Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Staycation Blues

The above photo was taken at Mt. St. Helens on a previous holiday the previous year. Like untold thousands of my fellow Americans, I got to experience the dubious joys of a "staycation" this summer- probably not the last either.

To help counter the situation I've been psyching myself up for a home based photo project starting sometime late fall, one that takes me beyond my comfort zone for several reasons. One, because it involves studio photography- far from my strong point; second, because my "studio equipment" is virtually non existent; and third, because of the nature of the subject matter it will involve. If I succeed (get at least a dozen solid photographs) it'll be a nice little feather in my cap- least, far as I'm concerned. If I fail (which the odds definitely favor), I gave it the ol' school try. Sure there's the whole "learning experience" thing- but I aint about to go through all this trouble, effort, and more without getting at least one decent shot to show for it! I hope...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Man On Wire

One hazy, dog day, August morn some 34 years ago, an incredibly skilled madman, artiste and athlete extraordinaire (Philippe Petite) performed a feat I did not have words for then, or now. Man On Wire captures the events that led up to the event in bank caper, thriller like narrative that makes one marvel at how utterly beyond all odds it was to even stage the event, let alone consummate it....

Actually, it's reminiscent of the ancient Greek classics where the gods command yet another hapless human with an impossible task at a mystical venue of their choosing somewhere between heaven and earth- this time the mortal was anything but, and it was his turf as much as theirs.

Anonymous Head, Neck & Shoulders

Don't know the origins of this one, came via one of those chain letter emails- but can't stop looking at it...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Obamastan!

Many "progressives" were shocked by Obama's "recent" lean to the right, most obviously apparent in how quickly he buckled on the recent FISA "compromise," which in itself is hilarious had they so much as glanced at either his brief record in the Senate, or his previous political history. You don't get as far as he has without buying into the very system that brings you there.

As a person of color, it would be nice to see a president who looks more like me, than the faces on dollar bills, to loosely paraphrase his recent quote. But I have no delusions about what he brings to the table. It would mark a return to a more rational universe, no doubt. And, after the last eight years, I guess that in itself denotes considerable (if thoroughly predictable) "change." But he's far from the godsend of Utopian evolution some believe him to be. Of course, if it were otherwise and he was, in fact, a true harbinger of change, his fate might already more closely resemble that of an RFK or MLK.

A recent Slate article asked if race might still be the one crucial, determining factor in this election. And yes, the article actually proceeded to make the case as to why- presumably for the edification of all those Americans who claim they "just don't see race." It reminded me of the late eighties when another Black man, Jesse Jackson, ran for president. I distinctly remember a reporter relating how when campaigning in America's heartland he impressed many in the crowd with his command of the issues that most directly affected them. He approached two white farmers who were nodding in approval and asked if they'd consider voting for him. "A nigger?!" they laughed.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

ET at UN... with Nancy Burson

I've posted on photographer Nancy Burson before. A known name in the photographic art world, and a pioneer in photo morphing technology, not to mention an FBI consultant- quite the resume without the "dubious" ET affiliation. As mentioned before, I would like to believe her experience concerning the latter is real, genuine and ultimately verifiable. I just haven't seen anything photographically (on her part) that personally convinces me. But since I think the evidence overwhelming otherwise, and not reliant solely on any one individual, I certainly would take her up on her ET invite to the UN (click on Sept. 5 NYC) if still residing in NYC...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Astral Projection(s)

(Never A Straight Answer) NASA's candor, truthfulness, and history concerning UFO's is dubious at best. But there's no question they got some kick ass astrophotography on their site that's well worth the daily visit!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Photo Cliche 101

I guess just about everyone ends up taking one of these (people/statue juxtaposition) at some point, usually 'round this time of year on holiday- and like everyone else, ends up thinking theirs the exception that transcends the rule...

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Future- Past & Present...

Not much going at the moment, the perfect opportunity to ponder this obscenely expensive ($550,000) and futuristic Colosso time piece, and the past future perfect looks and sounds of The Spotnicks!

video

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Smart Car

Haven't seen much in the way of Bigfoots since moving to CA (not a one), but been seeing plenty of these of late in San Francisco. Took 'em a good decade to migrate here since seeing my first one in Paris- and can't wait to see the SUV version!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Standings- Hiroshi Watanabi


Hiroshi Watanabi's book Standings is one precious little book of some very ethereal B&W images taken in various parts of the world.




Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Whoa!

Think I found the perfect antidote for my recent speed viewing dementia. It's called reading, especially when done in direct relation to the photo being viewed, as in the previous post of courthouse portraits with subject supplied text!

Check it out... look at the picture, read the text, then review the "revised" photo once more with the added info and insight. In an age of light speed viewing, thinking, living- words force you to stop, slow down and reflect. And that's a good thing- particularly when you're not getting the full "story" to begin with in such low res online reproductions!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Courthouse Confessions

One tries not to regurgitate what's on other blogs, but this item (via What's the Jackonary?) struck the proverbial nerve, for it encapsulates three of my major passions: photography, humanity (or some fickle semblance thereof), and NYC- about as intense a love/hate relationship all around as you can get.

While Thomas Roma's Enduring Justice was a subtle, powerful and revealing B&W essay that covered similar territory, Steven Hirsch's Courthouse Confessions ratchets up the lunatic intensity that so traditionally characterizes New York's denizens- his portraits definitely a "tad" more manic, with the subjects' own words providing some last ditch measure of insight into their urgency.

And if anyone somehow thinks Mr. Hirsch's portraiture doesn't rate because it bares semblance to some aspect(s) of "street photography," they got some serious blockage of some major orifice.
photo: Steven Hirsch

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Saturday, August 9, 2008

VIOLATED!

I love my bike. I use it almost daily for transportation, exercise, fun. One of the few, pure, simple pleasures of life. So to the bastard who stripped it this week (despite my precautions)- I'll forgive you eventually in eternity, but god help us both if I chance upon what you took from me in the meantime...

PS- And thanks to the fellow cyclists who voiced their sympathy on my way home transporting the remains.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Way of the World- Ron Suskind

Sure, anyone with half a brain knows we were lied into an illegal, immoral war resulting in hundreds of thousands dead and maimed. So why another book outlining how we got there?

Impeaching Nixon was relatively easy since it was primarily centered on one event and so well contained within his inner circle. This administration's crimes and illegalities are so numerous and so widespread with so many complicit well beyond the White House that if anyone, anywhere, will ever go down for any of this... more than ever, it will all be in the details. And this one's already making certain people very nervous with its well documented allegations of forged papers outlining Iraqi WMD- originating in the White House.

Then again, with the absolute myriad of gotcha moments the past eight years, why should this not be yet another ignored and forgotten high crime and misdemeanor?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Seeing more/Enjoying less?

Used to be I'd take singular, prolonged pleasure in looking at photography, both in galleries and books. I'd peruse my book collection religiously, studying every photo's details, analyzing how they functioned and why they succeeded, or didn't. And after a great long while after they had ceded their secrets, they'd still reassure one with their grace and stamina.

Now I zip through photographs with the proverbial speed known only to deadline pressured photo editors. No sooner have I whisked through one photographer's website than I find myself looking for the next, hopefully even better high.

Website speed browsing is somewhat understandable. So many images, so easily accessed, more added every day. And web resolution records none of the intimate nuances that often make truly great photographs shine and excel upon closer inspection- that wonderfully illuminated screen is quite deceptive in what it actually delivers. Unfortunately, this web honed viewing expediency has extended to my book viewing habits, which are now discarded sooner and revisited less frequently.

So why am I mutating into an aging speed freak? It really came to a head when I recently rented a darkroom. Long story short, I found I no longer had the patience to dodge, burn and bleach what seemed countless times just to get that one final print. The thrill was gone.

Obviously, I need help. You can't appreciate this medium running through it at light speed, nor continue to learn from it. Seems I got more out of individual photographs when there were less of them out there and not available at a second's notice. I'm seeing more, but enjoying less.

PS- Advice encouraged; pot not an option (even though it did help me appreciate Eggleston back in '76)...

Monday, August 4, 2008

That's... Entertainment!

I've been reading about the inevitable demise of photojournalism since the seventies, and the prescribed antidotes for photographers have also remained consistent throughout: find a niche, initiate self assignments, be creative...

This time, it's Marin Parr's turn to answer the same tired questions, and for what it's worth, throws in a new term- entertainment!
photo: Martin Parr

Sunday, August 3, 2008

All The News That's Fit To Print!

Well, looks like yet another another spaced out whacko, one Nick Pope, formerly in charge of U.F.O. investigations for the British Ministry of Defense from 1991 to 1994, has written an op-ed on... you guessed it UFOs! Amazing, last week it was a US Apollo astronaut, and now a former British Defense Official goes on record in the paper of record! How many more of these insane allegations will it take before the whole world is finally attuned to all the "swamp gas" our government has been force feeding us for oh so many decades...

BTW- "swamp gas" was a term coined by Dr. Allen Hyneck, former head of the US Air Force's Project Bluebook. Essentially he was hired to discredit and explain away UFO sightings and reports- which he happily did until he was gradually forced to accept the fact that the moon, Venus and even the primordial, ethereal, swamp gas he creatively touted could not explain away all the substantial circumstantial evidence he encountered, including reputable multiple eyewitness and radar sightings.
Illustration: Johnathon Rosen

Saturday, August 2, 2008

"da Tour" New York

Well, the '08 Tour de France is over and Carlos Sastre has won that three week paean to pain and tribulation. San Francisco doesn't have anything approaching the Alps or the Pyrenees, but the numerous hills are challenge enough for this aging cyclist. And although Manhattan isle is virtually flat as the proverbial pancake, I still stand in awe of anyone who dares venture to ride a bike in midtown Manhattan traffic, always did always will. New York is one of America's few remaining pedestrian cities (ie- a real city), but once you step off that pavement unto the asphalt, you are fair game- and a bicycle offers no protection, just more opportunities to get hit in that maddening vortex of NYC traffic. I understand steps have been taken there to make it more bike friendly, but it's gonna be one hard sell to convince this native. And this video of one of New York's finest tackling and body slamming a Critical Mass participant for no good reason does little to persuade otherwise...