Saturday, February 24, 2007

A Tale of Debb's Inn.

Debb’s Inn is gone, as last time I drove pass the little town called Llano in Texas. The muggy road was gone, so did the bushy little trees, the Ford purposely parked there for a decade now is gone, and so did the black cat used to lay on the rotten piano or the smelly plastic table cloth trashed nearby. The little Inn seemed hollow, soon the Sealy memory foam mattress and TOTO toilet is going to be moved in. A railway will be built in front it; a shabby little guesthouse will then become the honeymoon fantasy. I was a little somber, I actually really liked that little place, and I once made some pictures there.

In the summer of 2005, one of my fascinating models passed me a creasy brochure of Debb’s Inn. A short 18 minutes drive from Mason, a sign says “If the Inn keeper is not here, pick a room and enjoy your stay”. As a Shanghai born New York resident, that was a dream come true, I thought I was going to get a free room. Unfortunately, there is Gary, a big, hairy and Hmmm…less groomed guy has answer the door with the most innocent smirk. He insisted an orientation of the guesthouse, which took 5 minutes and indicated to me that he not only is the inn keeper, but also the cook (while showing the oil-dripping1970’s stove, he described the breakfast “a light weight Omelet with hint of sun-dry tomato and pine seeds” in his soothing anchorman-like voice), the entertainer, the cleaner, and the bellman (and later a model). Speaking of model, he claimed Kate Moss and “whole a lot of fame” was glimmered the space, as he spent 10 minutes to look for the guest book for Moss’s signature but failed. Sadly, I was noted especially that I was NOT the first Chinese from China visited this place. I was VERY shocked.

I soon picked the largest room in the house without any battle; no one else was there but me. I unpacked my camera bag and finally asked him -------------------------------------------------------------,------------------------ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---"---------"---------------"----------------------------------------"----------------- ------------------------,----------------"-------------------------------------------------------------- ------", so he took off his clothes and left only his shorts, in exciting-orange what is also the theme color of a couple of other rooms. He looked at the camera, and me and me again, then glimpsed over my shoulder and down to my bootleg Diesel jeans. I felt vulnerable and tiny; I could not look into his almost water-based eyes. I was a transparent nervous body in tight jeans, this guy knows a lot about me, BUT NOT EVERYTHING. He was lying there like a floating Santa, or, a steamy pile of flash, and he looked out/up like I was disappeared, at least that’s what I was feeling. He looked soulful, full of desire.

As the ray of sunset shines through the hallway, I slipped into the pink colored room with my Mamiya, the pillows smelled like Calvin Klein Obsession, I think that was Kate’s room.


The top photo of Gary in Debb’s Inn is awarded 3rd place for Singlar Image Color competition of Center (formerly Santa Fe Center for Photography). I am also accepted to Review Santa Fe 2007, this is the second year for me. I attended Review Santa Fe last year and had the blast time, made a few long-term friends. It was a very inspiring journey.


Amy Stein said...

Shen --

Congratulations!! You are a superstar!


ben huff said...

i love your work. your careful words have elevated the images even more- beautiful.