Many moons and sunrises have passed since I turned 18 and left the nurturing confines of my hometown, Westport, Connecticut. My father and mother encouraged me to explore and experience new things. And so I have.
Today at 73 I am a thankful dude. I remember big chunks of what I’ve seen and experienced, the “what’s come down” along the way—often thanks to the cameras and journals I‘ve carried with me.
During my Long Haul I’ve kept negatives, photos, notes and artifacts. I remain gladly mired in the process of going through them, a regular treat, a continuing love affair with life while reopening and kindling doors of memory likely otherwise lost.
Now in my ‘backside of the mountain” time I intend to continue a slow downhill roll, engaging and participating in what still comes my way.
My Long Haul will take you back and forth across the American landscape, south into Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Cuba, and across the blue waters to Ireland, the old USSR and South Africa. You’ll see the changing waters of the Great Lake Michigan, cars and athletes everywhere, the shape of the many landscapes and people I saw wherever I’ve gone.
There’s JFK in Mexico in 1962 as I saw him during my Triumph motorcycle trip at age 20. And pictures of restaurants, diners and bars, motorcycles and musicians, activists and politicians— including the young Obama, then a Senatorial candidate, visiting the restaurant I cofounded, the Heartland Café.
There are pictures of the escaped Wild Idea Buffalo herd roaming, and prawn fishermen early morning on Monterey Bay, my first visits to Chicago’s inner city, life on the Menominee Reservation, people on film sets, and protests and social justice rallies.
I take pleasure and pride in sharing them; they are an initial step toward presenting some of what I’ve long thought of, planned, and hope to do. There is more to come.
They are here for you to devour and absorb. May the experience encourage you to dig deep and find things in your own consciousness to remember, perhaps to share.
Play some tunes while you relax and enjoy the Pictures from the Long Haul!
Michael Gaylord James — September 24th, 2015