I actually went out looking for pictures. Admittedly, I had some errands to run near The Bywater. I used that to get me out and about. Away from the usual. Once upon a time, places like this used to be the usual. For me. Maybe, it’ll come back to me.
The picture. An abandoned pay phone and part of the building behind it. I made a normal picture. With a real camera. Then I did my tinkering and playing. On big boy software. On a big machine. This is the result.
Anyway, I was going to drop off some framed art for a juried show.
This juried show. I suppose for the next year, we are going to be all things Fats Domino. Not a bad thing to be. I just signed a petition to change Lee Circle — now that the statue of Robert I Lee is gone — into Domino Circle. Let’s see what happens.
I made this picture on New Mexico Route 43. I stopped because the abandoned buildings caught my eye. There was barbed wire fence and a lot of no trespassing signs. Normally, I don’t pay much attention. If somebody stops me I just speak in another language even if I don’t speak much of it. I look confused and that’s the end of it. This is one of those tips that I suggest you never try. Me? I’m fearless with a camera.
For some reason I decided to heed the warning sign. I can’t remember why. Probably, I caught a little motion out of the corner of my eye. And, my warning bells went off.
This is a newer, more gentle way of processing. I’m told it’s more contemporary. When was the last time I ever did something because it was new and contemporary? I don’t care about those things. I’m just experimenting.
With all the news; hurricanes, mass shootings, fires, floods and stupidity from the White House, I seem to have forgotten one of the most important seasons in New Orleans.
So, let’s get back to it.
Halloween. When I remember.
This is the real deal. It isn’t a house decorated for the season. It’s a house that isn’t quite abandoned, but is getting very close to it. The door is locked. Yes. I tried it. The window covering is in tatters. It was too dark to see inside. Who knows what is lurking inside. A ghost. A vampire. A ghoul. The monster who lives in your dreams. Or, the monster who lives in washington, D.C.
I swore I wouldn’t do that today.
Instead, I promised myself that I’d do a little publicity. There is a new vampire book out there. It’s called Monsters & Angels. It’s set in New Orleans. In the 1930s. There is a lot of blue in it. Blue on the cover. Blue in the characters. Blue in the author’s hair. It’s a wonderful book. And, that is coming from someone who doesn’t often read the genre. Oh yeah. I almost forgot. The author’s name. Jeezum. (That’s New Orleanian for sheesh) Anne Marie (I’m glad I just checked) Andrus.
The picture. Really. I stumbled upon the house. I don’t think that I could find it now or two days later. Yes, I worked some of my post production magic to bringing it to life. But, not too much. or, for too long.
The city is under curfew starting at 7pm tonight. The state’s curfew is 8pm. Some areas outside of the levee system have been evacuated.
Hurricane Nate will make landfall at sometime near 1am and be gone well before 7am. We are only expecting 1 to 4 inches of rain. Now, the city official are calling it a wind event.
The storm cone has shifted well to the east. It looks like Nate will make landfall somewhere between the Mississippi border and Mobile, Alabama. Bad for them. Good for us. I wish them no harm, but… I have to look after my own.
I expect very little damage since the wind strength is at its highest on the eastern edge of a hurricane. We are on the west. I do expect to lose power since two squirrels on a power line can cause a power failure. I do expect parts of New Orleans to flood. Our fragile water pumping system breaks down, or catches fire, every chance it gets.
So. That’s the story at noon. It could change. It will change.
The picture. A friend of mine keeps asking where this place is located. I told him. He won’t like it even if he finds it, which I’m sure he can since I gave him precise directions. “It’s behind my doctor’s office,” I said. What more could he possibly need?
These old trains aren’t stored — or, dumped — on railroad land. That makes breaking through the no trespassing fence a little less illegal. Not that I would ever do that. The difference between the penalties are federal and local. And, maybe getting shot. Apparently, there was a deal made between the medical and railroad folks for this little corner of track and surrounding land.
These trains have been moved around as the medical complex on which they are parked needs more land. I reckon they are safe for a long while because they are pushed into a corner of the land that is fairly unbuildable and well behind where the medical staff parks. But, you never know.
They are fairly rusty and abandoned. They’d be scrap except that they are sort of last in breed in this region. I just helped them along in post production.
With all the big issues going on in the world — the potential of nuclear war, raging forest fires in the west, three major hurricane hits to the country, failed legislation, broken campaign promises, the Russian investigations and seemingly being at war with everybody including his own party and Congress — the sitting president thought it was a good idea to attack the NFL and peacefully protesting professional athletes.
There was no reason to do this. Except he that is the divider, not the uniter. And, he was speaking to his base in Alabama. Oh, there’s another reason. One that I’ve been hammering at this week. The color of a person’s skin.
There might be another.
As we all know, our very thin-skinned president cannot let even the slightest of slights pass without trying to punch back. The NFL owners never liked him. He was too sleazy for even them. He tried an end around and bought a team in the soon to fail USFL, hoping to bully his way into the NFL. No way. No how. They wouldn’t let him into their circle. Attacking them last weekend was a measure of payback. You and I both know that he doesn’t care about the flag or The National Anthem. After all, they aren’t about him.
Meanwhile in Puerto Rico, the bully in chief finally relented this morning and signed The Jones Act waver, after first saying that the shippers didn’t like it because it amounted more competition. Too bad. Lives are at stake. An entire island depends on it. Now, what I’m trying to figure out, is why tons of supplies have not been released from the docks, where they have been stockpiled for days. In the words of Sherman T. Potter of the old television series M.A.S.H, I think I see some “cahootinizing” going on.
All I know is follow the money.
The picture. Cadillac Ranch. Near Amarillo, Texas. I think everybody who fancies themselves to be a travel photographer has photographed this place at one time or another.
My point? The painted American Flag. OMG! Maybe the clown with the crown (he thinks) can attack this place in a tweet.
Since so many things that are common knowledge seem to amaze him when he finds out about them, I doubt he knows this place.
Everybody. Keep your eye on the ball. And, don’t be denied.
This is what remains. Before it is taken down. Carted off for scrap. Left to rot in the land fill. I haven’t been to this neighborhood in a long while. I don’t want to get shot. I doubt this building is still standing. There are other pictures in my archive that have been made from a side view. It is interesting to note that the house was leaning heavily to the right. The next time that I went back, more parts fell off. It was leaning to the left. Usually, when I building sort of rocks back and forth, the next step is collapse. We call that demolition by neglect.
Speaking of archives. And, collapse.
One of you kindly wrote that even if I can’t shoot second lines, masked indians and the culture anymore that it didn’t matter because my old archives would eventually surface here.
Nope. No way. No how.
It may be nothing more than a point of pride, but the only pictures from those collections that make it here, or anywhere for that matter, are the best, the ones with the peak decisive moment, and the newest. The rest of that days work are out takes. They live in my files only because I’m old school and I never throw away an image. I don’t delete.
If I say that I’m done then I’m done. I don’t like it much. It speaks about getting old. I’m giving up something that I really like to do. And, I miss the companionship. I will occasionally come out for something like I did last week. A second line for a person who was a friend to us all. I’ll do it for a jazz funeral… if I know the person being honored. But, that’s different. You know why.
This picture is about me. I asked yesterday what the picture meant to you. Some of you answered. Cool and thank you. There’s a lot of post production going on. But, it’s sneaky. Subtle. Even, maybe, sublime. Sublime is about the last thing that you’d ever say about my work. And yet.
I seem to be stuck in a western mode. That could be telling me something. Maybe a long road trip is due. But, it would be really long. I’m not going to take this trip many more times. So, I probably should make the best of it. And, just go.
Of course, there are complications. I have to fit it into an already busy schedule. And, then there is Storyteller. I don’t have the need to take a break like I did last summer. I fixed that overworked problem. Now, I look forward to working here. Like many things, it was mostly an attitude adjustment. I suppose that I could do what I really never do, and post from the road. The easiest way to do that is to photograph some scenes twice. Once with cameras and once with my smart phone.
I’m also trying to decide about the timing. If I traveled during summer, which is fast approaching, the weather would be hot and the pictures would have sort of a nostalgic feeling. It would harken back to the days of family road trips. If I waited until fall…well, you know. The light and color would be outstanding. But, it would look and feel much different from summer pictures.
We’ll see. I do have to move soon.
The picture. This was made with a digital camera, as opposed to being made on film. A friend of mine asked via an email what the difference is. This picture feels completely different to me. It’s probably technically superior to the film-based pictures. But, it feels too sharp and mechanical. Even with my tinkering. That’s still not to say one is better than the other. They are just different.
Where did I make this image? New Mexico. Those of you who live and work there will know this place. Those of you who don’t, but like to photograph this kind of stuff, won’t. Oh well. Reciprocation is fine. But, many people want locations and such, but refuse to share theirs. There is no mystery to this place. Still…
After his early super success, Neil Young needed a break. As he famously said, “when things get a little too middle of the road, I head straight for the ditch where things are much more interesting.” And, so the “Ditch Trilogy” was born. Three albums. That the general public didn’t understand. Or, really like. He didn’t care. He just wanted to make music.
During my time in New Mexico, I poked around just about everywhere. I found this little abandoned church on a side street. The parish, itself, had moved just down the street. An artist lived in what was originally the church. I passed by again and again. Finally, the winter light was amazing. I took this picture.
That’s the thing. Maybe a little lesson. We all like to travel. At least we say that we do. Right now, I’m a little burnt on traveling. That’s another story. I’ll get over it.
Usually, when most of us travel we don’t stay in one place long enough to get to know it. We are there for a couple of days. Maybe a week. We have a mini bucket list of things to see. To do. That’s great and all of that.
We really don’t get the feel for a place. We don’t learn the ebb and flow. For a photographer, almost every good picture we make is really just a matter of luck. Of timing. Sure. We can game the trip a little. We can work at the ends of the day. Dawn. Dusk. The light is surely better then. We still don’t know the place. That just takes time to settle in. To be there. Just to be.
That’s when the pictures get good. Really good.
Here’s my suggestion. For photographers and non photographers. The next time that you get the urge to roam, go some place that isn’t so far from home. Or, fly to one place. Hang out there. Make pictures if that’s what you do. Relax if you aren’t a picture maker. I’m pretty sure your pictures will be better. More meaningful.
For those whose prime mission is not to take pictures, you know that feeling of needing a vacation from your vacation? You won’t have that feeling. You’ll return home relaxed and smiling.
I’m not going to the political side of things. Enough.
We lost another musician. A man described by Bob Dylan as being the number one songwriter, mostly because Dylan sees himself as number zero. So far set apart that he’s some place else. It’s not ego. It just is.
If you read the rest of Dylan’s comments you know that he held this man in highest regard. While Dylan tosses songs off in 15 minutes, it often took this cat two or three years of writing to get this work to the point that he was comfortable showing it to the world.
Leonard Cohen left us last night. I hope that, as he said in his last interview, it wasn’t too uncomfortable. He is already missed. Greatly.
I’m lucky. I got to see him with the band on my link a couple of times. During his last tour. Ever.
This has been an almost unbearable week. It doesn’t stop with the election or with Mr. Cohen’s passing.
That dog. The one who sees stuff. Has something going on with her liver. Before I hit the road, she was taking two antibiotics and a liver builder because her enzyme numbers were high. Yesterday, her blood work was studied again. The numbers got worse. Next is an ultra sound and a Cushing’s test. Cushing’s is a non-threatening tumor in a dog’s pituitary gland. Meds for life. If — the big word being if — that’s all it is. And, blood work every three months. It could be something worse. It could require surgery. It could, it could, it could…
Me. I’m not sure what to do. I’m a Neil Young kind of guy. In “Powderfinger” he once said, “Numbers add up to nothing.” I’m kind of headed that way, because she is asymptomatic. Of anything. The only reason she had blood work done was in preparation for a teeth cleaning. Trust me. Cushing’s alone has this huge list of symptoms. She has none of them. She is happy. Playful. Likes to go for long walks. Eats well. Gives her dog pals playful hell.
I’m starting to think enough. About this too. Digital fishing expeditions. The very, very expensive rabbit hole. I’ll continue to love her as she loves us. And, let her live her life as long or as short as it may be.
I have nothing more.
Just this. Hallelujah. RIP Leonard Cohen. Yes. I’ll remember one quote. “Everything has cracks. That’s how the light gets in. ”
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