Sunday, September 27, 2015

Blog/Restoration Update

Photo: @ S. Banos

Yes, I know I said I was quitting ye olde blog this past spring; no, it was not yet another idle threat/cry for attention. I really did need to stop, unsure what the future held- except that I did need to concentrate on restoring the remains of my work, and attend to various family matters. Blogging was nowhere on the list and had become a burden I was quite relieved to unburden...

Fortunately, with a dozen restorations (65 MB files) under my belt, I now feel fairly confident I can restore the vast majority of my work. The remaining 10% or so are probably still reclaimable, waiting for my PS skills to improve or for restoration experts to happily volunteer their remaining days for the sake of art and humanity. Meanwhile, my main restorative kit consists of: patience, more patience, and a heapin', helping shitload of yet more (patience).

I can average one restoration about every 4-5 days, about 4-5 hrs per day (rough approx). Some take considerably longer, but little by little, pixel by pixel, they're getting done- to exhibition quality standards. Of course, one can't keep that pace up on a regular indefinite basis, particularly in one's "spare" time. Work, the family matters I've previously alluded too, and all the other crap life throws one's way have a habit of getting in the way. Sometimes, I now even enjoy throwing up the occasional blog post minus the voluntarily set schedule to adhere to as before; so do come round from time to time...

A coupla years down the line, I should have enough to self publish something to show it hasn't all been in vain  (already got a working title); and hopefully, before I get to call it a day, I should have a body of work that will testify to a life lived a few fractions of a second at a time- for laughs, for kicks, for the simple satisfaction that someone simply... noticed.

Friday, September 25, 2015

You Can Observe A Lot By Just Watching...

I'm not as much drawn to sports as when considerably younger, but even then, I was particularly drawn to those who transcended their sport, who exhibited signs of life beyond their sport, those who either impacted life head on like an Ali, or simply displayed a certain sense of irony or humor as in the case of Yogi Berra (to whom one can attribute the quote above).

And speaking of astute observations, particularly when it comes to life and its passing moments on the streets we tread daily, the name of photographer Cristophe Agou most certainly comes to mind- a good tribute here.

Thanks, and RIP guys...

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Digital vs. Analog

I had the biggest laugh of the day while shaving the other morning and first hearing about Volkswagen's special emissions reduction software that works only when... being tested for emissions. Brilliant! 

Reminds me of the time when Hyundai had to cut the weight of their cars in order to meet US gas mileage standards. Solution: take the stuffing out of their fenders. Classic!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Deny, Deny, Deny...

Now imagine, just imagine.. if people watched this video and just said, "Dang! I never knew that!" It could cause some people to stop, reflect and... possibly even think. But uh-uh, that's not happening- that thinking part's for losers! Deny-Deny-Deny... and call people a few names while you're at it.

It's the exposure, it's the lighting... it's the fact that I simply refuse to believe, evidence be damned, that they purposely skewed the film chemistry to benefit lighter skin tones- and anyone who believes that is an (anti-White) racist!

PS- And if (just saying if now) it was done, then it was strictly for economic reasons to best serve their main demographic- that's just good business sense!
PPS- Exactly, like... slavery, just business.

"In the last decade it has become clear to those who seek out this information that the chemistry for stock colour film for still cameras was designed originally with a positive bias for "Caucasian" skin tones because of its high level of reflectivity. (Personal interviews with multiple chemists and film designers at Kodak, Rochester, NY, 1995; Winston, 1985, 1996)."

"It was also believed at the time that physics was physics, chemistry was chemistry, and science was based on reasoned decisions without consideration of cultural or racial subtleties. It is now becoming acknowledged more widely within the industry that refinements to the chemistry of film emulsions have never been issues of physics or chemistry exclusively, but have been the result of cultural choices as well."   -Prof. Lorna Roth

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Donald Mussolini

Professionals with a lot more experience, who are paid a helluva lot more than me, have somehow yet to make the most obvious of obvious comparisons. The boasts, the posturing, the smirking disdain, absolute arrogance and utter disregard for anything resembling the truth; all so frighteningly  parallel and irrefutable, despite the disparities of time, ethnicity and  geographical location. 

And yet, in this age when we may repeat the same said mistake, with the same sad and sorry said consequences-  I have yet to see this most relevant of comparisons...  anywhere.

Chris Hedges- "Civilizations in the final stages of decay are dominated by elites out of touch with reality."

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

American (Non)Jurisprudence

Monday morning before work I was hit with a double dose of how monumentally insane our court system in these Semi-United States has become. One video lays out how utterly and completely fucked you are if you are poor (a lawyer will be provided for you- for say... 7 minutes); the other describes just how determined the judicial system can be to guarantee they kiss your ass into eternity- no matter what the evidence says...

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Bruce Almighty!

Photo: Bruce Gilden
Photo: Bruce Gilden
Been a fan of Bruce Gilden's for quite some time, but even I was somewhat taken aback by some of his most recent offerings via his color Face portraits. They almost seem a cartoonish caricature of his earlier work. Has he finally crossed the fine line he's always tread between borderline art-shock and what the hell, pull the plug freak out? And just where is that ever moving, fine line located? Where was it drawn in modern music: the "race music" appropriated by Elvis, the Beatles' long hair, the polysexual costume excess of glamrock, or the NSFW lyrics of Hip Hop?

Face draws you in like a bad car accident ("like ruin porn, fascinating for five minutes," said one commenter); has Gilden now fully embraced shock value for its own sake- or are we the ones doing the dehumanizing by further reducing these images, and therefore the people they portray, to the likes of a car accident? 

This ain't a critique on the images themselves, which I admittedly am somewhat ambivalent about. And isn't that one of the hallmarks of great art, that which divides, shocks and more importantly- makes us think?  This is not so much about "Gilden, right or wrong," but about the reactions he so willingly (and knowingly) creates. Indeed, the comments to this article are well worth more than the original piece itself... all 476 of them!

Unfortunately, many of the commenters believe that Gilden turned his subjects into freakish ghouls and freaks via Photoshop, when in fact, the distortion they speak of came mostly through the use of a short lens used up close and personal with direct flash. Some are not only mistaken about how he achieved his results, but even go unto producing a bit of revisionist photo history to back up their claims. More than one comment tells us of how Arbus not only covered this ground previously, but also did it in a more openly emphatic manner that both humanized and endeared her subjects to us all. One commenter actually stated that at least "Arbus photographed them as they wanted to be posed." Really? I suppose none of that particular crowd ever read how she was roundly criticized for objectifying and dehumanizing her subjects!

And while many, if not most found his portraiture "obscene" or "robbed of humanity," others found it quite beautiful indeed- "can't help but notice how beautiful the eyes of his subjects are." More than one found them a most welcomed relief from the "orange blobs with teeth" that so many celebrity portraits look like today. Kim Kardashian's visage frequently came up as the modern day icon of a photographically manipulated freak.

Some seemed completely oblivious to the obvious lens distortion, swearing that these are what these people actually look like, and I have to wonder if at least some of those espousing Mr. Gilden's refreshingly warts and all look are also happy that while it's good we have people that look like that, they are also quite relieved to not be one of them.

Some savvy commenters noticed that while Sean O'Hagan's article stated that Mr. Gilden had obtained releases for his subject's photos, he failed to state if they were obtained before or after they actually saw the results. That wouldn't have particularly spoken as to their relevancy as works of art, but perhaps more to the integrity of the photographer himself. Either way, Gilden definitely doesn't give a flyin'. Question is, are his images strictly predatory and abusive- and if so, are we being superficial for liking them, or just as superficial for dismissing them offhand... One of the second hallmarks of great art is how much it reveals about ourselves.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


Photo: © S. Banos

A) Separated form the herd, battery depleted, instinct would somehow have to take over.

B) Banned from high tech data mining, the NSA would now have to rely on more basic forms of cunning and deception, camouflage proved primitive but effective.

C) Conservative Family Values Advocate and Ashley Madison account holder Josh Duggar arranges nearby tryst despite...

D) Deposed Ashley Madison CEO Noel Biderman concedes...