Monday, May 31, 2010

What We Always Fail To Learn

Towards the end of WWII, the United States knowingly and willingly killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in the relentless fire bombings of Japanese and German cities, the atomic bomb just expedited the process in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We in turn became the deliverers of mass death Nazi Germany only dreamed of. The Axis also taught us a thing or two on the joys and institutionalization of torture.

Zionists also became enamored of Axis tactics and methods. The great Nazi art of corralling and ghettoizing target populations was created in central Europe, but perfected in the Middle East; and Israel's Blitzkrieg inspired, lightning fast preemptive attacks and their recurring elimination of  innocents killed by accident, coincidence or outright warning are effectively silenced by the incessant cries of  "Never Again."

Violence is always easiest to learn, and excuses for using it, easier still.

Home Grown

The truth is, we've always tortured- whether in Viet Nam or, yes, even at home- particularly when dealing with people of  'the darker persuasions.' We just hadn't turned it into the de facto, institutionalized, rule of thumb that we looked up to with such great pride in Iraq...

And speak of Memorial Day, here's something that definitely needs to be memorialized by each and every citizen of this country, each and every day...

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Aint It The Truth...

A person without regrets is a person who has not lived a life of diversity of interests and cause.
-Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Yes, It's Come To This...

Photo: Lisa Wood

Flynn, our three and three quarter legged cat (missing left hind paw- congenital). Nice guy; meows constantly...

Friday, May 28, 2010

Do As I Say, Not As...

Att: President of the UNDP, his excellency Mr John Ashe
Dear Sir,

Poverty is all about the ability to ignore the plight of peoples deemed "expendable." Having people fairly compensated for their labor is one of surest ways to end poverty worldwide. Your policy of appropriating the images of those who wish to participate in your worthy endeavor certainly does little to reinforce, and in fact undermines, both the spirit and the overall credibility of your stated goal. Kindly take the lead and set the example.

Stan Banos

Thursday, May 27, 2010


AP/5 Gyres

The Gulf of Mexico is dying before our very eyes; most large fish populations have been depleted in every ocean worldwide;  islands of plastic the size of states are floating throughout the seven seas, biblical sized blooms of jellyfish are taking over and 'no one knows why' (maybe, just maybe, because they're the only things left), 73 MILLION Sharks are killed every year so one very severe bunch of assholes can eat shark fin soup, river fish have mutated sexually; while genetically modified seeds and crops contaminate and proliferate throughout our ecosystems and alter the internal organs of farm animals; as our ice caps melt and our bees continue to disappear and die.

The signs are all around us- and you sure as hell don't need a Bible or a god to interpret them. Our planet is dying, and we are the cause...

As predatory capitalism continues to rape, pillage and plunder unabated at the behest of 1/10 of 1%. Welcome to the 21st century! Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pretty amazing image!

    One can only imagine the life he led, the photos he took... (@ Shorpy's, natch).

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Prison Valley- The Clean Version Of Hell

Something this well done almost makes me wanna join the multi-media band wagon (if only I could pull it off half as well). Prison Valley is a quirky and enlightening insight into our out of sight, out of mind world next door...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Eternally Breathless...

    Rialto Pictures/StudioCanal

Was reading this article on Breathless- its importance, novelty and legacy, then and now. And was struck by how its apparent "freshness" to date might not be the case- had it not been shot in B&W. Color would have further aged and dated it, the added information making it more a prisoner of its own time. Instead of  forever celebrating the eternal exuberance of youth, it would be more of a nostalgic keepsake, a paean to youth long lost... 

The Americans in color?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Maybe... if ya asked really nice?

Actually, stay as long as you like... Long term parkers here at R-F have no doubt noticed we've botoxed the place up a bit. Thought the joint a tad morose of late and needed a bit of cheering up. If you dropped by yesterday, you probably noticed the rather awkward transitions in colors, fonts and formats until I finally settled on something I could live with (at least for now)- hope you can too.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

PDN Revisited...

A year ago I wrote a post concerning the glaring lack of racial diversity on a PDN 24 man panel of judges. It fell mostly on deaf ears, and would have qualified for the "if a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it" category- if it wasn't for the fact that someone considerably more prominent than I did, in fact, hear, respond, and decide to throw a considerable amount of fuel unto my spark. That person, of course, was Benjamin Chesterton of Duckrabbit, and soon many of us were engaged in a rather large brouhaha on several online venues. People who agreed, disagreed, denied and advocated. I'm just grateful the discussion started, no matter how it started- it was, and still is long overdue. And I can't help but think how much easier and forthright it would have been for PDN to admit from the get go- Oops! Our bad, we're usually pretty up on these things (they generally are), but we dropped the ball on this one; and we'll make sure to address it from now on. Which is pretty much what they ended up saying anyway- only much, much later after the outcry continued to grow, expand and ultimately embarrass... Funny how things work that way.

The 2010 issue is out now and this time there are 29 judges, fourteen of which are women (pretty much half, as opposed to one third last year), and there's a small smidgen (less than a quarter) of people of color. A small smidgen being a "vast" improvement over last year.

The number of women on this panel is not an accident, had it been fifteen females, it would, in fact, accurately reflect the M/F ratio in the world's population. Of course, no one would ever rationally consider protesting such proportional representation- a long overdue and welcomed "end" of our sexist past. Yet suggest something approaching a more representational ratio when it comes to race and ethnicity, and one instantly elicits feverish outcries of fascism, favoritism and yes... racism!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Fun With Fluoride!

Seems that fluoride, an aluminum waste product, has a rather interesting background. Now I'm a reasonable, open minded fellow and I've certainly heard about all the supposed benefits of fluoridated water, but you're certainly not going to get the whole truth from mainstream media for very obvious commercial related concerns...

Sodium fluoride is not just a well known cavity fighter found in our toothpaste, water and dental cleanings- it's also a potent insecticide and rat killer, and constitutes 94% of the widely  prescribed psychotropic drug (perhaps you've heard of it)- Prozac. Ninety eight per cent of Western Europe's water is non fluoridated- and their teeth fare no worse than ours...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Henry Frank- Father/Photographer

With some of the rehashed crap that ol' Bob's put out in years past (and I sure as hell aint talkin' about the godawful (Cocksucker Blues)  to make a buck or two (the kind of shit that usually comes out posthumously to make other people a buck or two), it's refreshing to see Henry Frank- Father/Photographer. A charming little scrapbook styled hardcover (approx 6X7 in) that features the family and vacation snaps (originally stereo photographs) of Papa Henry. These subtle square format images do, in fact, succeed in capturing the proverbial idyllic times of an era long past...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Living In The USA...

While those responsible for killing a small ocean (and all the life and lives that depend on it) for decades to come are free to quietly drift along and make their millions elsewhere.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

All Those Clamoring for Their Pound of Flesh from Jonas Lara

In addition to arresting every single photographer who ever took a photograph of anyone doing illegal drugs, participating in a riot, or looting a grocery store, let's also bust every photojournalist who's ever taken photographs of war crimes- and that most definitely includes embedded American journalists (talk of aiding and abetting), who have witnessed and/or documented war crimes and atrocities (especially those committed by American soldiers). Have the latter all stand before an international war crimes commission!

PS- And let's us not forget the military photographer who photographed My Lai as it occurred!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Wayne Lawrence- Orchard Beach Portraits

Think beach portraits and one can't help but think Rineke Dijkstra. Now there's a choice... The picture below could be so exploitative in so many ways, and yet it is as refreshingly genuine as they come. And that bespeaks the character inherent in the portraiture of Wayne Lawrence.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Whale Of A Story!!!

Make sure you listen to the whale story- what the cynic assshole Dr. seems to forget is that the whale's brain is considerably larger than his own (which seems to more closely resemble that of the dog's).

Friday, May 7, 2010

Photographer Arrested For Photographing

… if he was an accredited journalist, it’s guaranteed calls would have been made to editors and then the news org’s attorneys, and it would have never reached this stage. Sadly we live in a day and age where traditional media is dying on the vine and more and more people are going it alone to tell stories and assuming ever greater risk without the resources to defend themselves in situations like this…     -Banksy

That’s the heart and soul of the matter concerning Jonas Lara  who was photographing/documenting grafitti artists at work. Personally, I can only see him being convicted if they somehow prove that he was actively participating as a lookout- otherwise, they don’t have a leg to stand on. Unfortunately, the state of law (and justice) in this country has been one big lying joke going on a good decade now.

Gotta bust this guy too (big time)...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hally Pancer- America 1986-1989

Another triumphant blast from the past via the the ever spectacular, ever comprehensive American Suburb X...

It's said that B&W appeals to the intellect, color to one's emotions. It sounds good, but it's not always (and probably not often) the case. Halley Pancer's B&W photos definitely set a mood. I'm not quite sure what it is, but they definitely set a mood- somewhere between the mundane and the surreal, as if caught transitioning between alternate realities. But is it those of the viewer's, or the subject's?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Beyond the Death and Rebirth of Photography...

I sometimes read these photography post mortems with a rather bemused look. They're usually very erudite and well written, and sometimes even make a couple of very valid points. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way I (usually) seem to lose interest. Perhaps it's because I've entered my second half of the century, I'm no longer ceaselessly searching for "answers." I no longer ask "what do women want?" I rather accept the fact that we're different, have a beer, smoke a cigar. Secondly, I don't have a dog in the fight- my "career," my "finances," my "reputation" will neither suffer nor gain. If my livelihood depended on it, I suppose I'd be a tad more attentive.

In the seventies there was talk of how we would need to make the world visually (as in photographically) literate. People would have to learn the language of photography. Some would argue we still haven't done a very good job of it, and we're now mired in a hopeless sea of cliches. Others, that we're at a technological and aesthetic crossroad of indeterminate consequence and unforeseen results.

When I first came to California I was overjoyed with my first mountain bike purchase. Ten years later, there are downhill mountain bikes, uphill mountain bikes, cross country mountain bikes, and commuter mountain bikes available with full suspension, front suspension, or no suspension... and what wheel size, please? Back in the day, photographers could diversify- via film or format. Today, practically every single digital camera purchased, amateur and professional, SLR or point and shoot, gets individually customized by its user- often only to produce predictably similar results.

Technology will proceed, improve and on occasion digress- as photography will continue to diversify and incorporate: retro film enthusiasts, multi media story tellers, up to the second digital journalists with their portable computer imaging and media devices. Each will find their niche, and reconfigure with every major technical innovation. Remarkable images will continue to be presented in print, electronic screens- and mediums unimagined. And more visual junk and clutter than ever will continue to be made. Bigger, sharper, ever present.

Our potential to keep doing this is endless, our resources are not, and there lies the ultimate rub. In the meantime, take pictures, make them if that's what you do, the technology ultimately aint important- the results sometimes are.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Gifts That Keep On Killing...

They hack 'em to death in Japan, we poison them slowly here.

When all is said and done this gulf catastrophe in gonna make Exxon Valdez look like the proverbial pimple on Limbaugh's butt- not an insignificant landmass in and of itself. This is one humongous environmental (and economic) disaster that will keep giving for years on end- brought to you courtesy of Big Oil, and  The Big (H)alliburton that built the damn thing on the sly- as is their custom.

This was never, ever supposed to happen because of their "state of the art technology." The real lesson here: Are we now still supposed to believe that state of the art tech will save us from an exponentially bigger, deadlier and centuries (instead of decades) lasting catastrophe from the nuclear industry...

Monday, May 3, 2010

End Of Era

Yesterday was the end of an era, the end of the annual Zoe Strauss I-95 shows. Unfortunately, I was never able to attend one; and besides being a fan of her work, I am also a fan of how she works. These outdoor shows which spanned a period of ten years were not only an ingenious way of promoting herself, it was also a direct way of giving back to the community which helped inspire her. Of course, she had no way of knowing where it would one day lead, but she opted to share from the get go, instead of someday letting it trickle on down should she ever reach that mythological strata of articstic success. And if you know anything about her work, you know that she'll continue to share wherever and however she continues to create.

Blue Collar Cup O' Dreams...

I remember seeing these as far back as the '70s (although they go back a decade further)- and they seemed so damn ubiquitous I never realized they were just a NYC kinda thang...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Secret In Their Eyes

Obsessive love, political intrigue, social class, reget and retribution are but some of the major issues covered in The Secret In Their Eyes. A rather bizarre plot twist is made plausible only because the rest of the film is so well crafted.