day with the artists at the Painted Wonderland body paint booth. These are not your ordinary face painters. Each artist creates an individual design for each person who enters the booth. The designs vary in shape, location and color.

 (bryan farley)

Every year I think that I can edit photos and create a blog post before the second day starts. This year I tried again, but my blog post looked like this. I even edited the blog post on my smartphone the second morning from Treasure Island. While I am learning how to use Smartphones from the festival folks, perhaps I need time to synthesize ideas and images.

 (bryan farley)

In the days that followed TIMF, two influential photographers died. Magnum photographer Rene Burri died at 81 and Elvis Presley’s photographer Alfred Wertheimer died at 86. Burri photographed many artists and other iconic leaders. Wertheimer fled Hitler’s Germany when he was a child and met Elvis twenty years later.

 (bryan farley)

Burri’s early work was in black and white, but he later shot in color. He assembled the book Impossible Reminiscences with 136 photographs and stories about each color (or colour) image. Burri died days after I took this image and it reminds me of a picture of him with his own picture of revolutionary Che Guevara. Burri would probably enjoy how this image interacts with the picture of him with Che.

 (bryan farley)

Alfred Wertheimer was best known for an image called “The Kiss.” While I captured a few images of people kissing, I thought this image with shimmering beauty of a yellow October would be a fitting tribute to Wertheimer. Elvis would probably approve too.

 (bryan farley)

If you want to view more images from 2014 and beyond, you can click on any photo and the gallery will launch. You can also click on this link here to see the picture that was the “feature image from Day 1.” It was extremely yellow. Day 2 photos here.

I have added galleries from the previous two years also. Some people appear in multiple galleries across multiple years.

Treasure Island Music Festival 2013 Day 2

Treasure Island Music Festival 2013 Day 1

Treasure Island Music Festival 2012 Day 2

Treasure Island Music Festival 2012 Day 1

Costume Roller Derby

October 11, 2014

Santa Cruz, California

Photo Gallery

 (bryan farley)

Last weekend I photographed the Santa Cruz Bombshells’ final bout of the season. Santa Cruz hosted the New York Bad Apples at the Kaiser Permanente Arena. Because the bout was held in October, there was a costume theme. Because this was roller derby, a costume theme seemed a little redundant… until I participated.

 (bryan farley)

Almost every roller derby skater and official adopt a persona and name. I have a derby name, (it’s P Giddy), but I have not really lived up to it. I wondered if a costume theme would negate personas. Would some people dress as normal people? What is a normal person? Am I a normal person? Instead, it was double fun.

 (bryan farley)

The previous weekend, I bought an old train conductor’s hat in downtown Oakland and decided that I would wear a vest I bought twenty years ago. I also bought an antique lighter that I can use for business cards, but I do not really use business cards. (Perhaps I will start now that I have an old lighter… I don’t smoke either.)

 (bryan farley)

It seemed that the teams hit each other harder than usual. I have watched enough derby to know these things, or at least think that I know these things. It is possible that the skaters hit the same as usual, but this time they did not avoid contact. The collisions were worse, but I have never worn a conductor’s hat to derby.

 (bryan farley)

The highlight may have been the National Anthem by Kristi Garcia. When the National Anthem is the highlight, it is either really bad or really good (usually bad.) Kristi was really good. Since I do not photograph the National Anthem, I do not have a picture of her signing nor of me running out to tell her that she was amazing. I have a blurry picture of her hugging someone I believe is her boyfriend or brother. I actually hugged him. We agreed that she was amazing.

 (bryan farley)

The halftime and post-game presentations were also excellent. Santa Cruz is not my home league, but they are a lot of fun. Downtown Santa Cruz is fun too. I could write a short story about downtown Santa Cruz. Their downtown has a store that only sells flip-flops near a store that only sells high quality tea. That is like being obsessed with trains, but never riding on them… or calling yourself P Giddy and never smiling.

 (bryan farley)


My Next 30 Years Living With Epilepsy

At the high school where I teach, students wear shirts that say, “You are stronger than you think.” Besides having epilepsy, I have dyslexia fueled by paranoia, so that the first few times I read the shirt, I thought it said,

You are STRANGER than you think.

As a person who has lived with epilepsy the last 30 years, I am probably a little stranger than I think I am. I do not always play by the same rules as everyone else, because I am unable to do so. The rules were not designed for people like me, so I have been forced to go my own way. In my effort to fit in, I have become strange. I am stranger than I think… but here is the joke. Everyone is a stranger. Everyone is different. It is as if we are, to paraphrase a Jack Johnson song “Stranger Together.”

The 2009 Camp Coelho Summer Camp for children with epilepsy occurred at Camp Wawona in Yosemite. (bryan farley)

When I had my first seizure 30 years ago, I was a high school student. I was traumatized. Five years ago, I wrote about the struggle on the 25 year anniversary when I began to accept living with epilepsy. I was also aware that I was beginning to experience a transition. I was beginning to feel grateful.

My Next 30 Years-3061

I have also become stronger. Besides the scars on my knuckles from fighting an invisible foe, I have become stronger from living daily with epilepsy medication. When I was sixteen, I took barbiturates two times a day. I have taken medication two times a day every day for 30 years. Those of us with epilepsy often discuss how we become stronger because we get up after we fall. I became stronger because I got up when I was medicated. I built stamina. How bout you?

 (bryan farley)

I have become a lucky old son these first 30 years of having epilepsy. I do not know what more I could have wanted. Tonight I spent the evening with my kids. Today I was listening to music and I realized that I have photographed many of the performers that I was hearing on my radio. Because I have experienced trauma, people trust me with secrets that they would not share with their therapists. I have some of the best friendships… people who have been with me for more than 30 years, people I trust with my secrets.

I wanted to say more, but I am tired. I want to go to sleep so that I can start “my next 30 years.”

I owe much to so many. Thank you to all my friends for keeping me alive and well.