In the night sky.

“The moon stays bright when it doesn’t avoid the night.” — Rumi

I was just sitting there. I looked up. I saw a quarter moon and a bright, glowing star. Since I made this picture with a smartphone, the quarter moon turned round, And, the star wasn’t a star at all. It was the planet Venus.  I know this because I Googled the words, “The moon tonight.”

So.

This picture is all about technology. Except it isn’t. It’s about nature. it’s about dreams. It’s about myth. And, magic. Technology forced me to make an art statement rather than a documentary one. That’s better, I think.

Oh, that orange stuff. Those are trees swaying in the breeze. I thought the sky needed a little context.

What do you think?


They arise after a brief sleep.

“In silence there is eloquence. Stop weaving and see how the pattern improves.” — Rumi

I read a lot of blogs. I read a lot of online pieces about art. Most are about tools, or technique. Many blogs are about some struggle.

Stop.

Stop trying so hard. Stop making things so difficult. Don’t over think. Don’t complicate your work.

Be silent. Observe. Act,

As we say in the world of photographs, “Don’t take the picture, let the picture take you.” Apply that to the things you do in your life. Apply it to your art. To your work.

That’s all I know.


on the lawn.

Work that matters.

To who?

Even when I make pictures for a client, I make them for me first. After all, if not me, who? That’s really the only thing you can do, I make pictures that I want to see. It seems to have worked over the years. Now, it kind of doesn’t really matter. I only make pictures that I want to see.

Sure. I’ll work for my clients. But, they’d better be ready for my work.

That’s just a process of change. Changeling. Like me. Until I figure out how to sell this art of mine. Then I can dive in. Or, tip toe into the shallow end. Heh!

The picture. I strapped a camera to that dog of mine and she took the picture. Nah. She can’t be bothered. I put the camera on the ground and fired away. More photographer’s luck. Indeed.

 

 

 


Rebirth in a winter sky.

“Suffering is a gift. In it is hidden mercy.” — Rumi

That explains a lot. That explains why so many of you are worried about me. Mercy. It also explains why I knew better than to keep pushing even on a day that is huge for me. Mercy. That explains this two hour old picture. Mercy.

A little about me today. I am feeling slightly better. I was able to take a couple of dogs on an abbreviated walk. Most dogs are sensitive. Cocker Spaniels even more so. They walked at a slower pace than normal. They made sure I could keep going. They were not bothered by the walk’s shortness.

From a practical standpoint, I can’t see my doctor for about a week. I will have a number of tests before that. When I see him, he should have the necessary data in hand to treat me properly. Likely, this last serious pain will have receded some by that time.

The picture. I really wasn’t thinking about pictures on this walk. I was mostly monitoring myself. I saw what you are looking at. I made the picture. This is a perfect example of “not taking the picture, but letting the picture take me.”

You know what else Rumi said. “The thing you seek is seeking you.”

That’s what happened today.

Thank you. All of you.


Getting ready.

I had big plans.

Heh!

If you want to make God laugh tell him your plans.

My hip started hurting really badly yesterday evening. I took as much oral pain medication as I could. I added a Lidocaine patch and a topical NSAID. Nothing worked. I went to sleep thinking that usually helps. I awoke and I was no better. I called my doctor. They are closed for Mardi Gras.

So.

I did what I never do. Never say never, they say.

I gave up. I can’t walk enough to make any reasonable pictures. This doesn’t bode well for the future.

We’ll just have to see.

Happy Fat Tuesday. And, stuff.


Not the usual brass band.

Bands, bands, and more bands.

You know me. That’s what I like. The floats seems almost secondary although tonight I’m going float hunting. Speaking of floats…

Here’s yesterday’s hits.

Two floaters fell off of the Krewe of Thoth’s floats. They were injured but stable. Two parade watchers fell off of a second story balcony. They are injured but stable. A dump truck caught on fire after the clean up crew (not to be confused with krewe) picked up a trash heap in which some parade attendee tossed his hot BBQ coals. A tree caught on fire.

The best bit of video that I saw was on the parade route. The Krewe of Chaos had to return to their barn via St. Charles Avenue. While they were headed upriver, The Krewe of Bacchus was rolling downriver on their parade route also along St. Charles Avenue. The Bacchus members tossed Chaos members beads over the neutral zone. (the median)

The pictures. Bands. Bands doing all sorts of stuff. That’s me.

I’ve lost my desire to photograph the rest of Mardi Gras. I missed the Krewe of Red Beans, somewhat intentionally. I will go to the last two nighttime parades because I want to make compressed pictures of floats coming at me.

For sure, I’ll do a little chasing around on Mardi Gras Day. Zulus. The Krewe of St. Anne. And, Mardi Gras Indians better be on the look out. While I’m at it I’ll pass by Bourbon Street and the drunk people there.

Happy Mardi Gras, y’all.

Walking to the start of the parade.


A lot of Tubas.

Once again, New Orleans is mourning.

Another person was killed after he was hit by a float. He was in the crowd at the Krewe of Endymion’s parade, when he was accidentally pushed under a tandem float by an aggressive bead seeking crowd. Robert Sampson was 58 years old. He was a member of the Nine times 9 Social Aid and Benefit Association.

The city immediately suspended all tandem floats for the duration of Mardi Gras. This created some havoc among most the the krewes who are rolling today. They agreed with the mayor, and started hunting everywhere for more tractors and certified drivers. As I know it, everyone is rolling. I’ll tell you more about the cause and effect issues that were originally created by the city in another post.

Once again, I feel terrible. I feel bad for everybody except from people from out of state who thought it was a good idea to attack the victim on social media.

I have no idea how to fix the problem.

There have been all kinds of suggestions, from setting up fencing along all of the parade routes, to having police walk along side of the floats, to having some kind of netting over the the gap between two connected floats.

None of those will work.

There isn’t enough fencing in the state to cover all of the parades which run on different routes throughout the city. The NOPD, although supplemented by the Louisiana State Troopers and sheriffs from throughout the state, is stretched to the breaking point. And, netting? Too much work to get the links covered properly for each parade.

The real issue, it seems to me, comes from today’s modern world.

People have gotten more aggressive, less forgiving, and greedy.

Who really cares about a ten cent string of beads made in China? For a long time we had huge boxes of beads in our attic. They just stayed there alone and forgotten. Eventually we gave them to a group who recycles them and gives some learning disabled folks a job.

Anyway.

The pictures. This is a very sad day. Again. I thought that I wouldn’t post anything. But, a friend of mine tweeted that even though he wasn’t feeling this Mardi Gras and was deeply saddened by the two deaths, he would do his best to show the positive and fun part of the season.

I agree.

Please have a look and enjoy the moments for what they are. If you live nearby, please be safe. Beads aren’t worth your life. If you are not coming to New Orleans, happy Mardi Gras wherever you are.

Like fire.


 

Street portrait of a captain.

Back on track, I’d say.

I’m not that back on track. I thought that I’d written and posted this. Unfortunately, I fell back asleep before I completed this. I walked a lot last night. You know. Five parades. 164 floats. A billion beads. Not as many people as I thought would come out.

All that walking took its toll. First, my hip started killing me. Then, the pain moved to my knee. Luckily, I was able to depend on the kindness of strangers. They let me sit on their stoops, their porches and even on the bumpers of their trucks.

But.

That’s not all. Walking in pain is very tiring. More so than just walking. So, I decided to mostly rest today. The parades that I were interested in photographing have long departed, but are still an hour or two from Canal Street, another good place to work if you can stand the throngs of people competing for beads. Because of the pictures I’d like to make, that’s not a big concern for me.

However.

Now that we are in the heart of the season, parking will be dear or non-existent. Normally, I’d just park in Treme and walk over. And, walk over. I’m not so sure about that. Walking over.

Unfortunately, this parade season is my last. Unless there is a real fix to my issues other than masking them with pain meds, I can’t do this again. That’s sad because I’ve pretty much given up second lines. I’ll likely photograph this years two Eastbank Super Sundays, but that too, will be it.

There’s plenty of stuff to photograph, even without travel. I could document everything in New Orleans and never, ever be finished. That won’t require the long walks that the culture events do. I’ll still walk some. The dog who see things requires it. Those are slow and gentle walks, with places to sit if I need to do that.

The picture. I guess because I carry myself like I look like I know what I’m doing, people take me seriously. I stopped this krewe leader and asked him to just look at me. This took maybe 30 seconds, and I thanked him. See you later. Happy Mardi Gras.

I was exchanging comments with another photographer/poet. She would like to do some street photography but working in a people-driven genre sort of scares her.

I suppose that it’s something learned. I’m sure that because I’ve done it for so long, I don’t think twice about making pictures of people. I usually kiddingly say that with a camera in my hand I’m Superman.

 


The marching band arrived late.

This Mardi Gras parade season seems doomed.

Last night we had tropical storm level winds, the gusts were around 40 mph. So the parades were postponed. Two will roll tonight minus all the walking groups. The third will roll on Sunday. That means 164 floats will be on the streets tonight. At least one of the most powerful krewes in the city — The Muses — will roll during daylight, when their floats are meant for night time. At least they get to roll.

The last twenty or so floats of Nyx may never get to roll. Even if they did, they may not have many “throws” because they could mostly only take what they could carry after the tragic end to their parade The Nyx captain is is exploring joining the Krewe of Pandora, which rolls in Metairie on Sunday. The captain of the Krewe of Nix – Julie Lea — is also the captain of Pandora. They’ll know sometime today. There are two issues. Very few throws. And, they rent their floats. There may not be enough floats for them.

Meanwhile, we’ve learned a lot about the unfortunate woman who died on Wednesday night. She was 58-year-old Geraldine Carmouche. She did not trip or fall. She was trying to pick up some beads.

She gave her life for maybe ten cents worth of Chinese manufactured beads.

She was born and raised here. Toddlers are taught from the moment they come to parades not to run out into the street for beads. Do no cross in front of moving floats or marching bands. When I arrived 20 years ago that’s the first thing I was told when I attended my first parade.

Reading comments on Facebook was sickening. Many attacked the victim. They accused her of being drunk, of having no responsibility. Apparently, they never heard the old saying, “Never speak ill of the dead.” I guess this the the world in which we live.

I’m not buying that. I think she had a kind of tunnel vision. I’ve seen it a lot on parade routes. Parade goers see nothing but throws. They are aggressive and they want them all. Even though she was well old enough to know better, and a local, I think that’s what happened to Ms. Carmouche.

Four more issues to discuss. I promise that I’ll keep it short.

The picture is a leftover. With no parades last night, I ran out of culled and processed images. I also decided that the images I made while the Krewe of Nix was rolling will forever be unprocessed and will not see the light of day.

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve changed my policy of not publishing names. While Storyteller remains art driven, I can’t tell stories without names. Of course I’ll follow my own ethical rules which are informed by years of journalism at a time when we were respected.

I’ve long said that the work is the prayer. If I believe that, I must work tonight. There are enough people who could use a few prayers right about now. And, that’s just in New Orleans.

Mardi Gras parades are an interesting thing. Just about ever local who participates in them does it for the experience, for the fun.

Really?

I talked to enough people on Twitter to realize that they were overjoyed at not having to be anywhere near the parades last night. One woman on NOLATwitter said that she felt free.

If that’s the case, just what the hell are we doing?

Do we feel so obligated to “celebrate” that it’s become work?

Even me. I was preparing to go to the parade route when I checked social media one more time. Even though I’m not riding on floats, or marching in bands, or throwing beads, I can’t tell you how relieved I was that I didn’t have to go.

What am I thinking?