Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Launch Date!

FYI--- Today, 17/August/2016 @ 12:00 is the official launch date of Reciprocity Failure's latest incarnation... Based On A True Story!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

And So It Goes...


Photo: © S. Banos

As you can plainly see, practically ALL of the photos below on this entire site have simply... vanished. I unknowingly deleted them while "cleaning house" on some SOB Google related site that had accumulated a seemingly random collection of my photos along with a host of other unrelated odds and ends I had never seen and had somehow gathered under my name. Of course, I had no idea I'd also be deleting content from my blog (Google purchased Blogger)- but there you have it. 

At this point I have neither the time, will, nor energy to repair and restore 10 yrs of said damage, even if I could- perhaps nature's way of telling me the time has indeed finally come to end this little endeavor. I will soon start work on (self) publishing three photo books- 2 B&W and one color, which I have every intention of completing this coming spring. And lord knows I still have a shitload of B&W files and restorations (last year's mega-catastrophe) yet to complete thereafter. 

Again, thank you one and all for having dropped by. Perhaps, I will again return at some later date- under a new venue. But right now... I'm tired, not in the best of health, and need to regroup just to keep keeping on. This is the last thing I expected to do today- but then, life has a way of doing that. All my best...

Monday, July 25, 2016

Fridgeir Helgason- Landscapes Heavy With Life

Photo: Fridgeir Helgason

One can almost hear the stillness in Fridgeir Helgason's photographs, solid affairs that weigh upon your interest not unlike the heavy, bayou humidity that presses tightly to your skin. And his landscapes do that despite the weather or latitude- they're rife with presence, thick in atmosphere. His work a mirror of an existence that does not come without cost.


Photo: Fridgeir Helgason

Friday, July 22, 2016

Composition 20- Naama Tsabar


Photo: © S. Banos

I was in Manhattan's former Meat Packing District (one of the most gentrified areas imaginable) during the magic hour one late Spring day, when I heard this loud "ambient" music coming from... seemingly everywhere. It was "atmospheric" yet edgy, and I was immediately drawn to it (unlike so much of music today)- so I set about trying to discover its source. Eventually, I realized it had to be originating at The Highline, and so it was. With Composition 20, what one eventually realized was that Naama Tsabar had devised an open environment in which one could travel directly within an ever changing musical landscape, as opposed to a single wall of sound aimed directly at you. 

The tiny snippet below of the entire 3 hr experience is more "traditionally" melodic than the portion I stumbled upon. But it was quite the experience walking in between the musicians, walking in between the music, as it incrementally changed from corner to corner, side to side, musician to musician, as one traversed the entirety of the area- the "back" side playing a considerably different tune from the "front," while the more harmonizing midground somehow balancing both. One of the more memorable, interactive and public musical/art experiences I'll remember in my hometown...




PS- Hopefully, there will be a high quality recording of the event available in the near future... but it just occurred to me- how would it be mixed? Since several melodies were being played concurrently, which one anyone heard at any one time depended on where they were situated...

Monday, July 18, 2016

That's What I'm Talking About... Luck & Lucky Streaks, Pt. 2


Photo: © S. Banos

Recently, I wrote about hot streaks and riding the wave of "luck," something which doesn't much come my way. Hot streaks are such incredibly rarefied creatures, it's hard enough conjuring enough luck for one good shot.

On an ordinary day, on an ordinary late afternoon, there wouldn't have been an extraordinarily handsome couple locking lips all Hollywood like as I was going from point A to point B on a daily errand. And even if there was, that alone wouldn't have made for more than a sappy romantic postcard, unless: the begging guy had also been there to add his layer to the story, and he would've been too far removed, unless the guy walking outta the subway (gotta love that face) hadn't walked between him and the couple to help tie the two ends together, and if the sun hadn't kissed the lovers' faces just so for the spot fill... and had I come just a few minutes sooner, or a few seconds later...

But on this particular day I was still riding the streak; otherwise, the only thing there would've been exactly what I saw there some weeks later- a skinny, dead tree in a pot.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Can I Take Your Photo?

Coming home from the local pub this Friday, I notice this rather interesting looking bloke* coming towards me carrying this rather large plant and thinking possible (portrait) photo op, ask if I can take his photo:

Plant Bloke: You mean the kind of picture I have to sign and autograph?

SB: Ummmm, uhhhhh... No... not really... you just have to...
       Hey, tell ya what, don't let me keep ya- have yourself A Great Day!

I was a coupla beers removed from reality, plant guy...

* full disclosure: I am not British. All dialogue- guaranteed... Verbatim!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Hot/Cold, So It Goes... Luck & Lucky Streaks, Pt. 1


Photo: © S. Banos

Been quite the first half of the year (at least photographically), here we are mid year and I already have fifty plus keepers- that eclipses 2012, my all time record when I had 50+ for the entire year! It's in large part due, of course, to the new tool in the arsenal that I obtained this February. The GR has really paid off image wise, they seemed to be dropping from the skies for a while, and now it's slowed... to... a... trickle.

Many would say that it's probably cause the novelty has diminished, and I'm not as open to new images and experiences as I was at first, or not concentrating, or not.... The first part undoubtedly rings true, working the GR is no longer a novelty- I'm still acclimating, but considerably more comfortable; the latter I've always had trouble digesting (no matter the camera, medium or technique used). I'm always hungry for images, but when you're working the streets, sometimes (most of the times?) no matter how armed and ready: the raw materials never show; the lighting is off; the people you do ask to shoot give you a dirty look instead of a simple, "Sure;" the "decisive moment" happened a second before you could possibly reach it, or hours after you moved on to seek your fortune elsewhere. 

Recently, I got off work early, and camera in hand, decided to make the most of the remaining day; for two long hours, absolute... crickets. Called it a day, went to the Dave Jordano exhibit and on my way home- an opening; literally stalked my subject for a couple of blocks and a coupla snaps to get the shot above. Granted, not the greatest photo ever taken- but a keeper nonetheless; something to add a smile to your sore feet, so you can toast a beer, instead of dejectedly downing one with thoughts of... next time.

And that's where the story should end.

That 11th hour keeper reinforced the age old axiom that persistence always wins out. And it often does, or... at least just often enough to reinforce the belief, ie- feed the addiction. That last second, end of the line shot fueled yet more days of dogged, determined, hard core persistence- and not a damn thing to show for any of 'em. What it was, was the parting shot to one phenomenally lucky shooting streak. Days soon turned to weeks, as the days of plenty became ensconced in the past, instead of the ongoing present.

Of course, the photos will come, eventually, in dribs and drabs, one here, one there in their own good time. Got freaky lucky first half of the year, and "lucky" spurts don't happen often, least not for me. And when they do- I get spoiled, and think I can turn it on and keep it on simply by trying hard enough.

But reality is never far behind to bite ya firmly in the ass and remind ya just how damn hard it is to get even one good shot.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Photo of the Decade


Photo: Jonathan Bachman

Yes, I know it's gone viral and can be seen absolutely everywhere, and for absolutely good reason- I, like so many others, can't stop looking at it. And like any good great photo, there's good reason for that, basically because it works on so many levels, and does so, so very, very well. Composition- check, decisive moment- check, content- check, check and check.

What I first thought when I saw this photo was... superhero. Nefarious, super villains rising from the netherworld to wreak havoc on the lone guardian of the light. Alone, unafraid, strengthened by the very forces of the winds and nature at her command; she is secure and confident in her calm demeanor. Those advancing in attack formation are quick, aggressive and heavily armored- but overwhelmingly cautious all the same, fully cognizant of her latent power. 

And then, of course, there's real life- what seems an entire city's police force vs. one lone, very human Black female. And such has it always been, no matter the decade, when men of color have been attacked, beaten and killed by overwhelming forces. Their women have never been far behind, and in fact, often leading many of the various opposing and conciliatory forces at play. And always too... the iconic photo to remind us of just that.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun."

Hey, NRA! Someone's not hearing the playbook! Seems the Dallas police have their own preferred game plan when facing a mass shooter, and ain't all that concerned with your grade school motto du jour. Instead of waiting for Wayne Robert LaPierre, Jr. to show and save the day, they simply sent in a robot with a bomb. What a perfectly good waste (of a dumb ass slogan)!!!

What Double Standard?


It's as clear as- Black and... White!

Friday, July 8, 2016

What To Say...

I'm not for the taking of any innocent life; I do not support terrorism, revenge killings or any form of brutal hate attacks. But this killing of unarmed African-Americans and people of color has gone unanswered and ignored for far too long in this country. It hasn't mattered if those "in question" were: armed or unarmed, compliant or obstinate, male or female, healthy or infirm, minor or adult, felon or upstanding citizen- if you're Black or of color, guilt is assumed; your death, a simple statistic on another night's shift... 

When the police actively target you, the law fails to protect you, and the economy sees you primarily as fodder for their prison industrial complex- why should anyone be surprised that the other side finally countered with some senseless killing of their own?

Monday, July 4, 2016

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Up In "Smoke"

From time to time you'll get occasional reflection mention of how we all single handedly speed view the plethora of photographs now available at our instant disposal. And despite being schooled of this particularly vile habit, I fall victim to it time and time again like any other shallow 21st century mortal. So I find myself constantly reminding myself, constantly retraining and committing myself to slowing down, seeing what I'm actually attempting to look at, and trying to make sense of what I'm experiencing- before feeding the compulsion to rush to the next image for no, good, rational reason.

This scene from the memorable 1995 film Smoke approaches that very subject back in the analog days when one could still inhale and imbibe at one's own leisure in a public interior. And it concerns nothing less than photography's major raison d'etre- the very capture of time itself, and both the subtle and sublime appreciation of said power...





 How Auggie got that camera...



Why not... the true meaning of Christmas (for good measure)!



Sunday, June 26, 2016

SFMOMA- Free Every First Tuesday For Perpetuity... NOT!!!


https://www.sfmoma.org/search/?q=SFMOMA+Announces+%2410+Million+Gift+From+At%26t+Funds+Allow+SFMOMA+To+Guarantee+Free+Admission+One+Day+Per+Month%E2%80%94in+Perpetuity%E2%80%94to+Attract+New+Audiences+And+Provide+Access+For+All+First+Tuesdays+Are+Always+Free%2C+Thanks+To+At%26t.#

With the recent grand reopening of the new and improved SFMOMA, I was anxious to know when open day (or night) was scheduled for the unwashed masses such as myself. The above proclamation can be found on the official SFMOMA website- but it yields absolutely no results. And if you want to go to SFMOMA on first Tuesday, or any damn Tuesday you want- you're gonna have to pay the full, whopping admission price of... $25!!!

Well, it seems "perpetuity" doesn't last all that damn long, in fact, it ended in 2013... 
Who the fuck knew!?!?!?

Update: SFMOMA actually called me back, said something to the effect that, yeah, maybe that wasn't the best way to describe and conduct their admissions policy and that they would probably be making "community" oriented changes come September. To be continued...

Thursday, June 23, 2016

In Memoriam


Photo: © S. Banos

On a spectacularly beautiful Sunday afternoon, came upon one very apropos memorial for The Orlando Massacre where every name of those so needlessly killed (by someone who sought to kill that part of him he could not accept by killing those who had) was read aloud and commemorated at Mission Dolores Park in San Francisco on 6/19.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

RIP- Chris Wood

The subject of mothers-in-law is a sometimes thorny, difficult or emotionally ambiguous affair. I was fortunate, I had a good one. She was open to all people in a manner that boarded on... innocence- the very basis of what constitutes a humanitarian, and a very rare human being.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

My Nat Geo Moment


Photo: © S. Banos

Never contemplated or attempted taking a Nat Geo type photo, but can't help but think of that very genre upon seeing this image. The pronounced and exposed earthen skin tones, the engaging natives taking time from their daily activities attempting communication and interaction with those from neighboring tribes, demonstrating their unique cultural practices and traditions amidst their indigenous habitat.

Perhaps in twenty years time I'll crowd fund to search and locate the female in the photo with the distinctively colored eye shades. But let me not get ahead of myself- first, let me see what I can add or remove to increase the photo's storytelling capabilities...

Sunday, June 12, 2016

From The Hip...


All photos: © S. Banos

If you've never done the ol' Intro Photo 101 exercise of shooting blindly with your camera, you really owe it to yourself to do so- if only to drive home the fact of what pure chance can achieve completely independent of: your vision, your judgment, your personal choices and aesthetics (granted you choose when to pull the trigger). The overwhelmingly vast majority of images will be little more than a mumbled, garbled mass of arbitrary chaos- but also included will be the miraculous frame of serendipitous magic where random bits and pieces of fragmentary imagery amass and congeal into something much greater than the sum of its parts in ways unimagined! A very important lesson for those (like me) who don't crop and like to control every single millimeter of every single image...




Somewhere between complete random chaos and hyper controlled vigilance is the age old act of shooting from the hip- a greater degree of control in that you are actively choosing your subject matter and aiming in the general direction, but the ultimate outcome is still in the hands of the gods of chance and serendipity. Again, most of the results will be far wayward of the mark- too far away, too close, too far to the left, too far to the right, too far up, too far down... But the chances of something coalescing into something that succeeds are considerably greater than if you hadn't taken the shot at all, particularly when raising the camera to eye level would have destroyed whatever spontaneity you were choosing to capture in the first place! Armed with my newly acquired Ricoh GR, I was curious as to what I could achieve doing just that on a recent 3-4 day return to my hometown...


























All Photos: © S. Banos
Conclusions: Most attempts did end up courtesy of the Delete button. And on any given day, I'd much rather take a graceful layup (with a chance of three) than the awkward Hail Mary shot from half court (granted, not the best analogy since shooting from the hip does get you in closer- but we are talking percentages). I'm also betting the more one practices and refines the experience, the more keepers one is bound to acquire.

No doubt the percentage of hits would've risen with just a bit more help in the visual guidance dept-  I sincerely hope the next GR takes a page from the Fujifilm X-70 playbook and incorporates a flip screen (after all the X-70 took pretty much everything else from the GR). Yes, it will definitely increase the camera size a tad in depth, but it will also make it a much more formidable street image making machine!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

LIFE- It Don't Always Make Sense


     Photo: © S. Banos

I spent a considerable amount of time, money and effort to do "the right thing" and get my father in a different place where he would hopefully have a better time of it in his remaining years. This not to laud my own efforts, they've been absolute minimal- my mother has done the totality of the heavy lifting. And I mention it only because in the end, I succeeded in getting him placed in a setting where he this week broke his hip and now lies in a hospital post op in stable condition with a screw holding him together. 

And all he wanted to do was die in a dignified manner a few years back, when he still had his mind.