Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Setting The Shining Example (of what not to do)...

Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images
Wannabe President Romney doing exactly what FEMA (which he thinks should be abolished) and Red Cross specifically advise not to do...

UPDATE: And it gets even worse as the Romney campaign buys food for "volunteers" to give back to their faux relief effort deluxe....

Monday, October 29, 2012

Street Legs

Photo: S.Banos

Not exactly the quintessential street photographer (wish it was otherwise), I occasionally luck out.
Coming soon- a post on someone who is... 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Cloud(ed) Atlas

A hodge podge of a mish mash of a movie- but for a better opening sentence see here. And for a mixed review of mixed reviews see here... What did I think? An enjoyable failure, a surprisingly short three hours, better than most Hollywood fare- hope I didn't give the plot(s) away...

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Don't know about everyone else- but I've been love, love, loving the light the past coupla weeks. Haven't been able to take advantage of it photographically all that much- but lovin' it all the same...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Newburgh: Portrait Of A City

I remember visiting Newburgh, NY as a child back in the mid sixties- when going "upstate" always meant scenic country vistas and small, idyllic towns. And Newburgh was one of many quaint and nearby towns that offered respite for a family on a tight budget wishing to escape the hot and grimy city. I last remember seeing it when I was sixteen, and by then, the economic toll it had already endured was clearly evident; it's tourist days had definitely slipped well into it's past.

Looking at Dmitri Kasterin's Newburgh: Portrait Of A City, a couple of names immediately come to mind, one being Milton Rogovin and the documentation of his hometown of Buffalo, NY- and the other, Bruce Davidson, famous for many a documentary project, amongst them E.100st, his essay documenting Spanish Harlem in the early sixties. Like the latter, Dmitri Kasterin was an outsider who arrived determined to see beyond the obvious, and to celebrate the humanity that has endured.

To be honest, I'm not exactly bowled over by many of these photographs, although there are gems to be found for sure (and love the combination used for the front and back cover). That said, there's something about these photographs that transcends art scenario limitations and draws me to them- perhaps because they dispense with artifice as their priority, or maybe it's just the subject's direct gaze that so effectively communicates and reveals... OK, OK, getting into dangerously subjective waters there. Fact is, I like this work as a whole for reasons I can't exactly elaborate (at least not yet)- and perhaps, perhaps there should be more of that vaguely unidentifiable, but most certainly human connection in any meaningful portraiture, photography, art.

Like Zoe Strauss, and other photographers mentioned of late, Mr. Kasterin has chosen to actively share and celebrate the mutual cooperation and effort that went into producing Newburgh: Portrait Of A City with the community at large, a community that has not particularly had much to celebrate the last few decades...

Photo: Dmitri Kasterin

Monday, October 22, 2012

Yuh Never Know...

On any given day, whenever ya walk out the door, yuh never know... Yuh never know when that big, Mack truck of destiny is gonna smack ya upside the head and send ya down for the long count. Yuh just never know...

101 Tragedies of Enrique Metinides is the illustrated accounting of that fatally simplistic, but fatefully prophetic wisdom. Car accidents, train accidents, plane accidents, earthquakes, fires, and electrocutions to name but a few.  And perhaps it does happen more in Mexico, or any developing country one may choose, but only the fool would think him or herself immune or invulnerable, no matter where they may live. These photos do not blink, they confront these tragedies straight on, and yet they never seem disrespectful of the subject(s), or their fate. Many are presented matter of factly, death as a fact of life- but never as leering, voyeuristic creepshots. Others still go well past the fact, and actually make you reflect... and feel. Perhaps in part, because these are not the consequences of terrorists acts, or acts of war- but the domestic and civilian tragedies of everyday life. The penniless mother who carried her baby in a coffin, walking all 9 kilometers home; the guy who simply slipped on the sidewalk and cracked his head open till the life drained out of him; the mother who asked a police officer which was the oldest tree in the park- and then hung herself from it when her husband refused to allow her at her daughter's quinceanera.

No, they may not even look like you, but deep down, gut level down, you know you can't deny- their fate is every bit as universal as your front door...

Photo: Enrique Metinides

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pet Cemetery @ Four & Sons

My Pet Cemetery essay is currently being featured at Four & Sons- one very handsome, online mag "covering art, design, fashion, music and lifestyle, Four brings together an eclectic mix of inspiring 'dog centric' content to dog-lovers passionate about culture and creativity. 

In other words, it has lotsa cool dog related art and stuff... Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Credit Where It's Due

A while ago I took PDN to task for not selecting a more racially diversified panel for one of their photo juries.That was not to say that they were intentionally prejudiced; the fact is, they have put forth considerable effort to be more inclusive on various other occasions (as I also mentioned then). I was however trying to draw attention to the fact that in this 21st. century, it should not be a sometime deal, a special occasion deal, some kind of special anniversary or celebration deal- it should simply be... business as usual. Just as assembling a large group of male only judges in this day and age would be considered unconscionable.

So kudos to Photo District News for running an article in their November issue (Helping Communities Speak For Themselves, p47-50, print only) concerning the participation and empowerment of disenfranchised people throughout the world in their own media portrayals and productions. It's an issue that doesn't get a lot of press- mostly because media has traditionally (ie- always) placed and promoted themselves exclusively on one side of the lens and poor, minority, indigenous people (ie- "subject matter") on the other. It's been a totally lopsided equation which until recently has not elicited a lot of (ie- any) attention or analysis, (the one regular and consistent exception being Duckrabbit). So it's good to see PDN present and promote the issue in a more "mainstream" photography publication, highlighting projects mutually initiated by both photographers and the people they photograph in locations worldwide.

 I was particularly intrigued as to how Aaron Huey responded to questions from the community he photographed at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation- specifically when asked what had he accomplished when all was said and done. He could have simply dismissed those critiques and went on to his next project. Instead, he went about the task of figuring out how that community could publicize their own life stories, their own viewpoints, their own first hand, inside accounts. And he did it by securing and utilizing grants, fellowships and organizations such as National Geographic, which eventually led to the establishment of the Pine Ridge Community Storytelling Project which has 220 stories to date.

Photographer Emily Shiffer is a photographer who, along with a number of other artists and organizers, was able to found a campaign called See Potential in the South Side of Chicago that supports a variety of local, community based projects. "I'm always looking for ways to use photographs in a way that's tied to real life and real change. I don't feel that publishing a photograph in a magazine is tied to change. Awareness? Sure. But change? No..."

Hopefully, these projects (along with the several others featured, and more like them) will be increasingly examined, encouraged and supported on a regular basis not by any blog or magazine, but by mainstream, international media which will in turn initiate the sea change in thinking and facilitating necessary to expand and propagate such vital, mutual exchanges between peoples.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Republicans Are Out Of Their Minds...

Out of their ever lovin'  minds... (except for the ones who actually orchestrate and propagate that madness) like evil genius extraordinaire Lee Atwater (Karl Rove's mentor- 'nuff said), who first incorporated the hordes of Evangelical Christians into the Republican fold- all the while mocking and ridiculing them behind their backs...

Monday, October 15, 2012

Dump Citizens United

This was fun doing. Now, if only enough Americans would get together to ditch this abomination...
(I'm in the M in Dump).

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Safety Net

"I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there." —Mitt Romney

"I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that's the America millions of Americans believe in. That's the America I love." –Mitt Romney 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Republicans' Romance With Slavery

There's never been any doubt in my mind that if many of your more "Conservative" Republicans (and granted, that caveat may be a tad redundant) had their way, they would magically snap their fingers and transform this country back into some more slightly "modern" version of feudalism slavery. And now some are actually starting to give voice to their repressed, age old romance with that particularly peculiar institution of yore.

If slavery were so God-awful, why didn’t Jesus or Paul condemn it, why was it in the Constitution and why wasn’t there a war before 1861?  -State Rep. Loy Mauch (R-Bismarck)

See... The Bible says so- and the Constitution! Just the natural order of tell me ol' Loy wouldn't cut one helluva handsome figure with a Confederate officer's hat firmly atop his fair skinned head.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Thomas Duncan- Bonfires

John Duncan: Bonfires from Daylight Multimedia on Vimeo.

Bonfires is another worthwhile book I came upon in NYC, its profoundly primitive subject matter served perfectly by the simplicity of its presentation. Hard to believe such "pagan" rites still exist and occur. No, not really, not at all. And our future present is already seeing a resurgence of such nihilistic "celebrations" worldwide...

Thomas Duncan's Bonfires straight forward documentary reminds us all- we haven't yet quite evolved beyond our tribal bonds and allegiances. And we sure ain't talking Africa.

Photo: Thomas Duncan

Monday, October 8, 2012

Merry Christmas!

That's right, the beer I had an hour previous had me hustling a desperate short cut through city streets and shoppers towards an emergency WC tout de suite when I felt a warm fuzzy feeling all inside, or more like the chill of something far more sinister- nevertheless, there they were! Christmas trees! All alight in festive Yuletide glee! Friday Fucking October Fifth and it's Christmas in... Bloomingdales.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

What's New Updates...

Just a note that I've updated my original What's New post to include those photographers that I originally (and very much mistakenly) omitted, those being: Chris Jordan, Zoe Strauss, and Hank Willis Thomas. I'd like to think my list now "complete," although I'm sure that's my own personal delusion, with further updates and mea culpas most likely to follow...

Science- What An Interesting Concept!

Inspect and study: visual sightings, radar recordings, photographs, videos, ground indentations, trace radiation and military, police, pilot and astronaut reports with... Science! 21st. century science- yuh know, computers and all that. What a novel fucking idea!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Insects and Donkeys & ... Lisa M. Wood

Lisa Wood (aka- "The Wife") has been on a roll of late, recently getting one of her pieces in the Oct/Nov of American Craft Magazine, her collection of Girls on Donkeys photo postcards on Obsessionistas, and her otherworldly insect dioramas featured in the October issue of The New Fillmore. Nice knowing there's at least one artist in the family (who actually sells stuff)...

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Master

Paul Thomas Anderson's first films had the feeling that they could go anywhere, do anything, at any time; but there seems to be a pattern in the last two- which consists basically of waiting around to see when the main protagonist will explode into yet another tirade of self destructive rage and fury. It was the basic scenario in There Will Be Blood, and gets repeated once again in The Master.

Yes, Philip Seymour Hoffman shines as usual, and Joaquin Phoenix's gaunt physical transformation is remarkable in and of itself- as were the '50s wardrobe and sets. All very impressive indeed, as to what end- I'm not quite sure...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Monday, October 1, 2012

Petrochemical America- Richard Misrach

Petrochemical America: Picturing Cancer Alley is the latest opus from Richard Misrach (in conjunction with Kate Orff) that concentrates on the oil producing area round bayou way. Mr. Misrach does little on a small scale- even his little P&S photos of Katrina were printed extra large in Destroy This Memory. But this current exercise goes well beyond bludgeoning with sheer size- this is his full steam ahead, leave no stone unturned, grand thesis of a visual and informative tour de force. Not only does he seduce us with some of his incredible large format images, but we're also treated to some incredible graphics that break down and portray just about everything concerning petrochemicals and their relationship to: health, environment and economy- and we're talking in depth and detailed! Spectacular color diagrams (near works of art themselves) that demonstrate how those insidious chemicals affect flora and fauna, land and water, air and climate, man... and his future present. 

It ain't cheap, but ya get what ya pay for- a visual feast and a pretty thorough education.