I begged them not to do it. But, just like every other tech company today, they think they know better than their clients. Their customers. They deleted the backdoor to Storyteller. I have no idea what I’m doing with this so-called new, improved, and fucked up method of posting. They started this last year. A lot of us complained about it. They left the backdoor alone. They said they might eliminate it. New Year. Nothing better to do. So their engineers removed what was a very elegant way to add “content.”
I have no idea what MY page looks like. Before I post it. And, I have to add all the metadata by hand. Yeah. This is better. Not. And, what’s with the “beep-bop-beep?” What am I? 12 years old?
These pictures. Hmmm. The dinosaur. That’s black and white Tri-x film that I scanned and started adding stuff. You’d be surprised how unclean black and white film looks after it’s scanned. There is all sort of latent color even when you turn all color sources off. I played to it.
Chicken Mart. A landmark. In Central City. There’s another out in the Ninth Ward, I think.
Ladders and chairs was made on Magazine Street in The Lower Garden District. On a break from Mardi Gras festivities.
Oh yeah. Sorry for the so-called “f-bomb.” I have no time to mince words anymore. It is what it is.
Portraits. I don’t always make pictures of subjects that move my artistic sensibilities. Sometimes, I actually have to work for a living.
These ten pictures are an example of my paid work. Work I rarely show you on Storyteller. Work that I did for various clients and agencies. Some was made as art directed stock. Some was made as art directed corporate portraiture. Some was made for the person in the picture. No matter what and for whom, I still try to bring my own sensibilities to the picture. I still have to be “on.” And, yes. There is more pressure. Someone is paying for this. Generally, I still only get one go at it. I can’t go back and reschedule if I make a mistake. Well, I can. But, then I’m paying the cost. And, I have to make a lot of excuses. In the old days I could blame the lab. Can’t do that anymore. Even if the picture was made to fulfill an agency’s future need, there are still expenses. Theirs and mine. Sometimes I can wait around, but time — as they say — is money. And, money puts kibbles in my dogs’ bowls.
The pictures. The first thing that you’ll notice is they aren’t as contrasty and colorful as my usual work. There is a reason for that. This stuff shows up in ads. On client websites. In sales brochures. In corporate publications. On a billboard or two. Like that.
The people who create that material want and need fairly color balanced imagery. They don’t want to guess about color fidelity. They want to know that my pictures don’t need a lot of work to get back to normal. Luckily, I understand printing technology fairly well since a chunk of my career was spent managing big professional presses. It works out well for everybody involved.
So. I told you. Today might get a little boring.
By the way, I don’t only make portraits for clients. I’m sort of on a portrait spree right now, on Storyteller. I’ll get back to something else. Eventually.
This time it’s locations. Places. Cities. Nature. Details.
As I was reviewing this work, a thought struck me. So much of it is either weather driven or made at the edges of the day. I just don’t take many pictures at high noon. I’ve preached about that enough in the past. Even the picture of the pick up truck in The Bywater was made before ten o’clock in the morning. Is this the only way to work? Not necessarily. But for me it is. For me, it’s a sort of rule. Yeah. Sure. When I photograph events, like a second line parade, I have no choice. But so much of my work is not driven by schedules. Even when the work is commissioned, I try to build a little extra time into my shoot list to work when I’m pretty sure the light will be at its best.
So. To recap what I wrote yesterday, Today is about locations. Many of these pictures were made on the way to some place else. Tomorrow is about the local Mardi Gras culture. New Year’s Day is a free day. I have no idea what the picture will be. That’s the joy of this blog.There are many days when I have no idea what I’m going to post until I do it. On other days, it is part of a bigger plan. Or, something like that.
I thought that I stumbled upon one of the so-called missing Banksy bits of wall graffiti and political commentary. Apparently, he came through New Orleans in 2008 and did his thing. Love his work or think it’s just graffiti defacing a wall, he did spend some time here. Most of his work was covered up by a self-described anti-graffiti activist known as the Gray Ghost. The Gray Ghost sprays over any graffiti he finds with gray paint. He finally got caught when he sprayed over a commissioned mural. Oops. Banksy’s last known work, located in The Bywater, was almost stolen by a couple of guys who thought it would be a good idea just to cut out a chunk of a brick wall and take it.
Along comes me. I was looking for some junk in Mid City near the new hospital corridor when I stumbled upon this building and its graffiti. At first, I thought I’d found another bit of Banksy wall art. But, it isn’t on any map and the more I looked at his past and current work, I don’t think this image is anything more than a copy. His work is a lot more complete with highlights of bright color. And, it is very well documented. There is even a website that has maps of his work divided by location. The street artist gets around. Whew.
For a while I was excited. I like to learn. I learned quite a bit about the elusive Banksy.
Yeah. Flying trains. Or, something like that. Prior to about 1937, in order to cross The Mississippi River, you had to use barges and ferries. Even the railroad companies had to do that. Along came the Kingfisher. Governor Huey. P. Long. He grew a lot of programs very quickly. He helped people who needed help. He ordered this bridge built as a way to lessen travel time between the east and west banks of the river. He was also corrupt. He was assassinated in office. At the time, the best way to travel by rail to the Western States was to do it from the west bank. But, New Orleans and just about everything else was on the eastern shore. So, the trains had to cross the river. As you know, trains don’t float. Those barges and ferries were time-consuming. You had to break down trains and move the cars slowly across the river. This bridge begat other bridges. But, none quite so industrial as this one. While trains crossed the river in good form and time, driving a car on the bridge was another issue. The bridge was built for smaller, more narrow cars. So, over the past few years, the bridge underwent a major overhaul to account for modern cars and trucks. It’s a great ride now. Local folks call it the Huey P.
The road on which this picture was made is called River Road. I’ve told you about this in the past. There are two river roads. One on The Eastbank and one on The Westbank. They are really like a meandering country road that follows that bends and curves of the river. If you are not in a hurry to get anywhere, and you aren’t driving at rush hour, it’s a great and relaxing drive. I use it to travel from the city to the huge shopping center that is located in Elmwood. Not that I’m a great shopper, but there is a huge Home Depot there, as well a big discount athletic goods store. Oh yeah. My primary care doc’s office is located pretty much under the bridge about five minutes from where this picture was made.
The picture? Well, well, well… I’ve tried to make this picture for two years. Something was wrong with it every time I tried. Two much traffic on River Road. No trains on the bridge. The wrong sky. Hazy conditions. You name it. But, finally. The air was sparkling clear between storms. The clouds were wonderful and wonder of wonders, there was not one train but two on the bridge. Of course, I’m was driving at 30 mph at the time, but… you know me.
So. We are still sick and getting sicker. But, that’s okay. It feels like your classic summer cold. I may have peaked and I think I might start getting better tomorrow. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. When my head is clear and I’m not coughing, I’ve been looking at older work. I’m not sure to what end, but it’s been a lot of fun. I’m able to review older images and think about what makes them good, better and best. Or, just junk. I’ve also been able to look at my progress over the past few years. Few being about 25 years. Depending on my mood, either I think I was a better photographer when I was younger, or I’m getting better as I age. Either is fine with me. I just don’t want to remain stuck in one place.
Anyway. These pictures. First, the only post production that I did on any, or all, of them was to clean things up and make the images a little closer to what I saw in my mind’s eye when I pushed the button. As far as each of the images go, Chicago, Santa Cruz, New York and Santa Fe. That’s where I made them. Oh, one more thing. When I say old, I mean old. These are all scanned from film. I think that the scans are great. Big 60 meg things made by a lab in New Orleans called Moldaners. Can’t beat the quality and can’t beat the price.
I’ve been doing a number of projects at one time. That includes traveling, photographing, managing someone else and working on a huge amount of post production of files that I’ve produced over the past month. When it comes to post production, mostly I’ve been working on the Memphis blues project. I work on it as I can. It’s become sort of a hobby. When you make as many pictures as I did in Memphis, it does take some serious time to edit. Okay. To use the contemporary term. Curate. Of course, there are multiple culls, rough post production and final polishing. I’ve managed to cull the images that are directly related to my buddy, Sammy’s band, down to just 760 pictures. Just. There’s other stuff too. A lot of other stuff. Too much stuff. Maybe.
Anyway. With all that’s going on, I need some fun in my work too. So, I pulled a couple of pictures out of the Memphis mix that I just like. Nothing more. I’m not sure they the fill any particular need. But, I like them. The top image is a portrait of my old friend Sammy. We were at a club called Purple Haze, mostly just listening to other musicians. The bottom image is of drummer Michael Hays. You met him earlier. he was lighting a cigarette and standing on Beale Street. In this picture, he’s waiting to play.
Being away from home and on the road is not always fun. But, this Memphis trip was great fun. Especially eating. Eating can be entertainment when you are out. We went to a couple of places on Beale Street. Most of them are real touristy, but we found Polly’s. Great Southern food. And, the very best waitress. Lisa. She kept a bunch of ridiculous people in check, smiled a lot, cracked jokes and recommended great food. Oh. yeah. She kept the coffee cups full. And, the sweet tea glasses full too. The picture? Ain’t much. It’s a quick portrait. Of course, I spun it a bit with a lot of post production. I added a lot of movie filters. I guess I see some of these funky restaurants as sort of a location prop. Maybe I want to make movies. Or not.
Yes. Sunday and Mardi Gras. About dogs. And their people. From my point of view, the main parade yesterday was the Krewe of Barkus. Yes. Barkus. Bark. Bark. Bark. Except these dogs were all pretty good. They visited with each other before showtime. Then they walked throughout The French Quarter. It was their parade. The streets were packed. With humans and visiting dogs. Dogs everywhere. People too. Quite frankly, I’ve never seen The Quarter so packed with people. I suppose, we are starting to get the early spillover from next Sunday’s little football game. They call it the Superbowl. Combine those crowds with the normally heavy Mardi Gras crowds and you get one full French Quarter.
Anyway. Please have a look at the dogs and some of the people who make New Orleans unique.
That’s it for the first week of Mardi Gras in New Orleans. We are taking a break. The city. Not just me. The NFL asked us to do that. So we started Mardi Gras a week early, worked in a week-long pause, and will resume again on the Monday after the game. For my part, it’s really messed with my timing and planning. No. I’m not working in the city next week. We are heading to Memphis… for the BBQ at The Rendezvous and a lot of Blues. Musicians are going to play there from all over the world. It’ll be a little crowded there too. But, nothing like New Orleans. And, Memphis is sacred ground to me because of all the great music made there. Once, I walked into Sun Studios and wanted to kiss the floor. Elvis, Dylan and U2 recorded there. Then there were guys like Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash and, and, and… I know I’m really lucky. I live in New Orleans. A musical city. I’m traveling to a Memphis. Another musical city. These days so much of my life is about pictures and musical sounds. Thanks.
The pictures. Well. You know what I do. I bet you didn’t think I could do it with dogs. It’s easy. I just talk to them. They have no idea what I’m saying. Or, do they? Do they seem to like the tone of my voice.