In black and white.

Slowly.

Ever so slowly. Because, I’m still recovering from a long and gruelling weekend.

The story so far. I’ve managed to download, backup and curate the images from four events. But, I seem to run out of steam early in the afternoon. So I cherry pick for you. At other times I sleep. I did way too much of that yesterday. I have a couple of big projects that need doing. They are going to need doing for the rest of the week.

Of course, my images must come first. So, today I think it’s this work. Walking the dogs. And, hitting the gym. That may not sound like much. But developing and fine tuning this work is very time-consuming. At least ten hours. Dog walks take about an hour and there are at least two. The gym also takes about an hour. Obviously, I won’t complete the photo work today.

That said, here’s my Super Sunday picture for today. I like it because of the black and white, highlighted by the touches of red. I think this guy is a Wildman. But, he turned away from me so quickly and got lost in the crowd that I couldn’t talk to him. Or, he could be repping something else. He comes very close to being masked as a skull and bones member. That’s sort of a violation of street code. Know who you photograph. Since Storyteller is distributed to Facebook and Twitter, maybe somebody will jump in and tell me. Please.

Anyway.

I’m sort of struggling with next steps. A lot of you here and on Facebook really liked my Sunday art work. I think that’s my direction forward. But, I’m a photojournalist at heart. And, the crosses at sunset seemed to confirm that with a lot of you. What do y’all think?

Trust me. I do listen. Tim suggested that I photograph the funeral first and I did. He helped me gain clarity. Sometimes, you just need to listen to somebody outside of your family.

Advertisements


Listening to her Big Chief sing.

You could say that I’m confused.

I have three fairly important shoots to show you. Where do I start? How do I start? I did the easiest thing. I cherry picked for today. I haven’t had time to curate, let alone develop, and finish the images that I made this weekend. I just picked a picture that I like to show you.

Call it a teaser.

This is mostly what you could call a street portrait. But, it’s more. She’s listening to her big chief sing. She was standing on a short stage with Big Chief John and a couple of others. I was working slightly below her. Pictures made at this angle often have a majestic look to them. This one certainly does.

So.

There will be lots more pictures coming this week. I’m pretty sure I’ll run into next week when Easter Sunday images will be current. There are the big French Quarter parades and an Easter second line way, way Uptown.

At least I have a schedule. Of sorts. It’s funny. I’m trying to move towards the more artistic work like I published yesterday. Cultural events seem to be getting in the way. I suppose that’s good. Depending on how you look at it.

Oh. I have yet to experiment with culture and turn it into art. Somehow that seems sacrilegious.


A little peek a boo.

Tightly frame photographs. The thing that I like. These days. For now.

I’m really enjoying poking little holes into reality. I posted one yesterday. The trumpet player reaching for the sky. And, again, today. The lady in red. She’s framed by red feathers on the left. And, by another photographer on the right. He’s a friend. They were having a conversation in mid-second line. To the casual observer it may have looked like they were yelling at each other. They were. But, not in anger. They were yelling at each other in order to be heard over the din of the band, marchers and crowd. The general chaos.

The picture. Hmmmm. This is really an example of photographer’s luck. I saw them standing face to face as the second line slowed down. I pointed my camera at her, thinking that I would either have nothing or I’d have made a pretty good picture. There are about four frames of this. All but this one were out of focus or not sharp. This one is on the borderline. But, as a wise man once told me, “Sometime your best picture is not your sharpest picture.”

Besides.

Look at the dramatic colors and graphics. Her face pops out of red and black. That’s a pretty powerful statement. And, for me, a pretty good picture.

As I continue to photograph second lines, I keep searching for a way to make a little different picture. A picture that doesn’t look like all the rest that I’ve made. This technique seems to be working… for now. It’s really a gamble. I either make a really good picture, or I come up with zero.

It’s all photographer’s luck.


A certain look.

It’s January 1, 2018. A brand new year.

A lot of people seem determined to make it better than 2017, which by all accounts, sucked.  Me? I make no promises. I have some things that I’d like to achieve. I’ve written about the ones that affect this blog. There are others. But, I’ll keep those close to my vest. They are not resolutions. Those never work. They are just stuff that I’d like to do.

I promised myself that I would get back on the streets. Hip and back be damned. I did that yesterday. I photographed the Lady & Men Roller Second Line in Central City. It helped that I brought some friends along. Since I wanted to keep my promise to them, I also kept it to myself.

Oddly, my aching and hurting parts stopped aching and hurting. True, I sort of toddled around being very careful where I walked. But, when I returned home I wasn’t in any sort of pain. It’s back today. But, it’s not terrible.

I also picked my pictures as I worked with new glass. A 10-20 mm very wide angle zoom lens. I’ve never tried to photograph a second line with something that wide. It meant that if I wanted to really frame the picture properly, I had to work close. I like that. But, imagine how close I was to her. That mattered. We interacted, which I think is important when I am working the streets.  I made about half the pictures I normally would. That’s a great thing.

Oh. Today. Even though it’s not the so-called Arctic Blast that you in the north are getting, as I write this at 10:32 am, the temperature is 27 degrees. Likely, it’ll stay that way today. For us, that is very, very cold.

 

 

 


Baby, baby, baby.

Storm. No storm.

By 8 pm last night, the city curfew was ended.

Because?

Hurricane Nate turned slightly to the east. In New Orleans, we had about 35 mph gusts of wind and spitting rain. The storm did hit the Gulf Coast down around Biloxi, but even the damage there was slight. At least, relatively so.

Dodged a bullet? Got lucky? God’s will? A blessing? A quirk of nature?

Call it what you want. We are all very grateful.

By the time that I went to sleep, around 1:30am, I knew that we were safe. Amazingly, we still had power. The only thing left is to undo what we did in preparation. Open the storm shutters. Drain the bath tubs. Eat the Spam.

Seriously. No Spam here. That’s sort of a New Orleans inside joke. We only bought a couple of things in preparation for Hurricane Nate. Water. Soup. Crackers for the soup. Toilet paper.

The picture. While I was waiting and watching Treme on Amazon Prime, I decided to do my kind of prayer. The work. The original image is of an Irish baby, made in an Irish pub, in Ireland. It was made in black and white. On film. Not that long ago. I still shoot some film with a couple of bodies. Then I went to work. Tinkering. Playing. Adjusting. Fidgeting.

The process is better than playing with a fidget spinner. It’s productive. You have something to show for fidgeting. Best of all, I did it on a portable, meaning even if the power failed I wouldn’t lose my work.

Very happy Sunday to y’all.

 

 


A little experiment.

Tinkering.

Sometimes it’s best to just do whatever it is that you do. So, I did it. I try to do something photographic every day. Sometimes, I don’t actually make a new picture. Sometimes, I so some experimental post production. Sometimes, I read about photography. Sometimes, I continue the never-ending work of archive organization.

I’ve done a little of everything in the last few days. I’m mostly staying home and working on stuff. I started this picture last night. I finished it this morning. The two-day workflow wasn’t because what I was doing was hard. It was mostly because I wanted to let the first bit of post production sort of marinate overnight. I didn’t really think about it. It just sort of wandered around my brain.

And, this came out.

Along with a very weird dream. About a smudge pot. The house in which I grew up. And, my dad ignoring the smoke pouring out of the house and mowing the lawn. Don’t even try. It’s beyond explanation.

Anyway.

This is a portrait of a Mardi Gras Indian, or a Black Masking Indian, depending on your point of view. I made it last Super Sunday. In Central City. The picture started out in color. It was a pretty good picture.

Could I leave well enough alone?

Oh no.

I just had to mess with it. In terms of software, it’s a combination of things. Stackable. Snapseed. And, Efex Pro. That may have been overkill. Sometimes, the process of one steps all over another one.

Oh. I’m reading a book at the same time. It’s called “Gene Smith’s Darkroom Sink.” It’s one of a series of research books on the life of the legendary photojournalist, Eugene Smith. It’s a mix of photography and music. That’s a story in itself. And, it’s about Smith’s loft on the 6th Avenue in New York where the who’s who of jazz musicians gathered in the late 1950s and early 60s.

Luckily, the author doesn’t take himself too seriously. He wrote at one point, that it was a good thing Smith had a career because it gave him (the author) something to do for the last twenty years.

There you have it.


An experiment in black and white.

This is a test. In many ways.

Of course, there are my continued experiments in new ways of making the image true to my vision. Even though in the music world, the vinyl craze has started to peak and CDs are slowly being phased out in favor of streaming, I wanted to test something because I have an upcoming project. No matter how streaming affects their sales, many musicians still see CDs as an artistic construct. It’s how they organize their thoughts. It is true that feeding the streaming machine is better done by releasing a song when it is ready and keeping your audience engaged. But, many musicians don’t care.

That said.

I also wanted to test WordPress’ new smart phone app. Of course, it was released half-baked. It hung up on my last comment. It didn’t crash. It just didn’t do anything. I had to delete the app and reinstall it. When I finally got it working, I found that it makes no sense for a photography driven blog. That’s typical. In their rush to have people post just about anything, they forgot that most of the best blogs are not something you can produce on your phone while you are commuting, or having a coffee. Good blogs take time, planning and a monitor large enough to see what you are doing. This isn’t Twitter. But, it’s trying to be.

Or.

Maybe I’m just an old guy who can’t, or doesn’t want to, adjust to the new world.

Anyway.

The picture. I thought this would be a good change from discussing the week from hell. There will be plenty of time to discuss what happened to Texas, and their recovery in the coming weeks, months and years. There will be my work, others work and so on.

This is a picture I made a while back. The original is a color digital capture.  I slowly converted it to black and white. Then I destroyed it. The new app, called “Stackable,” allows me to do things I could only think about in the past. The result is as you see it. I’d like to say the thinking is all original. It’s not. I am influenced by a photographer/artist/illustrator/film maker called Matt Mahurin. For a look at his work go here http://www.mattmahurin.com   .

This is more than just adding a bunch of Instagram filters. Or, editing layers. I may have started out experimenting, but that was mostly just to learn the software capabilities. Once I did,  I set out to fulfill the vision that I had in my head.

That’s really what the digital world has opened up. A better way to get to your own truth. Or, you can use it to argue with people you don’t know and never will. You choose.


Po’ boys.

More Bywater. More Vaughn’s.

Even though we were trying to cover a lot of ground fairly quickly, I slowed things down when we got to one of my intended destinations. My colleagues looked around and talked to the bartender. I made pictures of whatever I saw. Inside and out.

It really was just that simple.

Talk to people. Make pictures.

That po’boy sign always draws my attention. It’s been there, in that state, for at least the 19 years that I’ve been in New Orleans. It’s a sort of a landmark. It’s weathered all manner of storms, including Hurricane Katrina.

The bar has survived too. Unlike a couple of bars in the French Quarter, it closes during hurricanes. No matter what, it re-opens. The regulars come back. All is good.

Inside Vaughn’s during a quiet time.


The glowing silver man.

You’ve seen these guys. I know you have.

Mimes who are painted silver or gold. They are folks working for tips at almost every walking tourist location in the world. I found this guy in The French Quarter. I distributed the original silver man picture through my various agencies. Then, he languished in my archives until Google Images found him again.

You know what came next. Tinkering. Layering. Fiddling. The silver paint actually turned blue with all of the extra work until I scrubbed it clean and back to silver. Or, white.

Yes. In case you are wondering, with my tip came a model release form. He had no problem with it as long as my tip was more than the usual dollar or two.  That’s how this stuff works. That why it’s called the photography business rather than the photography friendship. Same with any artistic work. You might do it for yourself as a form of self-expression, but the minute you start trying to make money from it, the rules change. I just wish the newer generations understood that and stopped being so proud to give their work away… so that others can make money from it.