Author: Ray Laskowitz

Along the Way


Broken down. Abandoned. Tagged. Left to rot. I have a way of finding these places. Repeatedly. Usually on the way to someplace else. This place happens to be on a corner that I know well. Once I realized where I was, I decided to have a look to see if anything has changed. Nothing has changed. Ever since the doors have been boarded up with four ply sheets of wood, I doubt anybody has been in or out of it. Before that, everybody — even me — went inside to check it out. But that was back in 2011. Or, 2012. Now? Not so much. Although I think some of street types probably could find a way into the rat infested building. The building with stale air. Into the interior where almost anything of any kind of value has been removed. And, sold to the local junk dealers. I didn’t even bother to try to go inside. What would be the point? I just photographed the most graphic side of it. I like the Super …

Into the Crowd


A hard picture to make. And, a very lucky one. Sometimes I like to shoot into the crowd. Wait, wait. That’s not what I meant. I’m not that guy. The crazy guy. With too many guns. Let’s try this. Sometimes I like to photograph into the crowd. There. That’s better. I like to do that with a long lens. It compresses the subject matter. And, used properly long lenses can help me to make a more graphic statement. I rarely use a long lens to get close. I have feet for that. And, knees. And, one good hip. While I was working the Dumaine Street Gang second line, I realized that just about everything I wanted to photograph would be impacted by the crowd, which was pretty good-sized with our nice day and their reputation. So, I played to that. Yesterday’s picture was one way of handling it. Today’s picture is another. Today’s is a harder picture to make, because compression images depend a lot on luck. After all, I couldn’t see what was happening …

We Are All Photographers Now


See what I mean? Look at all those people taking pictures. There are six smartphones that I can count and I think a see a seventh hiding behind the blue umbrella. That’s a lot of pictures made in just a few minutes. That’s a lot of uploads to these folks’ favorite social media. That explains why various social media talk about such high numbers of uploads. It’s also a lot of noise. Not a lot of signal. I mentioned to a Storyteller friend that the marginal to good pictures posted online was at least 80 to 20%, which is an old business ratio. Truth be told, it’s probably about 97% of posted pictures that make up the marginal side. There are so many pictures being posted each day that it is almost impossible for the good ones to be seen. What to do? What to do? What’s a wise man to do? If you are trying to build a career these days it’s tough. You can use various tags as a couple of friends of …

Dumaine Street Gang


I came out. To the streets. Of the place. I thought that I’d photograph the Dumaine Street Gang second line. It was mostly fun. I worked it in slightly  different way. I set out to photograph little slices of it. Trying to capture the entire sense of the second line is almost impossible in Treme’s tight streets. Next time, I’m not going to stand where we all stand, at the coming out place. It’s too hard to get ahead of a second line once the first line passes by. Especially in those tight streets. And, with my slow speed. These days. A word about this trumpet player. I don’t know him. But, whew. Mostly what I hear on the route is sort of a chaotic blaring of music. It heard that. But, this guy… he was wrapping wonderful notes all around the inside of the song. And, he kept doing it as he and I walked. The picture. Sometimes I start to wonder if I can produce a straight, documentary photograph. I think I proved …

Smile


I made a few new pictures. New work. Seasonal work. Spooky work. You’ll see. They say that all art is autobiographical. I agree. To a point. Even though I’m going through a burnt out phase, I’m not feeling dark. I’m not sure that you can really find that in my work because of the way I work. I photograph what I see. I suppose that I could be looking for things that are dark. However, this picture is the result of the dog “who sees things” wanting to go for a walk around dusk. It could also be the way many people are seeing the world. Me included. We are passing through a very dangerous time. A time when lies are passed off as truth. When up is down. When we have been told to only trust one person. That’s rich. That person lies as easily as he breathes. You know. I’m not really feeling that way. I’m just looking for a way of moving forward. That’s hard. It’s always hard. I think it’s best …


One from the past. In Central City. Looking at the picture now I see a lot of squares or boxes. Sort of like a rough Mondrian. Only different. I think that I might have some new work tonight. I have choices. I can photograph the start of the Christmas season with a bonfire in Algiers across the Mississippi River, but still in New Orleans. Or. I can photograph the Krewe of Krampus. This is their second year. The parade is for bad kids at Christmas. Like me. My problem is simple. They both start and finish at about the same time. So. I have to pick. I’m inclined to work on Krampus because there are the big bonfires upriver on Christmas Eve. I know, I know. Christmas Eve. But, it’s fairly early in the evening and we can be back in time for revillion dinner. Maybe even midnight mass Choices. That makes me feel better. But, not that much better. These are events I enjoy. I’m not going to rush back to post. You will …

Love and Mercy


It was the first song I heard this morning. It stunned me. It’s an old Brian Wilson song called “Love and Mercy.” He more or less gave it to the Miraculous Love Kids/Girl with a Guitar. Not only did he approve it, but he reworked it by singing with the girls. They were in Afghanistan. He was in Los Angeles. The project came to be when two young Afghani girls were killed by an IED that was meant for U.S soldiers.  Innocents killed. Again. Note. I tried to give you a link to it. I’m not very good at that, which is why I normally don’t share the music I sometimes talk about. Even when I manage to do it, I have no idea how to do what many of you do and attach the link to words on your page without showing the link. You click on a word and takes you to wherever. Not for me. Today it got worse. I did what I was told. I pasted the link to my clipboard. …

Into the Light


This is another one. It is a picture that I overlooked because I was trying to make a picture of the full moon. This picture obviously failed. Or, did it? If I was only trying to photograph the moon, for sure, it failed. If I was trying to make something a little different from the usual than it succeeded. At least it did for me. You may be walking away, shaking your head and laughing. “You call THAT a picture?” Oh yeah. The moon is the little round white light towards the left bottom center of the picture. Anyway. Let this be a lesson to us all. Especially me. Don’t chimp. Don’t delete. Don’t even look at questionable pictures for a couple of days. And, when you do, make sure that you look at them on a big monitor. Those itty bitty LCDs on the back of your camera or on the front of your phone are next to useless when it comes to evaluating a picture. I keep yammering away about that. I hope …

Red, White & Blue


While many of you in the Northern Hemisphere are already having wintry days with snow and very cold temperatures, we in the Gulf Coast are finally in the middle of something that looks like fall. Make no mistake. I’m not crowing over it. I know there are those of you who are cold. And, are dreading a long cold, dark winter. I like cold. I like snow. I get it. When you have to live in it, it’s not fun. But, it’s been a long time since I had to do that. It’s likely that my old hip and back would hate it. But… The picture. It was almost a throw away. It came at the end of a dog walk. I never could frame it properly. I had to crop it in post production. But, I didn’t self edit in the field. I didn’t delete in camera — or phone, as was the case. I looked at it on a big screen and thought that it had possibilities. So away I went. I worked …

Whenever You Need It


Another storm picture. Rain never stops us. I think a lot of us were fooled because we weren’t ready for the intensity of the rainfall. Never trust the weather people on your local news. They mean well, but if I got about 90% of what I said wrong, I’d fire myself. I’ll talk about this picture. That’s it for today. I made it with my new magic smart phone. This is the one that makes a 12 megapixel file. Usually, I process in the phone with Snapseed. I started thinking that I didn’t really like the final product, so I started experimenting by downloading the file to my main machine and using onOne to develop it and do the finishing post production. What a difference. The newest version, OnOne Photo RAW 2019, even has a template for making words. At this point, I cull in Photo Mechanic and Edit in OnOne and that’s it. Goodbye Adobe. Again. Finally. I don’t have to pay $9.99 a month forever. Keeping today photographic, more about this picture. The …