Author: Ray Laskowitz

About Morning Light


Painting with light. Or, drawing with light. That’s photography. That’s what word means in Greek. That’s what we do. That’s what photographers do. We chase the light in order to make a meaningful picture. If we’ve managed to do that, our next step is to make the picture look like our vision. The one we have in our heads. A few people can do that in camera. But, that takes a lot of gear in the field. Lights. Tripods. Filters. Maybe a tethered computer. Other people do that in the studio. Not the photography studio. The digital studio. That’s what I do. I have a pretty good idea of what I want my finished picture to look like. It’s never complete when I push the button. It is complete once I work on it using various photo editing softwares. Well, may not entirely. I believe the picture teaches you what to do. A picture that I finished one way a year or two ago, may get finished yet another way a week or two ago. …

Turn the World Around


This place. One time. This isn’t just any field. Any forest. This is someone’s front lawn. There was a house here. Once. This is the Lower 9th Ward. Yeah, yeah. Sure. Some of it has been restored. Generally the middle part where Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Homes have been built. Those were built fairly early in the restoration of New Orleans. They look a little faded. The look a little worn. They were and are and good idea. But, Southeast Louisiana weather seems to be getting the better of them. That’s another story. The story is that this place is a food desert. A desert that stretches from well within the border of St Bernard Parish to the middle of The French Quarter where there is a small Rouses. That’s a regional grocery company who expanded after the storm. Yeah. there are a few “food stores” here and there. Stores like Chicken Mart, or Brothers, which is really a gas station. Prices are high and the selection? Well, let’s say it ain’t great. There …

Wires


It’s not that place. It’s a different one. It appears to be lost in time. As do I. Because, I’m not making very many new pictures these days. Except for this one. I saw it. I pushed the button. On my iPhone. The sky was sort of milky just before it turned colorful. I took the colorful pictures also. But, from the minute I saw the quieter version, I knew what I was going to in post production. I did this. A painting. Without using painting software. I’ll get back to that in a bit. That’s the first time for that sort of continuous thought. Usually, I make the picture and tinker around. There was no tinkering this time. I knew exactly where to go. I suppose there was a little experimentation on my way to creating my vision. But, the steps were intentional. About painting software. I don’t use it. I’ve tested it. I think it is trying too hard. You know. Push a button for watercolor. Or, push a button for Van Gogh. I …

Fall Finally


Fall fell finally. Like that alliteration? The weather isn’t going to be all that different. The temperatures will drop by 10 or 15 degrees. That’s it. Eighty degree weather will return by the end of the week. If the humidity remains on the low side that will be fine. If not, it’s bait and switch. So. I decided to make a washed out icon. Originally, the picture was bright. The leaf was red. I made it to look old. Using some approximations of old techniques. Older than even film. More like an etching. It works for me.

Drifting


I’m not there yet. But, I will be. I made this picture on New Mexico Route 43. I stopped because the abandoned buildings caught my eye. There was barbed wire fence and a lot of no trespassing signs. Normally, I don’t pay much attention. If somebody stops me I just speak in another language even if I don’t speak much of it. I look confused and that’s the end of it. This is one of those tips that I suggest you never try. Me? I’m fearless with a camera. For some reason I decided to heed the warning sign. I can’t remember why. Probably, I caught a little motion out of the corner of my eye. And, my warning bells went off. Anyway. This is a newer, more gentle way of processing. I’m told it’s more contemporary. When was the last time I ever did something because it was new and contemporary? I don’t care about those things. I’m just experimenting.

Santa Fe


” She’s a good girl, loves her mama, Loves Jesus and America too She’s a good girl, crazy ’bout Elvis, Loves horses and her boyfriend too It’s a long day livin’ in Reseda, There’s a freeway runnin’ through the yard And I’m a bad boy, ’cause I don’t even miss her, I’m a bad boy for breakin’ her heart And I’m free, free fallin’, Yeah I’m free, free fallin’, All the vampires walkin’ through the valley Move west down Ventura Blvd. ,And all the bad boys are standing in the shadows All the good girls are home with broken hearts,  And I’m free, free fallin’, Yeah I’m free, free fallin’ Free fallin’, now I’m free fallin’, Now I’m, Free fallin’, now I’m free fallin’ I wanna glide down over Mulholland,  I wanna write her name in the sky I’m gonna free fall out into nothin’,  Gonna leave this world for awhile And I’m free, free fallin’, Yeah I’m free, free fallin’,  Yeah I’m free, free fallin’ Oh! Free fallin’,  Now I’m free,  Oh! , Free fallin’ “ — …

My Mood


Yes. This picture is a little bleak. For a Friday. It’s 90 degrees outside. An NOPD officer was shot and killed early this morning. We actually like our cops. Now I have to tell the beat cops who pass by our neighborhood that I’m sorry for their loss. I don’t want to tell them that. I don’t want them to have a loss. I’m worn out by that moron in The White House who is intent on hurting as many people as he can. Oh, ending subsidies for those who can’t afford to pay for the most basic of needs — health insurance — is just a way to get Democrats to the bargaining table. I see. I get it. Let’s kill off about 7 million people if the Democrats won’t bargain. I’m worn out by nature. Fires. Earthquakes. Hurricanes. Floods. Maybe some pestilence in Puerto Rico because they don’t have clean drinking water yet. I’m worn out by never-ending and forgotten wars. The United States isn’t going to win anything in the graveyard of …

Dreaming


I can dream, can’t I? I made this picture in The Sandias, in New Mexico. In late fall. Look. There are little bits of ice and snow in the picture. It was cold. But, not that cold. Meanwhile. In the land of swamps and gators, the temperature is 83, heading to 86 degrees as I write. At 83 degrees we have a “feels like” temperature of 91.  We may have a cooling trend early next week when the high will be around 78 with the low around 59. It didn’t use to be this way this late into October. Kind of makes you wonder doesn’t it? You’d think that I would have grown used to this weather after living down here for so long. Nooooo. I really like cooler, drier weather. Yet, we stay. Talk about the definition of insanity. I’m going to leave most political commentary aside except for this. In New Orleans, 12 years after Hurricane Katrina made landfall, I’d say that we are still recovering. On the surface, it doesn’t look that …

When I Remember


It’s gotten away from me. A little. With all the news; hurricanes, mass shootings, fires, floods and stupidity from the White House, I seem to have forgotten one of the most important seasons in New Orleans. So, let’s get back to it. Halloween. When I remember. This is the real deal. It isn’t a house decorated for the season.  It’s a house that isn’t quite abandoned, but is getting very close to it. The door is locked. Yes. I tried it. The window covering is in tatters. It was too dark to see inside. Who knows what is lurking inside. A ghost. A vampire. A ghoul. The monster who lives in your dreams. Or, the monster who lives in washington, D.C. I swore I wouldn’t do that today. Instead, I promised myself that I’d do a little publicity. There is a new vampire book out there. It’s called Monsters & Angels. It’s set in New Orleans. In the 1930s. There is a lot of blue in it. Blue on the cover. Blue in the characters. …

California


California. I make a big deal of being born in Brooklyn. I make a bigger deal about living in New Orleans. But, I spent most of my time in between living in California. I grew up there. I went to high school there. I went to college there. The earliest days of my career started there. California always tugs at my heartstrings. Now it’s on fire. Wildfires are big, fast-moving, dangerous things. Usually, they burn large sections of uninhabited countryside. Maybe a few buildings are involved. Maybe structural loss is numbered in the hundreds. Some people lost their property but not their lives. Not this time. One of the fires burned about half of a small city. Santa Rosa. Structural loss is numbered in the thousands. Eleven people have died there. The land around Napa and Sonoma —  California’s big wine region — has been either been burnt, or has heavy smoke damage which makes the surviving grapevines unusable. After all, nobody wants to drink smokey Cabernet. It takes about five years for a grape …