Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Portrait Of Lee

 Saw this guy lying at my feet awaiting a light- quite the handsome chap!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Some Settling Of Contents May Occur...

We'll make a pastrami sandwich of them. We'll insert a strip of Jewish settlement in between the Palestinians, and then another strip of Jewish settlement, right across the West Bank, so that in 25 years time, neither the United Nations, nor the United States, nobody, will be able to tear it apart.    -Ariel Sharon, 1973

Saturday, November 27, 2010

That's A Fact, Jack!

To say that Julian Assange better watch his back is the understatement of the decade, if not the century. This guy puts his very life on the line to get the truth out- and how many people give a flying...? With Wikileaks soon to be latest release of The Embassy Files, he's gonna have a lot more to worry about than a smear campaign and a lawsuit.

UPDATE: The job of the media is not to protect the powerful from embarrassment...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Animal Mutilations

Paranormal TV - Cattle Mutilations
Uploaded by paranormaltv. - Classic TV and last night's shows, online.

What better time than the Thanksgiving excretory process to talk about ... animal mutilations. Here are the facts:

1)  It's a worldwide phenomenon affecting cattle, horses and sheep- and it's been happening for decades.
2)  Organs (eg- udders, tongues, sexual organs) are removed with absolute surgical precision (anuses are cored out).
3)  Usually, there is no blood found around or within the animal.
4)  No teeth, claw or tear marks- and predators do not feed on the remains.
5)  Often there is an impact crater beneath the carcass, or it has broken legs (as if dropped from a great height).
6)  Satanic cults are often blamed, but to date- no arrests have been made.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

From the unapproved, unlisted, not quite worthy, sometime photography blog of an unrepresented, unexhibited, unpublished, sometime photographer...

 How long will our planet continue to embrace us?

Hope yours is a happy one- and you need not remind me that I'm luckier and more fortunate than the great majority of folks on this sinking blue marble of pain and suffering. The insanity of this earthly life is, of course, that the better we treat that majority, the better we would all be. But we never do seem to learn- not then, or now, or when left to our own devices, ever...

Latter generations are fond of blaming  Baby Boomers for much of our current day woes. And rightfully so. We took things to the very edge... and instead of completing said task, we stopped full short and dived headlong into the very financial comfort zone we so thoroughly vowed to annihilate. We truly deserve your wrath- but don't stop there. It wasn't just a generation that failed you, it's an entire species that fails with every chance given. No better example than the very short glimpse of human history I've been allowed thus far.

Our earth is crying out every which way it knows how that our last chance has already set sail. Glaciers and "lesser" animal species are disappearing, our oceans are fished out and on the verge of becoming a veritable global cesspool. And can't wait till the methane hits the fan in earnest.

So, young-uns, this is the legacy you've inherited...what kinda apps you got?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

They Hate Us Because...

Of our freedoms? 

We could start with the fact that there are  373 American military bases throughout the world. And the majority of those bases are not defending our freedoms, and certainly not the freedoms of those whose land they occupy. They are however, very much defending the rights and privileges of our major corporations and financial interests that use their particular territory however they see fit, usually to the detriment and repression of the indigenous peoples who are being occupied.

Common sense to those who possess it, traitorous heresy to those with a flag up their butt.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Last Conquistador (of The Art World)

He sort of ravaged the countryside,” says one organizer, before pointing to a model on display: “But look at the detail in this: isn’t that beautiful?”

Try as you might, long as you like- you really won't find a better one sentence summation of the relation  between the power brokers of the art world, and the medium itself! The Last Conquistador centers on the larger than life creation by artist/sculptor John Houser of the 16th-century Spanish conquistador Don Juan de Oñate. Like most Spanish conquistadors of the era,  El gran hombre de Oñate had a not so secret penchant for the wholesale slaughter and enslavement of indigenous peoples. His particular trademark was chopping off a foot from every Indian male capable of active resistance. But hey, that was a different era Mr. Houser fondly reminds us, and I guess it would be kinda petty, to hold such a centuries old grudge. Mr. Houser also sculpted a bust of Jaime Bermúdez (the founder of the maquila industry). Can this guy pick 'em, or what?

The film gives voice to the great divide that has existed for centuries between lighter skinned, wanna be white Hispanics and their "social lessers," the darker skinned, Indian and mixed race peoples of these Americas, who for some reason just can't seem to shake their world view of being the subjects of a brutal history of oppression to this very day. And while both sides passionately enunciate their opposing views, Mr. Houser finally reaches a moment of enlightenment where he actually begins to perceive how his own messianic hardheadedness has served to further perpetuate that history- before managing to conveniently complete his 360 in time for the great unveiling. Far above the fray, the the ruling WASP enclave parties through it all, carefree and (intentionally) oblivious as ever...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Way Back Home

This will serve the perfect antidote to cleanse oneself from yesterday's abysmal dive into the netherworld. Filmed in Scotland (I'll take the rugged Scottish/Irish terrain over any tropical paradise)- if I could ride my bike like this, wouldn't need a camera to make me happy...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

Out My Window

Interactive Views from the Global Highrise- A 360 Documentary by Katerina Cizek

Love the concept and the visuals ... unfortunately, think most come up short on the content end. That said, hope this continues to grow and improve...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Deep Sleep

Photo: Vanessa Winship

I never heard of online photo mag Deep Sleep until I received their email, and the current issue is well worth a look, if only to reacquaint oneself with Vanessa Winship. Much as I like her portraits, it's her reportage that never loses it for me. This is the kind of photography that has always inspired me, not because it's "street photography" (hell, it's more landscape than anything), but because it's every bit as mystical, gritty and beautiful as the land and culture she immortalizes. And she accomplishes that magical lyricism not with wall sized prints, Hollywood sized production ensembles or the very latest technological innovations, but with the most basic of photographic tools- yesterday's hand held film camera, and a remarkably astute and attuned eye.

 Photo: Vanessa Winship

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

David Taylor- Working The Line

I made all too brief mention of David Taylor's Working The Line before, but last week I finally got to see the actual book- and it is most definitely on the must get list. The photographs and text  give a vivid  accounting of this age old desert terrain, its rapidly altering function and landscape, and the varied activities meant to track and control the transient population that traverses it time and time again. The reproductions are top notch, and if that wasn't enough, the book itself is contained in a hardcover sleeve that also holds an accordion configured booklet that is printed on both sides of heavy stock paper depicting a wonderfully captivating typology of the small obelisk shaped border markers that line the US-Mexico border. Worth every penny and more...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"None of us really understands what's going on with all these numbers." -DS

David Stockman was the guy who first helped institute the shell game of an economic policy that Republicans first "revitalized" our country with under Reagan, who had soundly defeated Carter for trying to balance a budget the old fashioned way, using real, as opposed to imaginary dollars and cents. Now he's back in the news saying that it's that exact Republican philosophy of economics (with a steroid chaser) that is running the country directly to hell in a handbasket. Maybe that's what he was also hinting at some thirty years ago?

Last week I went to see Matt Taibbi talk about his new book Griftopia, which is chock full of amusing and amazing tales of just how our financial institutions have so thoroughly and enthusiastically defrauded our government, and uhhh... its citizenry. And he actually does have some idea of what's going on with all these numbers. Or, as he so eloquently put in after months of trying to make sense of such a complex issue and then struggling to condense it into one gracefully petite passage- "It's like if the banks were selling you oregano, and calling it weed."

And for a more "animated" explanation of the deep doo we've been dropped in (and why)- there's always...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Workshop Du Jour...

Travel Photographer has an informative and useful take on photo workshops. And Duckrabbit highlights one in which David White (in the comments section) reflects on what may very well be the highlight- if not the overall theme.

Ode To A Teabagger...

The Teabagger gets up at 6:00 a.m. to prepare his morning pot of tea. He fills his pot full of good clean drinking water because some liberal fought for minimum water quality standards.
He takes his daily psychotropic medication with his first swallow of tea.  His medications are safe to take because some liberal fought to insure their safety and work as advertised. All but $10.00 of his medications are paid for by his employer's (FOX News) medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance reform, now The Teabagger gets it too .
He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs this day. The Teabagger's bacon is safe to eat because some liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.
The Teabagger takes his morning shower reaching for his shampoo; His bottle is properly labeled with every ingredient and the amount of its contents, because some liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.
The Teabagger dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some tree-hugging liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air.
The Teabagger begins his work day; he has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, sick days, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. The Teabagger's employer accepts these standards, because The Teabagger's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union.
If The Teabagger is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get a worker compensation or unemployment check, because some liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.
It's noontime.* The Teabagger needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. The Teabagger's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some liberal wanted to protect The Teabagger's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the depression.
The Teabagger has to pay his Fannie Mae underwritten Mortgage and his below market federal student loan because some stupid liberal decided that The Teabagger and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.
The Teabagger is home from work, he plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive to dad's; his car is among the safest in the world because some liberal fought for car safety standards.
He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers Home Administration, because bankers didn't want to make rural loans. The house didn't have electricity until some big government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification. (Those rural Republicans would still be sitting in the dark)
He is happy to see his dad who is now retired. His dad lives on Social Security and his union pension, because some liberal made sure he could take care of himself so The Teabagger wouldn't have to.
After his visit with dad he gets back in his car for the ride home. He turns on a radio talk show, the host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good (He doesn't tell The Teabagger that his beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit The Teabagger enjoys throughout his day).
The Teabagger agrees, "We don't need those big government liberals ruining our lives."
(Internet forward. Posted at
and lots of other places, but origin obscure.)

* She or he also has a guaranteed lunch break, OT and a minimum wage because of a ....

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Guilty As Scripted

I strongly urge you to watch Frontline's The Confessions in its entirety. Four completely innocent men  (The Norfolk Four) are made not only to confess to murder and rape- but to actually provide very detailed, vivid, and lurid accounts of how they each "committed" their supposed crimes. This is what the word haunting was originally meant to convey.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

PBS- The Petroleum Broadcasting System

PBS has reached an all time low with their new Chevron commercials featuring proud, super enthusiastic, real live Africans (why would they possibly lie?) extolling the virtues of Chevron and the untold, unheralded opportunities they will provide both their people and their native land. And who should you be to deny them?

                                                                                                          Jane Hahn for The New York Times

Truly, truly nauseating- especially if you're already aware of the living conditions Nigerians must endure daily beside the Shell and Exxon refineries that have raped, plundered and decimated their environment while pocketing every penny of profit and sending in military to silence and kill anyone who dares protest.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Non WIRED, Non Approved ...

True to long standing tradition, Reciprocity Failure was yet again shunned from an "approved" photography blog list du jour. Maybe its the politics, the UFOs, the "editorial policy," or all three.

So instead of thanking whoever for putting me on their list- as always, thank you one and all for coming by and checking in.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Rule Of?

This is why whenever someone serves up the line that what separates us from your average, everyday banana republic is our inherent respect and abidance to the rule of law- I just gotta stop myself from yet another spit take. And this, in the same week when a cop received less than two years for shooting and killing an unarmed, handcuffed civilian at point blank range.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

KickStart Your Project...

Have a project that needs funding? Didn't quite get that grant? Well... you could try KickStarter. It's worked for a couple of folks* and seems like a very viable alternative- where you at least get to beg on your own terms...
*(couldn't embed video)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Did You Hear The One About...

Comedians once helped relieve the stress garnered from modern everyday life and anxiety- only occasionally poking fun of our leaders. Now we turn to them to also dissect and disseminate the daily news that is under reported, ignored or perverted beyond all manner. The court jesters have become our primary, de facto fact checkers, the keepers of the truth, the very guardians of the last vestiges of American sanity.

In America, news programs are sad, sick jokes, parodies of a tradition of journalism that currently have legal license to make it up as they go along...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

SUPERMAN- No Waiting, Right Here, Right Now!

While Guggenheim's blatantly one sided Waiting For Superman espouses its perhaps well meaning, but thoroughly short sighted, naive and misleading propaganda, it's important to realize that there already is a Superman on this front. 

Jonathan Kozol is an impassioned education advocate who has devoted the entirety of his being to exposing and improving the many faults within this most failed of public institutions. Unlike most in this field, he is not interested in consolidating political or personal administrative power. Instead, he has put many a year into the type of hands on, in the field research that leaves no stone unturned in the most difficult nooks and crannies served by public education. He openly scoffs at the so called ed. experts who pompously prescribe their quick fix resolutions without addressing the multi-ton elephant in the room- de facto racism.

While some people, like former Ed Czar William Benet, openly contemplated what the country would be like without black children, Mr. Kozol contemplates what this nation would be like if it was afforded a first rate education system that served all its constituents fairly and appropriately. His books teach and inform not by theory, but by entering and examining the very homes, classrooms and lives of students, parents and teachers alike- and only then offering real life analysis and solutions.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pier 24

Finally made it to Pier 24 in San Francisco to see the current exhibit which reads like a Greatest Hits of Classic Rock: Arbus, Winogrand, Friedlander, Eggleston, the Bechers, etc (perfect for a concentrated review of 70's era photography) along with a few blasts from the distant past (eg- Evans, Frank, Man Ray, etc) and a half dozen or so contemporary, wall sized prints thrown in for good measure. The actual space is cavernous and uncrowded, ideal for meditating on the work at hand, and despite the large volume of space, the smaller 70's photographs held up just fine- it was interesting to experience how Winogrand's street scenes still had the power to draw you in with their frenetic NY energy.

The one truly negative thing about Pier 24 is that it's not open during weekends, I was fortunate to be able to go there during the week with students from my class. And will hopefully be able to return for each change of scenery.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

...You Will Hurt.

  If Only Obama Drove This Vehicle! 

Instead, we have a President who tries to negotiate and compromise with those who have openly sworn to make him a one term President, with those who routinely, enthusiastically- block, sabotage and ridicule anything and everything he has ever tried to accomplish. Smart as he is, you'd think he'd wise up and threaten to burn down the whole goddamn plantation. Instead, he promises to double his commitment to... compromise and negotiate.

As Mike Malloy asserted- they're not gonna stop until he cries out--- "Toby!"

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Nan Goldin

Note: If you click on Look Inside on Amazon it shows you pages not in the book (go figure).

I just had occasion to purchase Phaidon's Nan Goldin, a small, nicely printed and thoroughly handsome little hardcover. It's the perfect entry vehicle for her photography, although of course, I've been aware of it for decades. Why I haven't been thoroughly taken in by her work all this time is hard to say- all the needed requirements are there: dramatic color, compelling compositions and social narratives.

I think my main aversion to her work was primarily my own immaturity dating back to the New Wave days of my youth in NYC. Perhaps, because many of her subjects struck me as bloody poseurs, or was I just jealous of Nan's extended family- even if everyone did look some kind of miserable. Could I be that shallow?

So it was nice to run into this book that reintroduced me to her- and at a price I could  readily afford! I don't think I'll ever fully understand why I've never been more enthusiastic about her work. To this day, I don't know- but it is curious the reasons I give are so thoroughly subjective, not aesthetic. Maybe you're not meant to jump up and down about certain work- just appreciate it.