Thursday, April 29, 2010

Facing Up To Facebook

All the childhood lectures about not giving in to peer pressure have been recently haunting me anew- and in a very big way. I work full time, I tutor on the side, I run one of the most successful photography blogs of all time, I take a picture here and there (okay, I kinda exaggerated one of those). And yet I'm not complete, not really, not even close, because I... don't do the Face.

I could double, triple, quadruple my hits, sell my photos to private collecters, exhibit in countless name galleries and be published in the glossiest publications- with thousands of fans and friends worldwide... if only I'd do the Face.

Maybe I could just ease into it gradually with a tattoo, a DSLR, the latest full featured photoshop (what # and letter are they up to?), Twitter, an ipod, an iphone, an ipad, piercings...

SHIT--- I HAVEN'T SEEN AVATAR!!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Scot Sothern


I found these intriguing photos via Colin Pantall's blog via American Suburb X (which more often than not intimidates the hell outta me with its overwhelming plethora of quality photo goods). Some might find them merely exploitative, or dismiss them simply because they "look like they were shot in the '70s." But Mr. Sothern turned his attention to a faction of society that was seldom celebrated, let alone respected in any real way. Sure he took from them, if only through the visual exploitation of their bodies- but the intention was anything but malevolent, and the execution one of communication at least approaching mutual give and take. As a result, we are left with a series of images often painfully hard to look at,  yet intensely compelling nonetheless in all their B&W glory. Lives that mattered so seemingly little to those who lived them, and yet certainly reflect on us all. We may not have used or abused them- we simply chose to ignore them.  

Monday, April 26, 2010

Over Exposure...


Would someone please explain the logic, the rationale, the professional career incentive in offering a $1.2 million  luxury apartment for one year as First Prize in a photo competition? Am I the only sorry bastard to find this utterly fucking inane? Is this actually supposed to encourage and further the creative zeitgeist of great things to come? Wouldn't it make a helluva lot more sense and provide considerably more incentive to offer a fully equipped studio for a year, paid transportation world wide, a fully paid internship shooting for a photo agency- or $10,000 in cash? Or is this simply creative license to inspire the future Terry Richardsons of photodom?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

BOB


Bob was my dog, an English Bull Terrier. He was very handsome, stubborn, and dumb as shit. But there wasn't a mean bone in his entire body, which was basically a large muscle attached to a large head. And there'd be times he'd take take your breath away just by watching him move, run, and I swear he could even pirouette- when he wasn't knocking stuff (incl myself) over. I sure miss the guy; I always will...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

So Why Do You Care?

Two plus Trillion lost and unaccounted- and that was pre-9/11, before we really started throwing serious money around. Currently, the US spends more on its "defense" budget than the combined military budgets of every other super power. Which just may help explain why:
  1. Our infrastucture is rusting away.
  2. Our public school system has become a veritable farce.
  3. We're the Western power without comprehensive health care for all its citizenry.
  4. Privatized penal systems are our major domestic growth industry.
  5. We're the world's number one arms exporter (& 19th in literacy)- USA, USA USA!!!
  6. We can't help but go places and kill people - lots of 'em, for long periods of time...

Monday, April 19, 2010

USA: Bad Politics, Lousy Beer, Worse Pizza

"It's like a French Revolution in reverse in which the workers come pouring down the street screaming more power to the aristocracy."


So often I wonder why Americans vote against their own self interest time and time again. Of course, one can only assume, hope and pray that if they really, actually knew better, knew how they continually kick themselves ass first non stop- they would actually reform, change their ways and profit by their new found enlightenment. But what hope can there possibly be as long as they continue to drink watered down piss for beer- and if anywhere but in the NY area, continue to eat rounded cardboard with ketchup for pizza, and bogus rolls with holes for bagels.

If we can't get even the most basic of foods right, what hope is there for politics?

PS- Yes, it's true- I'm a pizza snob. Having grown up in NYC, I just thought good pizza was a god given right. I had no idea I was one of the (geographically and gastronomically) privileged few (same for bagels). Perhaps the analogy aint perfect. I can understand people not knowing any better through no goddamn fault of their own... I can't forgive adults who purposely choose to be lied to, willingly allow themselves (and their children) to be taken advantage off, and most importantly- knowingly blame others for their own transgressions.

Two From TWKIWDBI

While I whole heartedley agree with, endorse and applaud this clipI literally don't know what to make of this...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Tattoos and Headstones

I have no idea what the technology is that so uncannily transcribes photographic portraiture unto some of the gaudiest tombstones imaginable today. You've probably seen them, they adorn many a modern day gangsta's headstone. Whatever the technology, these tattoo artists certainly need to incorporate its helpful guiding hand...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Fraction #13

Always good stuff to be found in each issue of Fraction- and #13, no exception... Photographers include: Jessica Todd Harper, Emily Shur, Tom Leininger, Dalton Rooney and William Greiner.

Photo: William Greiner

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Worse Than War

I've never much been one of those that readily accepts the mass hysteria concept. That is, everyone somehow perceives some extraordinary (or mundane) occurrence at the same time, experiences said phenomena in a mutually inclusive manner, then uniformly acts out en masse. It seems too easy an answer, too convenient an excuse.

How does one get various people from all walks of life to act out in the uniform and yet extraordinarily inhumane behavior characterized by genocide? Perhaps we are doomed to repeat such barbaric atrocity because it is, in fact, very much part of our human condition- innate human behavior as real and characteristic of we humans as the urge to procreate or nurture our young. I don't know. Or perhaps it is just part of the inherent danger of a homogeneous upbringing, where we are brought up more similarly than we realize- characterized by a dearth of diversity, a narrowness of education, a predilection toward group think. That much I can readily believe in...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

How's Your Photo Legacy Looking?

Photo: Lisa Wood

I once read (forget where, forget who) that even with the most famous photographers, people remember only 100 of their most famous photographs- at most. So right there and then I set a goal for myself of eventually creating at least 100 images in my life that (at least in my view) could be considered damn good memorable photographs that could proudly withstand the test of time... Done!

And yet, I still got that nagging feeling that I'm no closer to photographic immortality now, than I ever was. So I started thinking what it might take to have My Mighty 100 forever memorialized...

  1. Start shooting fashion at major natural catastrophes.
  2. Dodge multiple bullets in multiple wars and rescue every person I photograph.
  3. Fake half my photos and proclaim the fake half really realer than the real half...
  4. And claim I thought of it first.
  5. Average a daily minimum of 100 comments per each of my posts.
  6. Have the first Blurb Fine Art Photography book optioned by Hollywood.
  7. Appeal to The Religious Right- Jesus Saves (His believers kill the rest)!
  8. Name a gallery, grant and workshop after myself.
  9. Name an art critic after myself.
  10. Take a hundred thousand more better photos!
So what would it take for everyone to remember just ten?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Disgusted Yet?


I didn't think much of this photo when I first took it. And don't think all that much of it now- though I do like it a lot better. I wonder how much of it has to do with nostalgia- when you could hate your president with every fiber of your being, and not feel the least bit conflicted...

How's that TRANSPARENCY thang working for ya?

  1. We're gonna be in Iraq for many a year.
  2. Afghanistan is just starting to rev up.
  3. Guantanamo- alive and "well."
  4. Rendition (and therefore torture)- still allowed in one form or another.
  5. Assassinations of American citizens- got ya covered!!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sometimes I Make The Right Call...

I actually once considered getting an inkjet printer, until I realized I would also need: a calibrator, paper that costs more than darkroom paper that actually contains silver, inks worth more than their weight in gold, and a learning curve well beyond my patience, credit, and software/hardware tolerance. And now I read how it hasn't quite been the home brew panacea one's been led to believe anyhow. In fact, it pretty much sounds every bit the nightmare for many of those much more in the know (and the money) than myself!

The one thing I wanted digital to do most was make printing an easier (and cheaper) process. When you can get a photo to come out the way it looks on screen simply by the push of a button, and have it display full print quality tonal values- then and only then will digital photography's potential be fully realized. I may well live to see the day- but I still won't be able to afford it...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Godawful Greenberg

The wife thinks Ben Stiller is cute and funny and all that. And the preview for Greenberg looked possibly promising- an old fart (40 yr old) who doesn't fit in, goes through the paces with some 20 yr old young bloods. Sparks fly, laughs ensue, wisdom and feel good enlightenment surely follow. That was the possibly promising part.
Instead, one is subject to an annoyingly humorless asshole who in real life would have gotten his ass kicked several times over for being such an annoyingly humorless asshole. He ends the movie every bit the tiresome flake he was at the start, and I end up twenty bucks lighter. Nor did the wife laugh.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Leery For The Lifestyle...


I think iPads are cool as shit- sleek, portable, beautiful. I actually lust for one- although I can't afford one and have absolutely no real use for it whatsoever. I also want a Leica M6; I look at them on ebay the way most "normal" guys look at porn. It would be stupid for me to get one of those as well, not only because I can't afford one of those either, but because it's really not practical to use with a 20mm. One day I will sell off my 35mm SLR equipment for all the pennies I can get, and buy me a Bessa R4M, and a couple of dime sized lenses. I will then revel in its compact lightness and retro chic- and probably live to regret my decision for many a long year...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Not If, But When...


I've lived in San Francisco for ten years now, long enough to notice some changes- and how some things don't. The other day while looking at that San Francisco icon called the Golden Gate Bridge from a considerable distance, I was able to distinguish a huge patch of rust- not the shade of famous orange one wants to see on such world renowned infrastructure! And the homeless problem is every bit as alarming (if not more so).

San Francisco is perhaps the most beautiful city in this entire country, but it is most definitely not without the usual problems that beset any large city. Meanwhile, shocks and after shocks continue to threaten all around the Pacific Rim- and it aint a question of if, but...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

How Much More, How Much Longer...

“We have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat,” said Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, senior American and NATO commander in Afghanistan.

"Two months ago, U.S. Special Operations forces led an assault on what they claimed to be a militant hideout in Paktiya Province, Afghanistan. Three civilian women were killed in the raid, two of them pregnant, along with two civilian men...

...But it gets worse - far worse."

Kill, Kill, Kill With Cold Blue Steel...



I'll forever remember this heart wrenching, penetrating documentary on the My Lai Massacre for revealing the devestatingly lasting effects on both victim, and victimizer.

The exceptional thing about My Lai was not so much that it was such a uniquely brutal massacre- but that it was the only one that was so thoroughly documented...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Jason Eskenazi- WONDERLAND Review


Quite honestly, as much as I like his photography, when I first saw the cover of Jason Eskenazi's book Wonderland online, I was, like... what's with the creepy, curly hippie script? I just didn't know if any photography, no matter how good, could survive such an atrocious cover! This is where the old adage comes in folks- yes, the one about books and their covers (not the one about creepy hippies).

First off, I absolutely love this book, inside and out. It has very much the indie feel to it, and quite the unusual design: two slabs of thick grey cardboard on either side with a purple cloth binding in between them. Granted, that doesn't sound particularly appealing, but somehow, someway it manages to work all the same- primitive, and suprisingly sophisticated. Now, I've no idea how long that binder will last and how much punishment the book will withstand overall. At a very compact 5X7in- this is the perfect, portable photo bible you'll want to have with you wherever you go, just to remind yourself what good photography really looks like. Meet your maker out in the cold cruel world with this on ya, and they may not know if you can take a picture worth a lick, but they will know you got taste! I'm thinking of getting another just to keep home in pristine condition.


As for the images themselves, each is printed full frame over a two page spread. I usually hate that to all hell- but that soft, flexible cloth binder let's one open the book out easily, making for much easier viewing of the two pages as one whole. Again, I don't know how sturdy the construction is, but right now I'm betting this book would look good in any condition.

And as for the photographs- phenomenal! The book reads like an encapsulated volume of life fully lived, with all the grandiose drama and poignant smaller moments so characteristic of Russian poetry.* Life and love, youth and longing, unsparing reality and the rituals we humans create, celebrate and endure. All within the confines of two grey slabs of cardboard...

* OK- I know nothing of Russian poetry- but I bet it's a lot like that.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Iraqi Diaspora


I recently posted on the current Aperture issue and purposely postponed reading the feature on The Iraq Diaspora by Scott Anderson and Paolo Pellegrin since I damn well knew it would be absolutely heart wrenching to say the very least. And it pretty much proved to be just that. The level of evil and suffering we have voluntarily inflicted upon that nation and its people is almost beyond all measure of description, imagination and empathy. Suffering that encompasses every facet of their lives, every day of their lives...

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Small Rewards- Pet Cemetery Scans, Pt. IV

Presidio Pet Cemetery- SF, CA


 
Pets' Rest- Colma, CA


 
Presidio, SF


 
Presidio, SF



Bubbling Wells Cemetery- Napa, CA

Friday, April 2, 2010

Jason Eskenazi- WONDERLAND, and Beyond...


I'm more than a bit elated to discover that Jason Eskenazi's Wonderland is now back in print (review next week)- and at a very affordable price. Make sure you catch his incredible NYC panoramics, as well as his (color) Russian portraits... I wanna be as good as this guy when I grow up!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Still Laughing?

For all of you still raising your eyebrows and rolling your eyes at that ridiculous UFO video from yesterday, here's some more fodder for your amusement- video interviews of Apollo astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell. And when you finish laughing those off, the other worldly sightings of Right Stuff astronaut Gordon Cooper.