‘‘One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make it worth watching.”
I thought the following posts say a whole lot more about me than the usual bio. I sure hope this will keep you interested in what I will want to share with you in the future.
”I decided to be a witness of the sad beauty of those who had left the ship to sail away in a world of their own.”
TOBE DAMIT, OR NOT TO BE – A Short Photo Essay
Introduction by Helene Burkholder
If I may, I would like to share a few pictures on The End of Being that were taken by a virtual friend of mine, Tobe Damit. I first saw these photos posted on his Facebook account about a year ago. I thought those pictures were phenomenal for a few reasons: They were shot on film (rather than digitally) then scanned, are not photoshopped, nor artificially lit or staged. I always found that photos shot to film by analog camera have a wonderful graphic quality that I find myself missing nowadays. They also display a world which, apart from the new flashy technology we now have, has not changed much – alcoholism, despair, homelessness, poverty and abandonment are still very present today as they were when these pictures were taken in 1988 and 1989. These photos will probably be viewed by some as flawed, but to me they exude a rawness that I find missing in today’s ‘perfectly framed’ digital photography. All photos and texts by Tobe Damit.
“Shame”, Taverne Morocco , Jonquière (QC), Winter ’87
I had just finished my second of three college years in the program in Arts and Media Technologies in Jonquière (Québec), and my girlfriend and I met up with four of her friends – one of whom was just back from spending 2 years in Thailand and was brought back to Canada after a hard and long search led by his father – half-way on route to Québec City, where there was this huge party planned for the birthday of a friend of my girlfriend and her best friend. It all went perfectly wrong, as any real good party should go, and the police had to end it abruptly. Four of us decided there and then to go on a road trip going from Quebec City, to Montreal, to New-York, ending in Virginia Beach, since all of us were free for the summer and had cars at our disposition. The main declared purpose of this road trip was unknown to all of us.
During this trip, I got to better know one of the friends that was with us. This guy had gone totally mad travelling across Thailand, doing stuff with no logical meaning whatsoever. He was seen by many locals and left behind him only whispers of pity and incomprehension. This lunatic was pretty much out of it and nobody had managed to find out what had happened to put this previously very open-hearted, grounded, good fellow and appreciated companion, in this state… This had a very strong effect on me and I realised how thin the line that kept us mentally fit (according to social standards) was, and made me appreciate that these people also had some kind of wisdom and spontaneity that most of us “sane people” were somehow lacking… So, as I had my old Leica camera with me, I decided to be a witness of the sad beauty of those who had left the ship to sail away in a world of their own.
”Sleeping Beauty”, NYC, Summer of ’88
It was somehow prophetic because 20 years later I was myself declared as having a schizoid-paranoid personality. A disease that is supposed to be, by definition, chronic and never go away but some miracle saved me and I can tell you for sure now that I am back to my old self. Going through this maze had a strong spiritual impact on me and even today there are some things that happened during that period that I cannot explain, things I was foreseeing, thought that I was reading in other peoples’ minds…
”Surrogate”, Saint-Ambroise-de-Kildaire, Qc, Summer ’90
I do indeed take a lot of interest in human nature in every possible way, the closer to the heart the better. I do realise people would maybe have liked to know more about the pictures but being who I am I as afraid to be boring them because I do like to write. It is my second talent, maybe even my first but English being a second langage to me, I am afraid to make very obvious mistakes. I would be happy however to answer any specific questions you might have about me or the pictures. It truly sucks to have your camera stolen. Especially when the culprit is themother of your child. Thank you so much for your interest and your kind words. Thank you for allowing me to share the way I perceive the world with so many people. It means a lot to me. Thanks to Helen who gave me the chance to share my work and who saw something into it. Thanks to Rob from the website The End of Being who gave me such a nice presentation and gave my work such value. Forever grateful to the both of you.
”I always felt like some kinda extra-terrestrial, like an elephant in a glasshouse, and all I was saying was fucked up and dumb and clumsy, I had my head up in the sky and there was just no hope for it to come down to my shoulders.”
Woke up this morning and found myself alive for a few minutes.
I couldn’t sleep at all last night (no worries I’m used to it) so I went to the pharmacy where the zombies go and for no specific reason decided to walk instead of using my van.. This orange spring/autumn morning like Fat Old Sun seemed full of promises, bringing back memories of an era when I still had ALL of my life ahead of me. September, back to school, my backsack smelling like brand new leather, happy to see all those friends I hadn’t seen all summer but mostly thinking about (my ”school girlfriend”that I hadn’t seen or wrote to the entire summer), the same girlfriend I tried not to think of when I met a new girl on June 24th, trying not to think that she might be doing the same thing, not knowing if I was doing this because I was too afraid she would be or just because I thought it was how things are supposed to be when you’re young – and careless
Back to reality… half of my life is already physically used up and maybe (for sure?) even 75% of it when you take all the ”other” aging factors into account. 100% of it if I rely on how I feel each time I get up and realise I have to face another day and put up with the usual stuff people go through without noticing, without any effort……Suddenly, dreadfully realising I had to tie up the laces of my jungle army boots I’m so proud of (how superficial of me)…. Right then, I almost felt like giving up… However, I managed to make it a little further to the door and put on my mirrored sunglasses so the light wouldn’t hurt my eyes.”It seems my memory is suspended by frames of scarred moments that seem to invade the foundations of an everyday smile…Outside… Daylight..” (Alex Soria)
So… I abruptly and amazingly found myself walking the pavement at 7:30am. Looking at all these people to whom this is just another ”Manic Monday”, (of course Bob Geldof would have been very appropriate to quote too but I think this is dreadful enough already without having to think of some poor little 14 year old girl from Denver who shot some lads at school just cuz…….you all know the story, right? If you don’t Google Bob Geldof and Mondays), just another week of 8 to 4, and for some reason I felt empathy and yes, even envy for their pillowed marked faces and their dreamy hair, still dazed and confused by the psychedelic junk their subconscious brain fed them last night and slowly beginning to realise, just like me, that they managed to engage the process that will probably get them through another week of their life. It is rather unusual to have these kinds of feelings on a Monday morning but it almost all vanished as I realised that most of them probably enjoy their jobs and some are maybe even eager to take up some challenges and find comfort in knowing they sold more cars, beds, pencils, publicity, porn or whatever it is they can sell. That’s precisely when i felt such a distance. All of my life I tried so hard to find my place but wherever I was, with whomever I was with, whatever it was I was doing, I realised it was just milk and cookie time, recess all the way, that I spent all of my life accompanied by the nerve wreaking feeling that I was in fact just filling in the blanks. I’ve been looking for so long to find a place or people or something that would give me the feeling I might be able to blend in but it just never happened.
I always felt like some kinda extra-terrestrial, like an elephant in a glasshouse, and all I was saying was fucked up and dumb and clumsy, I had my head up in the sky and there was just no hope for it to come down to my shoulders. At this point I feel I really must thank all the dogs I owned for giving me the feeling that I’m ok and that it’s all good, that I am loved just the way I am and some (few) real good friends I have had in the past and some (even less) that I am still friends with today for giving me that feeling.
As I was thinking all these uplifting thoughts while listening to ”Plagues” from The Devils Wears Prada, I realised I had reached my goal and was standing in front of the pharmacy and that I was 5 minutes early, which I hate cuz it really makes me feel even more like stranded but this Fat Old Sun was shining bright up in a cloudless sky right on street corner so I decided, instead of just looking for a shadowy spot where people wouldn’t notice me, to lay low like I usually do under these circumstances, to stand right on that sunny spot on the corner of the street and stare directly at the sun, and by God, it didn’t feel bad at all (thanks to the sunglasses).
On the way back I was already feeling much better and felt some kind of admiration for all those people I talked about earlier, still shaking dreams from their hair, realising how each human has its own colors and way of thinking and how each and everyone of us are unique and all that kinda shit and just wished that whoever can help me just to find my place in the world and to give me the chance to leave some kinda mark, even if it’s just for one person…for a little time, would make me a happy camper. So one could say the way back was a most definitely merrier, not cuz I had found something but more cuz at least I know myself a little better as if I found some pivotal truth and reminded me that, in my early teens I thought I already had it all figured about what my goal in life should be but that I just had forgotten about it; I so wanted to be ”Un Imbécile Heureux” or ”A Happy Idiot?”( Whatever. you got what I meant, right?) I’m not so sure about that anymore….Maybe I just want to be someone who left a mark just by asking the right questions, or overdoing something I believe in? At least feel that I have found a place and people where I can be myself and feel that I belong to the way I am and the way I think, at least for awhile. I just wanna be myself, be myself, and Still Fly towards this Fat Old Sun of mine… I will never forget that day when I fell asleep on the lake, deserted, silent, with my dog sleeping in the boat with me, allowing myself to rest by thinking that everything was gonna be alright (something I heard listening to movies from the 60s – or even the early 70s). Definitely too late for that but it’s not too late to make it better….
God, I miss spending time with my daughter….. I miss you Fred…. If only you could jump that wall that you’ve built around you and let me in sometime, I promise I won’t use up too much space, I won’t talk too much, I’d just be there by your side, feeling for once that I am at the right place at the right time with the right person doing the right thing. I’m not that different from you Fred…I used to smoke acid as well, you know! I too had those heartaches, I too felt betrayed, I too felt like fighting with fire,,”putting out the fire with gasoline”. Anyway, I’m going to try and share my feelings on here a little now and then, see what happens. Fred, you are my precious, fabulous, adorable daughter and before you came into this world the world meant nothing to me, I was a non-being, I know you feel this way too but maybe, somehow, we can work it out…… Peace Out………
Tobe Damit. 2nd of April. 2012
Sadness Has an High IQ.
Once I was with my grandfather and I was about 7 or 8 years old. We stopped at a red light and in front of us passed like a dozen of people who were obviously ill mentally ( I dunno what the politically correct term is nowadays but I’d use it if I knew it I promise) so I said to him ”OMG they must be sooo saad” and he said ”No they are not, actually maybe they are happier then a lot of very very brilliant people with a very high IQ” so I said ”Why?? Why would you say that??” He said ” Well, they do not know some things and maybe it’s better that way”. I know it’s not funny but I had to tell you cuz I never told this to anyone and from this day on, I realised that very often I was sad because I think too much. From that day on I sincerly wished to be a ”Happy Imbedcile”. I don’t think I got much success at it.
On this pic my grandfather is the one sitting at the table, ready to write down something on a pad with a pen. His name was Pierre-Paul Leduc and he was leader of scouting patrols during WW II. May he rest in Peace.
My grandfather appears on this pic. He’s the one ready to write on a white pad: