Or. Something like that. This picture was made at night. The Garden District, especially at night, has a very spooky look and feel to it. You can just feel the ghostly presence. It should. And, you should. It is a very old area in a city that is very old in itself. Many of the old mansions are crumbling. Some are not. Before Anne Rice fled to San Diego, she lived in the Garden District. Now she wants to come back. She misses the ghosts. When they are in town, John Goodman and Sandra Bullock live within a few blocks of each other. They are spooky. Don’t you think?
This is an old carriage house. The mansion to which it belongs is huge. Given the state of the carriage house, I’m pretty sure this is one of those old mansions that is grand in name only. In New Orleans, and I suppose in plenty of other cities, once-monied families hold onto to their family property even though they no longer have the money to maintain it properly. I know it happens with more blue-collar families, since there are over 65,000 abandoned and blighted homes in the city But. That’s a whole other story.
At night. Hand held — not a great idea. But, sort of accidental. Post production done to bring the brightly-colored image back into something that speaks to the real scene. Run down. Eerie. Decrepit.
Usually, the phrase “white picket fence” means something about American Traditionalism. It is sort of an icon that speaks to a certain kind of life — sort of a dream — to which you aspire. Those standards probably have changed. That dream seems a little shopworn. Or not. Depends on who you are, and what you believe. I swear that I didn’t make this picture with any of that in mind. For me, it was a way of changing the usually framing. But, once I started working on post production. The picture took on a life of its own. That usually happens. Many musicians say that if you play a song repeatedly, the song itself will teach you how to play it. So too with pictures. If you mess with them long enough, they’ll teach you how to make them.
As part of my Central City series I’ve visited a number of merchants, business and stores. One of the most interesting is called The Bank and sells reclaimed details from old houses that were either torn down or otherwise destroyed. They also manufacture what I would call replica parts as well. One day I was poking around in their warehouse when I stumbled upon this little scene. I wondered who is she? When was the portrait made? How did it come to be left in a house that was abandoned and eventually torn down?
I can answer the last question. Maybe. The picture might have been left in a house that was flooded by Hurricane Katrina. Contrary to popular belief, a lot of houses that were reached by flood waters were not entirely flooded. In some cases, the waters only reached in the house by a few inches. Others, a foot or so. But, it was a very hot summer in 2005. If you could not get back into your home for any length of time, mold and water rot did their nasty jobs. Many people in Central City could not repair their homes for a whole host of reasons and simply left them. When they evacuated, they took what they could carry. Pictures like the one in my photograph were simply left behind.
Freret Street is sort of the business model that the redevelopment model of Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard is based on. The blog is called I’m Black ‘n I Travel. It is written by and old friend and former colleague of mine, Greg Gross. He is an old school journalist. He also was raised in Central City. He lives in San Diego, California. We’ll get to Central City in later posts on Greg’s blog.
Sometimes you get the right light and weather conditions. Sometimes, you don’t. I think I got those two right. I’m not so sure the subject holds up. On the other hand, French Quarter roofs are pretty interesting. So. Here it is.
I was looking at this picture that I made in Admiralty, Hong Kong and realized just how power the island had become. Most of the buildings that form the backdrop of this image are banks. major banks with their Asian home offices located in Hong Kong. The pinkish buildings in the foreground are housing estates, or apartment buildings for you in the west. yes, the image has been worked on in post production. The original image lacked something. Well,make that a lot of somethings. I’m not sure the image gained all that much, but at least it looks like a picture of a powerful and dynamic city. That’s Hong Kong.
Everybody knows this place. But, they know it from a different angle. This is the famous San Francisco de Asis church in Rancho de Taos, New Mexico. Viewed from its back side, which faces the road, it is probably one of the most painted and photographed places in The United States. But, seen from the front it almost looks like just about any New Mexican church that is surrounded by a village plaza.
The picture. If you make a time exposure in deep shadow that natural blues in the cold light will appear.
However, I did enhance this image to make it look my mind’s eye saw it. Here’s the deal. When we make a picture of a scene there was something that attracted us to it. But, quite often neither a digital capture of an exposure made on a piece of film — remember that — can capture the scene as we remember it. That’s due to the limitations of chemistry, optics or even physics.So, I chose to help the picture along in post production. There is also an opposing philosophy that says the picture should look exactly as the camera captured it. Some photographers make a big deal of that. Why? The photographer whose name everybody knows is Ansel Adams. He never left the image alone as it came from the camera. In fact, he created an entire method of developing and printing the picture called The Zone System. He sought to improve the raw image and turn it into the image he saw when he actually pushed the shutter release button.
Well, I’m looking back. But, not so far back given that March just ended yesterday. Please take a look at my small collection of pictures from what appears to be my never-ending project called, PAD, or picture a day. I started this thing four years ago. Every time that I reach the end of one year, I stop the project thinking, “that’s enough.” A strange thing happens. After a few days, or a week or a month, I started to miss it and so back to the project I go. Usually I try to set some kind of semi-important date. My birthday. My other birthday. The New Year. The Lunar New Year. Something like that.
Here are my images for March. Some of you have seen some of them as I tend to post some of the better images as I produce them.
When I lived in New Mexico, I used to make a lot of pictures on Route 66. It was an easy “go to.” After all, old Route 66 runs east, west, north and south in Albuquerque. Yes. It’s true. The pre-1937 Route 66 comes down From santa Fe in the north and can be traced down to Los Lunas in the south where it turns left on the map and heads west. After 1937, Route 66 was made a little more direct east-west highway, and ran along what is now Central Avenue. That’s the short story. There’s a lot more.
These pictures were made for a piece of a book project and were made from Albuquerque, west to Seligman, Arizona. As they say, all art is about the maker. Although these pictures might not look it, they are personal to me. They bring back memories of my childhood when my parents liked to travel to The Southwest on vacations and holidays. Some of the landmarks from my childhood are still landmarks for me today. Some are gone. Some are changed. Sort of like life, eh?
A peaceful Sunday. A little break. Three pictures. Quiet pictures. Made at different times and places. For different reasons. The three of them are: Taos Dusk, Bamboo and Morning Spider Web. Yes. I have some shot back stories to share.
Taos Dusk. Everybody photographs this place. Everybody paints it. Ansel Adams made a landmark photograph there. Georgia O’Keeffe painted it. Just about every photographer and painter who is on some kind of Southwestern trip stops there so who am I to try to photograph it? This place is located in Rancho de Taos a few miles away from the town of Taos. It’s real name is San Francisco de Asis. And, why the try to capture it in some way? How would I make my own statement? How would I make a picture that is a little different? I had no idea. I’ve photographed it in the past and the pictures were okay. Just okay. So, I was out looking around in the fields and roads just behind the church when the late afternoon light started turning into an exciting and bold dusk. I got to the church just as the light was at its most striking. I made maybe 20 frames. This image is the result. It is sort of my signature piece of the location. Nature did it. I didn’t. Sometimes, that’s how it works.
Bamboo. Need a quiet place to take a break in the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong? Head to the cemeteries in Wan Chai. They are located almost in Happy Valley. They are beautiful and very quiet, yet just outside their gates the streets are roaring with traffic and people. There are three. Muslim, Indian and Christian. As you wander through them you might find a stand of bamboo. What am I saying? Might? You’ll find bamboo everywhere. The day that I was there was warm, but not the hot like the weather is in July and August. There was a nice breeze so I slowed down the camera’s shutter speed, and popped a little flash. More nature. Mixed with a little technical skill. Very little technical skill.
Glistening Spider Web. Yet another storm story. Three hurricanes in 2005 that struck somewhere in Louisiana. The first was Cindy. Originally, it was called a tropical storm. But, insurance findings later caused it to be upgraded. Get that? INSURANCE findings. The last two are better known. They are hurricanes Katrina and Rita. After Katrina, I re-located to Lake Charles, Louisiana. That seemed fine… for a few weeks, when along came Rita and another evacuation. Good thing too. Rita touched down at Sabine Pass, just about 70 miles from Lake Charles. It was brutal. The evacuation was hellish for everybody. It was a super hot summer. Houston, Texas was threatened by the storm. The main highways became parking lots. Cars ran out of gas on them. People ran out of food and water on them. You couldn’t budge for hours. So, I took back roads aways from Lake Charles. There were no motels available that would take pets until I reached Mountain Home, Arkansas. There, I found a Best Western that took in everybody. Best news was that FEMA/Red Cross paid the bill. But, that drive took 18 hours as compared to 7 when we made our way back to Lake Charles. 3am and I’m wired as I could be from the drive. But, I did fall asleep… until 6am. I awoke and decided to take a walk. It turned out that this little B
est Western had a beautiful garden that was a cross between something Asian and an English garden. I always carry a camera. This is the first picture I made after the hell that was Katrina and Rita. It had to be peaceful. I needed that.
Relax! Let you eyes wonder and quiet your mind with some visual therapy. A picture is always more than you can see. You will also find my own illustrations about things I find funny and interesting. Have some fun, life is short!