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Working


Coffee shop work.

Coffee shop work.

At work. In the French Quarter.

I’m not sure this is what most people think of when they say they are working in a coffee shop. Usually, it means using a computer. Maybe using a few books and notebooks. But, that’s about it.

These folks brought their factory with them. They are making little hand-made bits of jewelry to sell on the street or in The French Market. Don’t mistake this for what it isn’t. These people earn a living doing this. There are some long time buskers who work on Royal Street. They have managed to make enough money to buy a house and support themselves pretty well by playing music in the street.

Me? I may have a long-term commissioned project coming up that is about working in the 21st Century. I think. I was on a list of photographers who was asked to apply for it. Apparently, the people running the project were looking for New Orleans-based photographers who have a vision for how small business could be run in the coming years. The project is being photographed nationwide. And, it is very interesting. The work is being done along the lines of the old FSA project that ran from 1935 to 1943. Think about it. How many well-known pictures were generated from that?

Since we have headed into a sharing and gig economy for many artisans, and workers of all stripes, I thought this kind of image might fill the bill. We’ll see. As a friend of mine said a few weeks ago, I could use a project.

The picture. I stopped by this place for a coffee. These people were working and I sort of drifted over. I asked if they minded and they all sort of shrugged their shoulders and smiled. The rest was easy. Find the angle. Wait for the moment. Take the picture.

Street Music


The player.

The player.

Back to human subjects for a while.

When people come to New Orleans for the first time they immediately head to The French Quarter. And, more specifically, to Bourbon Street. That’s fine. Everybody should do it once. Then, expand your view. Walk around the entire Quarter. It’s roughly 16 blocks. You can see just about everything in a day. Maybe, two. Then, as I always say, get out the Quarter. It’s just one neighborhood in a city of 13 wards that are divided up in local neighborhoods. Even if you like the Quarter enough to want to visit again and again, make it your base. It’s a good one. Hotels are plentiful. There are all sorts of restaurants. There are things to see without making a big adventure out of it.

But, use our transportation system. Get on the streetcars and explore the city. It’s a pretty cool place. If you do this right, the only time you ever need to be in a car is to get from the airport to the city. Even for us, who live here, if we want to go to the Quarter or Treme, we walk a couple of block and catch the St. Charles Streetcar and take it to St. Charles and Canal Street. Done. No looking for parking. No fear of a parking ticket. We are just there.

Why am I’m writing this post? Now?

Any day now — or month, heh, heh, heh — the summer heat and humidity will break. The temperature will drop into the high 70s during the day and low 60s or even 50s at night. The humidity will be low. It will be our version of autumn. It is a perfect time to visit. With luck, it will last until to around Christmas time.

The picture. Oh, I made this on Royal Street. In the Quarter. There are about four places to hear music on the street. Bourbon Street. But, that’s music played in the bars and clubs and drifts out on the street. Jackson Square, where you never know who will turn up just wanting to play a little. Frenchman Street, which used to be cool. Now, it’s Bourbon Street downriver and finally, Royal Street. A lot of pretty good musicians gather on street corners and play for tips. For me, that’s the best place. At least, these days.

Wet, Wet, Wet


Rain storm and traffic.

Stormy weather. 

It’s supposed to be fall. But, the temperatures are in the 90s. Sometimes, things cool down some. After a little bit of rain. Even though I usually think we can’t drive in the rain, we do alright. I suppose that we have a lot of practice. 

Even me.

I can put the camera on the dashboard, let it do its thing and not run into that truck next to me. Or, the car in front of me. That wouldn’t be a good thing. At all. Since this picture was taken in Jefferson Parish, the policing agency are sheriffs. And, deputies. I doubt that they would be amused to learn that instead of texting and tweeting, I was taking pictures when I I ran into the back of a car waiting at a red light. Luckily, that didn’t happen. 

The picture. I took it as I sometimes do. Through the windshield without actually seeing what the camera is seeing. It’s pretty much just point and shoot. Then I play around in post production. I’ve been tinkering with older looks and more cinematic effects. That’s what is going on here. 

Round and Round


Do you remember?

Do you remember?

Happy first day of fall. The high today is supposed to be 92 degrees. It’s a brisk 81 degrees as I write this. At about 8:30am.

So.

Remember these? Usually I find just the booth and a part of the phone. This time I found one that actually works. I picked it up and got a dial tone. Apparently, somebody thinks it is tapped. I always think that it’s funny that most people believe some kind of big brother is watching. Most of us just aren’t that important. Besides, the watchers aren’t that good. Even if they had our data. There would be yottabytes of it. Google that. Heh, heh. Who is going to sort through all that junk? Other computers? Great.

Anyway.

It just saw it and took the picture. I didn’t really think much of it at the time. I realize that I am building quite a nice little collection of dead pay phones and phone booth pictures. There. That’s another little monograph I could do. But, I probably won’t.

Oh yeah. One more thing. Remember I was talking about too many pictures a few days ago. On Sunday. 15 Trillion pictures were uploaded to somewhere last year. That’s a lot of pictures. Who’s really gonna see ’em? But, the mass data storage companies sure are making money. Good for them.

What is…


What is, and what should never be.

What is, and what should never be.

Small business. A tire repair shop. Along St. Claude Avenue. In New Orleans.

Many of them were flooded by the storm and never came back. Some did. And, some were reborn as something else. It took a while. After all, this neighborhood was broke down, poor and crime ridden before the storm. While some neighborhoods were on their way back to recovery a few years later, this one was still in shambles five years later. Then, slowly, people started to rebuild with outside money. Young people from other places in the country started coming into the neighborhood. They do what they can to rehab, rebuild and restore. To be sure, the neighborhood is still funky. And, still has a lot of crime. But, it’s different. And, it’s not gentrified. And, those new people? They like bright color. Drive down some sections of the street and the buildings are painted red, yellow, orange, hot pink. No muted colors for these folks. No, indeed.

The picture. First, I’m not sure this place is still there. I photographed it on one day. And, about two or three weeks later I didn’t see it. But, I wasn’t really looking for it. So, I might have just driven by it… blindly. Second, the picture stands on its own without all the weird post production. Third, the picture as you see it looks and feels like a piece of film that I found after the floodwaters receded and I could dig through my archives.

So, it’s real to me.

Passing By


Through the haze.

Through the haze.

Sometimes you just have to wait. Be patient. The picture will appear out of nowhere.

That’s the genesis of this picture. I waited. A guy on a bike came along. But, I got a little confused because I didn’t anticipate his path quite accurately. I wanted the shape of the old, abandoned factory. That roof line is something. I also wanted all of whoever passed by to be in the picture. I was a little too close to the subject for both of those things to happen. Oh well.

On the other hand.

Being close and having the building sort of placed at a weird angle made the picture kind of funky. Like the neighborhood. It works even without the massive post production I did to help it along.

The picture. Itself? It was made on St. Claude Avenue.  In the 9th Ward. In New Orleans. For a while there was a heavy truck parked there. By heavy, I mean something like one of those giant gravel haulers. It was parked there for a short time. Like five years. It never appeared to move. And, it never had a ticket on the windshield. For all I know, the driver could have worked early in the day and come back before I arrived on the scene. But, for five years? I dunno about that.

A Different View


Building a wall.

Building a wall.

Just a little playing with software to build a kind of photo assembly.

I’m not sure if this works. At all. But, I wanted to do a little testing. And, learning. In an attempt to learn about a particular style of photo assembly, I started with this. Well, something like it.  The pictures were taken over a long period of time. They were sometimes published one or two at a time.

Please share your thoughts.