I didn't know him well. I met him through my brother in the early 90's. He was an music video editor and photographer who lived on Morton Street in the Village. His family had an incredibly sad and tragic history with cancer. And Jamie too, was stricken with it and died at the age of 41 in 1997. But during his life, and for 18 years straight, he took a polaroid every day. Whenever I walk down Morton I think of him. And again today, as an article, "The Days Of His Life," was in The City section of the NYTimes.
Before Jamie's death, friends Hugh Crawford and Betsey Reid promised they would not let the project die with him. Ten years after his death, they had an exhibition at Bard, his alma mater. Crawford put them online here. Although a much better way to view is on this site:
A Still Moment From Every Day
It's strange for someone to leave behind a record of every day of their life. Or to obsessively follow a project whose only perfect completion ends with their death.
Our work is always ahead of us. It starts when we are born and it ends when we die - this work of seeing, touching and affecting the world.
Jamie spread this collection out every year and examined it - reviewed it.
Our lives are a flood of images and we are collectors who keep a strange assortment of images: moments of extreme emotion, pain, beauty, and fear stand out. Events we're taught to remember: weddings, graduations, births, deaths.
Then there are the millions of images that we can't shake out of our heads, that come to us at strange times - things we can't remember why we remember: the gold threads in an old stereo speaker, the way the light hit a thousand cars in a parking lot by the water, the face of a stranger in a restaurant, a friend standing in a pool - you can't remember where, slapping the water with the flat of her hand.
Memory is a sieve that holds curious things. A life is a trail of strange, colorful memories.
Jamie's Photo-of-the-Day works like a life. A still moment from every day for years. Remains of the day, immortalized. It is a selection: what we choose to remember, what we add to our collection of days.
There was no set time of day. It was when the mood struck: this is what I will take.
It's an accumulation, a collection, a life's work.