There’s a little magic in this photograph. I thought today would be a good day to publish it because we all could use a little magic. That’s what the late Jerry Garcia said. We need music and magic and art.
Who am I to disagree?
You know the kind of world we are living in these days. I don’t have to drone on and on about that.
I’ve come to believe that my job for right now. For today, is to make people smile. Not everyone. I don’t know everyone and I have what I consider to be a small following.
Just for today look a this little photograph that I call “Magical.”
Maybe it will help.
The only thing that I know for sure will help is the all seeing dog. Sophie Rose makes everyones day better.
If people see me without her they don’t recognize me. No dog. No fun.
In the wildflowers. I made yesterday’s atomic picture a few minutes before I made this one.
While that one was created in the studio, today’s picture was made in the field where I saw it.
The only post production was a little glow and contrast to help you feel what I did.
It shimmers and glows now, just like I saw it outdoors.
Stay safe. Stay mighty, Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Enjoy every sandwich.
I forgot to do this yesterday. The headline is borrowed from Norah Jones. Stay mighty comes from MCC.
between travels. I’ve traveled since I was a little boy. Maybe five or six years old. We took the Santa Fe El Capitain to Chicago and from there the Broadway Limited to New York City. We did that almost every other summer until I was 15 years old. Trains started changing. The Broadway Limited was a New York Central System train. Sometime in the middle 1960s they merged with the Pennsylvania Railroad. Both were losing money. Apparently, the owners thought that they could lose money together.
That lasted until 1970 when the federal government stepped in and created Amtrak. They never make money, but they weren’t created for that. In fact, since the end of World War II, passenger trains lost money. There just wasn’t a way to earn the money that freight trains do.
Enough about trains.
That’s not where this piece was going. It’s about me. Me. Me. Me.
I started traveling again after 1972. I took mostly road trips. I also commuted from San Jose to Long Beach, California. I went to college in San Jose.
My first real job in the long arc of my career was in southwestern Virginia. Once we got there, we didn’t travel much except to photograph sporting events and to visit friends who lived in Washington D.C. That was before I worked there.
Eventually. I worked at couple more newspapers. By then I was an editor. We never traveled. I join the staff of one of two picture agencies. I never traveled for the first one. I always traveled for the second one. That wore on me. Fly back to The United States from Hong Kong, overnight in Dallas where I supposedly lived and fly to New York the next day.
I kept doing that kind of work until the 2000s, when I began my second career. That one entails constant traveling especially in the summer. I set my alarm and wrote on a piece of paper, “You are in xyzzy city.”
Blammo. Then traveling stopped. Totally.
The summer of the great pandemic.
For the first month or so, being at home felt good. It was different. We got to be home. Even those of us in our households who didn’t travel liked us being home. Now, a little over six months in, our stirs are going crazy. I feel like I’m in a Jimmy Buffett song. “I just shot six holes in my freezer. I think I’ve got cabin fever. Somebody sound the alarm.”
Many of us have completed long postponed home projects. Obviously, if they were undone for so long, they didn’t need to be done. What the hell am I going to do with the five level bird house? There aren’t five levels of birds around here.
For some of us we know that we won’t really start traveling until spring of 2022. That’s right 2022. Not 2021. Not by the end of this year. 2022. I have no idea what trouble I will have gotten into by then.
The picture. We moved to New Mexico in late 2005 after Hurricane Katrina “wiped out region clean like the Bible said.” If memory serves we arrived in mid-November. We stayed until mid-2011. We took a lot of road trips. We flew for business. We flew for pleasure.
Even after we returned to New Orleans, the travel never slowed down.
Even though I complain a lot about my ailments (That’s what old people do), I’m built to travel. I can drive 12 hours a day. I recover quickly from jet lag to major time zone crossings. I enjoy all sorts of food. I get along with all sorts of people.
But, here we all sit.
I made this picture on a New Mexican road trip. I can’t remember where it was made. I suppose I could look at my daybook from the last year we were there. What caught my eye was the church. There are churches everywhere just like New Orleans. But, mostly the light got my attention.
Remember, I said that there is a magical quality to New Mexican light? I didn’t do anything to the light and sky of this photograph. That’s what I saw. That’s what you see.
Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your masks. Enjoy all the American Indian fry bread.
The world around us. Between all of the issues created by the pandemic and a president determined to hold onto power no matter how many laws he breaks, I see us as being lost between the real, unreal and surreal worlds.
I made this piece of art to illustrate what is in my mind. Before you reach for your phone to have me committed just think about how you feel on most days and nights. This all of us. This thing came to me in a dream. Sort of. I’ve been having the weirdest dreams for the last few weeks. This creature is tame compared to most of them. I has to be. I could never create what I’ve been seeing in my slumbers. Nobody can. Thankfully.
Many people can’t sleep. Others, like me, sleep too much. Some people are nervous when they usually aren’t. Tension reigns supreme. I read somewhere that mild sedatives are up 33% over their prescribed numbers last year. I couldn’t begin to guess how high the sales are of the street dealers who don’t usually file any paperwork.
Unfortunately, I think it’s only going to get worse before it gets better. Schools, entertainment and sports are getting ready to open in full. In some cases, ball yards will be closed to fans, but think about American football. Those guys hug each other on almost every play. Most schools are woefully under equipped to take the kind of care necessary today. Too many people still think it’s some kind of scam. Yeah. The whole world got together to cheat you out of your bottle of beer.
Once it does get better, then what?
Restricted business openings at all levels and places? How long will that go on until another surge rolls through your city. Already countries in Europe are seeing their infections rise. New Zealand, a clean country for 100 days, now has something like 17 cases of the virus.
And, you wonder why I’m having dreams that are worse than this picture?
Speaking of pictures.
This started out as one picture. Some fake nature or something. I started layering and building. Wash, rinse and repeat about eight times. This is what appeared. I did all of the work on my phone only to realize that I need OnOne for a couple of things. No problem.
This image is what remains.
Stay safe. Stay mighty. Don’t make me come over there to make you wear your mask. Enjoy every PB&J sandwich.
I have to look in the shady parts of the dogs’ walks. That’s where I find this stuff. That’s also where I decide that I can’t make a more “normal” picture. That I have to make some a little different so that I can eventually play with it in post production. In this case, I stuck the phone into the heart of the flowers and just pushed the button. I let it do whatever it was going to do. Then I brought it into the studio and worked on it. I wanted to make the original image sort of dream to counter act the week’s always terrible news.
Speaking of the week’s news. Here are some numbers for you. 1,400. 2,021. 20,000.
According to what I’ve read, in most cases an immigrant will wait 1,400 days to have his or her case tried. The judicial dockets for trying such cases are booked until 2,201. The military has been asked to plan for 20,000 beds on certain southern bases. The powers in Washington want to keep these people concentrated in a few places while they are awaiting trial.
We might as well call these places exactly what they are.
There are those who say this is how it started in Nazi Germany. Try again. We are almost half way there. We did it to ourselves. Some of us — not me and mine — voted for the monster at the top.