When my dentist told me that my mouth produced more saliva than any patient he had ever seen in his thirty-year career, I was alarmed. He asked if I were taking medication for Parkinson’s Disease. I told him I wasn’t. He asked if I were being poisoned. Not that I know of, I replied. Have you been exposed to nerve gas such as sarin or to botulism or to hemlock? No, no and no. I found some relief from my anxiety when he told me that, barring some underlying cause, producing excessive saliva is a good thing in that it kills plaque and prevents cavities. I am pleased to share with you that my oral health is optimized by a condition called hypersalivation.
I admit it: I am a drooler, a driveler and a slobberer. I have suffered the embarrassment of the involuntary emission of saliva and feel it cascade down my chin during conversations with both strangers and intimates. Rather than wear a drool cup, I decided to embrace my slobber and celebrate it through the photographs in this series.
While I am excited by the joyous visual exploration of my dribble, the photographs also reveal the inglorious, inexorable markers of aging. I set out to photograph my prodigious saliva with its bubbles, reflections of light and its interaction with a shape-shifting tongue. What else the photographs show is not what I wanted to confront: sun-damaged, sagging skin, creased lips, an inscrutably textured and discolored tongue, stained teeth, crater-like pores and nose hairs that seem to grow at an ever-increasing rate the older I get.