o patience. That describes my attitude these days. I have almost no tolerance for technical issues and yet I know better.
I understand that everything made by man eventually breaks. That’s why there are so many service people. Mechanics, technicians, plumbers, the Maytag repairman, even doctors are working because stuff breaks.
Thinking about leaving WordPress I realized it’s not about the platform. Most of the time it is solid and stable. What aggravates me is the constant changing of workflow. That, and the lack of communication about those changes.
I know one thing about being creative. We need some sort of routine on which to hang our imagination. If the routine changes frequently all we are doing is swimming in place.
It’s one thing to shake things up in order to jump start the creative process, it’s another thing to be perpetually confused.
Take the block system for instance. What was wrong with the older so called classic template?
The block system is supposed to be faster. Nonsense. At best, it’s just a bit slower than the classic system. At worst, it creates extra work because it crashes or traps type, or traps drop caps.
Yes, I know there is a classic template in the block inserter. But, it’s a very early version. It may predate me.
So, that’s it.
I’ll discuss the picture on the other side.
his picture is more about feeling and a bit of nostalgia than any type of documentary work.
There are two images layered into one. As usual I was tinkering with number of pictures when all of a sudden it came together.
That happens sometimes when you put the work in. But, you have to put the work into your art. No work, no art.
The pictures in their literal form are of Mardi Gras beads on a fence, and of Kowloon, Hong Kong.
It’s nostalgic. It’s about looking back at my life and understanding that I likely won’t do these things again unless a vaccine is developed for people like me. That will take the federal government’s help. I’m not holding my breath.
I don’t know what you see or feel when you look at this image. After all, you bring your own life to the picture when you view it.
They say that all art is autobiographical. If this photograph isn’t that, I don’t know what is.
The road trip. The grand tour. Mostly along Route 66. In New Mexico.
Or better said, by Neil Young:
“Well, they say that Santa Fe is less than ninety miles away,
And I got time to roll a number and rent a car.
I’ve been flyin’ down the road, and I’ve been starvin’ to be alone,
And independent from the scene that I’ve known.
So I’ll stop when I can, find some fried eggs and country ham.
I’ll find somewhere where they don’t care who I am.
Oh, Albuquerque, Albuquerque.”
I think these pictures get the same place. Isolation. Aloneness. Disconnectedness.
But, not in me.
After all the year is 2017. It’s all gonna get better. In a minute. So, they say. Me, I’m just exploring. And, in a few minutes I’m going to go explore New Orleans. In dense fog.
The pictures. These were once vibrant color works. Then I got to them. I changed everything. The mood. The tone. The feeling. I guess I’m auditioning for the film industry. Or not.
You seem to like this collection. I’ll keep going a little bit. I like these pictures too. I haven’t really looked at them for a long time. Luckily, these images are easily accessible in my archives. On second thought. Luck had nothing to do with accessibility. That’s just management. DAM. Digital Asset Management.
The top one is fairly personal. When I was a young child growing up in Southern California, my parents liked traveling to the Southwest. We used to drive all night. Sometime during the very early morning we arrived at the Continental Divide. We knew we were there. The Southwest. I did a little journey through my past a while back. The coffee was as bad as my mom said it was.
Aztec Motel. It was one of those old motor courts. After it started falling into disrepair, it became sort of a home for artistic people. I have no idea what the rent was. Folks lived there very long-term. They made it their own. It was torn down in 2011, after the owner said it would cost a million dollars to restore. The sign came down in 2015. The city says it will be renovated and installed in a pocket park. They have applied for a Federal grant. The owner sold the property for — get this – a million dollars.
And, so it goes.
There is a lesson to be learned from this. It’s as Neil Young wrote, rust never sleeps. Never pass an opportunity by thinking that you’ll come back to it later. You won’t. Even if you do. What you saw may not be there.
So. I took shelter in the only place I could find. The semi-shady stoop of a long abandoned power plant. Pretty soon other people joined me. We started talking. Pretty soon a couple of them asked why I was taking pictures. So, I showed them. There are some good things about our constant smartphone companions. Communication is one. Understanding is another. I can show people my world. On a little bitty screen. I did that. As a side note, I’m not even sure you need a big expensive portfolio any more. You have your entire publicity campaign in the palm of your hand.
On that hot Sunday it was more.
They all liked it. They were reading and scrolling. And smiling. I cannot tell you how much that means to me. So much of what I photograph and write is about them. Their neighborhoods. Their culture.
If they like my work that means I’m getting it right.
The guy in the picture — yes, I know his name and telephone number — wants me to tell his story. On Storyteller. That’s humbling. And, after hanging with him for a very short time, I think he has quite a story to tell. So, I’ll call him. We’ll sit on his stoop and talk. He’ll take me around his neighborhood. I’ll make pictures.
Even though it was hot and miserable on Sunday, I’d say being there was worth it.
The picture. Point the camera and take the picture. Show your subject the picture on your camera’s LCD. If he likes it, all is good.
This is all about seeing. Being on the move. Going from place to place.
It’s also about not really caring about what other people think. It takes a long time learning to take a picture when passersby might be wondering what the heck you are doing. Even asking that question. On the other hand, two women saw me taking “Triplets… Yellow” on the way back from Sunday’s second line. One asked a good question. “The car or the sign?” I replied, “The car, the sign and the wall.” I showed them the picture in the camera’s LCD. They were very happily impressed. They wondered how I could see like “that.” I wonder too. A gift, I guess.
There other two most interesting pictures to me are “White on White” and “Tuba Circles.” The first is just hard to see. The little bit of blue on circular that is stuffed in the screen door handle is a nice little highlight. I just like the shape of the tuba.
Lesson. Oh, I don’t know. Maybe just a reinforcement to be mindful of where you are on the way to some place else. I wasn’t really looking for any of these pictures. They just sort of happened.
The second line started an hour later than planned. When they hit the streets they came through the bulldog. That’s right, Family Ties came right through the mascot of Joseph H. Clark Prep High School in Treme.
Yep. The second line began in Treme and mostly walked through the 7th Ward. A ward away. Treme is located in the 6th Ward. It’s not like it’s a million miles away. Cross the neutral ground on Esplanade Avenue — like about three feet — and you cross from the 6th to the 7th Wards.
I made this picture at just about the announced starting time.
I was talking to a group of photographers when I saw this guy come to the window. I made some joke about looking for pictures and drifted aimlessly toward the door. I made about three or four exposures and returned back to the group.
I never said a word. I’m sneaky like that. After all, so many second line pictures look about the same. I reckon I can use any edge I can get. A couple of other photographers walked over and shot the flag and door, but by then the guy in the window was just a memory. My memory. My picture.
Yes, everything is going well along the greenway. The one that I wrote about during the fifteen days of Katrina. Yet, a block away is a City of New Orleans facility. For used street signs. All sorts of signs. Street names. Stop signs. One way signs. You know, the signs that control traffic flow and tell you where to go. Well, that’s not exactly what I meant.
For those of you who have been around for a while, you’ve seen the location. But, the pile of signs has grown. And grown and grown and grown. I’d think that at some point this scrap metal would be recycled. Or not. After all, I live in a recycled city.
As I’ve written in the past, anything in this city that doesn’t move, gets tagged. Even “Do Not Enter” signs. I have no idea what “Do Not TEAMUS Enter” even means.
The picture. Yeah. I saw it. I reacted. I took it. Pretty simple. It’s one of those quirky pictures. One day, maybe I’ll go back and really work it. It was really hot on the day that I was there. I tried to work as quickly as possible. I added some rust, mold and dirt in post production.
These signs are all over New Orleans. I happen to stumble upon this one in Central City.
Nobody knew who or what was tacking them up in hard to reach places. It turns out that they are an installation art piece. There has been a lot of conversation about their meaning. Huh? What do you think love means?
Here’s the quote from a guy who calls himself, “John H”, as published in The local newspaper. He’s been tacking them up.
“You are talking about two friends that started with a simple dream and big hopes and put up 350 little signs across the metro area,” John H. wrote “… The signs are a do-it-yourself social experiment with great personal hopes for improving life in NOLA for everyone.”
One. They are illegal. But, how can you dislike them?
Two. They are being posted in places where a violent death took place. Sacred ground, in my book.