Friday, September 19, 2014

Don't Shoot... Going Home

Photo: © S. Banos

Actually, this elderly (White) gentleman doesn't have much to fear in that respect- as clearly evidenced here. But point most definitely... taken. Seems that except for those in complete denial (and yes, that faction always does represent in substantial numbers), there now seems to have opened a small window to which the public at large can no longer claim ignorance to the fact that maybe, just maybe, cops do treat Whites different than... the darker complected spectrum of humanity.

Reciprocity Failure will be recharging its analog batteries in the coming fortnight as I head over towards the homeland to visit the folks, participate in the largest climate march in the world to date, check out the doings in Photoville, and catch a show or two. May send in a brief on the spot post if and when appropriate- and do say hello if so inclined...

Once again, thanks to all who drop by to make this little endeavor worthwhile!

Speaking of home...

And if ya made it this far, you may wish you hadn't- something else to think on during the interim... 10 mind chilling scenarios!

OK, OK- couldn't leave everyone in such a foul funk, these make everyone* happy!!! Least, did me, when I had one...
*(who has Pinterest- sorry)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Income Inequality Is Higher NOW Than In 1928


In 2001, the deputy spokesperson of the White House Press Office was asked what he thought the median income was on that year's tax returns. He replied it was around... $250,000.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Those Shooting Film...

Those of you us still shooting film should shoot a look at Aaron Brethorst's appropriately titled... I Shoot Film. Dissatisfied with The Massive Development Chart data, he set about compiling his own comprehensive film data chart-  in addition to the ultimate photo processing lab directory in these semi United States...

Monday, September 15, 2014

Money, Photography, Diversity

Recently, I shot Joerg Colberg a quick note of thanks and appreciation for his Sixth Annual Portfolio Competition  (deadline 10/31) labor of love. Interestingly, he wrote back a brief response stating how much more diverse the submissions were (as far as race and sex were concerned) than the usual competition fare, primarily because it was, in fact... free. Also of interest, the fact that the winners are "blindly" chosen, another nod towards avoiding- the usual suspects.

No surprise, of course, that most photo reviews and festivals are overwhelmingly White simply because of cost involved, or that most unpaid photo "intern" positions are filled by those (White) applicants who can most afford to work for... free. Or that those who can afford to attend those events are those that will most likely be remembered and invited to participate in upcoming projects, exhibitions, etc. The last part, at least, is easily understandable, it's how we humans interact and socialize- it's the first part that can get easily ignored, forgotten or... denied.

Anyone who's come here more than once by now realizes that I (along with a few handful of others) do on occasion talk about race and its relation to this thing we love called photography.  And while I'm certainly not going to apologize for it, it is very simply a reaction to the dearth of these conversations elsewhere, 'cause as we all know- people who talk about race are... racists!. Clearly, no faction of humanity is without fault or sin, and surely, everything isn't always "black and white," exactly why we need more open and ongoing discussion- as opposed to accusatory tirades. And it always, always, always devolves into just that because we never continue the discussion beyond that. Everyone either yells and screams at each other, or tries to talk over each other until in the end- we repeat, retreat or exhaust ourselves, accomplishing little, quietly gathering our strength and talking points until the next screamfest.

This is not to say that we could "cure" anyone of their hardcore, ingrained racism, no one is that naive, but it would be nice if there was an ongoing attempt to further dialogue beyond accusation and examine just how certain factors can influence and exclude. Of course, some (like myself) would say those factors and consequences are already well established and clearly evident- I think a good starting point is... why has their been so much more progress towards fighting sexism in the arts? Has sexism been vanquished- of course not! But the strides that women and LGBT people have made are obviously evident in places of power and consequence when it comes to the arts. Why has that segment of society experienced such consequential change, while so many people of color (with the possible exceptions of certain Asian populations) still struggle to maintain token representation? The question of economics looms large, but it is both cause and consequence of even larger factors.

Everyone harbors their own personal prejudices- admitting that is the first step, discussing how it impacts our world (of photography) would be the second...

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Minimum Wage/Maximum Outrage- From Debt To Death

Maria Fernandes
There are those who seek to better themselves through sheer force of will, working as many jobs and as many hours (often at minimum wage) as their bodies will endure. The constant physical wear involved in multiple jobs combined with the challenges of raising a family leaves many a parent with little time to rest, sleep or stabilize themselves long enough to maintain their physical, as well as psychological well being. Domestic abuse, addiction, and other stress and chronic health related issues all come to manifest themselves as a result of this physical and psychic abuse. Forget success, hard work and determination at minimum wage can't even cover the rent, and only guarantee perpetual slavery to a system designed to ensure just that. Sometimes, as in the case of Maria Fernandes, the result is the new face of economic martyrdom- the once proud American Dream reduced to the nightmare of premature death.

But what of education, Stan? Surely someone who's had some years in the teaching biz cannot deny the age old ladder towards upward mobility? Going through all the hoops against all odds from ghetto to mainstream for acceptance into jobs that are simply no longer there is bad enough, now the final insult has been firmly nailed in place with prohibitive tuition costs and for profit schools that are pledged to keep you in a world of debt before you even enter it.

I don't know how many new capitalist ploys will yet be introduced to squeeze every last remaining crumb and penny from those who can least afford it, for those who least need it- but fear not, they're working scheming on it...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

On Blogs And Jackalopes And...

  Photo: Bruce Haley 

Not usually big on kid pictures, and yet... this is the kind that stops you in your tracks and just makes ya think. The contemplative look on this "little bruiser" (same two words came to my mind) does make one wonder the paths that lay before him- those he chose to walk, and those that chose him. Did he use his brawn and good looks to muscle his way through every one of life's problems; did those who came to fear him negotiate a premature demise? Did his physicality succumb solely to the allure of immediate gratification, or was he of a much rarer breed (as this photo seems to suggest) with the wherewithal to develop that rather pensive mind into that rarest of entities- a conscientious leader in the cause of righteousness? Yeah, good photography, good art, can make ya think on all them things....

Not many people keeping up (let alone starting up) photo blogs anymore. And along comes... Ropin' The Jackalope, making its grand debut with none other than former conflict photographer, prophet and raconteur extraordinaire (made at least one of those up) Bruce Haley at the helm. This could be (ie- will be) a most welcomed addition of oxygen rich blood doping into this now somewhat tired mix of the usual suspects, especially with all the youngbloods out there too busy tweetin' around. 

All shittin' aside, Bruce brings an experienced voice with a considerably different background and outlook that will be a most welcomed addition to most anyone's photo reading list: amusing, informative- and most definitely worth a look and listen...

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Maier Conundrum(s)

Recently, Petapixel linked to a couple of items of note concerning Vivian Maier, the more mundane of the two concerned this post from The Online Darkroom:

Vivian's photography is of a standard that I imagine I or most readers could have produced given the same opportunity...    
-Bruce Robbins

I think the key word in that statement is "imagine;" anyone's free to imagine they're as good as anyone else. No, she's not HCB. but she definitely deserves every accolade she's earned for the plethora of quality images she created in a time when such artistry was not exactly plentiful. Certain photo critics, historians and gallerists will snub her talent and/or work due to the lack of original prints, and don't take into account the most obvious of factors- how on earth was she then able to assess and improve her work without actually seeing it? And yet, that's exactly what she did- that alone is some unique kind of extraordinary genius in and of itself! Ironically, no one snubs HCB for not doing his own printing.

The author then goes on to assert that she must have had money to burn since she owned a Rolleiflex and shot a lot of film. Huh??? Maybe that's why she couldn't afford (to make) prints, she saved every penny of her meager nanny's salary to acquire basic, but top notch shooting equipment- and simply had to sacrifice on the other end. Not that hard to figure, especially if you've had to live on a tight budget- something's gotta give...

One of the main problems with Ms. Maier is that her extraordinary life story sometimes tends to trump her incredible legacy of work and talent- both are equally remarkable. Interestingly, would we know anything of an HCB, or Eggleston, or... if they hadn't been born into $$$?


The other issue, the one of considerably greater concern, is found within this article in the NY Times. This is where the Maier saga finally transforms into modern day, capitalist horror story via hostile takeover courtesy of none other than that classic 19th century villain reassuming his rightful position as 21st century scum of the earth. Enter (the oh so appropriately named) Mr. Deal, lawyer and leech of the lowest order, crawling in after the fact, seeking whatever crumbs he can wrest free and acquire. 

In truth, it was the one and only factor that has been missing from this fairy tale of art and longing- up until now we haven't had a real villain, a true foil to Maier's innocence and Maloof's quest to anoint her. The stage is set, the final act has commenced, as bullshit writ large strides in demanding its cut of money and notoriety. This chapter will only add to the legend; unfortunately, when lawyers ride in on the back of the law, the conclusion can be anything but happy.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Cell Tower Fakes vs. Fake Cell Towers

Photo: Dillon Marsh
Photo: Robert Voit

Bad enough having cell phone towers disguised as fake trees- at least they're grotesquely bad in a cool lookin' kinda way. But fake cell phone towers disguised as cell phone towers by god knows who, doing god knows what??? Now that's just plain... evil!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

But... I... Don't... See... (race)

Jesus Christ Hallelujah!!! How do I even start!? Lemme count the ways...

Forget about those who deny that prejudice is alive and well when it comes to employment (and everything else for that matter)- first, we gotta get through the hordes that actually believe that because you're Hispanic (or anyone of color), you get... preferential treatment! Yeah, some still stand up and shout that Affirmative Action snatched up all the choice jobs right outta the hands of the beleaguered White man. First, we gotta cut through that layer of insanity before we even start to approach reality... 

And fortunately, some guy (whose name begins with "J") just made recognizing reality a whole lot easier, a whole lot quicker, and way, way clearer- just by dropping an "s."      (posted by the son of... Jose Banos) 

Monday, September 1, 2014

ClimateChange/Climate March

Climate change means, amongst other things: less land to live on, and less potable water and food, particularly in areas already stricken with famine and drought- which in turn means... more (many more) people fighting for whatever remaining: food, land and water.

What promises to be the biggest climate protest will occur in NYC this Sept. 21st...