Not often.

It’s been a while.

I can’t remember the last time I photographed yellow stripes in a parking lot. I’ve actually been watching this one for a while. I started with the striping effort that city contractors did a few months back.

I knew it wouldn’t last long.

Nature always seeks stasis. Mankind wins. Only for a short while. Then, nature’s campaign begins. Rain. Wind. A Slight Flood. Rebirth. Heat. Cold. Drivers parking their cars on the line.

Eventually, the painter’s work begins to wear away.

You can see that in this place, mankind has lost the battle numerous times. It looks like at one time, this place was even a handicapped parking area. That’s the blue and bit of white at the bottom of the picture.

What can we do about this? Nothing. Accept that nature will always win. She doesn’t care. She just wants stasis. See that green growth? Stasis. It’s nature’s way of starting the process of cracking the pavement.

Same thing with climate change. Nature seeks stasis. She’s fighting back. I’ve said this in the past, but we, humankind is just a flea on her back. Be nice and we continue to exist. Keep on our greedy ways, and well you get it. My city, New Orleans, could cease to exist in less than fifty years. So will most of the Gulf Coast. So will most of Florida. Work your way up to most of the big coastal cities and you know the rest. On both coasts.

Me? I’ve retired from street photography. At least from photographing Mardi Gras culture. I’ll still come out now and then for something big.

I’ve got other things to worry about and photograph. You know about the book projects. You know about agency projects. Those are all very important to me.

But, water. In Louisiana we have too much of it. In other states there is too little of it. That’s my next big self assigned project. Gulf Coast water. For me, the trick is how to do it in a way that makes good sense. There are plenty of great photographers starting to do just what I’ve proposed to myself. But, we really aren’t competing. We are building something together. I just have to figure out how I fit in.

What do y’all think?

Wow! “The painter’s work begins to wear away.” I was copy editing this piece. I came to something I just wrote quickly, without thinking about it. “The painter’s work begins to wear away.”

Who’s the painter? What work? “Where?”

Advertisements


A giant mural.

I read about this mural. One of the three local newspapers published a short story about it. I knew that it was located in Central City. I wasn’t sure where.

Looking for it by driving around wouldn’t work. Central City is a big place. So I waited. I was relentless.

I was on my way to a second line that started about three blocks away from this house. I didn’t know that at the time. I was looking for a place to park. There it was. I parked. I photographed it. Too bad that little black car was in front of the mural. No matter. I made it part of the picture. That’s the seeing part.

I photographed it. I photographed the second line. I photographed a few other things on my way. That’s where my beer drinking Santa was found. That’s also the seeing part.

When a young photographer seeks my advice I usually tell him or her not to edit in the field. Usually that means don’t delete images on your SD card. It also means not to be so focused on the event at hand that you miss something along the way.

I say that your head should be swiveling around, looking and seeing subjects on the way to your destination.

There is another reason for looking as I do. It’s important. It’s for your own safety. Carrying a bunch of expensive camera gear might be an invitation to a mugging. If you see a bad guy coming you can take evasive action. That might mean something as simple as crossing the street so you can be seen. You might head towards a group of people. You might have to take more drastic action in order to defend yourself.

That’s pretty much about life, itself. If you see an event coming — good or bad — you can do something about it. Or not. That’s up to you.

The picture. You know how I found it. Mostly by luck. Photographers luck. It was up to me to make the picture or walk on by. I made a few horizontal frames because that works best in the web world. I made a few verticals. That’s when I decided the picture was more than the mural. The little black car mattered. The sky mattered. I made all of that so, in post production.

Happy day.

Oh yeah. You might be wondering who was honored by painting that huge mural. That is New Orleans’ very own, Doctor John. That’s important for me. His music brought me to thinking about New Orleans. Apparently, I was in the right place at the right time.

 


Painted nature.

Something simple. Very simple.

A leaf. Photographed on a simple white background. Brought to life in post production. Into something that couldn’t possibly exist in nature. A painting. Sort of. Kind of. In strange blues. And greens. Very experimental. Certainly singular.

A little break from reality.

 


Cadillac Ranch.

Distraction.

With all the big issues going on in the world — the potential of nuclear war, raging forest fires in the west, three major hurricane hits to the country, failed legislation, broken campaign promises, the Russian investigations and seemingly being at war with everybody including his own party and Congress — the sitting president thought it was a good idea to attack the NFL and peacefully protesting professional athletes.

There was no reason to do this. Except he that is the divider, not the uniter. And, he was speaking to his base in Alabama. Oh, there’s another reason. One that I’ve been hammering at this week. The color of a person’s skin.

There might be another.

As we all know, our very thin-skinned president cannot let even the slightest of slights pass without trying to punch back. The NFL owners never liked him. He was too sleazy for even them. He tried an end around and bought a team in the soon to fail USFL, hoping to bully his way into the NFL. No way. No how.  They wouldn’t let him into their circle. Attacking them last weekend was a measure of payback. You and I both know that he doesn’t care about the flag or The National Anthem. After all, they aren’t about him.

And, another.

Distraction.

Meanwhile in Puerto Rico, the bully in chief finally relented this morning and signed The Jones Act waver, after first saying that the shippers didn’t like it because it amounted more competition. Too bad. Lives are at stake. An entire island depends on it. Now, what I’m trying to figure out, is why tons of supplies have not been released from the docks, where they have been stockpiled for days. In the words of Sherman T. Potter of the old television series M.A.S.H, I think I see some “cahootinizing” going on.

All I know is follow the money.

The picture. Cadillac Ranch. Near Amarillo, Texas. I think everybody who fancies themselves to be a travel photographer has photographed this place at one time or another.

My point? The painted American Flag. OMG! Maybe the clown with the crown (he thinks) can attack this place in a tweet.

Since so many things that are common knowledge seem to amaze him when he finds out about them, I doubt he knows this place.

Everybody. Keep your eye on the ball. And, don’t be denied.


We all go... in circles.
We all go… in circles.

Sometimes you see it. Sometimes you can’t miss it. I was on my way to someplace else when this wall just reached out and hit me in the head. Right between the eyes.

Sheesh.

How could I miss this? I intentionally left out anything that could add scale, but the biggest circle is at least 15 x 15 feet. The circles are attached to the side of a building. I’m sure that it works as a landmark as well as some kind of marketing. But, there isn’t a sign, so I don’t know what these circles are selling.

Someplace else was the Sunday second line. I arrived there. I looked at everybody lining up and left. I couldn’t do it. I’ve being coming to this moment for a while. Not only I have still not recovered completely from last week and my aches and pains, but I’ve been losing my desire. I was talking to a friend of mine last week via email and she said that maybe it was time to stop for a while. Maybe the project was over. That I’d made a lot of good pictures. I replied that I’d gotten a little OCD about it and that it really wasn’t a project in the sense that it has time limit.

So.

Like many things in my life, I decided on the spot. In the moment.

But.

Not to worry. I talked to my gurus when I got home. That was after wandering around and doing what I do. Photographing what I see. In bright color. After I made today’s picture. With their sage advice, I decided how to move forward with New Orleans culture. I won’t photograph EVERY second line. I’ll photograph the bigger ones, the jazz funerals and when visitors want to go out and see something that they normally wouldn’t see. We have a lot of visitors around this place. But, that’s great fun. Just seeing the looks on their faces is worth being out.

We’ll see how that goes. Knowing me, I’ll probably let myself get drawn back into it fully. But, I need a little break. At least.

The most interesting thing about this is something you don’t know. That I don’t say out loud very often. I truly dislike crowds. It has nothing to do with anything like crime or violence or any of that stuff. It’s just me. But, I’m proud of myself. If you looked at my second line pictures you know one thing. I’m right in the middle of crowds. Big crowds. Moving crowds. Noisy crowds.

This picture. I saw it. I stopped. I worked it. I have a lot of variations on this theme. I doubt that you’ll see them. I was taught very early on that in cases like this, more is less. Absolutely. Give ’em your best picture. Absolutely.

In case you are wondering, I enhanced it a little in post production. But, mostly just to add color to the already bright color.


New Orleans Color
Yellow9Ward-1

Remember the yellow picture? It’s posted on my Laskowitzpictures page on Facebook. A lot of readers have commented on it. Well. Many people think New Orleans really doesn’t change all that much. They think we are steeped in tradition.  In many ways we are. And, we probably would have remained remain that way. But, Hurricane Katrina changed things. A lot of things. Many people left. New people arrived. People started businesses. Some failed. Some prospered. Even though The Joint opened a few years before the storm, it became very successful after the storm. It grew so big that the owners found a much bigger building and moved. It is still located in The Bywater, which is also experiencing huge changes and growth. It’s those hipsters again.

Anyway. The bright yellow wall was painted bright blue. The funky, painted garden chairs became red and black kitchen chairs.

Everything changes. Even the little things. Even in New Orleans.

 


Elizabeth's 2
Great Breakfasts at Elizabeth’s Restaurant.

Yesterday, I showed you Vaughn’s. You go there to listen to music, usually at night. Or, to watch Saints games on Sunday afternoons. But where do you eat breakfast in The Bywater? Today, there are all sorts of small restaurants and cafes in the area. A bunch of hipsters saw to that. But, in the not so distant past there really was only one place to go. Elizabeth’s. It was legendary. People from all over the city journeyed to the area just for brunch or breakfast. Unfortunately, all things pass. Elizabeth sold her labor of love. The new owners food is not quite up to past standards. However, it is still very good. Elizabeth had a secret ingredient. Her.

Elizabeth’s is nestled right up against the levee, train tracks and the river. The big river. The Mississippi River. The building is another one of those old New Orleans buildings that is rich, warm and little funky. The signs that cover the outer walls were painted by Dr. Bob, a well know local folk artist. His compound and massive studio is a block or so away. Bob fits into the neighborhood. He’s one of those characters. We’ve been trying to find a way to work together for years. We just can’t seem to get it together.

The picture. More luck. It was actually a dreary all day long. Then the lower clouds parted a bit and the sun emerged slightly. From underneath the clouds. That’s why you see the building illuminated in the way that it is. I saw the light start to emerge and started searching for something — anything — to use as a subject. Fortunately, I was right across the street from the restaurant. Light like that can last only a matter of minutes. Or seconds. You can’t waste time thinking that you’ll  come back to it later. There is no later. You have to move. Fast.


CC01162013005
The Sandpiper Music Club
CC01162013006
Music. They say.

So. I went to an event in Central City early this evening. It in response to the shooting there yesterday. Mostly people were milling around at the shooting site. I made a few pictures. But, they are mostly for my project. I’m not so sure that they work on Storyteller. So, I’ll show you the sign that caught my attention and into the Sandpiper music club. I’ve been calling it a bar. But, I was wrong. It’s a music club. The second image was made from the inside out as I was walking out of the door. The door that is normally locked. The one that I was buzzed through.

The pictures were fairly simple to make. The painted sign on the door was one of those kind of “see the picture, take the picture” sorts of things. The outdoor neon light was a little more complicated. I balanced the sky, the neon and the unlighted sign. After looking at it, I decided to darken the sign during post production and that blew all my exposure work. Ah…