Drawbridge.

A

ccording to The Washington Post, The President just said that Congress had reach a bi-partisan agreement on the infrastructure bill. All I can say is that is about damn time.

If ever there was a city in need of infrastructure repair it’s New Orleans.

You are looking at one of two drawbridges that cross the Intracoastal Waterway connecting the rest of the city to the Lower 9th Ward and locations further downriver.

Look at it. At the time when I made this picture it had been painted and it’s already rusty.

There are really three points made in this picture. Both drawbridges should be replaced with something modern. The Intracoastal Waterway — known locally as MR-GO — should be closed because it brought the water from everywhere that destroyed the Lower 9th Ward.

Finally, see that concrete structure on the right side of the picture? That’s the new levee built after the old one was broken in many places allowing the water from MR-GO to food and destroyed the Lower 9th Ward.

Now, about the potholes in my street.

O

nce again WordPress has made it way too hard to do anything with this block system. It will be the thing that finally drives me away.

I’m sure that I did it. At least what those fine morons at WordPress will claim.

Yes, WordPress if you are reading, I just called you morons. I’m sorry if I offend anybody with this next line, but leave the fucking thing alone.

They created some way of trapping copy with a blue box. You cannot edit anything in the box. If you hit the delete key, the paragraph is removed. The box continues to move upward deleting and deleting.

The only work around that I could figure out is to go back to a saved draft and use that.

Of course, this means all of the categories and tags are removed. If you schedule posts as I do, that is removed as well.

Moving is looking better and better.

Life is way too short.


Deep, dark and rich.

Pictures. You know that I’ve been working in my archives looking for pictures for a project. I’ve found some, but not all. I did find this picture. A photograph.

It is so appropriate because. I have been thinking lately about my past. You know, getting deep inside. I won’t write much about the picture on this side of the page except to say that the beads are old and faded. Like me. Or, not.

Going inside to look around at what you did wrong and what or right isn’t easy. I wonder, even though there can be no regrets or late happiness.

“Years will pass before we turn to face the place where we come from, years will pass before we learn what time denies to everyone. ” — MCC

Finding her, finding her music seems to have come a perfect time. Or, maybe not.

I guess that I’ll see soon enough.

I left out a line. At first it was intentional. Now, I think it matters.

“If we are lucky ghosts and prayers are company, not enemies.”

This line gives me hope. When I see the ghosts in my dreams, I am happy to see them. I want to know what happened to them between then and now.

Maybe you do too.

Old pictures. Are the just souvenirs? Or, are they something more? You know that I’ve been digging around in my archives. Sometimes I find what I am seeking. Sometimes, I find the unexpected, like this picture.

I’m not sure how i lost this picture. It’s a gem.

The beads are a little faded from our extreme weather. They are slightly overgrown. The fence looks a little worse for wear.

I made this photograph with some kind of longer lens because everything is compressed. It makes the picture a little more powerful.

This is a portfolio picture that fits into a group of images about Mardi Gras and what it means to the city, especially now that we are considering not have carnival in 2021.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask.


What we leave behind.

Junkyards.

I don’t know what got me thinking about this. Maybe it’s because I often watch documentaries on various streaming services. I’ve internalized the broken, the abandoned and the left behind. If truth be told, I’ve poking around abandoned stuff long before the dawn of Netflix. It’s always interested me. It could be because when I was very young we travelled by train. As a train approaches the train station, it passes through the backside of cities and towns. Those neighborhoods are run down at best. Abandoned at worst.

They made an impression.

Photography philosophy

After all, art is autobiographical. I make pictures of me. Not portraits. Pictures of what’s inside me. The subject matter may be less important than the feel of the photograph. I like working close to the subject because I’m trying to get inside. Of the subject. Of me.

I follow a woman on Instagram who offers online workshops. The one I checked out was about the process of making pictures. It included a little Zen meditation. And, a little bit about breaking mental blocks. It’s an interesting workshop. I won’t take it because all it would do for me is support what I already know and do.

I’m a big believer in always carrying a camera. Any kind of camera. You never know when a picture might break out. In my newspaper days, we always carried our gear with us. We used to joke that we saved a lot of lives. If we carried our gear nothing would happen. But, sure enough, if we didn’t there would be massive breaking news.

I’m also a believer of letting the picture take you, rather than you taking the picture. When you are really drawn to something you’ll make a hard u-turn in heavy traffic just to get back to the scene. You’ll miss dinner. You’ll get up way too early. You’ll travel to places you never thought would interest you.

That’s obession.

And, speaking of obession.

A little news of the day

There was a woman walking her dog in the Ramble of Central Park in New York City. A man, who happened to be black, was doing a little birding. She confronted him and started yelling. He started videoing her. While she was screaming at the police she was dragging her dog in a way that could have killed her. A little scared cocker spaniel.

Eventually, the internet did its job. She was identified via LinkedIn. Her dog was taken away to keep her safe. I don’t know what will happen to the woman. I was disgusted. When she called 911 the very first thing she said was that there was a violent Black man threatening her. She’s white. She knew exactly what she was doing. Exactly.

The comments on Twitter were almost just as disgusting. People defended the woman by saying they couldn’t see the cause. The man started his videotaping well before the start of the incident because he was birding. They said he should have just walked away despite her coming to him. They worried about the dog over a human being. WTH?

You know how I feel about dogs. They are better than people. You know how I feel about cockers. They are better than most other dogs. But, I would never choose a dog over another human being.

Stay tuned.

I could speculate about the causes, but I won’t. All I know is that we live in interesting times. “May you live in interesting times,” is the worst possible Chinese curse.

The picture

I went to a new doctor. An orthopedic doctor. No worries. I’m finishing old business. His office is in a sort of weird place. A large group of doctors own a place that could have been a school or old military quarters. There is a lot of stuff left behind. You know. The American way.

The subject turns out to be an old, abandoned air conditioning system. I knew this because right next to it was a more modern one, the kind we are used to seeing. Also, there is a descriptive metal plate with instructions about how to diagnose air conditioning problems.

I had two cameras with me. i chose the lesser one. I have no idea why. I framed the subject and pressed the button. I walked around looking for different or better views. Eventually, I chose the first version. Sometimes, it’s your instinct over technique.

Stay safe. Enjoy every sandwich.


Tumbled grave markers.
Tumbled grave markers.

New Orleans cemeteries.

People come from all over to see them. They are part of our heritage. They are a part of the landscape. They are a tourist attraction.

So, when a friend of mine who was visiting asked if we could see a cemetery if I didn’t think “that was too weird,” I sort of chuckled and took him to Lafayette Cemetery No. 2. Since we were already in Central City to see and photograph a second line, it took about three minutes to get there.

He didn’t know that I enjoy photographing cemeteries until we got there. But, I think he got that idea when I started making pictures as we walked through both sides of Lafayette No. 2. Aside from trying to be a good host, I couldn’t help myself. The light was just great. Silvery, with sunlight peaking in and out of some pretty dramatic storm clouds.

Turn me loose with light like that and you know what is going to happen.

One picture lead to another, which lead to another. Finally, I made enough pictures to make a little portfolio to show you. The real trick is to make enough different views and scenes so that the overall presentation doesn’t get boring. Sometimes more isn’t more. Most of the internet is packed with more. Way too much more.

Let me tell you a little bit about the cemetery. It is located in Central City, north of Lafayette Cemetery No. 1. It is believed that the area first saw informal burials around 1850. The City of Lafayette buried about 120 bodies on the land prior to being annexed by the City of New Orleans in 1858. Got that? Good.

The cemetery as we see it today was surveyed, planned and constructed in 1865. The neighborhood around it has gone through good times and bad. The condition of the cemetery reflected that. For years, it was considered to be very unsafe. Today, the neighborhood is slowly coming back. The cemetery, which was flooded following Hurricane Katrina, is also coming back. The city repaired the outer fences and cleaned up a lot of the walkways within the grounds. It doesn’t look new. But, it looks better.

 

 


Royal Street
Royal Street

This place has been photographed about a billion times.

Everybody stops and takes a picture of it. And, I do mean everybody. That is, everybody who visits the French Quarter and especially Royal Street. This old building just sucks everybody right in.

Even me.

I’ve probably photographed it about 500 times. Or more. In all kinds of light. The trick is to either arrive very early in the day, or towards the end of the day when the light turns colors. If you shoot in the white, bright late of mid day, the place is just an old run down building. If you shoot at the ends of the day or in cloudy and rainy conditions, the place turns mysterious and moody. It looks and feels like it belongs on some run down street in Paris. France. Not Texas.

It also helps if you change angles. Everybody — again, me included — usually photographs it kind of at a kitty corner angle so that the front of the building faces the camera. That’s what I did for this picture. I changed angles. I did a little post production to make the picture a little more moody and… there you have it.


Abandoned passenger train car.
Abandoned passenger train car.

A little black and white work for Sunday. I found this train. Or, something like that. I  always think that I find things. Usually, everybody knows about them but me. I was parking my car in a huge lot. The lot was very crowded so I had to park pretty far away from my destination. Things happen for a reason. This old passenger car — well, really a baggage car — was parked at the end of the lot, along with a bunch of other old trains. The picture never really did anything for me in color. So, I thought I’d experiment with it in black and white. It feels a lot better to me. Sort of beat up. Sort of funky. Feels right. To me.


Falling down...
Falling down…

Let’s just see if those “Rustie” folks find this on one Twitter. Just an inside joke. Nothing to worry about.

Back to the normal content. Pictures.

Yes. I remember. Nature. That’s what I’m supposed to be doing.

But, but, but… these pictures were right in front of me. They were staring at me. They were waiting. For me.

Besides, they were on the same lot as the cemetery pictures I published yesterday. I already showed you one picture from this series on Saturday. The picture of a piece of broken tree that was growing over the rusted gate latch. Remember?

Anyway, this old house is located in Vacherie. That’s in St. James Parish. Louisiana. Remember now?

I believe this property is owned by St. Philip Catholic Church or whatever archdiocese of which they are a part. I don’t know. It’s not that I don’t care. It’s that I really don’t know. I did knock on what I thought was the church office door. Nobody answered. When I started looking for information on this place I found out why. The church and another church — St. James Catholic Church —  sort of share administrations. They close at this location at noon. We were there much later.

The pictures. Again, I didn’t do much in post production. I darkened them, sharpened them and warmed them a little. Nature did all the rest… it took at least 50 years, I think.

Tin roof
Tin roof

Remains
Remains


French Quarter Purple
French Quarter Purple

This picture was made when the poodle and I had our guy’s night out in The French Quarter. I’ve been walking past this building for years, but on that night the light made the building look bluish-purple and oh so photographic.  So I stopped and worked the building for more than a few minutes. I added a little to it in post production, but not that much. The evening light did most of the work.

One of the aesthetics of The Quarter that I like so much is that you can just mentally put yourself in some part of Europe while you are standing in the middle of New Orleans. See? I never have to travel. I can just pretend. When I think about that last sentence I kind of have to chuckle. People come to New Orleans, and especially The French Quarter, from all over the world. Me? It’s about a ten minute drive. I couple probably walk to The Quarter from the house in a half hour. I may have to try it one day.


Green and Brick.
Green and Brick.

See? I did have a pretty good shoot in Cairo. Considering my shooting night was really about an hour, it was exceptional… for anyone. Especially me. I’m not sure what this building was originally because it has what looks like loading docks in the back, and store fronts along the street. It’s one of those buildings that I’d like to buy and renovate. Unfortunately, in Cairo there is really no need for it. Nobody would use it. But, in New Orleans… well, that’s a whole other story. This place would sell for a lot of money even in the abandoned and boarded up state that you see here.

 

The picture is simple. See it, frame it, push the button. Very little post production. No need for it. Somebody painted parts of it green without my help.