Thursday, December 31, 2015

2016 and Beyond...

Photo: © S. Banos

No idea what 2016 will bring, no clue. Well, for the most part... what I do know sucks and sucks bad, like global climate change. As I write this the North pole is actually above freezing- in the middle of winter!!! And the fact that we still don't have any effective response or solution (besides partying in Paris) is certainly far from promising. In fifty years when a whole lot more Earth is underwater, and even more people need room to live- it's gonna make the Syrian refugee crisis look like a New Year's Rockin' Eve. Of course, I will have put down my film camera for quite some time by then...

The wife and I voluntarily celebrated a giftless Christmas this year, highly recommended for couples who already have everything and live in a rent stabilized 1BR in one of the most expensive cities in the country/world. We can attest to no lingering after effects. Actually, there is one thing I'm looking forward to this year, and that's self publishing what will more or less amount to a Greatest Hits Compilation (Part1)- this after all being The Golden Age of Photo Books. Or... not.

Of course, if you want to truly get noticed amidst today's plethora of (self) publishing wonders, one has to present not only a competent series of photographs, but a comprehensive "art" piece complete with all the doilies, nick knacks and other visual/sensory ephemera that make for the complete artistic experience. Actually, ain't got nothin' agin 'im, just that finances dictate this'll probably be your standard Blurb production- although will definitely have another look/see at what's out there. Regardless, I'm very much looking forward to putting it together. I already have a total of some fifty plus hi res scans (restorations and otherwise), and looking forward to making another 25 or so before getting a group of 40-50 in a final edit, hopefully some time next fall...

Been very much looking for a photo book to get for some time, so glad to report that I finally found and am ordering Gus Powell's The Lonely Ones. I particularly like the small size and that the photos embiggen when you fold out the pages- a thoughtful extra step that not only supplies additional acreage for one's viewing pleasure, but also purposely forces one to slow down and... actually look at the photograph itself (the latter becoming a lost art in itself)! Meanwhile....

Happy New Year!

PS- And one more thing... to the 50+ organizations sending me emails asking, demanding and pleading for $$$- wish it so folks, but you're asking the wrong guy, (ie- barking up the wrong tree). Capisce? I give a few bucks to MSF and Amnesty Int- case closed. Rule #1- Don't expect money from people who make considerably less than you...

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Remembering The Fall Of Rome (And It's Batshit Crazy Leaders)

As a kid I always wondered how mighty, kick ass Rome pretty much allowed itself to fall apart and rot from within as the barbarians trolled the gates. Of course, once you start reading just how insane its Caesars really were, you soon start asking yourself- just how was it that Rome managed to survive as long as it did?

Of course, our modern, interconnected world experiences everything at a considerably accelerated rate. And I have been amazed at what this country has been able to endure just in my lifetime, including a President who (while definitely not insane), at least kinda knew he was dumber than a rock in some round about, dry drunk kinda way- and didn't give a damn how many people lost their lives in his little macho military fantasies. Now we got someone running who not only doesn't have the slightest clue, but who actually thinks himself more intelligent than all human life combined. And even scarier, if such a scenario is even plausible (and it is)- there are people who actually think believe he is, while others simply revel in the fact that he'll forever be the ever lovin' dick that he truly is... (just like them- except w/o his $).

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

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Good Riddance 2015...

Photo: © S. Banos

Probably worst year of my life. The year I discovered, much to my dismay, that my photographic 'legacy' had been substantially compromised. Fortunately, many if not most of those images can be digitally restored, thanks to the 'magic' that is Photoshop (and the long man hours required of each that very much ain't). Have already successfully completed some twenty-five 65MB restorations- otherwise, I may very well have taken that proverbial long walk off a short pier. Just another 300+ to go...

And if I didn't have the handful of images as proof, I'd probably overlook the fact that I actually purchased a Fujifilm XT-1, my very first foray into the digital imaging world; one undeniably gorgeous, little camera, and most capable performer (as was the amazing 14mm Fujinon). I anticipated we would bond immediately. Alas! The finder is amazing in low light, great in open shade, but in direct sunlight/contrasty lighting- adequate, at best (and it's supposedly the preeminent EVF out there)! Still, if I shot color like most everyone, I would have kept it all the same for its stunning results. But being the B&W kinda guy that I've become, still didn't like the results it delivered in... direct sunlight; and it's the latter that most profoundly reveals just how different an animal B&W digital truly is. It can recover incredible shadow detail, but there's something in the highlight gradations that just... fall... short. Don't bother me with the physics, and the curves, and the charts- already have something (called film) that delivers the look and feel I want. And I already got more than enough work to do (see: Para.1), than struggle to make due with something that only approximates what I call home. Maybe I'll give the digital realm another go round 2020 (or not)... till then, my F3, FM3A and Tri-X will suffice.

What can't be undone or ameliorated however, is my father's diagnosed dementia. That assault and robbery is not only non negotiable, but ongoing. Another sad and sorry aphorism: a train wreck in slow motion. And neither faith nor technology will halt that inevitable descent. As recently as the previous year when he could still reason and function logically at 90, he said without fear or anxiety that he had led a full life and was ready to go- lingering is what he dreaded most.

What possible life lesson is to be learned when one can no longer remember, let alone understand? What life debt are you possibly balancing when you can no longer even conceive the equation?

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Because We're Stupid

Not stupid because we didn't understand exactly how the banks were conducting business, it was made purposely too complex for us to understand. No one can be faulted for that. Stupid because once they were finally exposed, finally exposed bare and naked and clean for all to see just how longingly and lovingly they were fucking us up the ass each and every day, we chose to... 

1.) Allow them to be rescued with our money,

2.) Demand no accountability whatsoever,

3.) Blame exactly who they told us to blame ("poor people, teachers and immigrants"), and-

4.) Smile as we continue to let them fuck us each and every day, to this very day!

The beauty and genius that was Jon Stewart and The Daily Show was that they broke down complex (and often boring) social, political and economic issues into logical, easy to understand bits and pieces that were... goddamn funny to boot. The Big Short does much the same, and does so brilliantly, covering the financial meltdown that happened under our watch (Anthony Bourdain explains CDOs, Salena Gomez breaks down synthetic CDOs)- and that continues unpunished and unrepentant, however disguised, as you read this.

But, hey, it's Christmas- grab the eggnog and a warm blanket; you can kick the dog when you're hungover after New Year's. 

PS- Oh... And when someone with a big, self satisfied smirk demands you explain just how the government could ever possibly keep a secret as overwhelmingly HUGE as UFO's under lock and key for soooo damn long- kindly just remind them that... it's all so easy, when we're the ones who do it for them; aliens are small potatoes indeed, compared to knowingly letting them rob us blind each and every day of our hard earned $$$...

Just try not to roll your eyes when you tell them.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Still Waiting...

I started the year more than a little anxious to buy two upcoming photo books... and here we are at year's end- and they have yet to materialize in the public domain! I'm referring to Joakim Eskildsen's American Realities and Ryann Ford's The Last Stop

Something to look forward to in 2016, beyond the the coming year's now requisite mass slaughters...

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Season's Greeetings!

Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore's (R) interpretation of Matthew 5:5.

Currently clocking in at about 40% of capacity from my most recent loss to the flu (think Rousey/Holms, the extended version), I was aching to return to normal society- but alas, that feeling for human vitality and normalcy were cut short with last week's insanity. A sickening, deadening insanity that has metastasized into what now flauntingly mocks normalcy. Ignorance, fear and neglect begetting a violence so mindless that it in turn erodes the sanity and response of those of good will still remaining. So we never address the root cause(s), never attempt to dialogue, never ever dare to even consider a reset.

It's so easy to point at those 'dumb' kids shooting hell outta each other in every inner city in this country. They never learn, it's just their lot- just don't dare make same said and simple observation when it comes to the world at large... the one adults roam and rule.

So we will continue to threaten and arm ourselves for: prevention, protection, retaliation. Our planet is dying all around us, but not to worry: kick back with your Big Gulp, Supersize that Happy Meal, and make sure ya got enough hollow points to outlast your fries- You're Good To Go!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

-Out Sick-

Photo: © S. Banos

Third freakin' winter in a row I've gotten the flu, and as in each year prior, it's royally kicking my ass asunder! I've never bothered getting the flu vaccine since it's always concocted for the previous year's version- it just doesn't make sense! 

Then again- can't do any worse than I'm doing now... back to bed.