First in a series of three (so far), The Ballad of Randall Carter tells the strange tale of young Charles D. Ward (pictured here), and his boyfriend Randall Carter, who mysteriously vanishes from his Jeep on a country road a cold rainy night in November. These works continue my exploration of fine detail as a means of layering multiple narratives within an image.
Some details follow:
This work was generously supported by a grant from the Ontario Arts Council, to whom I am eternally grateful! Thank you!
Seven years ago, when I first started work that would become The Jacket Series and “Friends and Family at the End of the World“, I sourced most of my vintage military and military surplus items on eBay. I was delighted to find a literal surplus of items – I acquired jackets dating all the way back to WW1, rarely for more than $10 a piece, I think the most I ever spent on a jacket was $30. There were many sellers on eBay with whom I developed a wonderful relationship – one in particular, now gone, it seems, from Texas, sent me 10 of an item of which I only purchased a single unit, simply because I’d bought so much from them.
How I regret not spending ten times more back then – seven years! – now. I can’t find a m65 or even a contemporary BDU jacket for less than $50, let alone the more unusual items I used to get.
And worse – eBay seems now inundated with scammers and people looking to make an extra buck. Of all the auctions I bid upon, which was a good dozen, only one went to completion – the rest “cancelled early” for no apparent reason. Doing some research, it seems it’s now common practice to use eBay to advertise your product, and then sell it privately.
The straw that broke the camel’s back, however, was the auction I did win – the seller pestered and inundated me with requests to cancel the transaction, sell privately, even AFTER I’d paid for and received the jacket in question. On the site they represent themselves as a business – branding, statements, quality assurance, everything – but conduct business in the most unprofessional, childish manner I could imagine. Looking into their feedback history, their response to negative feedback – which was admittedly very few – was to pester the buyer, ridicule and accuse, and end the sentence with “SHAME ON YOU!!!!!” … I can’t read those words without thinking about Klaus on American Dad!, which is a shame. Ha.
Nonetheless I got my jacket, a Levi’s piece with a bizarre assortment of military and trucker patches stitched onto it in a strange configuration.
The sum total of this experience: I am done with eBay, and it seems the golden age of eBay is also done. This is why we can’t have nice things.
Meanwhile – if you know a good source on military surplus clothing, and vintage military, that you’ve done business with, please let me know. Local to Ontario is a plus, but anywhere that’ll ship here in a reasonable amount of time with little fuss would be most welcome!
Shooting for The Ballad of Randall Carter hopefully starts in June!
In similar fashion-related issues:
I’m assuming the original concept for the shot was “hot shirtless guy just waking up rubbing his eye”, but the mechanics of a fashion shoot have produced an interesting, bizarre failure in the posing (although, I’m guessing this was likely deliberate, in which case, more power to the photographer, who’s uncredited of course).
What results is an odd looking photo – a shirtless man, holding his fist very deliberately on his eye, staring at the camera. Instead of capturing a fairly involuntary gesture, it seems the image has confused the sign of this gesture with a random scattering of other signs associated with fashion photography – and more importantly, the sign of the fist, which seems to be lending a somewhat violent edge to the photo.
So – just waking up, or a lazy effort to punch himself in the eye? good fun.