Only in New Orleans.

What a day. The fire did not only jump out of the frying pan, but it burned the house down.

No. Not literally.

A photographer who is known to many of us and who has helped us in career advancement just resigned from Magnum in lieu of being voted out of the cooperative.

Let me take a step back.

For those who aren’t aware, Magnum is the premiere photo agency in the world. At one time they were purely editorial photographers. As time passed they grew into something else out of financial necessity. They are a co-op which means they can’t just fire anybody.

The photographer, David Alan Harvey, was accused of sexual harassment of 11 young women. A reporter from the Columbia Journalism Review investigated, talked to the 11 women and found their charges to be true. The women showed incredible courage in talking on the record.

This exploded via Twitter and if you Google his name, you’ll find it all over the internet.

Many of the tweeters are women. They are not yet satisfied. They feel like Magnum and Harvey are getting off way too easily. They feel like photographic gatekeepers are essentially a good old boys club.

A reckoning is coming.

I’m sad and a little bit hurt, not because of the oncoming discussions. We all need them. I’m sad because I know this kind of thing has been going on for years. I don’t know it directly, but there were whispers in the wind. It wasn’t just with Harvey, but with all manner of photo influencers.

In Harvey’s case, he was always sort of a cowboy. I had no idea he had gone as far as he did. This hurts. His advice mattered.

I suppose it’s true. You must separate the art from the artist.

I only have one question aside from what was he thinking? What is a 76 year old man doing chasing 25 year old women?

Oh, I know why.

And, that just sucks.

I don’t usually cross post. This picture first appeared on Instagram which is distributed to Facebook because they are one company.

It’s slightly elderly from Super Sunday 2019, the last one we’ve had because of the pandemic. I doubt we’ll have it this year because it is just too soon.

Those folks who have already looked at it bear with me. You are going to look at it again. Sorry.

This may be one of my best Black Masking Indian (Mardi Gras Indians) pictures. It’s good because I managed to be inside the picture.

No matter how you try, it is very hard to do. My advice is to take a couple of years and get to know the players. Then, they MIGHT part for you to work your way inside. They might not.

There is very little post production used in the picture. There didn’t need to be. Those Indian suits are as you see them.

I’m sorry to say that it was guys like Harvey who taught me to see and work this way. That was all good back then. Today? Not so much.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Get your jabs. Be good to each other.


Arriving in style.

Second lines.

All on a Sunday afternoon.

All joy. Pure fun. Like going to church.

Photographing second lines is hard work. Working in the middle of one is like being in a rugby scrum. You trot, back peddle, dodge and weave. You walk a long way. If you do it right, you’re tired, dripping in sweat and a little bruised.

That’s my fun.

I stopped some time last year. The pain was too much. If I got loose enough, if I swayed to the music, if I ignored the pain, I could get by. Walking back to my car was an exercise in misery. So, I stopped.

I missed them terribly.

I said that I was done with that project. I said that here, on Storyteller. I was kidding myself. I decided to photograph this season. My pain was relieved. I don’t know whether to be grateful or angry. Even though my hip and back are a thing, they weren’t causing the pain..

It was bursitis. I could have been pain free almost two year ago.

Anyway.

God laughed at my plan.

Along came the virus.

No second lines.

It’s hard to know when they’ll return. They have to be one of the biggest super spreaders.

Stay safe. Enjoy every bowl of ramen.


Only in New Orleans.

Christmas in New Orleans.

A magical time of year. Living in the semi tropics makes so.

Hold on. 

It’s Christmas Eve. It’s time for children to go to bed early. A night when the kids leave a plate of cookies and a glass of milk for Santa. It’s a night of hope and wonder.

Around here we do a couple of things before bedtime. We travel about 40 miles upriver to Lutcher, where huge bonfires are lit to guide Papa Noel to New Orleans. Then, it’s off to a holiday diner, after first eating a not so light but traditional Russian meal earlier in the day.

Unless we are someplace else these are our traditions. They are fairly new. We need traditions, just like we need magic, music and light.

This is what we do on Christmas Eve. What do y’all do on the night before the big day?

Merry Christmas.


Art harder.

Art harder.

That’s about all I could do. Especially, since art is what I do.

I’m pretty sure that I know what you are expecting. An attack on the orange haired fool who lives in The White House. The one who committed treason according to its very definition, live from Helsinki.

Nope.

All the words that could be written, were written. All the things that could be said, were said. All I could ever add is to tell you that my heart is broken. Many things that I’ve done in the past don’t matter now.

I did what I always do. I worked.

I made this picture a few days ago. It’s a Mardi Gras wreath hung on a neighbor’s door. Seeing one at this time of year is like seeing a Christmas tree in a window in May. You know. It’s like, “WTH?” So I made the picture. I had to.

Then, I tinkered. I played. I experimented. I let my mind stay open and focused. Let is the key word. It was real easy to close down yesterday. Time passed by without me knowing it. It didn’t stand still. It moved forward.

Eventually, this picture emerged.

I didn’t stop there. I reworked it in a couple of different ways. The one you see is the one  I liked best.

It helped. It calmed me down. The work became the prayer. Never the less, I’m still stunned. Like the rest of the world.


Wildman John and masking.

I forgot what I was doing.

With all the sadness during the early part of the week I just lost my head. Well, you know… I started working on a photograph that I made of Wildman John at Super Sunday in Central City. Somewhere in the middle of that I realized I wasn’t working on a Halloween picture.

Doh!

Make no mistake. This is not a Halloween picture. It’s about culture. Perhaps one of the most important and deepest cultures in the city. This isn’t some guy putting on a costume and makeup for Halloween. This is part of this man’s life. Of our life.

No political commentary today. Although that fun never stops. Now Congress might see their way to banning bump stocks on semi-automatic weapons that mimic fully automatic weapons.  Gee. Ya think? I guess they got permission from the NRA to even talk about it.

The picture. It started it out in bright color. But, I’m seeing things differently these days. I tinkered sort of backwards into more monochrome. Works for me.