Into the fog.

F

inally. It took a few days to find my footing but I knew that it would eventually come. So, as far as I’m concerned this is my first picture of the new year. It’s headed a little more in the direction that I’d like Storyteller to go, for as long as Storyteller exists.

I figured out what bothers me so much about This WordPress – GoDaddy thing. Steve Jobs once since said that computers and computing should be tools. They do the work while we create.

I’ve been messing with changing one simple thing for at least ten days.

What a waste of time.

Apparently, things have changed. There is a governing body call ICANN that controls who can actually touch a website or its code. This is an attempt to control hacking, to control illegal use, and theft.

Let’s face it. That horse has left the barn long ago. Most privacy is a lost cause. So, all they’ve done is made it harder for the rest of us.

WordPress is laughable.

They say in big advertising balloons. Create a business. Earn Money. Change your life. All the while tying our hands. Want to change your extension? Good luck. Want to design a page that suits you? Good luck while we change the block system every chance we get. Want to talk to a human being? There are no human beings.

Sunday thoughts.


Making a little layered art.

Another Sunday. Another experiment leading to something a little more artistic than documentary.

It appears that I’m confused. I’m not. We’ll get to that in a few lines.

I’m pretty convinced that Mother Nature is angry with us. I think that normally she seeks stasis, but not these days. In the U.S. we were hit by a major hurricane. In Asia we were hit by a super typhoon. At the same time. In two different oceans. My beloved Hong Kong has taken a beating. Buildings were swaying. Streets were flooded. Over 500 flights were cancelled from one of the world’s busiest airline hubs. People were bailing water out of their balconies trying to prevent floods at — oh, let’s say — the 18th floor.

What does all this tell you? What should it tell you?

I could do a litany of weather-related events this year. But, you already know them. I think it’s time to get started. Really get started. Banning plastic straws isn’t enough.You already know the rest. Act on it. If our leaders don’t believe in science, you know what to do. Vote. Vote them out. It is time for a change. Across all levels of government. Across both major parties. At the top. Vote the old white men out of office who are stuck in the last century. Or, maybe the century before. The 19th Century.

I’m sorry to say that you are going to be stuck with my exhortations to vote. To make a difference. To make a needed change. I’ll do this maybe once a week until the mid-term elections. It’s necessary.

Anyway.

The picture. Obviously, I’ve been chasing a lot of green. This time I layered two images and merged them together to make more of an artistic statement. I’m not confused about vacillating between documentary and artistic work. One supports the other. Maybe, somewhere along the line, I’ll make a breakthrough.

Who knows?


Another kind of bold color.

It’s hot. Everywhere.

If it’s not hot, it’s weird weather. Drought. Or, too much rain. Floods. Or, fire. In Greece. In California. In the Southwest. Throughout Europe. A friend from Ireland posted that his emerald country is now brown. Let’s not forget East Asia. People are dying.

I don’t care what you believe about this hour’s weather. I don’t care what your politics are. Red. Blue. Purple. Those things don’t matter. As BoB Dylan once wrote about something slightly different, “It doesn’t take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”

It’s the anomalies that are signs of climate change. All these weird weather related events. You can say that they are cyclical. You might even be right. But, when a cycle lasts 5,000 or 10,000 years that’s a pretty long cycle. It will probably kill your ancestors. The ones in the future. And, their ancestors. You know. The ones who are trying to live on Mars to escape Earth.

Anyway, I made this picture because the duality caught my eye. It’s sort of a metaphor for this discussion. Except for the top. But, those bright flowers are dying too. If I were to walk past this place in a day or two, they’d be dead as well.  I did a little work in post production because I always do a little work in post production. In this case, the image needed it. I pretty much fooled the thing that passes for a light meter by exposing from below the subject.

So.

Hi ho, hi ho, It’s off to work I went.

 


Southern summer.

Down in the south.

I was looking for an icon. I found one. Almost right in front of me.

Spanish moss.

It’s not limited to New Orleans. Or, even Louisiana. You can find it all over the south. It is commonly found growing on Live Oaks or Bald Cypress. It is grows in a region as far north as Arkansas and Southern Virginia, west into Texas, and all of the southern states. Of course, I’m leaving out its world-wide impact. That’s for another day.

The tree in the picture is an Oak.

I just looked up and thought “oh yeah, that stuff.”

I did a little work in post production, but that’s mostly because I had to actually develop it because I used a real camera instead of a smart phone. That made me happy. I think it’s about process.

Make no mistake. I think newer smartphones are perfectly capable of handling daily situations. If you have one, you certainly have a camera at all times. You know what they say about that. “The best camera is the one that you have with you.”

But.

There’s no process to it. Oh sure, you can use something like Snapseed to work on your pictures. That’s fine as it goes. But, that’s it.

I’m an old school photographer. One of a few who actually liked the stink of the darkroom. I like the process of making a photograph from start to finish. Of course, the process has gotten easier working outside of a darkroom. That doesn’t mean that it should be eliminated.

It makes me happy.

Back to real pictures. With real cameras.

 

 


Spring. Rebirth.

A new month. A new series. Of trees.

Because.

Trees are a symbol of strength and protectiveness. They are a symbol of rebirth, stability, shelter and security. In some cultures they are considered to be feminine in nature. They are about family and nurturing. In other cultures, they are believed to be sacred and the primary form of living beings, possessing the wisdom of being around since the dawn of time.

And, especially in Southeastern Louisiana — among must other places in the world  — they provide a respite from the heat of summer by providing shade.

That’s it.

Trees. Day One.

A little housekeeping. Normally, I discuss a little bit about the technique of making the picture. I’m abandoning that for this series. If that is what interests you, instead focus on why I even bothered to take the picture. The reason behind the reason.


Faded fleur de lis.
Faded fleur de lis.

Yes. Faded. Mardi Gras Beads. Rusted. Fleur de Lis.

These are great symbols. Icons. Of a city who calls itself, “The city that care forgot.” Well. Maybe once. New Orleans is in the middle of some pretty intense gentrification. A building boom. Never ending road construction. Since FEMA agreed that the state of our streets was the fault of the storm and the subsequent flood, they are footing the bill for a total street reconstruction.

That’s good. Right?

Maybe.

You’ve heard me complain about the potholes and the terrible condition of our streets for a long time. Consider this. The streets in our neighborhood have been under some kind of construction since we moved to this house. Three years ago. If anything changed, our streets — we live on a corner — have deteriorated further. All manner of vehicles pass through. Drivers are looking for a bypass around the major construction. When I say all manner, I mean that. Semi tractors and trailers. Dump trucks. Road graders. School buses. Tour buses. Our streets need fixing. So repairing them is good. Right?

Well.

It’s an 18 year plan that we are talking about. Our neighborhood is scheduled to have the work begin almost at the end of that. So, we are looking at 2034. That assumes that road construction goes as planned. You know that never happens. There are always delays. Overruns. Added costs. Besides, this is FEMA funded. Hahahahahahahaha.  I reckon by that time, our street will be a dirt road. In an urban setting.

The picture. Simple. The faded Mardi Gras beads drew me to the scene. That’s what they look like after the sun and rain and humidity have stripped them of all their color. Black. White. Gray. Cheap plastic beads. Luckily they were hung on an iron fence that is topped with fleur di lis. Our symbol. The state’s. The city’s. The NFL football team’s.

I think the combination is symbolic. Iconic.

The rest is all manipulation in post production. For the cinematic effect.

That may be symbolic too.


Autobiographical...
Autobiographical…

 ”Twas Halloween and the ghosts were out, And everywhere they’d go, they shout, And though I covered my eyes I knew, They’d go away.

But fear’s the only thing I saw, And three days later ’twas clear to all, That nothing is as scary as election day.

But the day after is darker, And darker and darker it goes, Who knows, maybe the plans will change, Who knows, maybe he’s not deranged.

The news men know what they know, but they, Know even less than what they say, And I don’t know who I can trust, For they come what may.

’cause we believed in our candidate, But even more it’s the one we hate, I needed someone I could shake, On election day.

But the day after is darker, And deeper and deeper we go, Who knows, maybe it’s all a dream, Who knows if I’ll wake up and scream.

I love the things that you’ve given me, I cherish you my dear country, But sometimes I don’t understand, The way we play.

I love the things that you’ve given me, And most of all that I am free, To have a song that I can sing,

On election day.”  — “My Dear Country, ” Norah Jones © 2007


A little good. A little bad.
A little good. A little bad.

Good and bad. That’s how I see it.

That’s my city. That’s New Orleans. Sure. Every place has a little good and a little bad to it. But our contrasts are extremes.

One of you sent me an email inquiring about a photograph (I haven’t forgotten you) and said something in his email about my pictures. And, how they show how much I love New Orleans. Yes. That’s true. On a good day. But, on many days I really dislike this place. You’ve read some of my comments in the past, so there’s no need to get into that now. That’s for both my likes and dislikes.

Let’s just say that around here, it works like this. The new Rampart – St. Claude Avenue streetcar line opened on Sunday to great fanfare. That’s great. Today, it derailed as it was trying to cross at a track switch. That’s bad. Especially at rush hour. That makes it terrible.

Anyway.

I made this picture on the same day I took all those St. Roch cemetery pictures. I was poking around in a neighborhood in which I rarely travel and stumbled onto a lot of used house parts stores and lots. Most were pretty heavily protected by barbed wire and concertina wire.

Old reclaimed antique house parts are valuable. I once had my wrought iron fence and gate stolen from my house. It had been there since 1884. Somebody just dug it out of the ground. While I was sleeping. It was at the front of the house. I slept in the back of the house. The house was 90 feet long.

I found the fence and gate in an antique shop in Ponchatoula. Under Louisiana state law if you can prove something like that is stolen, you can have it returned. Immediately. While you are standing in the shop. Luckily, I had a lot of pictures to prove its provenance. Imagine that.

Then I saw this.

Barbed wire. Concertina wire. And, Mardi Gras beads.

That sums it up nicely.

New Orleans.

 


Along the Way
Along the Way

You know me. I often make my best pictures along the way. One the way to some place else. I took this picture while we were walking. With my i-Phone.

Let’s discuss this for a minute. There is a group of photographers that say, i-Phone pictures really aren’t serious photography at all. That may be so. But, there are art galleries and some advertising agencies that champion loosely produced i-Phoneograhy. It has become a useful tool.  And, for sure, it illustrates that old saying about the best camera.

Question: “What is the best camera?”

Answer: “The one that you have with you.”

That said, I mostly use it sort of as a sketch pad. I like bigger image files. I like the choice of lenses and stuff like that. And, I like working with RAW files. But, as in all technology, change happens quickly. New iPhones, which are often chasing other smartphones, will have RAW file capability, better lenses and larger image files. Am I suggesting that we all switch to higher power smartphones? Noooooo… All things in moderation. Even moderation.

Oh yeah. The picture. I’m not telling. You tell me. Please. Just know that I didn’t place the leaf in that position.

In my Mr. Spaceman moment, I forgot to title this post. It’s now called Blue and White.