Thursday, January 31, 2008

Who the #$&% is Jackson Pollock?

Just got through viewing one of the most entertaining documentaries ever- 'bout a truck driving mama, Teri Horton, who buys a Jackson Pollock at a thrift store for $5.00. Now, she didn't know it at the time, but one thing leads to another, and, well... A verified, bonafied finger print from the man himself is found right on the damn thing, and while that's good enough for capital court cases- it's an absolute no go for the art experts who have their noses so far up their asses, they actually believe the air they breathe constitutes divine inspiration. I didn't think anything could be more arrogant and unbelievable than current day politics, where an administration can actually boast about how they "create their own reality." Apparently, the "art world" has been doing it for years...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Scientists, Photographers and UFOs...

Upon relaunching my website, I considered asking one of my all time favorite photographers, Les Krims, if he was still so gun-ho about our great lord and master, The Mighty W. Certainly at this point in time, with all the subsequent needless deaths, with all the needless suffering both foreign and domestic caused by his continually inane and deluded policies, surely he would have now reconsidered. So I reread our previous correspondence in which Mr. Krims was gracious enough to indulge me in, got to his final paragraph (reprinted below), and realized there wasn't a chance, not a chance in hell.

I wouldn't worry much about my point of view winning converts. But you should take heart that it can be expressed. We live in a free country, defended at this moment by brave soldiers, and led by George Bush. It probably comes as no surprise that I believe he is absolutely doing the right thing.

So what was I thinking? Actually, this all came to mind with a recent UFO repost. I had once presented and defended my belief in UFOs (and all it entails) to a noted photo blogger (and scientist) who very emphatically cut me down for ever giving breath to such complete and utter blasphemy. It didn't matter that many of the people who had documented UFO experiences were pilots, military personnel, fellow scientists or even goddamn astronauts! It didn't matter that Dr. Allen Hyneck, the astronomer and physicist in charge of Project Blue Book (the official US Air Force "investigation" into UFOs) who was hired to discredit UFO sightings, left the program in disgust, proclaiming the need for unbiased, scientific investigation of a very real and occurring phenomena.

No sir, no need. Scientific investigation cannot, should not, in any way, for any reason, be used to evaluate the delusional ravings of ignorant, attention seekers- lest you too join their sordid ranks for even thinking as much! Case closed, end of story, go fuck yourself!

Don't think I'll be asking him to reconsider either...

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Daily Coyote

Shreve Stockton lives in a one room cabin in Wyoming, has traveled cross country in her Vespa and is currently bringing up an orphaned coyote- all of which leaves me very jealous...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Ones That Got Away...

The Photographs Not Taken is a site that encapsulates a theme that I have often reflected on, and that was also recently pursued here.
Many of the posts at ...Not Taken are quite poignant, revealing and well worth reading to say the very least- those of Simon Roberts and Nina Berman, particularly so. And Andrew Moore seems to sum it up in a nut shell when it comes to missed opportunities:
Much in the same way that a love affair gone awry continues to revolve over and over in the mind, the lingering pangs of regret over these might-have-been pictures still troubles me.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Economic 911

Gerald Celente's economic forecasts are frequently quoted in all the major electronic and print media news outlets... but not so much this year. Perhaps it's quotes like the following:
America is going broke and the whole world knows it- except the Americans!
The history books will remember 2008 as The Panic of 2008.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Ramak Fazel's American Odyssey

Ramak Fazel
Unlike Mr. Fazel, I didn't have to go outside my own state or even my own native city of New York to raise fear or suspicion. In fact, I once, single-handedly coerced a female gallery owner to flee in abject terror into the confines of the back room of her own photo gallery simply by intently looking at the photos on her walls a few weeks post 9/11, being Puerto Rican was apparently sufficient to launch her worst gallery-terrorist inspired nightmares. But I digress... No, not really.

Read photographer Ramak Fazel's insightful journey across America, as his photo/art project on our nation's capitols gathered considerably more attention than he ever imagined... Catch it if you can at The Storefront!
It'll be interesting to see- if a Democrat wins the presidency, will national security (which everyone agrees is an absolute necessity) finally be transformed into a rational, logical force for the actual benefit of its citizenry? Will Mr. Fazel's name then be taken off The List- will Ted Kennedy's?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Garret Izumi- Surreal Estate

Garret Izumi self published one of my favorite photo books well before self publishing became the click and paste domain of the internets. Surreal Estate is a brilliantly understated essay of 24 sepia toned B&W photographs, well reproduced on 4X5 paper complete with plastic spiral binder. The subject matter (suburban backyard LA) is so commonplace domestic, that it makes one marvel at how the simple, direct, no bells and whistles compositions really shine through. Short on equipment and post production, long on imagination and insight. All at ten bucks a pop- think a poor man's Henry Wessel (and that's no insult)!
PS- Call of the Sirens (a delightful look at LA air raid sirens) aint bad neither.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Time Is Now...

When fascism comes to America* it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross. - Upton Sinclair

Aint it the truth... Or as our own beloved president has reminded us, "The Constitution is just a goddamn piece of paper!"

At least this guy is trying to represent-- with a little help from... us!

*Make sure to scroll down on the first link to read the interview on how W purposely let Osama escape after "surrounding" him on 3 sides...

Jimmy Breslin

One of the joys of living back in pre-Disney NY was reading Jimmy Breslin's column in The NY Daily News, the proverbial pearl in that popular but conservative, blue collar tabloid. Jimmy was many things: loud, brash, and humbly unassuming, the affable hard drinking Irishman equally at home in the side streets of Harlem, or the social clubs of Little Italy. He reported on City Hall's power elite, and beyond- never cozying up to them as those that later followed (or preceded). But mostly, he was found working the streets of the working poor in any of NY's five boroughs. He was (and still is) the quintessential New Yorker's New Yorker.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Morgellons And...

Don't know if you happened to catch the recent Nightline episode on Morgellons Disease- incredible stuff! People have these weird, itchy fibers growing inside their bodies and scientists, doctors and "experts" all over the place simply dismiss them as nuts. It's one thing to conduct the necessary scientific research and investigation- it's a whole nother to summarily dismiss these people as complete whackos without so much as seeing them! A biologist who examined her son and found fibers growing underneath his lip that actually glowed under fluorescent light was prescribed psychiatric treatment by their doctor. Even the FBI couldn't make hide nor hair of these fibers, despite their massive database- all they could say was that it wasn't "natural," or commercially made- so much for pulling it out of your living room sofa, or your pet goat.

It seems that some scientists and medical personnel are finally starting to approach this seriously- one hopes. And I sure as hell can't help but make the obvious parallel as to how astronauts, military officers, aviation personnel, etc. are also dismissed offhand as misguided or worse when it comes to UFO reports- when all they ask is for serious scientific investigation as well...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Portraits of Violence- Stephen Dupont

Although these portraits were published in The Digital Journalist last year, I didn't see much buzz elsewhere on the internets about them, perhaps because they're black and white, perhaps because they just don't fit the current, aforementioned, zombie nation portrait syndrome. Ironically, the penetrating glares that these subjects convey could also be construed as vacant, yet these portraits by Stephen Dupont are some of the most powerful, disturbing, and beautiful I have ever seen...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Sarah Stolfa's (non-deadpan) Regulars

This article (brought to my attention last November on Christian Patterson's blog) proclaimed last year the year of the deadpan portrait, not that I have anything against contemplative or self reflective portraits, mind you- in fact, some of the work mentioned in the article (ie- Sander, Bey...) was a bit over reaching. But I have gotten a tad tired of subjects who repeatedly look like they need to be poked with a stick just to see if they're capable of human thought. So I began perusing the archives as to recent antidotes and came upon Sarah Stolfa's Regulars, bar portraits of singular character and integrity. Was therefore rather surprised to find a review from '05 that described her work as- deadpan! Hhmmm... Perhaps that term could best describe her technique (sit, look up, flash)- as opposed to the actual results, which I guess in '08 could be described as positively dynamic, next to the walking dead approach we've become accustomed to of late.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Friday, January 11, 2008

There Will Be Blood

With all the hype, I was definitely expecting more, much more from Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood. Instead I got an anemic Citizen Kane, with a dash of violence and little else, very little else. One can't help but compare the two, as we follow the mercurial rise of each protagonist to ever dizzying heights of financial self destruction. But in Kane we got the whole nine yards detailing complex, nuanced relationships between friends and enemies alike, and how they functioned, changed and were, in turn, changed by various personal, social, and economic institutions. How that ground breaking film explored and showcased that complex weave of life, love and loss in visuals that still excite to this day leaves no wonder as to why it's always cited as one of cinema's greatest. Blood is a one trick pony where you simply wait for Daniel Day-Lewis to erupt, like one of his character's proverbial oil wells.

On the positive side... at least we were spared yet another Citizen Soldier viewing

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Ilf and Petrov's American Roadtrip

Here's an interesting little historical gem from 1935 that I wasn't aware of until yesterday when I first laid hands on it. Unfortunately, most of the Leica made photographs that accompanied this work have been lost forever, but the text lives on to record an America that endures much as first recorded some 70 odd years ago by these itinerant Russian satirists who met untimely deaths...

Here's a short, revealing take from their Hollywood experience:

There are four main kinds of pictures... Each kind of movie has only one plot, with endless and excruciating variations. So year in and year out, American audiences are actually watching the same thing. And they're so used to it that sometimes a picture with an original plot doesn't do well at the box office.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

How to Rig an Election...

This is just the standard meat and potatoes, and has nothing to do with how the '04 election was stolen in Ohio via electronic voting (after the Dems had promised they'd be all over it, to prevent two stolen, presidential elections in a row).

And speaking of elections-- did the timing of Hillary's Iron My Shirt incident strike anyone else as just a tad suspicious (ie- eleventh hour, inside job, female sympathy vote).

Cheney Care

California Nurses Association

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Michael David Murphy- Jim Crow

Michael David Murphy manages to effectively incorporate "fine art" (yes, I have a problem with that particular term) photography with highly charged political content- not somewhere most photographers are willing to go. And comes up with some rather intriguing results.

In addition to Jim Crow, also see Jena Six and Jasper, TX...

Friday, January 4, 2008

The Shock Doctrine (video)

A short film on current reality by Alfonso Cuarón and Naomi Klein, directed by Jonás Cuarón.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Two Things I Don't Regret...

Not getting a motorcyle, and not getting tattooed. The first would have no doubt prevented me from ever seeing my twenties. As for the second... I remember Mick Jagger once proclaiming that he would look pretty daft doing what he did when he got to be forty. Wish he would've kept his word. But then, I may yet get a roll of Tri-X tattooed on my arm.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Wesley Autrey Sr.

AP Photo
Life/Death. One year later and I still can't even begin to put into words what this man did- in a nano second well short of contemplation, in a space that wouldn't accommodate most of your present, turn of the century, average sized American adults. A space whose ever so minute dimensions I would ponder many a half awakened morning in anticipation of the chance meeting with the homicidal maniac who might try to push me in.

All I know is this is the name and the face that goes next to the word hero in the illustrated dictionary of life...

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Bring it on!

(above graphic found on inside of lens cap, courtesy my wife, one Lisa Wood)

Around this time every year I get a bit anxious about taking that first worthwhile shot of the new year. Will I still have it this year? Am I finally burnt? Did I ever have it to begin with? Hell, everything's been done to a crisp anyhow.

So you sweat a little (or a lot)- and it eventually, somehow, someway works itself out. Particularly when you have the unbridled enthusiasm and encouragement of those who love you best.

Happy Hogmanay!