Author: Ray Laskowitz

The Big One


Big storm comin’. Soon. 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.

Louisiana Photography Biennial


What? Two posts in one day? 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.

Plaster Face


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. But. 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. Anyway. 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 …

The Sky


I suppose that I should be used to it by now. 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 …

Rebirth


It looks broken. 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 …

Working


At work. In the French Quarter. 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 …

Street Music


Back to human subjects for a while. 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 …