An abandoned "foodstore" in Central City.
An abandoned “food store” in Central City.

This is about it for my experimental series. I have one more picture, which is of a man reworked in this style. It seems to be quite powerful. I’ll show that to you tomorrow. Then, it’s time to move on… at least for now. As you may recall, I’ve been working on a long form project in Central City, New Orleans. It’s been sort of stalled, even though redevelopment progress  hasn’t stopped. There are new restaurants on both ends of Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, There is a large redevelopment plan coming to fruition on Claiborne Avenue which should provide new shops, a real grocery store and other small businesses on the lake end of the neighborhood. Me? I haven’t worked that as much as should be. But, that’s coming to an end and back I go. That said, one of my biggest issues with the pictures I produced is that they were made in my usual colorful way of working. That seemed to be at odds with the actual content.  You know. The color palette isn’t appropriate for the content.

So.

This bit of experimentation seems to have set a stage for reprocessing the images that are already made in the neighborhood. It’s also provided me with a guide for going forward. Not a blueprint. Blueprints seem to be set in cement too much. My work sort of flows. It depends a lot on what I see. And, how I feel.

This picture may take my experimental style a little too far. I’m not sure I need to scratch the image to drive home the point. But, the faded color works. At least for now. Aside from the new development, most of the neighborhood is still the same. Torn and frayed.  70 % of the housing stock is still uninhabitable. Too many drugs on the street. Too many senseless deaths. I believe that will change. But, it’s a generational thing. I certainly won’t be around for that. So, I can only document what is there. Right now. The things in front of me.

What is this place?

The content is really simple. It’s an abandoned “food store.” That’s a local name, or maybe a Southern name, for a mom and pop grocery store. Prices are usually high because the owners can’t get large distribution deals like your local Winn-Dixie or Kroger. So, they buy from local wholesalers or worse, from big box stores like Costco or Sam’s. By the time they get done marking up their goods, they cost far more than any bigger store would charge. But, for people without transportation, or enough money to buy in quantities like most of us take for granted, these little stores are a life line. They also cash checks. And, sell old school items that you can’t buy anywhere else. Unfortunately, they are usually run by people with no business training or real grocery store experience so they don’t last. They close their doors in the middle of the night. Whatever stock they have left is just abandoned. Eventually, the old store is broken into, pillaged and locked up again. And broken into again, and again…

Oh. If you’re expecting a solution on this page, I have none. I just know that things aren’t right.


Well. The subject is the same as the last few days posts. Another picture of a county fair. Yes. Again. But, the post production is very different. I can’t even remember what I did to this picture. But, you have to admit that it’s not my usual style or color palette.


Okay. Now I’m back from my departure into the real world. Back to the world of experimentation and some kind of an attempt at art. So. This is Victoria Harbor which is a major shipping lane and separates Hong Kong Island and Kowloon and the rest of the New Territories. As you get closer to the heart of the Harbor, it is not so wide anymore as more and more land is reclaimed. I made this picture some time back when I was onboard the ferry to Lantau Island. In those days, the ferry was the only way to get to an island whose land mass is larger than Hong Kong Island. Today, the international airport is located there. So, you can drive or you can take an express MTR train to get there. It’s become all too civilized.

This picture. I’ve been building portfolios which will mostly live on my i-Pad. I’ve been going deep into my files to find hidden gems. Or, lumps of coal. This image was actually made on the old school media called film. It scanned it, uploaded it to my i-Pad and started playing with it. Most of the work was done using Snapseed. 


I photographed a young model about a week ago. The semi-selects are good. And, what you’d expect. But, I always like pictures that get beyond the norm or at least give the viewer some idea of what happens backstage or off the set. This picture was made while the model was getting made up.

So what did I do? From the start, I intentionally used a slower shutter speed to give it a little movement which in my mind made it feel more real. The yellow light is from the location. With that in mind, I didn’t do much post production to correct image flaws. But, I did add a lot to enhance the image to bring it more in line with my vision. I added a slightly grungy feel and I added a Polaroid-like frame. This gave the picture sort of an old school effect.

I like it. What do you think?


 

“A wise man was telling stories to me. About the places he had been to. And the things that he had seen. A quiet voice is singing something to me. An age-old song about the home of the brave. In this land here of the free. One time one night in America.” — David Hildago & Louie Perez/Los Lobos

The lyrics have nothing to do with this picture. But, something was triggered in me last night. It brought me back to something that happened exactly 16 years ago. One that day, my mom passed. She would have liked this song. It is about America today.

Hmmm…. Doesn’t make much sense. Does it?

This picture was made near New Orleans. I was pushing my little Sony cameras about as far as they could go. After all. Hand holding a camera to expose by the light of the moon isn’t easy.

By the way. One Night, One Time is the very first song on the very first Los Lobos album. Good start.

 


I’ve returned to Central City to work on the project. Sometimes it hurts. Too much violence. Too much grief. This is Esther Anderson, the grandmother of five-year old Briana Allen, who was murdered in a crossfire while she was at a birthday party to celebrate a family member’s tenth birthday. She once asked her teacher what color God’s eyes are. I guess she knows now. Peace. 


Everybody around me — myself included — was grumpy. So, we went to the French Quarter. I don’t know why. We just did. We ate at Maspero’s. The real one. The one that is supposed to be a tourist trap. Not the one on Decatur which is supposed to be good.  Surprise. The food was good. The waiter was a good guy. And… they gave us 15% off for a locals discount. I’ve never gotten that in any French Quarter restaurant. But, this post isn’t about the food. It’s about the quarter. It was roaring on a  hot early summer’s night. I mean 92 degrees at 9pm is hot, isn’t it? Every place was busy. We started down Bourbon Street, got bored, made a right turn on Orleans toward Royal and I stumbled into this picture.  I wasn’t heavily armed, but I was carrying my semi-new Sony NEX5, which I think is a great little camera. A few minutes of post production later and here it is. Oh yeah. This is the back of the St Louis Cathedral. Looks a like like Paris to me. Someone told me the reason for the crowds is that there is a giant Baptist Convention in town. Yeah. Like the Baptists are going drinking on Bourbon Street. Good one. 


Testing. Testing. Testing. A new camera. A very little new camera. A camera without a mirror.

When a camera doesn’t use a mirror it doesn’t need a pentaprism, which allows it to be about the size of a deck of playing cards. But, it has the sensor of a DSLR, which means I can use it about like I would a bigger camera. This camera doesn’t appear to have a real downside except that if I were shooting sports or very hard news, it is a little slow. What is this thing? It’s a Sony NEX5N. In case you are wondering Sony makes the sensors for Nikon and Canon and a few other camera manufacturers, which means it is pretty much the industry standard.

Now. The picture? Just a little street musicianship, photographed at night, spun and post-produced my way. In many ways, the whole thingswas an experiment.


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.