One more. From the collection, “What the Dog Saw.”
Morning light. Twice. We go out at around 7 am and again, at about 9 am. This picture was made during the later walk. Too early and the light is too low and dim. Too late and the quality of light loses its glow.
And the dog? She stood patiently while I took the picture. Oh, and there is one more walk around dusk.
Not in New Orleans. Not right now. In this picture. A picture that I made a while back. In New Mexico. Yes. I miss the quality of the light there. It is clean. It is contrasty. It is dry. Without the extreme humidity that we have in the southeast, the sky is bluer since light is not reflecting off of all those microscopic water droplets that really makes up the humidity we feel. Water droplets reflect red light. The light combined with the blue sky makes it look grayish to our eyes. And, so on.
I tinkered with this picture some. But, without its base I could never have played with it enough to make the sky look like it does in the picture.
I’m excited to announce my participation in the Louisiana Photography Biennial. I am so happy and humbled to be included with some fine, fine photographers. Please stop by for the opening if you can. Or, for the show if you can’t make it on October 8th. It will run from then until November 19th. That’s just two days before my birthday. Hint.
Once the show opens, I’ll show all of you my curated pictures here, on Storyteller.
Back to the desktop. A little more layer experimentation. And, a little less color.
I forget when and where I made the two base images. My guess is that I combined one image from New Mexico and one from Louisiana. I did that a day or two ago.
Even though I store my EXIF data with the image, I do not save location data to the digital file unless I actually make I a finished image for some kind of distribution. Unless, its pure travel or cultural imagery, I reckon the location doesn’t really matter. It’s usually stuck in my head if I need to make an identification.
Lately, I’ve been more about experimenting than making pictures. A least locally. In New Orleans. I’ve been trying to figure out why that is. I know I’m motivated to make pictures, but…
Until a few days ago.
I was doing some deep excavation in my archives. For no real reason. I was just sort of poking around. I started looking at pictures that I took four, five, six years ago. I was kind of amazed at the out takes.
You know my series, “what the dog saw?’ All that stuff on the ground? At her line of sight? Well, guess what? I shot the same kinds of pictures with a different dog. During a different year. At a different location in the city. Some of the images are even framed just like the newer ones.
Bottom line. I keep repeating myself on subject matter. I suppose that’s why I’m kind of done with New Orleans culture imagery. That collection is huge. Both in depth and breadth. But, the pictures have very little value outside of New Orleans and the folks who care about it. Even then, nobody really wants to pay for it. That’s not just my issue. That’s an issue across all arts. For me, part of that is okay. My art is what I do for me. Much my craft is done by assignment or commission. Besides, I’m not really trying very hard to sell the pictures you see on Storyteller. What you see here is an example of an old quote. “I have to do one photographic thing every day or I get crazy.”
Big blue skies. Big colorful thunderheads. And, late afternoon storms springing up from nowhere.
But, I’m not.
Even though I have the heart of a photojournalist, as I get older I’m more and more fascinated by nature. No, not the kind of nature you have to hike miles into the back country to see and photograph. I’m getting a little long in the tooth to start doing that now. But, the kind that you see every day. The kind that is so ubiquitous that on most days you walk right by it and don’t see it. Luckily, down here in swampland, some of that more easily accessible nature can be quite dramatic.
The picture. I tend to see nature pictures as wide angle as I can make them. Or, as tight and close up as I can make them. If they are on the wide side, I try to put some kind of small subject in the picture to give it a sense of scale. That unbalance is sort of a Zennish thing. Call it wabi sabi.
Oh. One more thing, a blogging friend of mine posted about math, nature and design. I didn’t say it in her comments, but if you have to think about it so much, you’ll never understand it. The best way to take pictures is to not think. And, mathematical concepts like the Golden Mean, Fractals and the like are solely a western view.
Think globally. Think holistically. You’ll be happier with your work.
But, it’s not. It was moved to this location. And, is awaiting repair while the hospital zone is completed. Once all that work is done, this house will be restored to its former grandeur. We are getting close.
It was painful. The neighborhood — an old blue-collar working class place — was flooded after the storm. Very few people returned. When the rebirth of New Orleans began many square blocks were just torn down. I’m still not sure if that was a great idea. But, the ruined neighborhood was festering and rotting. We needed hospitals. We needed urgent care. We needed a VA hospital. We got those. All have been completed except for the VA hospital which is close to being finished. That brought good jobs and new people to the city. We lost an old neighborhood in a city of old neighborhoods.
The picture. Just some enhancements. I move back and forth between extreme playfulness and sticking closer to my roots. This is somewhere in the middle. But, it is does have some nice late afternoon light falling on it.
As I was reading and copy editing, I realized this could have been turned into something political. Certainly, the metaphors are rife in my writing this morning. However, this is never a political blog. In fact, to prove my New Orleans based beliefs, we aren’t even watching the “big debate” tonight. We are watching American football. The New Orleans Saints v The Atlanta Falcons. It was ten years ago tonight, that the Superdome reopened after the storm, when it became the last shelter of refuge. The Saints, in what was an amazing symbol of rebirth, beat the Falcons in their first game back in New Orleans.
Somehow, this matters to me more than listening to two very disliked presidential candidates lie to each other and the American public.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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