Sunday, March 27, 2016

OK, OK- I Take It Back...

You know, the part where I go on and on about how much I hate that tiny, dark, next to worthless screen on my new camera. Well...

Photo: © S. Banos

There I was in the middle of the street in the midst of some truly gorgeous light, slowly inching my way forward till I stood right before this guy as he was looking every which way with my thing camera hanging out in front of me for all the world to see. Of course, I knew he would eventually catch on and charge me in a hail of cussing and commotion, but inch on I did, angling and framing best I could, since a posed portrait would have likely lost all life and spontaneity. Nevertheless, I was readying contingency Plan B on the first forward step, "Excuse me sir, I was wondering if I could take your..." And in the midst of all my frettin' and a fussin'- it dawned on me that I had already, instinctively fired the shutter. The deed was done! A veritable impossibility with an all too conspicuous SLR had been successfully realized and accomplished with relative ease! Up until that instant, I had looked upon the lowly LCD screen as little more than a barely tolerable hindrance; now I realized how that minuscule screen complemented the GR's overall stealth, also making it... very much the asset.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

3 Must Get, Must Get Books

Ryann Ford- The Last Stop

All three of these books document things that are pretty much no longer there, things from our collective past.  And although digital photography may be all about the instantaneous sharing of all that is brand spanking new and however fleetingly unique, the major strength of photography remains as it's forever been- its ability to freeze, capture and immortalize time. It's ability to now traverse the globe in seconds time is truly remarkable, but nothing compared to its original mission; a mission it continues to retain and faithfully complete, no matter how forgotten. And these three books remind us all of its inherent power to transcend generations young and old, analog and subsequent.

Chris Killup- In Flagrante Two

One book is an absolute classic that is being reissued. Another taken at roughly the same period is being published for the first time for all the world to see. And even the latest color offering testifies to monuments of time and lifestyle forever lost.

Christine Osinski- Summer Days Staten Island

Chris Killup is the kind of photographer that can do everything well (very)- portraits, landscapes, and everything in between. He's at his peak with In Flagrante Two; hard to find a mediocre shot in the entire essay. Summer Days Staten Island is yet another paean to the glories of B&W, as Christine Osinski searches for the heart, soul and underbelly of that fifth, and forever forgotten borough of NYC. Finally, Ryann Ford's The Last Stop is one living color tribute to the democratic art and architecture that formed America's once unique and memorable roadside rest stops.

Friday, March 11, 2016


It's over two hours long and you're free to make of it... what-you-will. Many will consider it but a compilation of every "conspiracy" theory imaginable, from: free energy and UFO's, to our collapsing environment and The New World Order. The production values vary and it can be a tad "new Agey" at times, but keep in mind this is a man born to privilege, groomed for power and success, who mixed and hobnobbed with the monied elite. Some will dismiss it out of hand, others as the food for thought that it is...

Sunday, March 6, 2016

GR Update...

Yellow & White-  Photo: © S. Banos
No color, no photo; also like how the shadow partly obscures his face.

After my initial, short lived brush with beginner's luck, I immediately became both anxious and apprehensive- was the GR going to be just a simple snapshot vehicle for small curiosities (as with the two photos in previous posts), with only the rare out of character shot of something striving for more? Or was it going to be an instrument with which one could take consistently "serious" images as well? The only way to find out, of course, was to keep shooting...

Been a coupla weeks now, and it's been predictably frustrating at times, bust mostly quite productive and... fun! This analog dog is shooting in a completely foreign manner (ie- phone style), with a very foreign device (a digital recording mechanism), utilizing a very foreign medium. And I've also discovered I was wrong on several fronts. 

Valentine-  Photo: © S. Banos
"You a cop?" "Do I look like one? This was the much needed 2nd shot that confirmed the GR was indeed a serious imaging device.

First, size does matter; it is considerably easier to shoot on the street with a smaller, less conspicuous camera- particularly one that resembles the same basic size and dimensions of today's average, common place cell phone. I am now getting images that I wouldn't have with my SLR- does that mean that photographers haven't been getting similar images with say... analog rangefinders? Course not. Just saying that I am now getting images that I wouldn't have previously with my old Nikons. Part of that is also because I am now shooting with a 28mm (e), and (more importantly) I no longer have to manually focus (or even prefocus), or set exposure as before. That (to a large extent) frees one to concentrate on composing on that ridiculously small and dim viewing screen- which despite the difficulty (and my age addled eyes), can be achieved with regular practice and consistency.

Black Sweater-  Photo: © S. Banos
The sound of an SLR shutter directly behind her, and she would have been up and screaming bloody stalker, pervert galore!!!

Setbacks I've encountered include sometimes forgetting to set the proper shutter speed or ISO (don't wish to go full auto)- and sometimes my general disdain for said viewing screen makes me want to forgo the concentration necessary to ensure proper composition (when not shooting from the hip). But if I respect this wonderfully minuscule and capable device, it often rewards me with some pleasingly surprising results. The less than FF sensor still allows for crisp images and shadow detail, and the greater DOF is handy on the street. The lens performs even wide open and I'm enjoying shooting color for the first time in decades... Easily securing it in your jacket pocket sure beats lugging an SLR around on your shoulder- and it's near weightless within the confines of a camera bag. Now I'm scared they'll stop making the damn things, or make them bigger, or they'll be bought off by Hasselblad and sold for 3 grand a piece with giant, hand carved, wooden hand grips...

Shepard of Market St.-  Photo: © S. Banos

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Shit Stain

Photo: © S. Banos

Well, what else could I possibly follow up with after a jar o' pee- not that I have any definitive proof, mind ya. After all these many years of solemn, sullen monochrome, I'm just seduced by all these vivid, vibrant colors- golden urine yellows, earthy fecal browns... Maybe there's a typography to be had here; the one on used doggie bags got quite the attention just a few years back. This could just be my ticket to photographic fame and immortality!