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Closing my Orange County photography studio (Mark Jordan Photography ) to go galavanting across the country is not always easy, especially on a whimsy. But when a good bud offers to pickup the tab for a jaunt out to Miami for a few nights stay at the Versace Mansion (properly titled "The Villa"), who am I to argue? Goodbye California, wife and family, and hello South Beach!
As it tuns out, the same chap who owns "The Villa," Barton G., also runs a posh restaurant just around the corner, and of the same name, Barton G. This dining phenomenon is yet for another post, but suffice it to say, it's more than worth the flight and expense to experience again, and again. In fact I did. This is where my story begins.
After once again thoroughly gorging myself at a scrumptious dinner extravaganza at "Barton G The Restaurant," rather than accepting a ride back to my hotel (this visit at the Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa - extraordinary) I decided to walk off a few calories by rambling the streets of South Beach. Also having my trusty Canon 5D in hand gave me all the rationale I needed to walk a few miles when I could have just has easily been driven.
Being a Friday night, things were hopping in Miami. Either you like this sort of frenetic activity or you don't. My temperament leans somewhat to the latter, although there is something intoxicating about the energy and youthful lust for life - it percolates my blood. Not to mention the exotic cars, enticing aromas, reverberating sonance and provocative ensembles, if not the trappings of great wealth. Okay, so I was enjoying myself more than I thought.
Regardless, I felt very much the voyeur - a man out-of-place, brandishing an equally out-of-place appendage: a large professional camera. Each time I lifted my cannon [sic], faces would either grimace and scatter, or sparkle and shine. Nonetheless, it was not the people upon which my intent was focused, nor my camera. My fascination was the environs that seduced them - like moths to a flame it brought them by the thousands. The Miami turf, more than anything, captured my attention.
Well then, for all my talk, you'd think I'd post a few fairly outrageous images. RIght? Instead, I document my Miami stroll with a sole image of a window strewn with sewing machines. Well yes, that's me. This was my favorite image and one that seems to encapsulate best what my emotions were transmitting.
For all the excitement and stimulation, for all the glitz and glamour, and for all the anticipation and fertile hopes, there was an almost suffocating atmosphere of loneliness. It was these sewing machines I spotted in the All Saints window that spoke to me the loudest - each one suggesting the nature of the lives that scurried about. So many with latent design and purposeful intent, but idly active, on display, shelved and disconnected.
It also did not get lost on me that the agents of my curiosity were confined within a store boasting the emblem "All Saints." Although it's commonly thought today that "saints" occupy the realms solely defined by Websters as "persons recognized with exception holiness in the Christian Church by canonization," the Book whereupon the narrative of "saint" was first penned was a characteristic attributed to and attainable by every person. The contrast of this distinction was striking.
For me, these abandoned, inert and impotent machines, seemed to piece together my sense of the walking contradictions before me. So may lives that, though intertwined by activity, were nonetheless isolated and barren by the same force they sought to unite them. I guess if I had observed a display of robotronic zombies I could have substituted their image instead. But in lieu of such a discovery, these Miami Sewing Machines, I believe, will do just fine.
Mark Jordan Koeff
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