Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Lara, Lara, You So Fine!

Could look at ya on that TV screen for hours on end and not have the slightest what the hell you're talking about. Nor care; Nor wanna care. Your hair, your face, your eyes... Just move your mouth forever in that sexy English accent (or Australian, New Zealandish- I'm American, think I have a clue?) and I'm forever yours. I know you don't even know I exist, and how could I ever compete with all those ultra volatile, military he men you so willingly interview (not to mention the defense contractor you done went and married). But that's OK, it's all O-K...

We had such a good thing going- you and I!
And, of course, it aint just my sweet, dear very lovable Lara- not by a long shot. It's the vast majority of corporate media stooges we're all subjected to daily, despite gender, body type, race or medium.

But when I read this diatribe from Logan, I felt like I'd known Hastings my whole life. Because brother, I have been there, when some would-be "reputable" journalist who's just been severely ass-whipped by a relative no-name freelancer on an enormous story fights back by going on television and, without any evidence at all, accusing the guy who beat him of cheating. That's happened to me so often, I've come to expect it. If there's a lower form of life on the planet earth than a "reputable" journalist protecting his territory, I haven't seen it. -Matt Taibbi

UPDATEIs this the same Lara who said this...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

America By Car- Lee Friedlander

I was going to bypass Lee Friedlander's America By Car since there were several photographs from that essay included in the incredible Sticks And Stones and well, you know, the economy- my economy... Then I finally saw it at SFMOMA, and yeah, had to get it.

We should all be so lucky to go out like Big Ol' Lee, saving and making our most and best towards the end. His latest book is relatively small, but hefty- and like any, all and every of Lee's books, it would benefit from a much tighter edit. The photographs on facing pages often tend to compete with each other in a very distracting way. Throw in the fact that some of the photographs are also crammed full of details and imagery in Lee's sometimes claustrophobic style, and it can get rather discordant. And needless to say, all of the landscapes within this book of roadside Americana are framed within the confines of the car window/door/dashboard- if you find it more gimmick than intriguing, it'll get right tiresome, right quick.

And while not ignoring any of the above, I still made sure to order it first thing when I got home, because the good majority of these framed car window landscapes, despite their inherent limitations and repetition, work amazingly well incorporated within the overall compositions. Actually, this is not the first time that an entire photo essay has been shot from inside a car where the vehicle itself serves as the contours of the frame. Chuck Forsman did it quite well in Western Rider- but it is the first time where the car interior plays such a prominent and integral part of the composition as a whole, not just a bit player providing ornamental fluff on the periphery. I'm just amazed at how many times Friedlander's actually able to pull it off. Practically everyone with a camera attempts one of these at some time, and gimmick or not, it's obviously harder to pull off than it would appear, especially so often, so successfully.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Double Take- Kevin Michael Connolly

Just learned that Kevin Michael Connolly's memoir, Double Take, is now out, and it's loaded with  insights that his  photographs (good as they are) could never possibly reveal (the inherent fallibility of photography, no matter who is taking the photographs).

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Happy Belated Father's Day

 (Niagra Falls- 37 yrs ago)

Teach your children well guys, so they learn to think clearly, morally and independently, and don't end up spouting (or ignoring) obscenities such as:

"We've shot an amazing number of people and killed a number and, to my knowledge, none has proven to have been a real threat to the force."

Doesn't that fit the modern term for insanity- about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results... or at the very least, murder?  And more importantly- so they don't have to end up dealing with this for the rest of their lives...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Flickr/Getty - Crumbs For Glory

I just became aware of the latest Flickr/Getty fornication via A Photo Editor, and you can get the major details as to the actual net results Here. Signing up for this latest gambit at fame and fortune amounts to little more than a windfall for Getty and more crumbs for photographers. Not only does Getty grant you a whopping 30% for your effort, there's also this:

Getty Images has the exclusive right to license your images and images substantially similar to those in a commercial context once you’ve accepted their invitation (and signed the Getty Images Contributor Agreement).

And for this we humble ourselves in gratitude.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

On Being Serious...

I was reading this rather humorous post, one of the major reasons for making regular trips to The Hinterlands where the proverbial axiom of "educational and entertaining" lives daily. And of course, I can both empathize, and sympathize. When I first started blogging over five years ago, I too wanted to feel the love- now... hell, I don't even do what's currently obligatory to gain and maintain readership (eg- don't tweet, don't do the Face, etc, etc). And so the blog kinda ends up being like one's personal work- you do it for yourself, something a few others will hopefully appreciate.

Of course, it's not hard to see why I'm not Mr. Popularity- no inside scoops, no ties to names or institutions... and no telling when he's gonna play the angry young ( I forget- that's another reason) old person of color card again. Christ- the guy believes in UFOs! Worse yet, he shoots B&W- 35mm B&W!

But no, this aint about bitchin' out loud. Actually, I am rather fortunate in having come into contact with some rather generous (non monetarily speaking, of course) people I do respect and admire through this little endeavor. And I'm forever grateful for that. 

Personally, I seriously think this "civilization" is headed to Mad Max world come the second half of this century. Our planet's dying before our very eyes each and every day, while we're out dying to get more apps. I once romanticized having my work "discovered" long after I departed, now I have to wonder how many will appreciate whatever's left of The Names. Blogs, galleries, the so called "art world," none of it will be worth a rat's ass then.

Oh yeah,  that's the other thing- sometimes, between laughs, things can get depressing as hell around here... (and I aint got nothing to do with it).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Leon Levenstein

Not quite the household name when it comes to photography, the majority of Leon Levenstein's work pointedly shows the direction where more renowned names (Winogrand, Arbus, Cohen, Gilden, etc) would further refine and improve. Then there are the iconic images (hard to find online) as above that are still striking and imaginative to this very day.

But perhaps the most unique thing about this photographer- his apparent aversion to the limelight. How many of those walking about today in this age forever awash in images, both good and bad...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Winter's Bone

Aint many movies made that are willing to delve into the hill communities of these United States. Fact is, not much comes from that ways at all, 'cept for the occasional news of yet another mine disaster. Winter's Bone is hardly an anthropological study or cultural celebration- it's a dark, near gothic tale of improvised tradition and bleak, modern day economic survival. A feudal fiefdom neatly sequestered and coexisting in our present day world. Not a particularly friendly or inviting kinda place, but maybe just a tad more honest in dealing with how things get done when alternatives offer little escape or redemption. Highly recommended.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Death Of Transparency

You've all seen the Hollywood movies where the NSA, CIA, FBI and INTERPOL are hot on the trail of the world's most wanted fugitive with a kazillion satellites, spies and black ops personnel. Using every known form of technology and super secret gizmo known to mankind (and of course, those only known to them), they slowly tighten the noose around our good guy, hero fugitive... Will he avert their evil, ever tightening web, their deadly drone missle, their ability to sever him completely from both real and virtual worlds?

Actually- this aint no joke. The Obama admin is going after Wikileaks cofounder Julian Assange (he who made public Manning's Collateral Murder Video) both guns ablazing! We're talking kidnap, rendition- whatever it takes! They want his ass and they want it bad. And  they have more human rights negating  tools, "laws," and weaponry on their side than even W touted previously. This two faced, compromised, son of a bitch deluxe who promised us a more transparent government has only further tightened the noose around an already beaten, demoralized and somehow still Hoping citizenry. Whistle blowers are now the ultimate evil of evils, and he's out to punish each and every one to the max- he's not cutting any backroom deals here, he won't bargain his already sold out soul on this one. Uh, uh- this one's for keeps. Obama has finally found something he won't compromise, something he truly believes in- his prerogative to silence those whose truth can influence without money.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Killed By "A Compelling Unknown Force"

This is what you call a real mystery. Nine people killed in the middle of nowhere Russia, several found near naked in sub freezing weather, one with her tongue cut out. Others are found with fractured skulls and chests- but no sign of external trauma. It should be noted that whatever happened at The Dyatlov Pass, stripping off your clothes in freezing weather is not uncommon when one is subjected to extreme and prolonged hypothermia and the brain mistakes extreme cold for extreme heat. Of course, I'm most intrigued by the pronounced traces of  radiation and reports of flying orange spheres...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Life On Mars

 "The Viking LR experiment detected living microorganisms in the soil of Mars," Gilbert Levin flatly said. 

He just happens to be the guy who invented the device to test for life on the original Viking Mars Lander back in '76. Two of the three tests proved positive, the third inconclusive- NASA therefore invalidated the entire results claiming the "false positives" were due strictly to chemical activity (something which has since been... proven false).  

For arguments sake, let's say Never A Straight Answer NASA was correct- don't you then think there would be a burning scientific curiosity among them to actually do it right with further testing? Isn't that how science is done- test until proven beyond doubt? Just why is it that no NASA sponsored Mars missions since have made proving the existence of microbial life on Mars even the smallest of priorities? One of the, if not the fundamental question in the exploration of space, completely and purposely set aside by NASA. Why?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

But How Can They Keep Something So Big, Secret- For So Long...

During my recurring ill health the past two weeks (one kick ass flu, virus, bug whatever...) I once again got to looking at American Ground Zero-  a truly exceptional book, photographically and otherwise, documenting one of the most deviously deceptive, secretive, and yes, murderous programs ever unleashed on the American public. No one downwind of the hundreds, thousands of atomic tests has ever "officially" died of radiation poisoning. And yet their cancer rates went off the charts (just like the needles on their geiger counters) shortly after those tests started to occur. As for the thousands of livestock, cattle and sheep that just dropped dead where they stood or were born without vital body organs- "malnourishment." Think of it, in Chernobyl they at least made some effort to lead people out of harm's way- the good ol' US of A knowingly let its children play in radioactive fallout for years (to "protect" us from those very Russians).

These down winders, test workers and soldiers were expendable guinea pigs who were sentenced to slow and agonizingly painful deaths of the most horrific magnitude imaginable. And our government will never own up to the fact that they were directly responsible, despite the damning evidence, both overwhelming and indisputable. Fortunately, the entire text of Carole Gallagher's extensive research is available online- just read a few of the seemingly endless interviews and you will quickly come to realize what nonsense even allegedly "educated" people are so fond and capable of spewing, gems like: But how can the government keep something so big, secret for so long!?

Christ- it's not even the right question! Governments don't have to keep it secret; yes, secrets get out every damn day! All they have to do is... deny- and governments manufacture denial at will. It's the one public relations ploy any government in the world, rich or poor, "democratic" or authoritarian, can rightly claim to practice with absolute expertise from day one. Deny, deny, deny- human nature and human frailty will do the rest. But don't take my word, make the time, read the stories of people deemed expendable in the worst possible way, then decide if you believe the honest to god word of these salt of the earth, true blue Americans...

This is more than a cautionary tale. It is a revelation of something apocalyptic. The Soviet Union was condemned by the world for keeping Chernobyl a three day secret. Our nuclear tests in Nevada were kept a 30 year secret. Our respected scientists, engineers, and administrations were the guilty parties and we, the American people, were kept wholly ignorant of peril without precedent..."   -Studs Terkel

Friday, June 11, 2010

If I Were Plotting A Major Move...

This would be my "perfect" digital entry... a true WA zoom with a 52mm filter thread! That's the kinda lens, and lens size, I'm talking about! 4/3's just gotten interesting! And if this 9-18mm zoom is anything like the rest of those Zuiko lenses, it's probably an optical wonder as well.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Photography And The UN

Looks like we scored a bit of a victory here for those concerned- unless I'm completely and/or partially misreading the queen's English. Got this email a couple days back from somewhere in the UN in response to David White's suggestion :

Please note that we realized this discrepancy in the language on copyrights we were using at, and we have amended it to highlight the non-exclusive use/rights, as follows:

5.2  The copyright of submitted and winning photos will be owned by the participating photographers. The winning photos will be released to the “non-exclusive” use of UNDP, its Picture This partners ,Olympus and The AFP Foundation.  Such use will be restricted to promotion, publicity, news, informational education or awareness usage relating to UNDP and the Picture This contest partners. Contest photographers will be able to use their photos, which they retain the copyright to, in their print and online portfolios, exhibitions, books and other publications and to disseminate – including sell – their photos to interested clients. They will be identified as the authors of the photos.

We apologize for the confusion. We do hope that you decide to enter the contest.


And back at ya, UN! Well done- if only the Mid East was this easy...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What The Hay!?

Q: Instead of using a chemical dispersant every bit as toxic and long lasting as the oil itself that it can't remove anyway, why aren't we looking to use something natural, cheap, abundant and thoroughly non toxic... not to mention- absorbent as all hell?

A: Because you just know that BP has some kind of financial stake in using their already banned poison to mask the poison they've already unleashed upon us...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Lying, Murderous Bastards!

This is what hell looks like. And if you believed in Big Oil's "state of the art technology" before, you gotta love the same exact refrain from the nuclear industry- close your eyes and imagine what those pictures are gonna look like... with human bodies!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Yeah! I Want Me Summa That! is so toxic that even chemists are reluctant to handle it....
 "It is really, really toxic. It is actually used in the laboratory to induce cancer cells." 

Most of all- I really want it in my food!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

By the Sea, By The Sea, By The Beautiful...

Seems as if all our woes and worries were out to sea this past week. The Gulf continues to be mired in toxic goo at the expense of BP CEO Tony Hayward's lifestyle (along with a near endless torrent of dead marine animals, dead BP workers and permanently laid off fisherman). And on the other side of the globe, Israel somehow managed to defend itself from the abhorrent weapons pictured above as they repelled, arms blazing, upon a sleeping crew of civilians. Yes, the sovereign state of Israel actually opened their own Flickr account to show the terrible nasties these so called peace activists had planned for them. And, as if there was any doubt, one of the weapons was even signed by the terrorist Hizbullah itself!

Later in the week, the Rachel Corrie was confiscated by Israel, which referred to it as the Linda (its previous incarnation before being renamed)- this only to purposely add insult to injury by not letting fall from their lips the name of the woman purposely crushed to death by a (US made) Israeli bulldozer. Now there are those that would say ol' Corrie was a quite the fool to stand in front of such an instrument of death in the first place- and I bet many of those people would be the same who so enthusiastically applauded the bravery of Tank Man in China.

Finally, I'm not an avid watcher of mainstream media, but I'm willing to bet there wasn't in retrospect, much discussion about the USS Liberty which was attacked, torpedoed and almost sunk by Israel back in '67. Israel claimed mistaken identity, and the US "concluded" likewise - the only attack upon the US that didn't even rate a Congressional investigation. (thanks to WBTP for Flickr link)

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Let's just say, guess I'm doing fairly well- for someone who should be absolutely miserable. Surprising thing is- I woulda came up with the same figure myself without the research, just based on the (very) short lived days when I approached that princely sum.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The USS Liberty

How much of the public is aware that Israel attacked, torpedoed and tried to sink a US naval vessel, the USS Liberty, in the sixties- and that the US in turn... assisted them in the cover up?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Beyond Shame, Beyond Law, Beyond Reason...

Read HERE; Listen HERE...
(Logo- here)

Too Much To Ask?

Disappointment, frustration, and nagging self doubt- the volatile mixture that always surfaces whenever I develop a roll of film, and there ain't one, not one, single, good image to be found anywhere... A lot of almosts, a few "close, but no cigars," and a couple of "if only's." And sometimes, not even that. You feel cheap, your life empty, and your chosen avocation, one serious joke.

I need a vacation...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

If You Haven't Seen...

Eva Leitolf's gorgeous (and informative) photos and interview, you have another chance @ Bag News Notes...

Drain It And Cement It

Gather, witness and wonder at what state of the art tech has achieved in the 21st. Century!


I just saw a report on how the toxic, dispersant suspended oil looks just like the algae that fish feed on- really, at this point we should just drain the entire gulf, preferably into the swimming pools of Tea Party members who can then lay claim to any oil they can separate. 

The Gulf will be a virtual dead zone for years, if not decades. The cost to marine life, fish and mammal, is immeasurable; the cost to livelihoods throughout the area, criminal. How will BP ever pay for the aftermath when they're already engaged in denying the present? And if ya liked that one you're gonna love, love, love this one...

And our President should be held just as liable if he continues to state that "we will not rest, until every drop is cleaned up." That sir, is as insane a proclamation as it is physically impossible.