I was wondering just how many pictures of old couches, chairs and furniture would hold a readers interest.
I wasn’t sure what to do about it until I saw this scene.
It hit me.
A picture like this holds the reader’s interest in many ways. Not the least of them being the human need to understand the photograph. To study it. To spend some time with it. To let your brain grasp the details within the details.
The first couple of pictures that I made for the “Junk Project,” were mostly overall scenes. You look at them once, quickly, and you are done. You see everything that needs to seen in less than a second. They rely on color, shape and hue.
This picture relies on content. Subject matter.
This picture would work in black and white, as well as in color.
This picture is also harder to find. Even harder for it to find you.
If somebody wanted it for their wall, I work hard to convince them to use the horizontal version and turn it into wall paper. Something that is about twelve feet wide and eight feet high. Something that when you came home at night, you could stare at and forget the day. You’d mumble to yourself, “Oh wow. I didn’t see that before.”
Just like I’m doing now. That light bulb. They are expensive. It isn’t broken. What was I thinking?
I had a good week. Not only did I find a couple of pictures for the summer project, but I found a couple of pictures for my junk and water projects. I’m not saying that everything I photographed will make it into the final cut, but having many pictures from which to select is better than too few. Right?
I wrote about this topic a few weeks ago.
Durability. Sustainability. Repairability.
The furniture that was set out by this dumpster was old. The pieces were probably manufactured in the 1930s. Every piece was well made of good solid wood. Nothing was broken. They needed a little refinishing work, but that was about it.
All they needed was a little loving touch. They would have made a fine collection of furniture for somebody. Anybody.
We live in a time when everything is made so cheaply that it costs more to repair an item than it costs to replace it. That’s too bad. More broken stuff for the overflowing landfills. More broken stuff to add to our pollution. More broken people not working.
A few weeks ago, we went through the great plastic purge. We are still working on it, but it’s damn near impossible. Sheesh. We tried to buy butcher paper locally. Good try. Yes. It can be found in our local and regional grocery stores. But, it’s improved. It has a — wait for it — plastic backing.
Sure. You can buy paper butcher paper on Amazon. And, you add to the carbon footprint by having it shipped. Get this, most of it comes in huge rolls for commercial use.
So, you have to buy a rack and a paper cutter.
I believe that we are at a point beyond which we can’t turn back. Everybody and everything is too invested in the stuff that could kill the planet. Besides, follow the money. How does Mitch McConnell grow his wealth by some $24 million in a couple of years?
The picture. First, I would have taken that furniture if I had a truck. But, I had a dog on a leash. She refuses to carry heavy stuff. Seriously, I photograph my projects as I see potential subject matter. For me, it works better to let the pictures come to me, rather than chasing them. As I wrote earlier, I think I have my color palette figured out going forward. For the junk project.
One more item of semi-interest.
Doctor John was buried yesterday. His family and friends organized a true jazz funeral with a second line and a mule drawn hearse. I didn’t photograph it. The temperature was 96 degrees at 3pm when the parade began. The heat index was 104 degrees. Way too hot for me.
Just like the water project, it takes some time to find the pictures. Mostly, they find me. When I’m not looking.
That doesn’t mean that I’m not focused. It means that I’m disciplined, always keeping these projects in the back of my mind.
I’ve been a little unsure of my color palette, and most post production style. I think, that with this picture, I’ve found it. It’s pleasing to my eye with just enough shadows to make the picture a little mysterious. And, enough glow to make it a little ethereal.
I do like letting the pictures lead me, rather than the other way around. I’m pretty sure in terms of the flow of this project, one of two things has to happen. Either every picture stands together. As a group. Or, every picture stands alone. As a single picture.
Even though I like this particular post production process, it could change.
On another subject.
Have a good thought for some friends of mine. They are moving to Mexico from Seattle. Take that ICE. Take that POTUS. They will be living with a lot of other expats. They have a lot of reasons for doing this. Two are cost of living and quality of life.
As they get ready to approach Laredo, where they are crossing into Mexico, the weather has turned un-Godly hot. Around 115 degrees F. They have about a two day window when the temperatures drop. They’ll need that badly because they must transfer their stuff from a U-Haul trailer to a van that will deliver their goods to their destination. That’s very hot work. They are in their 70s, although you wouldn’t know that to look at them. The heat alone will tax them. Broken down heat exhausted cars in the desert could kill them. They also sent a big moving van with their furniture and big stuff.
Currently, they are holed up in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The temperature is around 75 – 80 degrees F. I wish I was holed up with them. Besides, Santa Fe and all the wonderful things to do, see and eat there, we have a lot of photographer friends in common that we can hang with. We all have worked with each other in the past.
Long careers seem to equal old friends. Artist friends.
Or, I could just call this who is supposed to clean this pool? Actually, what caught my eye was that mushy white dot located in between the handrail, which is something new. The dot is the sun reflecting off the blue water. It was poking through some light cloud cover.
That’s the story of the picture. I saw it. I made it. I developed it. I manipulated it. And, I posted it.
I was wandering around looking for more junk. I found some. But what I really found sort of made me sick. Trash. Strewn everywhere. And, given that I just read a National Geographic Online piece about deep divers finding plastic bottles in the Marianas Trench, the deepest place on earth, I think I found my crusade.
Let’s face it. All politics aside. Every ism aside, if we keep trashing this planet, pretty soon we will not have a place to live. Our piles of trash will get flooded by rising seas and we’ll all steam in higher temperatures. Won’t that smell great? Steamed soggy trash. With all that steam, our wrinkles will go away. So will we.
That’s not unusual. The older I get, the less I know. So, somewhere along the line I’ve got to be learning. What I learned sort of stunned and saddened me all in one.
I am in a lot of LinkedIn groups. Some are artistic. Some are business oriented. Others are about SEO and growing your online audience.
That’s where I learned something.
Someone asked about auto-posting and scheduling. Someone else suggested a site called HootSuite. Depending on your subscription, you can auto schedule everything. Then, there was one level that allows you to auto schedule “content.’
The word content as it is used today has always made me queasy. It seems that I’m not a photographer. I’m a content creator. Same with a writer or musician. They don’t create what it is they do. They create content.
It doesn’t stop there.
HootSuite suggests that you clip and past content that you might find interesting all over the web as a method of growing your fans or followers. It doesn’t matter if you are a photographer — as I am — if you post something about, oh let’s say weapons of mass destruction. Or, something favoring Neo-Nazis, when, in fact, you are liberal. Just as long as it draws eyes and you can convert them to followers and maybe buyers of whatever your products might happen to be.
This explains a lot.
I get a couple of emails every month asking me if I need content for Storyteller. If I reply with something even mildly affirmative, the “content producer” sends me a sample of the work that “fits” in Storyteller. Usually, it is so far off the mark that I don’t even bothering to reply.
If I read HootSuite’s theories right, and then confirmed them by visiting similar sites, I now understand why most of social media is so boring. I understand why “fake news” is a thing. People are making money sitting in little rooms, in front of little monitors, churning out nonsense. Obviously, there are some people with suspect agendas pouring out content that is pure lies. Can you say Russian trolls?
That said. I promise you that Storyteller will never become one of those sites. I will never post nonsensical provided content of the sake of blog growth. Sure. Storyteller might grow. But, at what cost? I’d like to think that I’m an ethical and sincere person. Besides, even though it’s taken a little while, I’ve grown fairly holistically with original material I post. Every day.
The Picture. It’s one of those found objects. To tell you the truth, I made it look more like junk than it is. It is a functioning electric meter. Of course, the weathering is real. We live in Southeast Louisiana. The home of extreme weather. Stuff gets rusty. Stuff gets moldy.
That’s the news from the swamp.
Oh yeah. We have a new mayor as of 11 minutes ago… 11am. She’s probably going to be the worst mayor ever. I could tell you all the reasons, starting with a general incompetence and graft, but I’ll leave you with this. After she started assembling her transition team she made them sign and NDA. That’s Non Disclosure Agreement. Huh? City government must be transparent by law. For example, if the city council needs to go into executive session they have to follow very strict rules. Her explanation? It allowed people to say what they really felt. Excuse me?
New Orleans drivers are the worst. The only thing we are good at is letting the other guy go first. That’s not just because we are laid back southerners. Sheesh. I’m not. I was born in Brooklyn. It’s because we don’t want to get shot.
Think I’m kidding?
Yesterday, a guy was shot and killed because he sprayed water on his neighbor’s car. Of course, as the media starting reporting the facts, we found out that it was a ten-year old feud. These two guys argued over everything. And, anything.
Who, in their right mind, shoots and kills somebody because their car got wet? One guy is dead. The other will die in prison. All because of a few drops of water. I could go into a whole gun thing, but I won’t. It could also go into a whole stupidity thing, but I won’t. I am saying that most of the U.S. and maybe the world, is going crazy. Over reactions. Polarization. Tribalism. I used to see it and laugh at it. Now, it’s the order of the day. It scares me.
Oh, and many people seem to have lost their patience and ability to think reasonably, if at all.
That’s how the car I photographed got this tail light damage. One car was making a left hand turn. One car was approaching the intersection. The guy making the left just couldn’t wait for the other guy to pass. The guy passing just couldn’t slow down and let the guy turning left make his turn.
Whammo. Blammo. A small accident.
That could have been avoided.
Everybody settle down. Oh well, at least I got some art out of it.
The picture seems fairly simple. These two guys are waiting for Big Chief John to dress and make his appearance. That part is simple enough.
Oh, you knew this was coming.
The Original Wild Tchoupitoulas were getting dressed next door. In a private home. One that was rock solid. The building next door had been falling down for years. But, gentrification is coming to Central City. It was being restored. I said to somebody at the time that now it looked like it was ready to fall down.
I was right. It did.
It fell down. The next day. On Monday. It completely collapsed, trapping three workers, and onto Washington Avenue, closing it in both directions until the debris could be cleared.
I’m trying to figure out a couple of things. It’s one of those chicken and egg things. The building was abandoned for years. For years, we sat on the stoop waiting for Second Sunday activities to start. Drummers played their drums on the porch. Brass bands practiced there. It was solid. Now with new construction and the shoring up of the foundation, the building became fragile. We all did the things that we usually did. It fell down.
Did we cause it to fall down? Was it the new construction? Was it simply the fact that it sat abandoned for so many years? I don’t know. It’s probably our faults. Luckily, the workers who were trapped were not injured. And, the building didn’t block traffic during rush hour.
The picture. It was one those extra pictures I made during the main event. I just liked the position of the two men. I did a lot to it in post production, including adding that frame. I’m not sure if it helps or hurts.
This is what remains. Before it is taken down. Carted off for scrap. Left to rot in the land fill. I haven’t been to this neighborhood in a long while. I don’t want to get shot. I doubt this building is still standing. There are other pictures in my archive that have been made from a side view. It is interesting to note that the house was leaning heavily to the right. The next time that I went back, more parts fell off. It was leaning to the left. Usually, when I building sort of rocks back and forth, the next step is collapse. We call that demolition by neglect.
Speaking of archives. And, collapse.
One of you kindly wrote that even if I can’t shoot second lines, masked indians and the culture anymore that it didn’t matter because my old archives would eventually surface here.
Nope. No way. No how.
It may be nothing more than a point of pride, but the only pictures from those collections that make it here, or anywhere for that matter, are the best, the ones with the peak decisive moment, and the newest. The rest of that days work are out takes. They live in my files only because I’m old school and I never throw away an image. I don’t delete.
If I say that I’m done then I’m done. I don’t like it much. It speaks about getting old. I’m giving up something that I really like to do. And, I miss the companionship. I will occasionally come out for something like I did last week. A second line for a person who was a friend to us all. I’ll do it for a jazz funeral… if I know the person being honored. But, that’s different. You know why.
This picture is about me. I asked yesterday what the picture meant to you. Some of you answered. Cool and thank you. There’s a lot of post production going on. But, it’s sneaky. Subtle. Even, maybe, sublime. Sublime is about the last thing that you’d ever say about my work. And yet.
Just a little playing with software to build a kind of photo assembly.
I’m not sure if this works. At all. But, I wanted to do a little testing. And, learning. In an attempt to learn about a particular style of photo assembly, I started with this. Well, something like it. The pictures were taken over a long period of time. They were sometimes published one or two at a time.
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