Thursday, July 29, 2010

Craters Of The Moon

This giant cinder cone at Craters of the Moon National Park is quite the impressive and minimalist natural structure (can't appreciate it's height or girth here), not a plant or living thing on site. Barren, bleak and very, very black...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Whatever Happened To... The Magnum Blog?

Well, it's been exactly one year since Magnum last posted anything on their blog, nonetheless promising us all a bigger, brighter future if we just held tight, remained patient... and uh, continued to do so, pretty much... indefinitely.

Can't almighty Magnum find some poor wretched intern somewhere who'll suffer and labor for free, or maybe (just maybe) man up, dig down deep amongst themselves, and draw straws? Or at very least- put it permanently out of its misery and get the remains off line instead of having it just fester there like some withered parasitic twin.

The Real Question Is...

Not how much your negs will be worth at the garage sale, but...

Who will store, and keep restoring your digital files for the very chance of being (re)discovered?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Anthony Hamboussi- Newton Creek

Like many photographers with an eye for documentary landscape, I love the post industrial vista- particularly on weekends, when devoid of its temporary populace. It's filled with the melancholy and ghosts of eras great and fleeting, a telling preview of our own temporary passage from this mortal coil. Unfortunately, this particular genre has gotten somewhat of a bad rap of late with the glut of Motor City ruin porn. 

Anthony Hamboussi's Newton Creek extensively documents a still functional waterfront area in New York that still manages to eke out a fragile existence, economically if not environmentally. Although the book is more concerned with presenting a faithful documentation, many of the photographs, as you can readily see, go well beyond just that...


Monday, July 26, 2010

Clueless In America...

While everyone's abuzz about the WikiLeaks Afghanistan disclosure (and rightfully so), here's another article in the prestigious NY Times reporting on the outbreak of Dengue Fever in Key West, Florida- yet nowhere in the article does it research how the hell it got there, courtesy... the CIA. Remember a time when newspapers would investigate and research the news themselves? And you can't put this one on cost cutting measures brought on by cable and the internet- the smoking gun article was online all the time...

This is so very characteristic of why we have a populace oblivious to facts, ignorant of cause and effect, and vulnerable to every threat, lie and rumor.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Alien Research Center

A rather recent addition to grace The Extraterrestrial Highway (at its southernmost entrance), the Alien Research Center was, unfortunately, closed upon our arrival- so just how much "research" occurs there, and where it is all leading, still remains a mystery in my universe.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Stephen J. Morgan


Being the rabid documentary film buff that I am, I couldn't wait to see Restrepo. And now that I've seen it, can only ask, "What the?" I really went in wanting to, and full well expecting to love this film- especially after the waves of hype, praise and hyperbole. So I anxiously sat down and proceeded to watch on site footage that looked like edits from the cutting room floor of some hopefully better film interspersed with studio interviews that were, well... standard, at best. I learned nothing new or revealing about war, its participants, its victims (aren't they all?), or Afghanistan; I did not see any great cinematic framing, pacing, or story telling; nor did I see any innovative leap forward of any kind in documentary film making. The soldiers leave at the end of the film thinking they were sold one woeful bill of goods, wondering what the hell they ever accomplished there- yeah, I left asking much the same.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Time And Space On The Lower East Side

Brian Rose has released his latest project, Time And Space On The Lower East Side, as a very affordably priced Blurb book (particularly when you see all the great images within). Sometimes you really need a view camera to get that particular feel of a street landscape that  smaller formats just cannot deliver, particularly in a city infamous for its lack of horizon lines- and Mr. Rose certainly knows how to handle one (as further evidenced in The Lost Border, one of my favorite photography books of all time).

The book depicts NYC's Lower East Side in the early eighties (the city I once knew like a used tattoo- ironically, we lived on the very same block unbeknownst to each other)  juxtaposed against more recent work depicting its current day veneer. 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Greenpeace Corporate Whore

I certainly wasn't aware that almighty Greenpeace itself was part of the green washing movement- although I most definitely realized that recycling my bottles and napkins wasn't going to do a damn thing long as corporations were able to freely proliferate hundreds of thousands of tons of waste and toxic contaminants into our air, water, food and land on a daily basis. (Thanks to TYWKIWDBI!)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Early July saw a significant rise in my carbon footprint thanks to my self induced, self awarded 2010 Amex Grant. Between 7/07-7/15 we put 2,960 mi. in nine days on our car rental, covering the vast expanses of: CA, ID, NV and Ut. Among the sights seen:

1) several amazingly scenic Nat'l State Parks (incl: Craters of the Moon, Canyonlands, Zion, Yosemite, Arches)

2) a Mormon sect wife who strode with the ample strides of a Bigfoot as her ankle length "prairie dress" swayed vigorously to and fro at the local gas station

3) late model, yacht sized pick ups with plastic (rubber?) balls (yes, as if in a scrotum) attached to the underside of  the vehicle towards the rear license plate (I kid you not) for the American male who has... everything(?)

4) an authentic 1960's nuclear submarine conning tower from the USS Hawkbill emblazoned with the number 666 rising from the potato laden soil of mid Idaho 

5) a horrific SUV accident somewhere in the middle of the Nevada desert,

6) and an animal sighting directly beside the ever so bleak and barren Extraterrestrial Highway (IS 375) that was so truly stunning and magnificent, that only it's sudden movement jolted me into the reality that it was not (as first thought) someone's fanciful roadside monument to the animal kingdom (or heat induced desert mirage).

Among the trivialities discovered, I finally became acquainted with Sirius Radio, the audio version of cable TV, in other words, another pay for play mass media wasteland sans the visuals. Among its features: an all 60's music station which seemed like a little piece of heaven (until you realize it has a play list of 25 songs), an all-Elvis station ('nuff said), and a slew of stations featuring death metal bands such as Mastodon (of  smash hit Megalodon fame- but you knew that).

I also tried my hand at some Friedlander interior car landscapes to get a feel of how hard, or easy, or totally gimmicky his whole series was to shoot. Result: as expected, definitely not a gimmick and much harder than it looks to get a good composition.  Even though I didn't have his Hassy SWC (sigh!), my 20mm Nikkor sufficed nicely at the attempt- and BTW, one really has to be a bit OCD to keep the windshield clean of dead and splattered insects.

Of course, it was America we went to see in all its scenic, obese wonder, an America I once had so much hope for, and now...

I always thought down deep inside that it would ultimately prove itself a country of generosity and common sense, a country that given time, could only improve, if ever so slowly. And yet, the years have seen my illusory hopes vanish, and this country turn more vindictive and narrow minded- just as its physical assets become more depleted and despoiled. Much of the land we drove through was once the repository of wanton nuclear fallout from the atmospheric nuclear testing of the 50's, landscape often described as wasteland, despite its vast expanses of incredibly dramatic vistas filled with the starkest, most desolate beauty. Beauty in the eye of the despoiler.

 More photos to follow...

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Republican/Christian Ideal!

I just know that every goddamn Republican and Born Again from every trailer park to every seat in Congress will enthusiastically support, promote and vote for this bill. This is every Christian's dream come true! This will truly sanctify the sanctimonious... Hallelujah!!!

Andrew Napolitano: Bush and Cheney Should Have Been Indicted for Torturing, for Spying and Arresting Without Warrants

 Well, blow me down!

Sunday, July 18, 2010


I come across quite a few of these missing posters in San Francisco, some for personal items, most concerning animals, others still... for missing people. I found this one particularly disturbing for several reasons: at least in part because it was such a beautiful day, completely at odds with the loss of this good looking man at the height of his youth, looking every bit as happy as anyone could possibly expect to be alongside man's best friend. And seeing it at the Presidio, right next to the Golden Gate Bridge- the site of many an unpublicized tragedy really compounded it. Hope he's shown up somewhere since- alive, well, and ready for the rest of his life...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

China UFO

FWIW, one thing is sure- this object is, up to now, an Unidentified Flying Object. Reports are that the airport in China where this was photographed was closed down and that it did not appear on radar. Although it should also be mentioned that there are two UFO's in China that are being cited concurrently- the other is featured in a video and appears to be a missile of some sort...

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

I knew nothing whatsoever about this movie (or book) when I went to see it. Didn't even know it was Swedish. Didn't even know Sweden made suspense/thrillers...

And despite some obvious flaws, a bunch of interesting characters and a plot that is both fast and winding makes the 152 minutes go by rather quickly while you're enjoying the ride. Stieg Larsson the author of the book, Men Who Hate Women, on which the movie was based, led a very interesting life as a writer and investigator of the neo-Nazi movement in Sweden, and as a result had to live a very guarded life due to the constant death threats.

One thing the film did particularly well was its portrayal of a serial killer- no super powers, no snarling face with demonic eyes, no malevolent musical score or grand signature gestures. Just unadulterated banality at its very evil best.

And it's just the first in a trilogy...

No Worries!

Friday, July 9, 2010


I was coming back from the doctor on a Saturday (yes, I really was sick) and was somehow reassured upon seeing this...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

California Dreamin'

Ya know that dream where you're walking around all naked like out in public (and don't know it) and then you look down and...! Well, in California, dreams can come true, and you don't even have to suffer the embarrassing latter part in San Francisco, even on a bike.

A couple of weeks ago I posted about the frustration and disappointment of developing a roll of film and not coming up with  even one lasting image. Well, speak of sweet exoneration, my most recent came up with a half dozen candidates! Nothing Pulitzer Prize winning of course, just neighborhood things- but as you can see above, even the neighborhood can have its moments.

Please Note:
I'll be busy next week to ten days, and chances are I won't be doing any real time posting (or corresponding, etc) so I've scheduled those latest images (and perhaps a few other things) to be posted automatically on alternating days. See ya's soon! And speaking of bikes, there's this little race going on...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

100 v 100 (thousand)

There are over 100,000 coalition troops in Afghanistan and 100 US soldiers died there last month, the same month when CIA Director Leon Panetta readily admitted there are probably less than 100 Al Qaeda in all of Afghanistan. This is starting to make the atrocity known as The Viet Nam War look fairly reasonable...

Merchants Of Doubt

In their new book, Merchants of Doubt, historians Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway explain how a loose–knit group of high-level scientists, with extensive political connections, ran effective campaigns to mislead the public and deny well-established scientific knowledge over four decades. In seven compelling chapters addressing tobacco, acid rain, the ozone hole, global warming, and DDT, Oreskes and Conway roll back the rug on this dark corner of the American scientific community, showing how the ideology of free market fundamentalism, aided by a too-compliant media, has skewed public understanding of some of the most pressing issues of our era.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Daniel Shea- Work That Matters

Daniel Shea makes some seriously beautiful images of some very serious topics (eg- Mountain Top Removal, Plume). A lot of people wonder aloud how "concerned" photojournalism can successfully change its face in this new century- then take a good look at this guy's work, and support it if you can!

With all the decorative, repetitive fluff out there, it's good to see someone still making pictures that matter...

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Instant Camera Bag!

I absolutely love, love, love my Crumpler $6 Million Dollar Bag. Best damn camera bag I've ever had- thoughtfully laid out, so comfy it's almost plush, and if it can't hold it, I certainly don't wanna lug it. 

Unfortunately, I don't have much time these days to play professional photographer. The bag you'll usually see me with is my Manhattan Portage "DJ" model during the real life work week. Inside is my work binder, lunch, bike lock and camera. The camera (a Nikon FG w/20mm) is in one of those hideous, triangular SLR soft cases I wouldn't be caught dead with- but inside the bag, no one is the wiser. No, it's not the ideal street shooter set up, it's the just have a camera with you at all times set up. Now Manhattan Portage has come up with these handy, dandy camera inserts which convert many of their regular bags into an instant camera bag- neat! Now, I currently don't have need of one, but for those who could use a twofer, like I said- neat.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Good, The Bad, And The Very Ugly...

There's been some incredibly dubious photography on display of late. One sampling was displayed at the ever infamous Duckrabbit. And as you can well see, it is something well beyond dubious... (my two cents here). And then there's this bit of contemplative, over reaching, disaster porn arte (accent on the last syllable), via Manchester Photography.

Fortunately, and in all seriousness, there's this superlative photo essay called Working The Line by David Taylor at the new Fraction Magazine.

Photo: David Taylor

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Angel Franco- The Forgotten New Yorkers

These photographs take me back to the New York I grew up with, the one without cell phones, lattes or ATMs. Yuppies were just coming into existence, gentrification was becoming a familiar word, and a ride in the subway for three months of every year meant braving 95 degree heat with 95 per cent humidity. But as Angel Franco shows us, there was another NY that went well beyond the commonality endured by all- the NY where a Presidential candidate once stood in the South Bronx and proclaimed that he couldn't do anything for its people unless they voted him in. And once empowered, established policy that ensured they would remain isolated, impoverished  and doomed. What would Presidents speak of if they had to speak only what was true?

This was not only the NY of the South Bronx- but of Harlem, Bed Sty and East New York. Neighborhoods where New Yorkers scratched out an existence anyway imaginable in the hope they would be rewarded with reliving the ordeal just one more day. Angel Franco's photographs recall some of those everyday players, reminding us of what once was, what still persists, and the lives that got lost in the transition.