Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Shameless Name Dropping...

Just prior to the Memorial Day weekend, I contacted Joerg Colberg concerning his previous post- I also took the opportunity to ask him whaddup with Mr. Lars Von Trier- the whole Cannes/Nazi kerfuffle. Seems that although he may not have been misquoted- he's hardly the Nazi sympathizer...

Saturday, I had planned to start the weekend off with a leisurely afternoon bike ride, which quickly came asunder when I woke up to a flat tire. Went out to get a patch kit, opted for some new fangled, glueless bike patches, patched her up, put her on and the goddamn, high tech patch of the future didn't hold! Flat again! A new patch kit, or a new tube...

So when Pete Brook called and said he was in town and was hooking up with Noah Beil- would I like to join them for a brew... did I ever! I'm just hoping I didn't make too much the fool of myself as I downed a few that made up for lunch, dinner and frustration, and then proceeded to babble on for what was quite possibly the most I've ever babbled. Truth is, I never actually get to talk photography all that much live and in person, I believe Blake Andrews once posted about the glazed look that instantly overcomes anyone you ever attempt to "engage" in a conversation about photography, who usually talks about, say... football- not that different than the automatic glaze that overcomes me when anyone attempts to talk to me about... football.

Talking photography felt great, the drinking of the beer felt great, seeing (and yes, listening to and conversing with) them was great- and I'm just hoping their ears weren't bleeding too profusely some six hours later...

Monday, May 30, 2011

You can argue...

all you want how these young people were jerks- but you cannot, cannot deny these cops outjerked them in every possible, conceivable way imaginable countering something that was essentially: innocent, celebratory, demonstrative of a free society, and would have harmlessly dissipated on its own within minutes!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Something To Ponder On A Holiday Afternoon

Think ya know shit; think scientists do? What if the plumber you hire shows up and tells ya- I know 5 per cent of everything there is to know about plumbing... Feeling confident about him are ya?

Astrophysicists know... 5% of everything they should know, 5 freaking percent of everything that's out there in the bloody unknown universe (let alone the multiverse), and they'll flat out laugh in your face if you so much as suggest that there's life out there (or closer, as the case may be) smarter than our own little monkey brained selves!

Granted that's five percent more than some goddamn Creationist knows, but that sure as shit aint gonna convince me they got a handle on things, particularly their own hubris.  (via boingboing)

Update: Amazing! You can now add a couple more percentage points-- thanks to a 22 yr old!!!

Dark Matters from PHD Comics on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hin Chua


Photos: Hin Chua





Arbus once noted that the Chinese have a theory about how one passes from boredom into fascination, although I would never describe Hin's photographs as boring- more like eerily hypnotic, but not without a pronounced sense of drama; contemplative, but not without surprise. In short, they're an absolute joy to look at- and keep looking at! 

 Photos: Hin Chua





Monday, May 23, 2011

FOAM- The Jury Is In...

What can we do so that will we finally see people of color not only in front of the lens serving as ample, year round subject matter, but also as: photographers, judges, editors, gallery owners, workshop presenters and festival organizers in some representative proportion beyond mere tokenism?   -Joerg Colberg

We have officially received over a dozen constructive comments (not including my own) on the three previous posts concerning the question at hand... In other words, the very question FOAM has thus far excluded and put on trial seems to have generated more comments than any single question currently on What's Next?- and dollars to donuts I have no way near their readership. Will this question (in its original or "new and improved" version above- not some abridged bastardization), which has been tested, vetted, poked and prodded like no other, as per Foam's request, now be allowed to integrate unto their site- or will it remain pure of racial contamination? It's not too late to dialogue, engage and help better the situation- others are learning to do just that...

And others still are now openly engaging "the question." Joerg's post not only contributes additional insight, it also helps discourage the notion that this is a nominal or nonexistent problem noticed, perceived and felt only by artists, photographers and people of color. If we continue to "not see race," we will continue to ignore the proverbial elephant. Hopefully, we will one day evolve to practice what is purportedly meant by that saying- right now we must see it for the sorry excuse of a catchphrase that it really is.

Photographers (ie- those who pride themselves with their powers of observation) should be particularly attuned to this most obvious of disparities. Documentary photography in particular has long prided itself on holding up a mirror to the reality that surrounds us- it is time that the people who hold up those mirrors (eg- in the field, behind the desks, amidst the gallery walls) also reflect our multihued reality.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Our Problem, However, Has Never Been With Who's Invited...

 ... It's been with who isn't.  -John Edwin Mason

John Edwin Mason feels a lot better this weekend, in fact we all should. Thanks in large part to his efforts, Look3, a major photo festival, has pledged to make the effort to diversify and become more inclusive of the racial make up of its presenters. And so the question remains- why have private arts organizations, particularly those in photography (the ones I am personally more familiar with) been so neglectful and seemingly reluctant to diversify their personnel? Why are the Staff and Contributors of FOAM, or the judging panels of major publications so much more inclusive of women, and yet here we are in the 21st century, and in many cases, these organizations are absent of even the mere racial tokenism initiated in the sixties? What can possibly explain such a vast discrepancy?

Could it be that since we see so many people of color depicted in photographs (thanks in large part to the white photographers who are paid and awarded to take them), that that alone somehow magically balances the equation? Could it be that people have somehow forgotten that going beyond their own comfort zone is a key to basic creativity and development? Or could it be that "the arts" are not the liberal, feel good and inclusive bastion one has long been led to believe (2nd to last para, before comments)?

Some are finally starting to awake from their slumber of apathy, neglect and reluctance- others, not so much...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Random Reflections From Someone Left Behind...

Recently I had cause to visit the ER- nicest, most concerned and caring people one could ever meet on this planet, or any other... as opposed to the cold and clinical insurance health care physician who may have prevented my excruciating pain by conducting a test or two instead of just sending me packing with the incredible medical insight of the ages (and I quote), "Probably just a virus."

Anyway, I'm now fine and on the mend- of course, health care in this "civilized" country continues to be a dangerous farce for so many of us, and an absolute living nightmare for many others...

Serious medical events often give us pause to think and reflect on this always trying and sometimes miserable existence of ours on this world occupying the lowest of vibrations. I want to again thank those of you who make it down here on occasion, and particularly those of you who participate and add to the experience. I've really enjoyed this and hope to continue to do so for quite sometime, although I honestly don't know how long it can last- and by it, I mean continuing to put out some kind of product that has some kind of relevance on a daily basis. Perhaps things will slow down here a bit; as anyone who has attempted it will tell you, it aint as easy as it looks- particularly day after day, year after year...

In the meantime, it's a beautiful day (final or not), I gotta bike and a roll of film, and there are plenty of people who got it way worse than me to continue blathering on about myself...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Book Review



Honored to have my review of the unforgettable Cocaine True, Cocaine Blue by Eugene Richards included at the The Photography Book Club... Matt Johnston has cleverly set the stage that surrounded the publication of this epic by including some of the original correspondence and controversy that helped catapult this flawed masterwork into photographic history...

Monday, May 16, 2011

The FOAM And The Agony...

Convoluted logic? Circuitous reasoning? Or worse?

Jeeez, you can almost feel these guys squirming in their seats: How do we fix this so we: a) don't seem insensitive, and b) don't look like we're... squirming in our seats?

So this is the separate but equal clause FOAM devised in their wisdom...


One has to reply to my original post, on my blog to validate a question they solicited for their site. Just how many people have to respond to "validate" the question? If you respond to this post and not the original- does it still count? The terms aren't quite clear- there aren't any.

This is beyond ludicrous, it's demeaning- to the very merit of the question itself. Has any other question on Foam's What's Next? been subjected to this extrajudicial vetting process? This futile little exercise in second class citizenship fools noone- it is merely their way of conveniently addressing dismissing the issue, and washing their hands of it.

UPDATE:  Discussion continues...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Go Amy!


My name is Amy Myers. I am a Cherry Hill, New Jersey sophomore attending Cherry Hill High School East. As a typical high school student, I have found quite a few of your statements regarding The Constitution of the United States, the quality of public school education and general U.S. civics matters to be factually incorrect, inaccurately applied or grossly distorted. 

I, Amy Myers, do hereby challenge Representative Michele Bachmann to a Public Forum Debate and/or Fact Test on The Constitution of the United States, United States History and United States Civics.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Technical Difficulties....

Update: Seems ol' Blogger is more or less back on track after temporarily deleting some posts- back tomorrow, and remember, The Knights Templar died for your sins...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Did you ever consider...


These are the FOAM Contributors, I'm betting their Staff  (with the possible exception of age) looks very similar- please, prove me wrong...

... that race is not an issue at FOAM? The inevitable came a calling in the comments section yesterday. I could be wrong here, but after perusing their lists of Staff and Contributors, I'd have to agree 110% with the commenter and conclude- race is not an issue @ FOAM.

The FOAM, and The Fizzle

So what the hell did I intend to accomplish with yesterday's post? Did I really think that I would get FOAM who twice rejected my inquiry to issue a mea culpa? Did I really think that the ol' blogosphere would suddenly and finally erupt with righteous indignation??? Surely, you jest...

Perhaps I was hoping that the message would, in fact, go beyond the usual handful who care. Perhaps I was hoping that it wouldn't take a $1,000 contest to get people thinking, talking, interacting. Perhaps I was hoping that a certain photographic organization in the continent of Europe (where they no longer have to debate whether torture is acceptable) would be slightly more progressive and inclusive- or at least live up to their own stated purpose and intention. I don't know.

Tired of me ranting on race? Well, I'm tired of reading and rereading about the need for new types of photojournalism; tired of the call for new and innovative ways of photographic storytelling. You want new vision, get new blood; get people of color involved in the creative and decision making end instead of holding them eternally hostage in front of the lens- think what a difference of vision that alone would make! Let's have Gary Knight integrate VII. Let's have Black, Asian, and Hispanic faces leading workshops and festivals, editing magazines and curating exhibits; lets have Africans photograph Africa...

Shit, just think what we did for music!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

FOAM: What's Not, Never Was & Never Will Be Next!


When will we finally see people of color not only in front of the lens serving as ample, year round subject matter, but also as: photographers, judges, editors, gallery owners, workshop presenters and festival organizers in some representative proportion beyond mere tokenism?

I submitted the question above to FOAM's What's Next, round about a month ago, and I recently resubmitted just to be sure they got and received. Here is a site that purports to be about a search into the future of photography, a site that is specifically asking for questions concerning the future of the medium, questions that will encourage conversation. And yet, they have neither the room nor the desire to post a question concerning one of the most fundamental inquiries imaginable- basically, who gets to play the game? Yeah, I really do think that question could initiate dialogue- hell, I can guarantee that!  And yes, I really do think it's a dialogue critical to the future health and welfare of any medium or art form.

FOAM's obviously free to pick and choose whatever they want to highlight, discuss and publicize, but then- enough with the cooperative, free spirited let one thousand flowers bloom farce. The fact that they refuse to allow this subject to be listed as just one in their multitude of topics is beyond shameless, and (as if further indication necessary) one thing's pretty damn sure- the future of photography will be controlled, interpreted and disseminated by the same folk who do so right now. Technology will change, styles will evolve, the stars of the future will take us in new and dazzling directions- and the same cast of faces will dominate either side of the lens. Few will question the ratio- just the natural order of things...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Yvonne Venegas- Lives of Privilege


I forget how I came upon the work of Yvonne Venegas. But it is hard for me to look at some of her photos without a distinct feeling of revulsion welling up inside me- not because of a dislike of her photos, but because they display the lighter skinned, upturned nasal cavities of the rich and privileged classes so prevalent throughout Hispanic America. And that's just from my experience in Puerto Rico, where economic and social class and standing is to this day still very much predicated on skin color, hair, facial features, etc. (as in all Latin/South American countries).

Of course, Ms. Venegas is much more discreet and professional than to be so heavy handed in her imagery. But it's all there for those who care to see, and it doesn't take much to realize that their lives of conspicuous consumption occur on islands of comfort and segregation surrounded by the most deplorable social and economic conditions of inequality that serve in large part to uphold theirs.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

We Never Saw It Coming- Either Time....

We pretty much weathered the stiff right jab of 9/11- and a  stiff right jab does either of two things, either: a) wake you up to what you gotta do, or b) lull you into a semi-conscious dream state where you think you know/don't wanna know. 


We panicked preparing for the devastating left hook, and got done in by a series of body blows we never saw and never defended against. We coulda come out looking every bit the champ, instead, we came out smelling like chumps- bankrupt financially, emotionally, morally.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The New York I Know And Love

Ahhh... so refreshingly reassuring! My faith in humanity restored- almost, kinda...

Friday, May 6, 2011

Meh...

I know, I know. I should be really riled up and passionate about this- as it is, I'll just watch the whole farce from afar, blame my apathy on my current regimen of meds, and let Mr. Stewart have the floor...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Flash!

Was gonna write about my trials and tribulations with the medical world this week, along with my exploits in the ER last night, but.... enough of that, and enough of me. This is the seventh and last photo in the Wondercon 25 series.


The Flash- going through (her) stretching exercises prior to the day's events. Yes, I do believe she can outrun that arrow should the superhero to her right misfire.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

On A Mission...

It's back to the doc's today to give them holy hell- I was there last Monday when they told me "it was probably a virus." Wow! That's your professional diagnosis, huh? All that med school for something I already surmised before I even dragged my wounded ass down there. That's what I pay Kaiser Health (don't ya just love that name) $3,000 for every damn year (for me and the missus), and I don't even rate a freakin' aspirin for the effort! Well, this time they're gonna hear my bloody mouth- if ya can't bloody well cure me, at least tell me what the fuck is wrong! You can at least do that- can't ya?!?

Everyone else that has a decent health care system- thank your bloody stars!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

In Other Words...

We found and killed the son of a bitch not through shock and awe, not through initiating two goddamn wars- but by good ol' fashioned surveillance and police work. And it took ten, long, goddamn years to do it- so much for the advantages of using torture in the ticking time bomb situation. Some might even say we could've gotten the info sooner had we treated them like human beings to start- as we successfully did the Nazis in WWll (oops, almost forgot- they were white).

What else did we accomplish in the last ten years? Killed hundreds of thousands of absolutely innocent men, women and children, tortured thousands more, and created thousands more terrorists throughout the world who hate our freakin' guts, and did it all while cutting taxes and bankrupting our entire nation. Wow- now that's fucking shock and awe!!!

Yeah, I'm Glad But...

Would have really been impressed had Obama announced in the same sentence that- we now have no practical, strategic or even imaginary reason to be in Afghanistan and will therefore remove our troops forthwith. Of course, the latter still held true even when wily ol' Osama was still about.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Rose By Any Other Name...

Well, I'm sick as a dog, so ya may not hear much for the next several days- just had to get this up for posterity's sake...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May Days Far and Wide...


Just became homeless. Battered by x-boyfriend trying to get away. Need room!! Please help. I've never had to experience this before so any help is appreciated!  God Bless U.

Recently came upon a couple of May Day references, one the rather poignant remains of a personal emergency I happened to stumble upon- the other, more specific to labor itself, that is, the May Day celebrated in most of the world today save for these somewhat United States where we have to celebrate our version on a different day and season so as to leave no doubt how much we disassociate ourselves from dirty Commie sympathizers. And so we ask ourselves- what is the state of labor throughout the world? Well, on the photography front (and as if on cue) we have this photo superstar to remind us just how far we haven't come... 

The (not so) funny thing is that you look at all the third world people he's photographed (and made money off of) throughout his career and you may come to the conclusion that he's quite the humanist. Perhaps I am mistaken, perhaps Steve McCurry is the most generous, giving person- after all, I know nothing of his personal life, little of his professional.

Then why would he behave like a selfish, shameless prick extraordinaire by treating up and coming youngbloods with such arrogance and disdain?