Budville barely exists today. It sits on the edge of Indian land in central New Mexico. Obviously, you can easily see from the gas pump in the right side of the frame, when this gas station thrived. It’s a ghost of a different type then I’ve been discussing in my last few posts. It’s located in sort of a bleak place which may be why it didn’t succeed.

As I looked for ghost images I realized that there are more kinds of ghosts then just those that are painted over or faded. In this case, not only is there ghost signage, but there is a ghost telephone number. A portion of it is painted over, but it looks like an phone exchange with a four digit number. Where and when is a mystery to me.

Yesterday’s post got me thinking about the things that have passed before us. One thing that has always interested me is what “urban explorers” call ghost signs. Generally, in an urban setting you find advertisements painted on the sides of buildings that have either been partially painted over or faded, or both.

In the country, or more specifically, the desert, you find them on buildings, but also on various kinds of trucks or delivery vehicles. For me, it is a reminder of how much we dispose of what was once something important.

Neil Young once wrote, “numbers add up to nothing.” Sometimes I have to wonder. We live in the age of complex and complicated data. We live in the age of data matrix and analysis. Even statistics as we learned about them in colleges seem a bit simplistic. We have commercials from State Farm Insurance that talk about baseball fans loving “their stats.” In fact, it isn’t enough even to lead the league in wins in baseball to win the Cy Young Award as the best baseball pitcher. Now there are a whole package of matrix that must be studied in order to give the award. There are all sorts of college level classes that teach the student how to slice and dice all this “science” in a meaningful way so that they can decide what numbers are really important and which are just a pile of… numbers. There are SEOs which help your website to get noticed. There are keywords to help your images get found. And, so and so on.


What happened to the human element? What happened to the art? The soul? The vision” The personal meaning? The feeling? The emotion? The touch? The senses?

I think it’s great that we can upload and download images without having to ship them off  in the great void of any of the big commercial package shippers. I think that it’s great that we can access images simply be typing in a few keywords, tags or descriptions. I think it’s wonderful that buyers can license images online without talking to anybody.


We have to be careful. I’m not going to point a finger at any one class of images. But, there are too many plain, vanilla, copied, stolen, borrowed images floating around out there that have no meaning. No significance. No… nothing.

I uploaded a few images to Flickr yesterday. In the time that it took me to upload them, make sure captions and keywords were correct, created a set and a gallery of pictures (the whole process took ten minutes, since I enter the meta data during my post) other photographers uploaded 4,982 images.

4,982 images in ten minutes.

I was working on cleaning up this flower image so that it too would be something delicate like yesterday’s image, when I hit the auto curves button and the background turned blue rather then the expected white. But, a more interesting result was that the background was also very mottled with light brown areas. It was ugly. I liked the blue, I liked what the program did to the flower. I didn’t like the background. So, I started experimenting in On One and found something that they call “Monet,” which resulted in what you see. I doubt that I would use this action very often, but in this very limited case, it worked.