Easily Influenced


A little too much...

A little too much…

We watch Netflix. Netflix tells you when a television series you’ve been watching has new episodes.

Like Walking Dead. Season 4.

For those of you who don’t watch the show, it’s basically a video produced from a comic book about life after some huge armageddon when zombies rule the planet. Or at least, the country. You know. Walkers. Biters. Night of the Living Dead kind of stuff. But worse. Far worse. It never ends. It’s pretty well done.

I don’t get very political here — or anywhere, for that matter — but it occurs to me that zombies already do rule the country. Or was that drones?

That bit of nonsense written, the show is very violent. Bleak. Dystopian. And, it spurred a huge amount of zombie anything. Zombie flying monkeys who turn into lawyers. That may be the best thing I read. Or, was that the other way around?

This picture really isn’t about the show as much as it is about its propping, location selection and color hue. I think that I have the color hue about right. Props? Well, I’m not a production crew. Locations? It appears they are all over the south. There is a website — well really it’s WordPress-based  — that lists every location by episode. I’ll eventually get into that. I’m not that big of a fan to study these things. But, maybe I can go there and take pictures. And, my timing? Oh. Good as usual. Season Five starts in 11 days. We won’t be watching it then. We binge watch via Netflix.

This location. You’ve visited this place with me in the past. Many times. Just not this view. I’ve been saving it. It’s that timing thing again. It is the powerhouse. Down by the riverside.

Quick edit. How cool. WordPress’ very own spell check thinks that “wordpress” is spelled in correctly. Makes you wonder.

And, One More Time


Young Men Olympian Junior Benevolent Association

Young Men Olympian Junior Benevolent Association

Yes. We start them out young here.

Even though this is a picture of a second line parade — The Young Men Olympian Junior Benevolent Association to be exact — it is more about my evolving working style. It’s how I like to work these days. In the middle of things. Up close. And, personal. It might not look quite that way, but I took this picture with a 16mm lens. Or, similar to a 24mm if the camera’s sensor is APS-C sized.

So. I’m close. I’m part of the parade.

That’s it. As Robert Capa said, “If the picture isn’t good enough, you weren’t close enough.”

Streetcars


Canal Street. Streetcar.

Canal Street. Streetcar.

Streetcar. Not trolley. Not tram. Streetcar.

That’s what we call them in New Orleans. As in “A Streetcar Named Desire.” Yes. There is a street named Desire. There is a neighborhood named Desire. And, once upon a time there was a street car line that ran through the French Quarter, through the Bywater and towards the lake in the 9th Ward. Ain’t der no mo’. Every now and then the tracks reappear when some of the pavement breaks away from what is usually cobblestones underneath it.

This one is a red street car as opposed to a green streetcar. Aside from running on different routes, the red street cars take advantage of new technology. They are air-conditioned. The green ones are not. During our summers that matters. Especially, since New Orleans is not Disneyland. Tourists love riding these streetcars. It’s a great way to see a large part of the city. Streetcars look like they belong in some Disney-like place. That’s also great. But, they are real live public transportation. Commuters use them. To get to work. To make groceries. To get places if they don’t have a car. I use them. I walk two blocks from home, hop on one, get off on Canal Street and walk to the Quarter. No search for parking. No paying for parking. In the heat of summer, air conditioning really matters to people who live here. I suppose that it does to our tourists who can’t imagine living here all year round.

The history of streetcars. Ahh… that’s long and involved. Let me just say this, when I arrived in New Orleans there were no streetcars on Canal Street. At one time maybe eight or ten lines converged on Canal Street. The tracks were all torn up and replaced with buses. Then somebody got the bright idea, “We need a street car line on Canal Street.” Again. So, one was built there at about ten times the cost of the original lines. Not long after, Hurricane Katrina arrived and flooded Canal Street and the car barns and motive power sheds that we just newly completed. So. While the tracks remained, everything else was rebuilt. Again. I think the Feds helped this time. I don’t remember.

This picture. Dusk. One of my usual drive-bys. Or, drive-throughs. I helped it out from a color standpoint. I made it more intense and bluer. That’s how I saw it when I pressed the button. That’s how I made it.

In The Bywater


Vaughn's at dusk.

Vaughn’s at dusk.

Vaughn’s. A typical southern juke joint. Bar. Music Hall. Lounge. In fact, their official name is Vaughn’s Lounge. Or, it’s just a neighborhood bar. A dive. A place where on most nights, everybody knows your name. My kinda place. Free food is served during Saints games. Trumpet player Kermit Ruffins used to have a regular Thursday night gig here. He “retired” when he became a family man. He wanted to work earlier, but on Thursday night the place was packed with tourists. If you watched the television show Treme, you knew about this place even if you live in Nebraska. Not that I have anything against Nebraska. Or, Nebraskans. His starting time was 8:30pm. But, this is New Orleans. Nothing starts on time. The regulars didn’t mind. Nor, did the tourists. But, Kermit wanted to get home by around 10pm. Of course, Kermit was replaced by another local musician. But, it’s not the same.

Anyway.

Vaughn’s is located on the far downriver side of The Bywater. It’s an interesting neighborhood. Fun to photograph. It’s a former blue-collar neighborhood. A lot of importing and manufacturing went on here. Three streets away is a former Navy base. Banana boats from South America offloaded here. Coffee beans from all over South America were imported and roasted here. The folks who “Put Folgiers in Your Cup,” were located here. There is still some shipping and importing going on here. But, not much. Ships dock nearby. Freight trains rumble through the neighborhood along the river. As the big importers moved away and manufacturing slowed down the neighborhood slipped into decline.

But, not today.

The neighborhood is coming back, or has come back. The big buildings have be repurposed into condos or highly priced (Read that overpriced for the area) apartments. Or, they were torn down and turned into parking lots. There are probably more new restaurants being opened in the Bywater than any place in the city with the exception of Magazine or Freret Streets. Of course, a lot of those new restaurants are simply the product of turnover. You know. Here today. Gone in a week. Trendy food. A lot of Kale. Too much Kale.

This picture. If you’ve read me since the eBlogger days, you may have seen it. That’s about three years ago. But, the picture needed reworking. I’ve always seen it as being sort of soft and dreamy. Light and color glowing. Dusk light at its best. I think I came closer this time. I didn’t quite have those skills a few years ago. I’m still not sure I do. But, my work ethic is good. I’ll get there eventually.

Oh yeah. The guy in the picture? Not what you think. He runs the outdoor bar-b-que. If you could see just past the second truck, you’d see one of those half-trash can-looking things with a smoke stack on it. Typical for the South. It’s located on the sidewalk. Typical for New Orleans.

Parts is Parts


Watch parts.

Watch parts.

This is a spin on old advertising saying. “Parts is parts and pieces is pieces.” If I recall correctly, somebody was advertising fried chicken. This isn’t fried chicken.

This is the internal working of an old watch.

A few weeks ago I posted a picture of some of my dad’s old stuff on Instagram. Everybody who saw the picture seemed to like it from both an artistic and emotional perspective. So, I put that information away in my brain and let it stew. And stew. A week or so ago, I thought it might be fun to re-photograph some of those watch parts. So. I did.

I actually made a nice little series. I think I’ll explore this a little further. I’ll show the work to you as I finish it. I’m in no hurry. This work is really just for fun.

About yesterday and those more painterly exploration and experiments… I received a couple of well thought out comments across various social media.

The most interesting was from a long time online friend. She said that it didn’t matter about the technology. That we don’t care if an old-fashioned typewriter or the most modern computer was used to create a written piece. And, that it shouldn’t matter how we create visual art. After all, art is art. I’ve said this for a long time, especially when somebody makes a big deal of not using Photoshop to help them in post production. Generally, I say something like “Ansel Adams — the saint of nature photography — created an entire system of exposure, development and printing to make the picture say what he wanted to say.” She reminded me of that.

She also reminded me that just because you have the tools — the software in this case — it doesn’t mean that you have the mental or emotional tools to do it. She’s right again. Thank you.

One more thing. As you know, for the sake of online privacy, I rarely mention names. I won’t again. I do have to say this. When we reach a certain age, we start getting cemented in our ways. Locked in. Set in stone. A photograph is a photograph. A drawing is a drawing. A painting is a painting. Never shall the technologies mix. That hasn’t been true for years. But, still we try to put things in boxes. What a mind my friend has. I think she’s about 15 years older than me. And, look how she thinks. Beyond how an artist thinks. I’m in awe.

More Testing


Test Number One

Test Number One

I wish I could say that I’m bored. That would be a great excuse. But, I’m not.

I am, however, trying to decide if I should license this painting software when its term expires.

Before I write much further, I agree with someone who replied and said she preferred the sharpness of photographs. I agree. Sometimes. But, my best work isn’t always sharp. For a long time, I made a living photographing stuff a low shutter speeds and small apertures just so the images would have a dream, painterly feel to it. Please see the original picture at the bottom for an example of that.

Besides, I think hyper-sharpness is a digital construct. We talk mega pixels, we talk sensors, we talk about lens qualities. That’s all great. Or, just stuff as the late Ernst Haas would say. What is important to me is the intent. The feel. The look.

Does this software help me to get there?

Or, can I do it on my own without the aid of painting manipulation software?

What do y’all think about these three pictures?

I’ll tell you something. If I could paint in real life I would.

Oh yeah. Algiers Point, down the neighborhood around The Crescent City Connection. In the pouring rain. At dusk.

Test Number Two

Test Number Two

Original. A photograph.

Original. A photograph.

A Simple Thing


Love

Love

It’s a simple thing. Really.

Love.

These signs are all over New Orleans. I happen to stumble upon this one in Central City.

Nobody knew who or what was tacking them up in hard to reach places. It turns out that they are an installation art piece. There has been a lot of conversation about their meaning. Huh? What do you think love means?

Here’s the quote from a guy who calls himself, “John H”, as published in The local newspaper. He’s been tacking them up.

“You are talking about two friends that started with a simple dream and big hopes and put up 350 little signs across the metro area,” John H. wrote “… The signs are a do-it-yourself social experiment with great personal hopes for improving life in NOLA for everyone.”

Two points.

One. They are illegal. But, how can you dislike them?

Two. They are being posted in places where a violent death took place. Sacred ground, in my book.

All good, as far as I’m concerned.

 

 

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