Time Fades Away


Don’t wait till the break of day.

The better of me.

I went through a battle yesterday. Of course, battles these days don’t mean what they once meant. It was almost eight hours on the phone. By the time that I was done I wasn’t sure if I won or lost. I think that I won. I’ll know in a couple of weeks.

I’ll let you know.

It’s nothing to really worry about. I’ve been in worse battles. Ones ,that when they were over, you were happy to be in one piece.

So.

Let’s talk photo discussions

There are two fairly acrimonious fights going on in two very different photography groups. In the photojournalism group, old guys like me who believe we are reporting news and should not stop making pictures to ask for consent. Our pictures are our truth. The other group believes that we have a moral imperative to ask for permission.

It seems that they photographers who believe in consent are all younger men and women. It seems to me that ageism has raised it ugly head, especially in light of their comments.

In the other group, which is one of the Andy Flak groups there is a discussion which might be worse. Andy is a the worlds greatest photographic cheerleader. It’s the same sort of allies, young against old, men against women. Unfortunately for the group and me, it’s gotten to the point that one group is made up of progressive reformers. You know the ones. You’d like to support their theories and actions, but they are so damn unhumorous that every inch is a slog.

I have a friend like that in New Orleans. When I’m not hurting I have a blast when I’m photographing New Orleans cultural events. You know, the Mardi Gras Indians, second lines, and Mardi Gras, itself. Every time that I see her out on the street, she is frowning or looking very unhappy to be there. Luckily, I know her off the battlefield (that’s what the Indians call it) and she is funny as she could be.

I haven’t been jumping into these discussions even though I have about 40 years of experience not only making photographs, but managing photo staffs, working with in the industry to affect change, and speaking out for artists rights.

Then it happened. A woman called out another poster as being sexist for saying that she didn’t have a sense of humor. Since when did humor become equated with gender? Musical Miss has a brutal sense of humor. So does my sister. When they are together you don’t dare walk through the room in which they are sitting. If I have to walk through that room, I just say that “I’m sorry,” even though I didn’t do anything. I keep going.

All I can say about that is don’t get two little women together. Settle down. It’s not what you think. They are both 5’1″. They admit to being little.

Anyway.

I responded to this woman fairly aggressively. I rarely do that on social media. It follows you. I wanted to know how humor became sexist. She replied with a long kind of academic post. I replied very simply, “Those who know, don’t talk. Those who talk, don’t know.”

At the end of the day, both groups want a seat at the table. Just don’t call me an old white colonialist to get it.

That is very disheartening to me. I always thought that at my age, I wouldn’t make so many pictures. Instead, I would teach and help new, younger photographers to grow and be the best that they could be. I get to do some of that here. I suppose I get to compete with them. You know what the say. Young fox, old fox. Old fox always wins.

The picture

This is the last flower image processed with my own recipe. As I said to one of you who commented on another picture, I just stick my camera (or phone) into the center of things. I didn’t say that I let auto-everything doe its thing. I guess that I should have.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Enjoy every lox and bagel.

4 Comments

  1. First, your picture as always is breathtaking.
    Second, I am not privy to the entire discussion on social media so this is a very limited response to your own words. I read much of your stuff and really enjoy it. Occasionally, as happens when more than one opinion is involved, I disagree. Most often, I disagree with you when you SEEM to be mostly wrapped up in your own head, opinion, and experience.
    I don’t know what this woman’s experience includes but, I can tell you that most women when they get angry or agitated are told to stop being bitchy, get a sense of humor, and smile more. It’s a sexist thing done by some men to shut them up and invalidate. You know, gaslight.
    “What you’re saying and your opinions don’t matter because you can’t laugh or be less angry (or God forbid, hormonal).”
    Much of humor can be underhanded and essentially entails subtle jabs meant to invalidate somehow or shift power, i.e. you quickly walking through the room when your sister and friend are talking to avoid the sting of their ‘funny’ comments. Their humor is meant to move you on away from their private time and also to enjoy your reaction.
    I truly hate that whenever someone disagrees it is easiest to automatically label rather than pause and understand the other’s experience. “He’s too old. She’s too emotional. They don’t have enough of the right kind (my kind) of experience.” I’ve done the same thing myself in the heat of the moment. We all need to do better.
    I hope this explanation is met with the kind regard it’s intended.
    Keep up the good work!

    Like

  2. Let’s start with the start.

    Of course, I’m wrapped in my own head. Whose head should I be wrapped in?

    “Get a sense of humor. ” Right. A sense of humor is not sexist. Maybe the men you’ve run across say stuff like that, but around here we don’t and I don’t.

    My “friend” is my wife. She’s also my best friend. I’m lucky that way. My sister was my best friend until Musical Miss came along. What they say is just funny. And, it’s a long standing family joke. Because I’m a magpie, I gather quotes and sayings. I borrowed the I’m sorry portion of what I wrote from an old television show called, “Home Improvement.”

    As far as that particular women goes, know this. I always want to know with whom I’m engaging. I went to her page. Guess what? She never smiles. Before you say a word, she didn’t smile at her own wedding. She looked like she was wed in an old fashioned shotgun marriage. I’m a visual person. I see what I see.

    What you are really talking about is democracy. Sometimes, there isn’t any. For instance, when a troll comes to Storyteller, I always say that it isn’t a democracy and I have a unique power. I can turn human beings into Spam.

    Hope that helps. I had a further look at your blog. You are getting ready to turn 50, if I read that right. I’m 66. The closer you get to the end, the more you have to do. I never really have time for the kinds of conversations I got into via social media.

    Like

    1. Sigh. I suppose I’m not surprised that what was meant as a possible “other” perspective would only elicit defensiveness. I tried to let you know how someone else might perceive that comment. If the individual you were referring to truly doesn’t enjoy life, that’s her issue. And my experience with people and men (not all by any stretch, my partner works hard to understand this) who put others down subtly is not unique. It’s actually wide-spread.
      And yes, I’m 50 now. And I’m younger and more capable of thinking in multiple perspectives and genres than I was in my 30s and 40s. I believe in stretching myself as much as possible in multiple directions. And sorry Ray, but frankly I worry about someone as young as you already choosing to lay down the intellectual gauntlet.

      Like

      1. The one issue that you probably don’t understand, is that I really don’t care. I’ve listened to, taken onboard and worked with other perspectives all my life. Most of what you and others are saying, has been said 10 time in the past. As an old colleague used to say, “there is nothing new under the sun.” This conversation began with my post about photojournalism and those who seek to defang it be being overly cautious about what protesters might think and if others could ID them using our pictures. At the end of the day, that’s their problem. If you put yourself in the street and raise a ruckus, what do you think is going to happen? Thanks for your concern, but don’t worry about me. I’m happy to lay down any intellectual gauntlet you’d like. Prove me wrong. Prove to me that sucking the life out of photography is the right thing to do.

        Like

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