The good stuff.

The junk project.

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.

Abandoned.

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?

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.

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Left Behind.

The dumpster project. Part two.

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.

We’ll see.

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.

 

 


All things pass.
All things must pass.

Yesterday was hard. For many people.

Today is a new day. Keep moving forward. That’s what I say. Then again, I say that every day. It’s time to regroup. It’s time to do whatever it is we do. Don’t be denied. As my friend, and legendary New Orleans chef Leah Chase would say, “Put on your pants and get to work.” She’s 93 years old. When she talks, you listen. She’s seen a few things in her lifetime.

That’s about the end of politics on Storyteller.

The picture. No. It isn’t an extension of the take that I published yesterday. This came by sheer luck. Yesterday. It isn’t one of the occasional series, “what the dog saw” because she didn’t see it. She isn’t with us at the moment. I was walking. I saw it. That’s all there is to it. The original was a little over exposed so I corrected that. The rest is pretty much as you see it.


Sometimes on my back road drives, I find stuff. Well, not exactly that. I’m sure the stuff that I find isn’t lost. It is more like dumped. Sometimes it’s interesting stuff. You know what they say. “If you want to take better pictures, stand in front of better stuff.” Sometimes, even better stuff doesn’t help. Anyway, the thing about the high desert is its dryness. Very dryness. While we have humidity in New Orleans that ranges in 70 and 80 percent range, New Mexicans complain when humidity is like 12 percent. All that dry air prevents rust. Or at least inhibits it. While you may see old, dumped cars and trucks that look rusty, upon closer inspection you find that they are not. They are wind-blown and sand blasted. They are faded by the strong sun light. The sun tends to magnify in intensity when you are a mile up. At least you aren’t eight miles high. And, waiting to touch down. Did you catch that?

So. This truck. It’s an ancient GMC truck that I found “parked” in a field. I doubt that it ran or even could be started. It’s tires looked firm but dry rotted. Obviously, the windshield needs a little work. Other than that, it looked intact. Unfortunately, I stopped to make the picture at exactly the wrong time of day. High Noon. Flat. Chalky light. Ugly. Still I made the picture. It was a record shot. One that I would keep in the back of my mind for when I was in the “neighborhood” again. Something to be reworked at a more appropriate time of day. But, I “found” image file when I was looking for those act of traveling pictures that I mentioned. I decided to play with it. I added a little color. I added a little contrast. I sharpened some of the details. Then I added some “glow” to it. That did it. The image is somewhat presentable. Here it is. 


As part of my Central City series I’ve visited a number of merchants, business and stores. One of the most interesting is called The Bank and sells reclaimed details from old houses that were either torn down or otherwise destroyed. They also manufacture what I would call replica parts as well. One day I was poking around in their warehouse when I stumbled upon this little scene. I wondered who is she? When was the portrait made? How did it come to be left in a house that was abandoned and eventually torn down?

I can answer the last question. Maybe. The picture might have been left in a house that was flooded by Hurricane Katrina. Contrary to popular belief, a lot of houses that were reached by  flood waters were not entirely flooded. In some cases, the waters only reached in the house by a few inches. Others, a foot or so. But, it was a very hot summer in 2005. If you could not get back into your home for any length of time, mold and water rot did their nasty jobs. Many people in Central City could not repair their homes for a whole host of reasons and simply left them. When they evacuated, they took what they could carry. Pictures like the one in my photograph were simply left behind.

On another note. My pictures are starting to surface. Please have a look at this link. http-::imblacknitravel.com:nola-freret-street:

Freret Street is sort of the business model that the redevelopment model of Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard is based on. The blog is called I’m Black ‘n I Travel. It is written by and old friend and former colleague of mine, Greg Gross. He is an old school journalist. He also was raised in Central City. He lives in San Diego, California. We’ll get to Central City in later posts on Greg’s blog.

 

 


It must be my mood. I like this picture. A lot. I don’t know why. It was made in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It is located at the most far western end of Central Avenue, which means it is also where the Albuquerque’s section of old Route 66 comes to an end. This was one of those combination gas station-restaurant-grocery stores. I have no idea whether it was abandoned first and then burned, or the other way around.  But, this is what it looked like when I got to it.

Yes. I’ve done some things to this picture to help you see what I felt. The workflow is a little complicated. I made the exposure with a Nikon, I uploaded it to my i-Pad and did the post production in Snapseed which is a Nik product. Then I sent it back to my main computer. As I wrote, I like the picture. I’d love to know what you think.

Where Route 66 and Central Avenue comes to an end in western Albuquerque, New Mexico.