Monday, August 30, 2010

When It Comes Down To It...

I co-opted this image from yesterday's Duckrabbit cause it so perfectly illustrates exactly what should be yelled from every rooftop and radio, shown on every TV, movie screen and computer monitor, and tattooed on every duplicitous Republican chicken hawk- and the abject fools who worship before them. 

God knows I'm no fan of Obama- but he wasn't the guy who poured billions of our surplus and then some down the holy shitter of never to be seen nor heard from. He wasn't the guy who deregulated our ass into the debt of the century. He wasn't even the guy who cornered Osama Bin Laden- only to let him go...

But it doesn't matter, does it? None of it really matters. Cause everyone in this great and wonderful country knows that Obama is a Muslim, and Jesus a dazzling blue eyed blonde.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Post Racial My Ass...

This post was going to be about how despite being a fairly educated working stiff all my life, I have still only achieved one of six benchmarks that guarantee middle class status- a small modicum of health insurance (although in all honesty, I have afforded vacations- in the past). But I couldn't help but notice the steady stream of ugly, blatantly racist remarks in the Comments section. These despicable comments were not the cleverly coded attacks and innuendos that say... FOX has mastered on an almost daily basis. In this "post racial" age when outright racism is supposedly more subtle and code words the rule of the day, make no doubt that this manner of bigotry has not replaced the old- it is simply yet another branch that all too happily coexists with its less literate, albeit more honest ancestor. Many of these comments mirror the ol' time, knee slappin', down and dirty racist remarks that brought glee to white faces everywhere in the deepest South of yore.

I beeze in da uper class nows, baby. coz obama da man an he done tolds me i will be gittn mo money mo money mo money from him. and i aint gotta do nuttin coz da white man has done stole every thing from me and my peoples. 
its bushes falt to and that dik chanie. thats what my peoples says and i be smart nuff to believe it. 
i aint gonna have to pay nuttin and da crackers can pay me now. i be rich now.
Cute, huh? At first, many of the racist comments were directed at the fact that Yahoo chose a photo of an African American family to illustrate their article (see above)- amazingly, some of the latter comments were addressing why that photo was then removed in favor of a... white family?!? And now it has- NO PHOTO at all!!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

100 EYES!!!

 Valeri Nistratov- The Forest Steppe

Last night, I was just about to happily, lazily, longingly doze off unto the welcomed land of slumber after one wretchedly long day when I was startled and thrown into a dreamlike state of absolute awe and attention by some of the most stunningly good photo essays I have ever witnessed online, in print, or in person. I had accidentally stumbled upon the online magazine called 100 Eyes!

Why the string of accolades? Just take in and absorb the wealth of imagery yourself. Many photo essays have a few individual winners with a supporting cast of mediocrity, the same for most most photo magazines- no matter the genre or presentation. But 100 Eyes just dazzles you with the consistency of its imagery, issue after issue, no let up, no weakest link- one knock out essay followed by another, each image better than the last and every bit as good as the next... I'm going to bed now, and you damn well know what I'll be looking at tomorrow, and then some!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

He's Been At It Again...

Didn't the future look so good?

Summer in San Francisco!

Yesterday was the first day of summer in San Francisco- I kid you not. And I know damn well I can't complain  too loudly- a lot of people would very happily trade their hot sweltering weather for the windy/cloudy/foggy months that substitute for summer here. But it just aint natural to walk about in sweaters and jackets during the dog days of August- certainly not in the lower Northern Hemisphere. 

And what a lovely change of pace to see summer dresses and shorts on sidewalks and bicycles- to finally experience that uniquely liberating ease upon your skin where you step out unto the outside world and all your senses feel as if it's just one large extension of your very own living room. You miss that after a while, you miss summer...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Gullible Me

Having been a fan of Richard Misrach for quite some time, I quickly perused his new work from Destroy This Memory- particularly because they contained signs and graffiti, new for him but something I've long enjoyed incorporating into my own work. Having satisfied myself with my quick look see, I then read the text and realized... egads, these were taken with a 4 megpixel point and shoot! I had naturally assumed I had been looking at (the onscreen representations of) large format images. Everyone knows Misrach shoots large format, has for centuries, so why would I even suspect otherwise? So I looked at them again, more cautiously, much more cautiously- of course, they're obviously not anywhere as carefully composed and aligned as his view camera work. So, uh... very, obviously obvious...

Point is- I got played. What does that say about viewer expectations and preconceptions?  Hhmmm... But enough of my petty foibles. These photographs serve to remind us that these broken homes (and dreams) continue to haunt the lives of very real people, unseen but very much outside the confines of the picture border- not unlike the vast amounts of oil that still inhabit the gulf, beneath the surface.

Update: Just saw the book, and it's quite impressive what 4 little megapixels can do- quite impressive! Wonder how long it would have taken me to notice the above had I not seen it in print first?

Saturday, August 21, 2010


There Is No Flag Large Enough To Cover The Shame Of Killing Innocent People- Howard Zinn
(unfortunately, photographer unknown)

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Tragedy That Is Only Beginning

Twenty per cent of Pakistan is underwater, making it one of the largest natural disasters of all time- the ultimate irony being that despite the over abundance of water, they are desperate for clean water.

And this tragedy is only beginning since this has completely decimated their agricultural (ie- food producing) area for the foreseeable future (and the monsoons have only begun)...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Prehistoric Diptych

One of these was taken in the wilds of southern Utah on my recent trip out West, the other in the bowels of San Francisco's Tenderloin District upon returning the rental. Can you decipher which is which? (Interestingly, and totally unbeknownst to me- there was also once a NYC Tenderloin District.)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Photo Video Deluxe...

I was going to post this last week (before getting sidetracked by the corporate sponsored, fake ass walk across America video)- for a ton of photo related videos, most featuring famous photographer interviews, check out A Photo Student, which also has this intriguing essay by Danny Lyon on The End Of The Age Of Photography...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Why I Love Dr. Laura!

This is most certainly a case of let me count the ways. Really, where does one even start when it comes to someone whose professional and personal lives are built on such blatantly glaring layers of deceit and hypocrisy? And for those not in this country, my beloved Dr. Laura is an ultra conservative, radio talk show host who freely dispenses her advice and wisdom to those amongst us who are: a) absolutely clueless, and b) love to be verbally belittled, humiliated and further abused. To listen is to truly love, understand and appreciate not only her, but an entire group of people who actually look up to and seek advice and comfort from someone who:
  1. Has a phd. in physiology, in other words- she's every bit as qualified to counsel anyone about anything as... you or I.
  2. Is probably the only ultra conservative counselor, therapist, whatever that has full frontal pictures of herself freely available on the web. That's right, this person who scolds, humiliates, and belittles others for having premarital sex is the same person who has her muff plastered all over these internets, taken when she was freely screwing everything she supposedly stands for today. At first she denied the photos were her- only to then try to have them legally removed because "they looked like her."
  3. Since becoming a proud mom, matriarch and uber proponent of strong family values has managed to lovingly raise a son who even the army fears is a psycho! Now that really takes some doing!
You'd think those three strikes (anyone of which worthy of The Rosie Ruiz Marathon Award) would silence anyone with even the slightest residue of humility, shame or self respect, but my dear Dr. once again made it into the news last week by using the N word- and she really seemed to revel in repeating it, over, and over, and over again. I guess it was a liberating experience (for her), as well as being a teachable moment- for the rest of us... Or as Don King is so fond of saying, "Only in America!"

    Sunday, August 15, 2010

    Swerving Under The Influence Of...

    Taken at Canyonlands National Park after I was stopped by a park police officer for swerving on the roadway. I explained best I could that I was just a boy from NYC who never drove much and was just completely taken aback by the grand scenic vistas- which just happened to be the truth. He was pretty cool and let me go with a drive safely reprimand...

    When he asked if I had been drinking at ten in the morning, the first thing that automatically came to mind as a response was, "Just one or two beers." The customary reply everyone gives when stopped by police on every damn TV police video ever seen. Somehow, I don't think he would've bought that one.

    Saturday, August 14, 2010

    Five Freakin' Encounters

     It's eyebrow raisin', guffaw inducin', eye rollin' time again. Not from the UFO encounter tales themselves, but from the "official explanations." If they don't induce a spit take, nothing will.

    Friday, August 13, 2010

    Levi's Dupes America!

    I guess like everyone else, I chose to purposely disregard his meticulously fresh, wrinkle free t-shirts (and pants) and applaud this man's incredibly singular feat of  "walking across America." Actually, I was much more amazed and enthralled with this uniquely original and superbly executed still/video montage. Only to find out after the fact, that it was (as my own eyes attempted to tell what's left of my brain), nothing more than... a Levis' ad!

    Which leaves a thoroughly foul taste in one's mouth. And not one single mention of the commercial aspects in the video chronicling the making of it- as if those dedicated twenty somethings poured their own starving artist greenbacks, time and effort into this cross country endeavor simply for... art's sake!

    The thing is, I would have been perfectly OK with it- knowing in advance that it was, in fact, an ad. Very discreet brand name placement (not until the very end), despite having product placement front dead center, start to finish- ingenious! Instead, they had to lie and play us like the fools we wanna be!

    Is that how wars start?

    Thursday, August 12, 2010

    Wednesday, August 11, 2010

    On The Bridge To Nowhere

    There ain't a a single day I don't wake up to earn my daily measure and not feel I have to once again cross that goddamn bridge straight off. Don't we all.

    And much as the other side of this particular bridge looks like a lovely little, sun kissed villa somewhere in  the  bucolic hills of Tuscany,  it's actually none other than Mountain City, Nevada- about a block long with a couple of houses and a bar.

    When I saw said sign and slammed on the brakes, I gathered up the camera from the back seat and only then noticed that we had attracted considerable attention upon arrival, that is, a most formidable swarm of mosquitoes had surrounded our windows and windshield! Now there's only so long you can wait in 95+ degree heat, and I didn't want to risk overheating the car and being permanently stranded with our new found fans. A decision had to be made, skip the possible photo (after all, there's no guarantee), or get out and risk get thoroughly bit. One minute, twelve bites later, I once again crossed over the bridge to nowhere.

    Tuesday, August 10, 2010

    Larry Sultan- Katherine Avenue

    Anyone who has followed photography the past several years is no doubt familiar with Larry Sultan's domestic essay featuring his parents, not to mention his background porn scenarios. Those, along with more recent, lesser known landscapes featuring immigrant workers are all featured in Katherine Avenue. I myself have seen the first two essays many times, via several venues- but never fully appreciated them until I saw them in this book. The color reproductions are nothing short of spectacular- a sensual, tactile reaction I thought possible only with original prints. These ordinary, seemingly everyday "snapshots" of mom and dad are nothing short of exquisite works of wonder worthy of the Renaissance. I had no idea a camera, or book, could do that...

    This Sucks!!!

    I'm not exactly a big computer kinda guy (eg- don't do the Face, don't own one single video game, hell- only know Photoshop basics, if that)-- but even I know, This Sucks!

    Monday, August 9, 2010

    Dave Jordano

    Lens blog reacquainted me with the work of Dave Jordano  who has an eye for revealing the epic in the mundane, be it church interior or prairie landscape. From his earliest B&W portraiture to his latest color landscapes, his photographs capture and highlight those details that penetrate both subject and viewer alike, forever rendering them timeless. I don't think this guy could take a mediocre shot if he tried.

    Sunday, August 8, 2010

    Two Lousy Movies

    I remember when the second Matrix movie was coming out and Laurence Fishburne was yappin' away about how unbelievably great the car chase scene was... The first movie took us to worlds and realities we could only imagine in our wildest- yet here he was talking about some... car chase?! No, it certainly did not bode well, and the second of the Matrix trilogy did indeed prove to be the lamest of the lot. 

    Recently, the second installment of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trilogy also suffered the sophomore jinx. Actually, it wasn't all that bad- until the very end. Any action movie will stretch the boundaries of reality, but when they have her literally returning from the dead, after being shot one, two, three times and then being buried (alive?)- it really went beyond even the Hollywood (in)credulity factor and into complete comic book superhero land...

    Friday, I finally got to see Inception, which I'd been dying to see for weeks. Yes, it appeared to be Matrix Redux, but pretty classy, cool and visually stimulating in its own right. At least that's what I hoped for... Alas, it was not to be (even in Imax). The non stop en masse shootouts were like early Bond movie climaxes on meth, and I found myself anxious for them to be over and done with to return to the real plot- only to be again reminded it was so absolutely piss poor to begin with, which is why they needed the mindless shootouts in the first place...

    I guess that's three lousy movies.

    Wednesday, August 4, 2010

    2010 Photography Book Now!

    Well, despite the fact that every imaginable poll has predicted my book the uncontested Grand Prize Winner of Blurb's Photography Book Now 2010 competition, I thought it would be nice to glance over a few choice picks of what others somehow thought would present "competition."

    In all seriousness, there's a very good chance I missed some real winners amongst this year's competitors since I selected the following only upon entering a self induced hypnotic state allowing me to tear through the 2,000+ listing in one sitting- hardly the fair means to an end. And I hope that's the case, cause in my much admitted haste, I really didn't see all that many that impressed the hell outta me- so please, please, please feel free to mention your faves. But if anything has been made abundantly clear- we definitely do need a workshop or two on naming book titles (eg- Glimpses Of Shadows And The Echoes Of Light- made up, but look for yourself, 'nuff said).

    Anyway, books that kicked butt, incl:

    The Donovans  by Gina Brocker- Absolutely gorgeous color images of Irish Travellers, full of frenetic energy and reminiscent of a young Nick Waplington's Living Room, except with more poise and grace. One genuine visual tour de force!

    The Woods by Emily Shur-  More a collection of single images than anything to do with "the woods,"  and no problem there- I'll take a strong collection of individual photographs over an essay with a few winners and a supporting cast of mediocrity any damn day.

    Time and Space On The Lower East Side by Brian Rose- An interesting look back with some remarkable images of the sights, smells and sounds of New York's Lower East Side in the early eighties highlighted against the backdrop of  today's more genteel incarnation.

    Covered by Barry Lewis- Awright! Who freakin' let this guy in? Here's a guy who kicks my ass in my own friggin' "demographic." Although there are a few images added solely for content, most of these photographs stand up quite nicely as striking compositions. Cars under wraps never looked so damn good, nor funny...

    And speaking of Blurb- wouldn't it make sense that if you or I can get certain bookstores to sell our Blurb books on consignment, we could then merit a more substantial "Bookstore Discount" from Blurb to offset the store mark up? Few people will choose to pay prohibitively more for a book by an unknown artist, rather than get a known artist's book that is also cheaper- but if they were competitively priced... Wouldn't that provide Blurb with added exposure and an avenue into perhaps another stage of their business where they could somehow compete, or align themselves with the "legit" publishing world? Isn't that the most obvious and logical component missing in this whole self publishing equation? Soon many a book store could have a small, separate Blurb section. Just sayin'...

    Tuesday, August 3, 2010

    Roderik Henderson

    Incredible portraiture by Roderik Henderson that once again proves how sensitivity to one's subject matter combined with a good dose of imagination and a modicum of equipment can create absolute wonders- in a car, on an elevator... (via NPR: The Picture Show)

    Monday, August 2, 2010

    Sometimes, I Really Don't Know...

    How to follow a post like yesterday's, which ultimately involves a real, live, flesh and blood human being- not just some theoretical concept, moral premise or politic du jour. A human being forced to endure that which others cannot even gaze upon, let alone explain. If only it was just her- instead she joins the ever expanding list of humans who prove just how truly abhorrent we as a species will always be, a list as long as it is forgotten.

    And we seriously want to go out into space to spread our human grandeur throughout the universe? If we had any of the humanity we're so fond of claiming, we'd wipe ourselves clean off our own planet and let evolution start anew. Humans are the most failed of experiments, forever scared beyond reason and forever doomed to repeat our own miserable, short sighted, self inflicted mistakes. It is who we are, and there is nothing inherently noble, sacred or redeeming about continuing and intensifying such a history. And if god by any chance did indeed make this world in but six days, I seriously suggest he consider putting the necessary time and effort into his next attempt. For those wise enough to listen, our planet has already begun the process of ridding itself of us, as we have so grievously injured it. This time it aint waiting for no meteors. It just can't.