The Time Before


The beginning.

Starting somewhere.

It came to me last night.

I’ve known all along that the pandemic was going to change a lot of things forever.

Small businesses will close. Shopping centers too. Restaurants operate on a razor thin margin. Many will close. New ones may replace them. They will be created for the new world before they open.

Airlines and airports will have to rethink what they are doing today. In fact, we won’t be able to travel like we used to do. In my other world, the concert business won’t be back until October 2021, if then.

Schools? That’s a topic for a big argument. K – 12 schooling is in flux as we speak. Small, private colleges probably won’t survive. Big universities will survive, but nobody knows what they will look like.

Universities are already cutting sports. Stanford ended 12 fall sports forever. The Big Ten with schools like Michigan State and Ohio State are not playing football this year. Nor, are the Ivy League schools.

And, so it goes.

I’ve been saying that we have the opportunity for positive change.

We have to be smart about it. We have to talk to each other even if our philosophies are opposing each other.

We can’t run around willy nilly.

In New Orleans, some people took down statues of people who helped many people. They destroyed two statues of John McDonogh. He was a businessman and slave owner. After his death his will specified that schools be built to serve everybody. He funded freed slaves if they wanted to go to Liberia.

Redemption. That’s a big word. Apparently in our cancel culture, nobody is allowed to atone for their mistakes.

Except for one person.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. He spoke out against the action of kneeling on a football sideline. He said the American flag comes first. Within hours he walked that back and apologized after he spoke with many of his Black teammates. He apologized again. Then, his wife apologized.

All is apparently good. My friends don’t trust him. They say the apologies came to fast. That they didn’t feel right.

I don’t know.

These are the thoughts that have been running around in my head.

I’m pretty good at logistics and making things right. I know one thing about every issue I’ve raised. Well, two things.

We are going to have to work very hard at whatever we do. I think that we need the wisdom that comes with age not to correct, but to consult.

And, money.

This is going to cost a lot of money. Money that only the federal government can provide. Money that comes from good leadership, not some babbling nabob of negativity.

The picture

It’s about time that I talk about that, yes? It’s a layered picture, made to show the richness of a summer forest floor. In posting it, I have finally found my direction. At least for this hour.

I’m following a lot of artists on Instagram. There a couple whose work excites me. They also understand that they have to earn a living. I’ve talked with them via private messaging. I’m trying to pick their brain about modern marketing and seo.

For the record, I think maybe 85% of the photography on Instagram is derivative. One photographer makes a kinda cool picture and 1,000 more follow him. Sorta like masks. Everybody is making and advertising masks. Derivative. That’s why I follow artists. Their work is mostly original.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Enjoy all the M&Ms.

Of The Day Gone By


Flower study in gray.

My past was flashing before my very eyes.

No. I was not having a near death experience. What started as a pleasant dream stayed with me as I started to wake up. It is still in my head as I write to you. It helps that I’m listening to a Spotify playlist that I called “My Summer Rewind.”

Dreams. There are many theories concerning their meaning. I like one of Jung’s theories. Dreams are the answer to questions that you haven’t yet formulated. I suppose that I’m not looking for answers. I’m looking for questions.

Questions, for me, come in the form of looking for and finding a photograph.

Which brings me to this picture. I finally got outside away from home. I made a bunch of pictures. Bunch is a technical term like boatload. I saw this flower which is in the same family of the purple flowers that I’ve been posting. From the second that I saw it I knew what I wanted to do.

I want to to do this. The image that you are looking at.

I saw the flower in its purest form.

I had some clarity restored to me. It’s been missing for a while. For as long as we’ve been in lockdown I couldn’t find it. We are now in semi-lockdown. I kept thinking that it wasn’t affecting me. Little did I know that it was. The invisible cage that I put around myself really did it’s job. It left me feeling trapped. Caged. Limited.

You know that my work requires being out on the scene. I suppose that I could have made pictures of life at home. But, I’ve done that a couple of times. It seemed boring to me this time.

All of this brings me to something I read. While you are keeping your distance, wearing masks and really just practicing situational awareness, keep watch on yourself and your loved ones.

There’s a pretty good chance that a kind of PTSD can overcome even the best of us. If you are related to, or know, any front line responders take good care of them, even if that means letting them have their space. Their work is almost like being on a battlefield. They’ve seen and done things that no one should see or do.

As I’ve said repeatedly, this isn’t going away anytime soon. For the short term we must learn how to live with it and manage it. It may never entirely go away. The Spanish Flu which killed so many people, eventually morphed into the seasonal flu we call H1N1. I read a piece by a longtime coroner who basically said live your life and don’t listen to anybody. He still likens CoVid 19 to flu, which it isn’t. A lot of my friends were agreeing with him. What a load of BS.

Sure. Live your life. Just take the recommended precautions. We’ve made every military person a hero. Follow what they do. The ones on the battlefield wear protective gear, they carry long weapons and handguns. They live with heat, humidity, cold, rain and sometimes getting shot at. In combat zones they are never without a weapon.

Our leaders are just asking of us is to wear a mask and keep our distance. Our weapons are pretty simple, don’tcha think. Nike once used as a tagline, “Just Do It.”

It’s a slight inconvenience. It isn’t battle gear. It doesn’t weight 50 pounds. It weighs a few ounces. At least you won’t get shot at. Oh, wait. I live in New Orleans. We could get shot. Maybe I should pick a better city.

One more thing. Don’t let your guard down. That’s when you get sloppy. When you get sloppy bad things happen.

Stay safe. Enjoy every sandwich.

Feeling Alright


No fools, no fun.

That’s what they say. At least some of “they” say it.

No virus news today. We all need a break from it, even though it may affect our lives for many years.

Instead.

Art.

And, this photograph turned into I don’t know what.

First, the picture. I started with a picture of a bush. Yes, a bush. That’s what you are looking at. I made the picture in low morning light. I did my usual devlopment and some minor post production.

But, me being me, I couldn’t leave well enough alone.

I did some major post production, so much so, that when I tried to finish it in OnOne, I couldn’t. Apparently, I made the first image that was so far gone that nothing could modify it.

So, I headed south and took the color out of it. Then i replaced a little color. Those little bits of color are from the OnOne bokah filter. I added these after I created the border. I wanted the image to look like a printer’s proof.

I’m still not sure about this image.

That’s thing about art. From the creators perspective there is always some doubt. From the viewers side you can see the image the way that makes sense to you. Often, a good art work should make you feel a little uncomfortable. I’m not saying this is a good piece if art. It may be a good piece of something else.

Stay safe. Enjoy every sandwich.

Beyond the Horizon


Flight of fancy.

I was bored. Then I got inspired. That lead to a burst of creativity.

This picture emerged from the “stay at home blues.” I believe that art comes from somewhere else. Call the inspiration, God. Or, Buddha. Or, Ronald McDonald. Doesn’t matter. An artist  is lucky if he or she knows that they are just the conduit.

I say this because as y’all already know I’ve been experimenting with photographs in order to find my place in the art world, in the world, in the cosmos. Sometimes I think that I have it, but it doesn’t feel right. Sometimes I try to force it, but that doesn’t feel right.

This picture feels right.

I’ve always hidden from the word artist. After all, I came out of the womb as a photojournalist. Some people want to grow beyond that. I changed. Even though I continued to practice photojournalism, I started doing it in my own way. I probably still will. I enjoy it.

Enjoyment is the best reason to do anything.

This picture is where I want to be. It looks and feels like a painting, something that I don’t have the talent for doing. That’s too bad. It’s hard to get the images out of my head using a camera. This picture comes close. It took a lot to get here. You won’t see these every day.

What is it about?

As the late John Lennon replied when he was asked about the meaning of his songs, “Whatever you want them to be.” He said in six words, what it took me 212 pages to do in a dissertation.

I suppose that one could jump to the conclusion that it’s about CoVid19 since that’s what on everybody’s mind. It isn’t. At least for me it isn’t. If not that, than what? That’s a secret for now. Heh, heh, heh.

What does this picture mean to you?

That’s the real question.