That’s what this picture feels like. I made the post production match my dreams. I really need a city to do this properly. I have some old cityscapes that might fit the bill.
Some dreams I have, eh?
They say that dreams are about some unsettled issue, or an answer to a question that you didn’t know you were asking. In my experience, unsettled issues are always part of life ,so I think it’s the unanswered question. I still don’t know the question.
Mostly, I till don’t know why the interpretation of my dream seems so bleak. I have some ideas, but I’m not ready to share them.
The picture. It started out as one of my power line pictures. I added another, flopped them and started in the sky. The original sky is perfectly pleasant. Along I came to destroy it. I worked back and forth a little until my vision became a reality. I made one version that took the changes beyond this. That’s a picture for another day. That’s truly until the end of time.
That’s probably what this image is about. It’s really just my old layering technique from a couple of years ago. But, better. Better because I’ve had years to play with it. Just like all of us, using certain tools, I hope to improve. Experience matters.
My learning isn’t limited to photographs and art.
Today, I learned that one of my other venues for sharing pictures is moving to Instagram. I realize that once upon a time, Instagram was fairly powerful as a portfolio platform. Picture and assignment bookers could see a lot of work quickly. But, with changing software Instagram is harder to use for searches. I’ve noticed that my likes have been cut in a half lately. I never had that many, but still.
A few months ago, I started posting to NGS Your Shot. I’ve been fairly successful there. Not any more.
As you may or may not know, National Geographic sold themselves to Fox a couple of years ago. They, like so many others, were having financial problems. Fox brought a measure of stability to them, without messing around with the product too much.
A couple of months ago Disney bought Fox. We knew the other shoe might drop.
They terminated 70 staffers. They are closing the US version of NG Traveler. And, they are shifting NG Your shot to Instagram on October 31. Oh, and the yellow bordered magazine that you know as National Geographic Magazine is safe, “for now.”
My reaction? I lost a client in NG Traveller. And, when I saw the letter on my feed of NG Your Shot announcing the move to Instagram, I terminated my postings today. Why wait until tomorrow to do things that you can do today? In the near term, they will instruct us how to download our shared files. Even though I already have those files in my archives, I’ll download them from the soon to be defunct site. You know why.
That leaves me with only a few online platforms, and is partially the reason Storyteller continues to exist. Well, you too. But, I do have some small measure of control on WordPress. As far as other platforms go, if I want to broaden my picture sharing, I might just give up and post directly to Facebook and Twitter. knowing full well that the images might get poached. In many ways, it doesn’t matter anymore. Privacy is now a myth. And, as Bob Dylan once said about music, pictures ain’t worth nothin’.
The picture. It started with a red poolside umbrella and progressed from there. There are two additional layers tucked into the frame of the overall image. I did my usual playing around and there you have it. I do have to figure out what to do with this stuff. These pictures ARE worth something.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long. Time doesn’t matter. Like anyone who was in New Orleans at the time, I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember evacuating from Hurricane Katrina. I remember coming home to see my house had flooded. I remember my neighborhood looking destroyed. I remember seeing neighbors in far away places. I remember all of us being so happy that we were alive that when we ran into each other we danced in the streets. I’m sure New Mexicans thought we were nuts. We were.
I remember the essential goodness of people. I remember trading computer lessons for home cooked plates of soul food. I remember neighbors helping neighbors. I remember my friend helping me carry the big furniture out of my house and piling it up along the curb. I remember my neighbor, who I call Uncle Joe, telling me not to go see the other neighborhoods because it was all too much. I remember taking a self tour and coming back to my house, shell shocked. I remember Uncle Joe saying, ” like a moth to a flame…”
I remember this day, fourteen years ago.
Today, we all still get a little weird. I suspect we all have a form of PTSD that peaks on this day. I’m pretty sure that we all learned a lot. We learned about our strength. And, our resilience. We learned to get angry with the proper people — FEMA. We learned how to rebuild.
Make no mistake. We aren’t done yet. There are still wide swathes of the city that still aren’t anywhere near whole. The Lower 9th Ward is one of them. I’m not sure it will ever be. There are streets and houses that still carry the scars of the storm.
There are daily reminders too. A car was pulled out of an underground canal just last week. It’s likely it was there for fourteen years. It is also likely that it is a Katrina car.
Today is a day to reflect. A day to mourn the folks who died. And, a day to celebrate those who made it back.
As I write, Hurricane Dorian is churning through the Caribbean. It looks like it will be a category 4 hurricane when it makes landfall somewhere in the middle of the eastern Florida cost. God speed to those folks. It may continue on, striking the gulf side of the state. For now, it look like it will turn to the north. At least that’s what the predictive models say. Or, it could head towards us.
I was reading an op-ed piece by The New York Times’ Frank Bruni. He said that he was completely worn out. He started by saying that he logged on to his computer and there it was. The never ending chaos and drama coming from one man.
It’s daily. It never ends.
Frank Bruni needed a break. We need a break.No human mind can process the daily stream of lies, disinformation, demands and threats. As my online pal Debra said on her blog, Breathelighter, we need time to do the little things that bring us so much pleasure. Bruni is right. Debra is right.
Me? I have to create before I can disengage.
So, I made this work of art. I call it, Chaos.
It’s how the world looks to me on this day. It’s how the daily barrage of beyond weird news looks to me.
The image was created from two layered photographs. I did some fiddling. I did some tinkering. Then I found a little clarity and headed straight to the gutter as Neil Young would say. I didn’t really head to the gutter, although things are much more interesting there. Instead, I found my direction. I knew I was creating my version of the world around us.
Storms aren’t unusual this time of year. We are in the rainy and hurricane season. Lately, our storms are overwhelming all of our drains, canals and pumping systems.
We accumulated five inches of rain in about 90 minutes. Everywhere Uptown was flooded. I don’t mean with a few inches of water. It was more like two to three feet. I had to walk through it. The water is dark, muddy and who knows what’s in it. I was marking potholes so young drivers wouldn’t break their car axles not being able to see where they were. I made one picture. I showed it to a friend of mine who liked it. I’m not so sure.
Once things started drying out, I made a few more snaps. I had some intent in making these three pictures. I had to wait until the sun popped out after a big storm because I knew what to do.
Here’s the deal.
The picture I showed my buddy is documentary. It’s just fine as far as it goes. But, I’m really trying to reinvent myself into some kind of artist.
Make no mistake. I’m not a photographer who takes normal pictures and labels my work as fine art photography. What so fine art about pictures that look like normal photographs showing no intent?
Fine art photography to me is like the early work of the late Robert Mapplethorpe. His work hangs in museums. I don’t believe photographers like Ernst Haas, Jay Maisel or any of my heroes call themselves fine art photographers.
This isn’t that.
This is my attempt to be a painter. Maybe a water colorist. At least that’s what this work looks like to me. I’d actually paint these if I could. Years of attempts have taught me one irrefutable fact. I have no painting skills at all. Except to paint a wall.
So, I modify photographs to the point where they don’t really look like something made with a camera. I was lucky that these three pictures could take almost the same style of post-production. Often, a series takes a huge amount of work to make them look like sisters.
There are so many “days” about this, that and the other, that I mostly ignore them. Not National Dog Day. I had something else planned for today. When I read about today, I had to make a change. A good thing too. I’ll tell you why later.
I made this picture on a walk. Yep. This is the dog who leads me to things. This one is a rescue.
Of the six dogs who allow us to share the house with them, four are rescues. Four cocker spaniels and two poodles. The spaniels are girls. The poodles are girls. It wasn’t planned that way. It’s what happens when you rescue a dog.
This little girl is Sophie Rose. We kept the name with which she came. She, and another spaniel think that I belong to them. That’s fine with me. They know what they are doing. I don’t.
The picture. She doesn’t like to be in the rain. Actually, none of them do. We got trapped out in the rain. I made this picture just as we got home. She was not amused. The rest was simple. Get down to her level (a good trick these days) and make pictures. Easy Peasy. Now try getting up.
The Grateful Dead’s late Jerry Garcia said that we all need a little magic. I think he’s right just about now when the world seems to be spinning off into every kind of chaos.
I’m not going there today.
This is just something that I’ve being tinkering with until I got it to this point. It makes me smile. I hope it does the same for you.
I was hoping to photograph the first second line of the new season, but according to predictions, a hard rain is gonna fall. Maybe three inches in a couple of inches. You know what that means. Most of the city will flood. I’ll hang in for a while. Sometimes the timing is way, way off.
The picture. A little of this. A little of that. A pinch of this. And a little wizardry mixed in.
Even the dog who shows me stuff didn’t want to be out. She did her “business” and headed for home. She’s no fool. She doesn’t like water falling on her from above.
For most of us, this is nothing unusual. Summer rain. It blows in from the Gulf of Mexico. Rain falls for an hour or so and normally it’s all good. But, we are spooked. Our streets seemingly flood with almost any hard rain.
The people in charge have taken care of the pumps. They are working as well as can be expected. Maybe we need new pipes. The mayor said that we just live in a place that floods. Accept that.
A car was found in a covered drainage ditch. Actually, there might be three or more. But, one was pulled out yesterday. It was pancaked. It’s brake tag was dated 2007. It was the remains of a Mazda 626. Mardi Gras beads fell out of the trunk.
Only in New Orleans.
There was a lot of discussion about it on social media. Given that we can buy our brake tags every two years, it was likely licensed in 2005. This could be a Katrina car. There could be human remains in that tunnel. Or, it could be something entirely different.
This is a mystery. Everybody loves a mystery. We all wanna know.
But, get this.
The water bosses admitted that the underground canal hadn’t been inspected for at least 14 years. Huh? Do you people ever do your jobs?
The same thing happened with the levees pre-storm. The Army Corps of Engineers and the local levee people met on the top of the levee, looked around and said let’s go to lunch. They didn’t do their jobs and look what happened.
Carole King wrote it. Just about everybody recorded it. “Going Back.” A song for the ages. A song for me.
I was alright. I’d gotten over the shock. Of the feeling of loss. I knew it wouldn’t last. I didn’t expect it to arrive yesterday.
Here’s what happened.
My old friend and I have mutual friends. One of them was a good friend to me. We haven’t seen each other since the storm. Hurricane Katrina. She moved to North Carolina after the storm and a failed marriage. We do keep in touch. It’s hard not to in these days of every kind of messaging available to us. She texted me. Was I going to the memorial? Yes. Could I pick her up at the airport? Yes. Could she stay with us if have we the room? Oh, we got room.
On August 29th, we observe the 14th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall at Buras, Louisiana.
It’s been fourteen years. Since we were driven from out home. Fourteen years since I saw my friend. Other friends. How did that happen? Where did the time go? Did I waste it? Did I just pass it?
Or, did I fill it with work? With fun? With light and love? God, I hope so.
All I know right this minute is something Neil Young wrote.