Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Up In "Smoke"

From time to time you'll get occasional reflection mention of how we all single handedly speed view the plethora of photographs now available at our instant disposal. And despite being schooled of this particularly vile habit, I fall victim to it time and time again like any other shallow 21st century mortal. So I find myself constantly reminding myself, constantly retraining and committing myself to slowing down, seeing what I'm actually attempting to look at, and trying to make sense of what I'm experiencing- before feeding the compulsion to rush to the next image for no, good, rational reason.

This scene from the memorable 1995 film Smoke approaches that very subject back in the analog days when one could still inhale and imbibe at one's own leisure in a public interior. And it concerns nothing less than photography's major raison d'etre- the very capture of time itself, and both the subtle and sublime appreciation of said power...

 How Auggie got that camera...

Why not... the true meaning of Christmas (for good measure)!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

SFMOMA- Free Every First Tuesday For Perpetuity... NOT!!!

With the recent grand reopening of the new and improved SFMOMA, I was anxious to know when open day (or night) was scheduled for the unwashed masses such as myself. The above proclamation can be found on the official SFMOMA website- but it yields absolutely no results. And if you want to go to SFMOMA on first Tuesday, or any damn Tuesday you want- you're gonna have to pay the full, whopping admission price of... $25!!!

Well, it seems "perpetuity" doesn't last all that damn long, in fact, it ended in 2013... 
Who the fuck knew!?!?!?

Update: SFMOMA actually called me back, said something to the effect that, yeah, maybe that wasn't the best way to describe and conduct their admissions policy and that they would probably be making "community" oriented changes come September. To be continued...

Thursday, June 23, 2016

In Memoriam

Photo: © S. Banos

On a spectacularly beautiful Sunday afternoon, came upon one very apropos memorial for The Orlando Massacre where every name of those so needlessly killed (by someone who sought to kill that part of him he could not accept by killing those who had) was read aloud and commemorated at Mission Dolores Park in San Francisco on 6/19.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

RIP- Chris Wood

The subject of mothers-in-law is a sometimes thorny, difficult or emotionally ambiguous affair. I was fortunate, I had a good one. She was open to all people in a manner that boarded on... innocence- the very basis of what constitutes a humanitarian, and a very rare human being.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

My Nat Geo Moment

Photo: © S. Banos

Never contemplated or attempted taking a Nat Geo type photo, but can't help but think of that very genre upon seeing this image. The pronounced and exposed earthen skin tones, the engaging natives taking time from their daily activities attempting communication and interaction with those from neighboring tribes, demonstrating their unique cultural practices and traditions amidst their indigenous habitat.

Perhaps in twenty years time I'll crowd fund to search and locate the female in the photo with the distinctively colored eye shades. But let me not get ahead of myself- first, let me see what I can add or remove to increase the photo's storytelling capabilities...

Sunday, June 12, 2016

From The Hip...

All photos: © S. Banos

If you've never done the ol' Intro Photo 101 exercise of shooting blindly with your camera, you really owe it to yourself to do so- if only to drive home the fact of what pure chance can achieve completely independent of: your vision, your judgment, your personal choices and aesthetics (granted you choose when to pull the trigger). The overwhelmingly vast majority of images will be little more than a mumbled, garbled mass of arbitrary chaos- but also included will be the miraculous frame of serendipitous magic where random bits and pieces of fragmentary imagery amass and congeal into something much greater than the sum of its parts in ways unimagined! A very important lesson for those (like me) who don't crop and like to control every single millimeter of every single image...

Somewhere between complete random chaos and hyper controlled vigilance is the age old act of shooting from the hip- a greater degree of control in that you are actively choosing your subject matter and aiming in the general direction, but the ultimate outcome is still in the hands of the gods of chance and serendipity. Again, most of the results will be far wayward of the mark- too far away, too close, too far to the left, too far to the right, too far up, too far down... But the chances of something coalescing into something that succeeds are considerably greater than if you hadn't taken the shot at all, particularly when raising the camera to eye level would have destroyed whatever spontaneity you were choosing to capture in the first place! Armed with my newly acquired Ricoh GR, I was curious as to what I could achieve doing just that on a recent 3-4 day return to my hometown...

All Photos: © S. Banos
Conclusions: Most attempts did end up courtesy of the Delete button. And on any given day, I'd much rather take a graceful layup (with a chance of three) than the awkward Hail Mary shot from half court (granted, not the best analogy since shooting from the hip does get you in closer- but we are talking percentages). I'm also betting the more one practices and refines the experience, the more keepers one is bound to acquire.

No doubt the percentage of hits would've risen with just a bit more help in the visual guidance dept-  I sincerely hope the next GR takes a page from the Fujifilm X-70 playbook and incorporates a flip screen (after all the X-70 took pretty much everything else from the GR). Yes, it will definitely increase the camera size a tad in depth, but it will also make it a much more formidable street image making machine!