No matter where you are.

There’s going to be a lot testing going on.

I’m not exactly sure what I did to myself, but this new format is fairly time-consuming to use. Hopefully, that I’ll change as I get used to working with it. Most of my fears were for nothing. A big one surfaced. It is very hard to stack multiple pictures. There’s a way around it. It took me a while to find it.

My restroom life refers to nothing except that I often make pictures in restrooms of hip cafes. Usually, in coffee houses.

Anyway.

So, that learning thing. I said it was mostly about myself and it is. Learning to use a more photo-centric template is going to teach me a lot. The big take away is learning about my limits of patience. My former “look” was easy to produce. I rarely even thought about it. This one? Wow.

And, speaking about patience, I watched a friend of mine melt down and self destruct in real time on Twitter. I feel terrible for him.

Here’s a short version of the story. He’s a chef. He cooked for a well-known uptown restaurant. He was fired on Sunday night for reasons that are fairly unclear. He proceed to tweet, and tweet, and tweet. 90 tweets in all. At one point, after talking about nobody caring if he was gone and thinking about leaving the planet, somebody called the NOPD out of deep concern for him. They visited him and left, but the tweets continued. He called out his former place of employment, the owner, the restaurant industry in New Orleans. He called out the friend who called the police out of concern for his welfare. It only got worse from there.

Apparently, at one point, his former employer may have threatened him with the classic, “you’ll never work in the town again,” line as he was leaving the restaurant.

This whole thing caught the attention of both local newspapers. Since the restaurant owner does no social media, she had no idea of what was being said. She is concerned for her reputation, which as I know it, is spotty at best. That’s another story for a time when it can be substantiated. After all, this isn’t a fake news site. It’s not really a news site at all. Storyteller is about art. Cooking at his level is an art.

My biggest fear is that with all his tweeting, he made her alleged threat true. He might not be able to work in New Orleans again.

One point that was unintentionally made in The Advocate’s story is that he’s been in town for six years. He’s had six jobs. If I’m hiring for any kind of business that’s a huge red flag. As a high-end human resources person once told me, it takes a year to get into a job and a year to get out. We want to have a lot of good years in between. Certainly, when you are very young and just trying to make your career there is a lot of job jumping as you rise, but my buddy is a veteran chef.

The pictures. I had to use the restroom in a coffee-house. You know. You stay there for a long while, sipping coffee. Some more coffee. Maybe some water.  I walked into the restroom and thought “wow, there is a picture in here. I made a few. I added something to the post production and there you have it.

Details, details, details.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements


A hungry neighborhood.

Chinese food. In Central City. Once. A long time ago.

Once it was a corner food store. Now, it’s just one of many abandoned buildings. I’m not sure of the condition. From the outside it looks like it’s falling down. Once you are inside, well you never know. It could be functional.

This picture is the by-product of the plans I told you about yesterday. As I stroll through my archives I find pictures. That you haven’t seen. That I’ve forgotten about. You may get a steady flow of them unless I actually go out and make some Christmas pictures. I should probably do that. The Avenue is really pretty this year. And, I have a couple of ideas.

That’s the important thing. Ideas.

Making a picture is often pretty easy. Figuring out what to photograph is the hard part. Or, as an old friend used to say, “Taking the picture is easy. Getting there is hard.”

If you read yesterday’s Storyteller, you know that I’m full of ideas. That’s good. It wouldn’t be so good if I was just sitting here and wondering… what to do, what to do, what to do?

The picture. I’ve probably passed this old store a hundred times. Finally, I had some pretty light. I made the picture. It was waiting for me. Yes. I enhanced it. That yellow sign was pretty faded. The work took a little masking. I haven’t done that in a while. But, it was fun. That’s another reason…


Fire hydrant and words.

A little change.

Something a little more grungy. A little more urban. A little more made by hand.

Some people think graffiti is some kind of blemish. A kind of destruction. An attack on civilized society. Others think it is a kind of street art. I fall into the latter category. Sometimes. Some of this is just tagging for tagging’s sake. Leaving a mark.

It gets controversial when an artist like Banksy came to town a few years after Hurricane Katrina. He tagged 18 buildings. Almost immediately, 17 of his works was painted over in gray, by a guy who took it upon himself to cover all graffiti with gray paint. The remaining one was removed along with the wall on which it was painted. The owner of the building did that. He also had it restored a bit, and it is now on display as part of another show.  I think it just opened.

I made these four pictures in The Bywater. I also turned the graffiti into my own art by cropping in camera and then bringing out the color in post production. On the other hand, if I actually knew who did the original tagging, I would love to credit them too. Unfortunately, unless you know the taggers’ work by name, secrecy is kind of the whole point.


Dead pay phones and broken windows.

A slight change.

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.

Or, not.

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.


 

 


Cadillac Ranch.

Distraction.

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.

And, another.

Distraction.

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.


Dumpster tagging.

Yes. Irony.

The dumpster is made out of iron. See what I did there? But, not that. Tagging a dumpster just seems so ironic. In the usual sense.

Nice branding for the trash collection company, eh? That’s Sidney Torres IV. It has nothing to do with internet waste. Although there seems to be plenty of that. Mr. Torres owns and develops a lot of stuff and property in New Orleans. He’s a young guy. He helped out in the French Quarter by providing private policing who cruised around in mat black, tricked out golf carts. He’s developing a lot of property in Mid City. He calls out the mayor regularly and thinks he wants to replace him. All good, except… He owns a house behind a music club. He bought the house a couple of years ago. The club has been there since the 1920s. He turned NIMBY. (Not in my backyard) and want noise abatement rules instituted.

You can see where this is going.

Anyway. I made this picture on the way to a second line, This is an example of tagging that I don’t think is art. Since a number of you have started blogging about graffiti and street art, I’ll just add this picture the to conversation. Yes. The dumpsters do have a pretty nice, contemporary bit of typography on them.


Along the way.

I like photographing graffiti.

Despite your views on it, graffiti done well is a kind of folk art. Tagging is another matter entirely. Yesterday I wrote that my work is done by discovery. Just photographing the wall would, to my mind, make it a copy of somebody else’s work. Adding an element — the red scooter — makes it my work. That’s what my own sense of right and wrong says. Copyright law happens to agree with me.

This picture. I was photographing some parade — they are all a blur now — and happened to see the scooter parked about a half a block away. So, I did what I do. I made the picture. One thing to note about the graffiti. The darker — purple, teal and orange — bit of folk art is painted over something that was once simpler, painted in black and white. Apparently, mural sized walls are at a premium in the Bywater.


Door graffiti.
Door graffiti.

On the way to someplace else. That’s me.

I actually made this picture while I was standing around. During Mardi Gras. I suppose it’s a Mardi Gras picture. Or not. Even though my job is to make pictures, I only do that about 20% of the time. I spend the other 80% doing stuff. Or, doing nothing. And, just waiting. That’s what I was doing when I saw all this graffiti. Nothing.

Or, everything. Seeing. Well, you know. That’s the most important thing. Right?

As I was reviewing my selects I got an idea. That’s always dangerous. I’m going to experiment with it a little before I show you. I’d like it to be somewhat fully formed before I turn it loose on the world. Even then, it will twist and turn as circumstances arise.

The picture. When I saw the scene I liked the volume of the tagging. There is so much of it in a small space. I also liked the light as it fell on the glass doors. There is a nice juxtaposition lurking there too. A rusty old padlock. Extreme protection, indeed. Making the picture was the easy part. Editing was a little time-consuming since I wanted the picture to look like what I attracted me to it in the first place.


Sign of the times.
Sign of the times.

This is not a sign of the times.

It is a ghost sign. Hiding in plain site. A billboard for all to see. There was a plastic sign hung over it. It rotted through the ages. It fell away reveal the original work behind it. Knowing the neighborhood, it’ll likely remain this way for a long while. Or, at least until taggers complete their appointed rounds.

The picture. F8 and be there. And, hope for some reasonably good light.