Work is pretty crazy right now. We are shooting in the field, catching up with folks from the original Giant Polaroid project of nearly 10 years ago. It’s hectic, but rewarding. There’s a wellspring in these people of good feeling and the power of optimism. There’s also the vibrancy of life in the big city, which I have always thrived on, photographically.
We’ve had a couple bobbles along the way, in terms of getting the show out on the floor of the Time Warner Center for the 10th Anniversary, but hey, it’s New York. It’s not a straight line to anywhere, here. (Is that a sentence? I think you know what I mean.) But we are committed, and going forward, even if Louie Cacchioli, a bunch of firefighters, and the gang at my studio have to pull and haul crates and set up frames.
Photographed Keith Johnson of Ladder Six the other night. Keith is a big, gregarious guy, with an even bigger heart. He drives the tiller truck, 54′, in length, and I’ve seen him u-turn that puppy in a space you’d swear you couldn’t turn around a Subaru. It’s got a driver in the back, Keith up front. As he says, the guy in the back has really gotta keep the wheels straight. “Some guys, you know, they freelance a bit. I’ll look in my rear view mirror, and I’m driving in the left lane and he’s driving in the right, and that’s a problem,” he says, laughing. But his expertise is well needed at fire scenes. His job is to get this massive truck in close to a building, and finesse its’ position so ladders can reach those in trouble.
I’m trying to catch up to people, and shoot pictures that reflect their lives now, 10 years after the dust cloud. One ongoing devotion in Keith’s life is to his daughter, who is just an amazing kid. So she came into the house last week, and we went out on East Broadway for a picture. I asked if we could roll the truck. He said sure. I asked if that would be difficult to do. He looked at me and said, “Hey Joe, wanna see how difficult?” He turned and shouted over his shoulder, “Ladder Six, we’re rolling!”