Art seems to be mostly about the viewer. I can put out all of myself into a picture. Unless it strikes you in a way that touches your own experience my work could be meaningless. To you. That doesn’t mean that I should stop or change how I see, to please somebody else. That’s creative death. A better approach is to just keep going, to change as I evolve. That’s what this picture is about. It’s my art. It was made while I was out walking. It was somewhat accidental. But, when I was looking at it, it appeared to be anything but accidental. I spoke to my vision. My intent.
They say that you “can’t see the forest for the trees.” I say that you can. And, that they move if you want them to move.
The image was accidental because I was in a hurry and didn’t let the shutter finish while I was moving.
To me this is a painted photograph except that I barely did anything in post production. All the heavy work of making a photograph look as it does was done in camera. Or, in this case, in smartphone.
We think of monochrome as being black and white, or something sepia or in some shades of gray. Nature taught me something different. Monochrome can be any color as long as there aren’t contrasting colors. This picture is green and faded shades of green which became yellow. It’s also a monochromatic image.
This picture is also about fall. Autumn. The changing of natural seasons. It’s true that the weather is still hot. According to the predictive charts that I read, we should start cooling off tomorrow. A little. That trend should continue through at least next week, when temperatures stay in the mid to high eighties. Then summer’s heat should slowly fade away. And, we can open our windows for the first time since late April.
We live in air conditioned world.
When I look at old pictures of New Orleans I have two thoughts.
There was no air conditioning back then. Not until sometime in the 1950s. How did people do it? For sure, many people built houses to account for the heat. Raised Caribbean styled houses let air pass underneath which does provide some relief. High roofs also helped.
People dressed well. Men wore suits. Wool suits, until lighter weight fabrics came to be. Sheesh, if I have to be dressed nicely, I wear a seersucker suit. Even that’s too hot for me in summer. And, women. Oh gosh. It must have been very uncomfortable for them at anytime of year in New Orleans.
Two more thoughts for this fine Friday morning.
Air conditioning. Most newer models don’t send weird chemicals into the atmosphere, but they do generate heat. This can’t be good for the planet.
In case you are wondering, my seersucker suit is purple and white, which makes it look lavender from a distance. It is a three piece suit. Trousers, jacket and — get this — shorts.
It was hidden in plain sight. So small that I had to look twice and break my cardinal rule of photography. I had to move some of the greenery around to photograph the flower. I try never to move or change anything when I make these kinds of semi-nature pictures. I had no choice. If I wanted to make the flower’s picture, I had to be able to see all of it.
Honesty. Full disclosure.
It’s a very peaceful picture. After another week of political craziness, more lies and memorial sadness, I think we could all use a picture that’s a little quiet. Besides, it’s Sunday in the U.S. It’s a Sunday kind of picture.
I wasn’t sure about this picture when I saw it. Then I saw nature’s perfect symmetry . I made sure to frame the picture as carefully as possible. This is the result. For sure, I tinkered a little bit in postproduction, mostly so you can see what I felt.
This is the hottest couple of days of the summer. A weekend when nobody wants to go outside.
I am going to try to photograph a second line. The YMO Benevolent Society and Social Club is walking on Sunday. It’s a huge parade, with six divisions. That means six individual units, each with their own brass bands. This BS&SC is the oldest club in the city. This is their 130th year. In an effort to deal with the oppressive heat and humidity, the second line starts at 5pm. I’m not sure that really helps. I was outside yesterday at that time, it was hot as hell.
We’ll see about me going. A few years back I was minutes from heat stroke. I don’t take this kind of weather lightly. Even though it might not seem very physical, it is. We — the photographers — walk with the parade. As I’ve said in the past, it’s like being in a rugby scrum. The parade route is about four miles long.
Yes. It’s Autumn. Everything in nature is changing. But, not the heat.
It’s all about perspectives. Or, optics as it is currently called. You’ve seen the horizontal version of this scene. Now, you get the vertical one. This scene isn’t quite as mysterious as the original. The view is a little closer. It emphasizes the trees.
Perspective is important in life.
Yesterday I commented on series of tweets that seemed to me like they were parroting oil company propaganda. The woman doing the tweeting made a case of it, saying that I among a couple of other commenters, were attacking her because she is a woman.
I wasn’t attacking. I was commenting. And, it doesn’t matter to me what sex she is, I’d still call her or him out on the one sidedness of the tweets. She’s starting to believe her own press. That’s fatal. I didn’t reply. I doubt that I will. Even though we live in the same city — well, I do anyway — it’s just not that important. Besides, what I really wanted to say is “Welcome to the NFL, snowflake.”
For those of you who don’t live in the US, the NFL is a professional football league, which isn’t to be confused with soccer or even rugby. When a rookie whines about being hit too hard, a veteran will say, “Welcome to the NFL.”
Mostly, what I’ve been doing these days is just getting rid of self-important over-inflated egos. If this seems like a rant, I suppose it is. There is just too much uninformed chatter everywhere these days. I’d say that I wish it would go away, but the genie ain’t going back in that bottle. At least, social influencers are being ripped out by their fake roots.
I saw this cluster of green leaves and thought that a wide shot might work. Looks like I might be right. The picture, with a little post production, is striking. And, it really wasn’t all that much work in the studio. I just went in the direction that I intended.
Let’s talk about WordPress.
It seems that every time they make a change there are unintended consequences. This time, the page sort of jumps… and posts. When I’m nowhere near ready. Usually, it’s after I’ve uploaded the picture and started writing tags. But, it always happens when my hands are away from the keyboard and mouse. It’s not me. It’s them.
I’d reach out to a WordPress agent, but they’ll just try to find a way to blame me. I’m used to that. It’s their way of making us give up.
If any of you have had this problem please let me know. And, how you resolved it.
I may just take a break until whatever is happening stops happening. I’m getting tired of my work. I might talk about making pictures that I improve intentionally, but that doesn’t inspire me. It is, as the late great Ernst Haas used to say, just stuff. The content and the subject matter isn’t there. There are a few reasons for this. I’m in the middle of sorting that out as we speak.
Maybe a break is in order. Maybe a change in the frequency of posts might help. That means fewer, not more posts. We’ll see. The problem with that is that I’m kind of OCD… it’s all or nothing. I was telling a friend of mine about that when it comes to photographing second lines. I either walk with all of them or I don’t walk with any of them.
When I saw it, I knew. This was not about the original file. It was about what could be done with it. It was about my vision. My intent after I brought the image home.
To be clear, it wasn’t about heavy post production. It was about doing just enough studio work to bring forth what I saw in the scene. I saw it as something Asian. Maybe Japanese. Maybe Chinese. Makes sense. They borrowed from each other.
It was also about the color green. It’s said to be calming. We all could use a little calming.
These days have gotten completely out of hand. I try not to read much news. That’s one approach. But, that’s like turning down a fast flowing water spigot. It just keeps trickling out. My only alternative seems to be to shut it all down. But, I like baseball. In order to get to it, I have to wade through various news publications and websites.
Also, we are in the middle of hurricane season. I do need the storm alerts. The best storm information comes via Twitter. As much as I try to follow artists, musicians and local people, the news that I want to avoid seeps out.
I’ll figure it out. Eventually.
The picture. I pretty much discussed it at the start of this post. I saw it. My brain broke free of its rust and realized that there was something to this grassy shape.
The rain brings out the best in them. Makes them glow. Makes them sparkle. Makes them shine. That’s everywhere. Doesn’t matter where in the world you happen to find yourself. Especially in The United States, where most of the country finds themselves in a horrible heat wave.
Or, in New Orleans, where another storm flooded the streets. Three inches in about 30 minutes. They say that the pumps can’t keep up with the rain. Or, that the water has to reach the pumps in order to be pumped.
That’s what pipes are for.
What that really means is that the entire city has to be re-piped. Given that it took almost four years and a billion dollars to replace a few blocks of pipe, that’s probably not realistic.
We probably should learn to live with water. Like the Dutch do. Greenways. Permeable surfaces. Water features. Flowing man made streams. A way for the water to flow rather than pool. A way to capture rain water rather than pump it into the lake or the river.
Will we do it?
There isn’t enough vision in New Orleans. There aren’t very good leaders. The leaders are voted into office for the wrong reasons. Then the graft starts. In New Orleans, it’s a generational things. It’s a racial thing. It’s a gentrification thing.
Eventually, the city will sink into the swamp from which is born, a victim of subsidence, land loss and climate change. Won’t matter to me. I’ll be long gone.
A bit of housekeeping. Or, should I say, complaining? A rant?
A person who sometimes reads Storyteller came to a post via Facebook. At first I thought that she was trying to compliment me about my pictures and my words. I tried to humbly say that I can barely write in the English language. It went on from there. She wrote something about my big head. WTF? I can barely type without 100 typos in a paragraph. Write? Not me.
Sheesh. Some days I wonder if I can photograph.
It kept going on. I gave up. I am so twisted around the axel that I have no idea what she was trying to say. So, I downloaded one of her books from Amazon. One of the two books that some publisher scooped up. Maybe I could learn something about her that would clarify her comments to me.
The publisher says they don’t understand its low sales. I do. It’s unreadable. Right from the start. The book starts in the middle of a scene. What? How did the story happen? No backstory. Clunky writing. No beginning, middle or end.
I don’t know that much about the publishing world, but I do know something about the music industry. They are kin. A record label’s job, like a publisher’s job, is to fine tune the product. They design an attention drawing cover. They market and publicize the hell out of it. Hopefully, they blow it up.
Two things. One is timing. That’s fairly unpredictable. The other is excellence. The content has to be wonderful. The reader or listener knows when something is good. They tell their friends. Word of mouth spreads the good word.
Bottom line. Content – Marketing – Distribution.
Bottom line part two. She confused me with her comments because of the same reason I couldn’t read her book. She’s not a writer. She’s probably good at selling. That’s how she found a publisher. Still, they make her do most of their work.
Which leads me to a general observation. The internet set about to democratize and disrupt everything. It’s caused entire industries to crash. Anything creative — photography, music, writing, all of the arts — has been overrun with people who “think” they are creative.
In order to break through, they give away or sell their product for next to nothing. Most of these people aren’t creative. Many of them are just derivative. How many vampire books do we really need? How many books about mentally challenged people do we need? Or, historical novels that feature a bare chested beautiful man as the main subject?
Even if we really needed them, we couldn’t begin to read all of them, just as we can’t listen to all the poorly played, produced and recorded music.
Photographs? Don’t get me started. The worst thing to happen to wannabe photographers is Instagram. You can’t find the good work in the deluge of crap.
Most of these people don’t have the talent or the grit to really pursue and artistic life. They have partners or spouses who pretty much subsidize their lives. While I don’t believe in the “starving artist,” I’m pretty sure most of these folks are just looking for something to do because they are bored.
Are you one of these people? I don’t know. Put it to the test. Will buyers pay the proper rates for your work? Will the publisher or record label market you properly? Will they get your product in stores, in agencies, or on the radio? Will you get to do a late night talk show? Will you get reviews in high end media?
Then, you’ll know.
Either way, you’ll learn something. If it’s not what you want to hear, either you can keep trying (that really sorts out the wheat from the chaff) or you can move on.
I’ll get killed for this one. I don’t care.
This picture. It’s like most of my pictures. I stand in front of better stuff. I saw it and I pushed the button. It’s easy to me. I’m the real deal. I’ve done all of what I suggest to you. I’m battle tested.
I was told just the other day that our light is special because of the humidity. Supposedly, it is more creamy. I’m not sure about that. Humidity is caused by airborne water droplets. They reflect red light, making blue skies muddy. Sort of gray.
That’s just science. Optics.
I suppose if you aren’t looking at the sky and are focused on ground bound subjects that the light could seem creamy. Or, at least, heavy. That’s not a bad quality.
The picture. I made it yesterday. I was running errands. The kind of stuff that you do on your first day home. I parked the car, looked up and thought, “oh wow.” I made the picture. I made a couple of them. Once again, not much post production. Nature’s handiwork again.
This is a summer project picture. This is a southern summer sky. A classic.
I made it only a block or two away from the “boy riding his bike next to the train” picture. Another summer picture. Maybe I should hang out there. Maybe not. That could be strangling the golden goose.