New Orleans is a funny place. Here’s an example. When I was a very young guy, I learned where the sun rose and where it set. But because of the way New Orleans is laid out, you never really know if what you learned in grade school is true. The city moves. Seemingly. Well, even though it is built on a swamp, the city really doesn’t move. But, the streets curve to accommodate the curves in the river. Streets start and stop. They change names. They change directions. Not really. But, one way streets turn into two-way streets and then reverse direction. So. When I made this picture, my back was turned to the river. That would be to the west. So, they say. But, the big square building in the background is positioned to the north. So say all manner of maps… digital or paper. I might not be the smartest person in the city, but I know that the sun doesn’t set in the north.
Or… does it?
This is New Orleans. After all.
The picture. I like it. It surprised me. Once again, I was on my way to some place else when the light got really good. So what could I do? I cut across two lanes of traffic, making a couple of taxi drivers very nervous and I got out of the car and made a few pictures. The picture also illustrates the funniness of New Orleans again. Where have you ever seen a picture of New Orleans that looks like this? Usually, you see really old architecture. You see buildings that are very unique to the city. But, these buildings and this street could be anywhere.
The dogs needed walking. I needed picturing. So, the three of us came up with this picture. That’s two dogs and me. They found this picture. No. They didn’t use this flower patch. Heh, heh. They did sniff around. Apparently, it didn’t intrigue them enough. Just as well. They were more interested in making a new dog friend. That gave me just the right amount of time to make this picture. Kind of Mardi Gras colors. Green. Purple. Gold. Well, pretty close. Yellow.
The picture. This is one handed. Two dogs on two leashes were really in control.
The Bayou Boogaloo yielded some pretty cool images. More than I originally thought. Just a lot of luck I guess. This one was a lot of fun to play with. The darker and cleaner I made the image, the more interesting it got. But, when I saw this woman, I think I saw this version of the image in my head. So, I worked for a while in post production to achieve the look that you see. In many ways it takes me back to the late 1960s or early 1970s. It reminds me of work by Pete Turner, or Michel Tcherevkoff from that era. The really cool thing is that there are a lot more interesting images from this take. They are all very different since there was so much stuff going on. Stuff. That’s a technical term. I’ll show you some more. Soon. Like tomorrow. And, the next day. And, the day after that.
Here’s a secret about me. Clowns scare me. I don’t know why. But, I’m not the only one. Lots of people are afraid of clowns. They tell me.
So. While I was wandering around yesterday’s Bayou Boogaloo, I happened upon a clown who was making balloons. At first I sort of just walked by until I heard her tell an adult to get back in line or the child who was with the adult would not get a balloon. Huh? Happy clown, eh? It all came rushing back to me. Clowns are scary creatures. I don’t know when this started for me. But, it did. So, I made a bunch of tight portraits with the intention of making a scary clown. The top picture is how I see things. The bottom picture is how the clown looked in real life. Even in real life, she’s a little scary. Or, not just very happy to be working in the hot Louisiana sun. Who knows? And, quite frankly, I don’t want to know. That would mean actually talking to her. That would be scary. That’s a little tongue in cheek. But, you get the point.
The picture. Well. The top picture. Lots of post production. All sorts of experimentation in OnOne. I finally settled on a combination of “grunge, “Holga style” and a little bit of “soft edges.” I think it made my point.
We took a break today and went for a sweat. Oops. I mean, we went to Bayou St. John in Mid-City to enjoy The Bayou Boogaloo. The weather was hot and just turning into that nice summer humidity. So. A sweat. In many ways, it’s a locals mini-Jazzfest. Music on three stages. Great food. Cool arts and crafts. And, there are a lot of allied businesses like vets, animal hotels, various green services and the like showing off their stuff. It’s great fun. And, very, very crowded. Even though it’s really just an overgrown neighborhood event, it draws people from all over the city, state and maybe even the world since I over heard a woman say that she was happy that she came down from Canada to attend this. Best of all, it’s free. Well, entrance to the event and the music is free. The food isn’t, but it is certainly priced well. For reasons beyond our control — like we slept late — we had breakfast and nothing more until about 3pm. Luckily we found pulled pork, a brat, sauerkraut and potatoes plate for a very reasonable price. $12. It wasn’t the usual festival sized portions either. We shared one order. And two bottles of water. And, a shot of bourbon. But, that’s a whole other story.
Anyway. These are Mardi Gras Indians. They are Big Chief Victor Harris, Spirit FiYiYi and, not in these pictures, The Mandingo Warriors. Yes. They can sing. Really sing. I’d tell you how I made the picture, but you know how I did it. I worked close and used my magic lens. No real post production was needed. No sharpening, no color correction. Just a little of darkening the edges to move the subject forward.
As anybody who reads Storyteller knows, I’m big on working from my car if need be. I’m also big on telling you not to try this at home. Anyway, I usually make these kinds of pictures on the way to or from something. I don’t usually publish them unless they start piling up on my desktop. In many ways, you are benefitting from my housekeeping. Or not. You might not like any of these pictures.
That said. I made “River Road” on River Road. The real River Road. Even though we don’t live out that way now, I like driving it, especially at dusk. Unless you are stuck behind some kind of heavy truck, the drive is really nice… either inbound or outbound from New Orleans. “Life on the Street” was made somewhere in the Upper Ninth Ward. It really isn’t as bad as it looks. Funny, how a little motion adds so much drama. “Lower Ninth Ward” was made… guess where? It’s one entrance onto St. Claude Avenue. I pretty much like the lines and the blue sky. Finally, There is “Looking Back.” I used to make pictures like this a lot. But everybody started doing it. Now I only do it if the content is excellent in the mirror and in the background. Or. If there is some kind of great light. I really like this light. I didn’t have to do very much to the picture to make it that way.
A nice Friday picture. It came pretty easily. I though that I could make a nice artistic statement. It was very simple. And, I had been looking at it for days without really seeing it. Sometimes that’s just how it is. This came after being lucky enough to hear The Dalai Lama talk today. It was a pretty amazing day. One of the coolest things to learn about him is his sense of humor. He told us that if we didn’t want to do anything about climate change then we didn’t have to… but it might be a good idea to move to higher ground so we could at least enjoy our new ocean view. A young girl asked him what his favorite New Orleans food is, to which he replied his favorite food was the food that was offered to him wherever he was at the time. Perhaps the most important thing that was not meant to be funny was also pretty simple… talk to each other.