I’ve been working a lot in New Orleans Central City on a large project. Every now and then, I just cruise through, taking a look to see what I missed in a more general sense. One night — the same night — that I made the picture I posted yesterday as “the dark end of the street “– I happened to stop by a building that I call the castle. I made a few pictures and then the building that you see in this post caught my eye. It is ramshackle and falling apart. But, something about the warm yellow light coming from the windows contrasted with the blue-green light of dusk on the building’s walls seemed to make an inviting picture. So I made the picture. Normally, I try to square it up; either by framing it when I push the button. Or, by cropping and tilting it. Not in this case. The odd angles seem to enhance the effect that I saw in my mind’s eye. Here’s a detail that I saw when I was there. On the second story there are five openings. From the left, one is a window. One is boarded up with a piece of plywood. The next opening is a door that is made from solid storm shutters. It appears to open onto a deck that wouldn’t hold much weight. To make matters worse, look at the railing. A lawsuit in progress.
So. Once I got some power, I wanted to look around. I photographed whatever I saw. Sometimes I made a picture worth talking about. Mostly, I didn’t. But, there is this little picture. It is literally a drive by shooting. Have a close look at this picture. There is a guy lurking in the background, probably wondering what I was doing. Likely, he thought I was up to no good. He was right. After all, taking his picture…
… side of the street. I’ve been posting pictures of various windows that are frosted by condensation created when the hot, humid air of a New Orleans summer bumps against a window that has been chilled by the cold, air-conditioning that is found almost everywhere when you duck inside. This little semi-natural phenomenon is usually found on the shady side of the street where outdoor moisture lingers. But, what happens on the sunny side? Well, the windows are bright and look like they normally do since the warm sunlight burns away just enough of the moisture in the air to keep the windows clear. Anyway. I think that’s what happens.
For folks who come to The French Quarter mostly to party, they might be surprised to find that The Quarter has some great art galleries, clothing stores and even home furnishing stores. I photographed this picture in a window of one such store that is located on Royal Street. Not much to it. It is simply f8 and be there. And, post production was very simple. Sharpen, brighten and increase the saturation just a bit. That’s it. The picture is pretty much as it found me.
I wasn’t going to post this picture based on some of the response to yesterday’s picture. But, I like this picture. A lot. It’s not exactly fashion. It’s not exactly a portrait. It’s just a picture that captures the movement. I like the energy. And, I like the spontaneity. The model is a young teenager of 14 called, Layla. She and her mom want to break her into modeling. It’s a simple picture that was made in a loft-like building with great light so almost no lighting help was needed. Post production was minimal. But, I did use on an OnOne plug-in that allowed me to help the picture glow a little.
There are days when I’m a little tired of being in the heat — which is seemingly everywhere these days — or traveling, and I just want to hide out somewhere. It’s on those days when I start looking in drawers and closets for something to photograph. This is a picture of my dad’s old watch-making parts an pieces. I have no idea what they are except that some are springs for old watches. No. My dad wasn’t a watchmaker by trade. He just liked messing around with them. Oh yeah. I’ve also played with the file… a lot.
I was in a local grocery story when this guy comes in with a beat up old guitar and starts playing Beatles songs. He was actually pretty good. Nobody made a move to stop him, not even store management. I thought that was great. Let him play. Oh. This is an i-Phone picture. They say the best camera is the one that you have with you. This picture might prove that point.
I seem to be on a roll with Ry Cooder songs. Most of these songs are from an album called I, Flathead. Strange desert, country music with a Ry Cooder twist. Makes me think of some of the stranger places that I’ve photographed along Route 66 for that project. So. These pictures were made in a couple of locations. Some were made in Gallup. Others were made in a place called Budville. And, some were made near Continental Divide just over the border in New Mexico when you are traveling east from Arizona. The thing about these places is that you can see most of them from Interstate 40. But, they get much more interesting when you get off I-40 and drive the bits and pieces of what’s left of Old Route 66. Technically, there really isn’t much more to making these pictures that “see the picture, take the picture.”
Summertime means traveling. It means tourist season. And, road trips. While I’m perfectly at home in some five star hotel where my every wish is their command, I really like dumps.You know. Old motor courts. Motels. No tell motels. The places where they haven’t seen a credit card in five years. The ones that are designed in the shape of a cowboy hat, or a tee-pee. It’s sort of that “get your kicks on Route 66” sort of thing. The places where your wish is nobody’s command. And, they’ll tell you that. It’s a kind of special living Americana.
This place isn’t a place any more. It’s part of the group of old neon signs that you find near Fremont Street in Las Vegas, Nevada. Most it is sort of on loan from the Neon Museum, which is closed for renovation every time I’m in Las Vegas. If went there frequently, I’d be suspicious. But, since I don’t, I guess that maybe the timing is just off. Or not. Maybe I should be suspicious. Even though this sign is a kind of tourist attraction, check out the light bulbs. Some haven’t been changed in a long while. Perfect.
New York City. What does it mean to you? And, you? And, you? Different things probably. To me, it’s a city that never sleeps. It’s a city of amazingly high energy. It’s sparkles and it shimmers. Don’t misunderstand me. I love other cities as well. But, for different reasons. I love Hong Kong. Oh, boy. Do I love being in Hong Kong. I love Shanghai. I love Paris. I love San Francisco and it may seem odd, but I even like Los Angeles. And, of course, I love the city in which I live — New Orleans. But, New York… Whew.
So. This picture. It’s elderly. It’s a signature picture. It was made on film. It was made from the observation deck of The Empire State Building and shows a glimmering Chrysler Building surrounded by a shimmering city. For me, that says New York. It’s a happy picture. We could all use a little dose of happy about now. Don’t you think?