Into the fog.

F

inally. It took a few days to find my footing but I knew that it would eventually come. So, as far as I’m concerned this is my first picture of the new year. It’s headed a little more in the direction that I’d like Storyteller to go, for as long as Storyteller exists.

I figured out what bothers me so much about This WordPress – GoDaddy thing. Steve Jobs once since said that computers and computing should be tools. They do the work while we create.

I’ve been messing with changing one simple thing for at least ten days.

What a waste of time.

Apparently, things have changed. There is a governing body call ICANN that controls who can actually touch a website or its code. This is an attempt to control hacking, to control illegal use, and theft.

Let’s face it. That horse has left the barn long ago. Most privacy is a lost cause. So, all they’ve done is made it harder for the rest of us.

WordPress is laughable.

They say in big advertising balloons. Create a business. Earn Money. Change your life. All the while tying our hands. Want to change your extension? Good luck. Want to design a page that suits you? Good luck while we change the block system every chance we get. Want to talk to a human being? There are no human beings.

Sunday thoughts.


Seeking stasis.

I had a really weird thought.

That’s nothing new. Most of my thoughts are weird. I’ve said in the past that nature always seeks stasis. Nature does not determine the rightness or wrongness of a thing. She just wants balance. When something gets out of equilibrium, she solves it. It may take time, but balance is restored.

Do you see where I’m headed with this?

I have no idea how CoVid-19 began. I don’t think anybody understands it. The prevailing theory is fairly simple. A human ate some tainted meat from a wild animal which was purchased in a wet market in Wuhan, China. There really is no one to blame except that I would never think to eat pangolin meat.

For sure, the conspiracists are out in force. I read that some of the black community thinks the whole thing is a plot to kill them off. Even if a cure is developed, they won’t be taking it. Because, you know, the government will be injecting them with poison that will finish the job. Back up the stupid train. Nobody intentionally wants others to die.

All of that said, what if nature wants more stasis? Mankind isn’t exactly earth friendly. What if nature needs to kill a good number of us off? What if nature thinks we are killing the planet and wants to get our attention in a dramatic way?

That’s no conspiracy theory.

Nobody is plotting to kill other people. It’s just a thought. It’s similar to something I said to my neighbor a few weeks before the virus became a pandemic. I was joking, but something happened that questioned my faith in man. I said, “God said, you people suck. I give up. Just watch this.”

Think about that.

And, consider this. We are no longer out and about. The whole planet has more or less shut down. The earth is healing. Slowly, to be sure. But, it is healing.

The picture. It’s just me trying to find my own artistic stasis. A balance point. It’s me creating art from a number of layered photographs. Or, at least, trying to. I still wish that I had the talent to paint.

Stay safe. Care for each other. Enjoy every sandwich.


Symbol of slavery.

St. Augustine Catholic Church.

In the Treme.

Just a few hundred yards away from the church, in what is now Louis Armstrong Park, there is Congo Square. This was a place where slaves could congregate on Sunday.  At the time, this was called back of town since it was located across Rampart Street from The French Quarter. The slaves would set up a market, sing, dance and play music.

That occurred during the French era. Things changed for the worse when control passed to The United States and Louisiana became a state.

Don’t worry. I’m going some place with this.

Back to St. Augustine Catholic Church.

Wait. Wait. There is no pun intended.

On one side of the church there is a rusting cross made of thick chains. Medieval metal shackles hang from the length of it. This is the Tomb of the Unknown Slave.

There is nobody buried beneath the tomb, but it represents the many remains found in unknown graves around the city when modern construction revealed them.

The cross was installed in 2014. In July 2015 Tootie Montana passed. In August 2015 Hurricane Katrina made landfall at Buras, Louisiana.

I’m writing this on All Souls Eve. I think my own long passed family and friends are in my head a little. The spirits of the city are swirling around too.

New Orleans will do that to you.


Fall Leaf in Art.
My twist on a fall leaf.

Fall fell finally.

Like that alliteration? The weather isn’t going to be all that different. The temperatures will drop by 10 or 15 degrees. That’s it. Eighty degree weather will return by the end of the week. If the humidity remains on the low side that will be fine. If not, it’s bait and switch.

So.

I decided to make a washed out icon. Originally, the picture was bright. The leaf was red. I made it to look old. Using some approximations of old techniques. Older than even film. More like an etching.

It works for me.


Faded fleur de lis.
Faded fleur de lis.

Yes. Faded. Mardi Gras Beads. Rusted. Fleur de Lis.

These are great symbols. Icons. Of a city who calls itself, “The city that care forgot.” Well. Maybe once. New Orleans is in the middle of some pretty intense gentrification. A building boom. Never ending road construction. Since FEMA agreed that the state of our streets was the fault of the storm and the subsequent flood, they are footing the bill for a total street reconstruction.

That’s good. Right?

Maybe.

You’ve heard me complain about the potholes and the terrible condition of our streets for a long time. Consider this. The streets in our neighborhood have been under some kind of construction since we moved to this house. Three years ago. If anything changed, our streets — we live on a corner — have deteriorated further. All manner of vehicles pass through. Drivers are looking for a bypass around the major construction. When I say all manner, I mean that. Semi tractors and trailers. Dump trucks. Road graders. School buses. Tour buses. Our streets need fixing. So repairing them is good. Right?

Well.

It’s an 18 year plan that we are talking about. Our neighborhood is scheduled to have the work begin almost at the end of that. So, we are looking at 2034. That assumes that road construction goes as planned. You know that never happens. There are always delays. Overruns. Added costs. Besides, this is FEMA funded. Hahahahahahahaha.  I reckon by that time, our street will be a dirt road. In an urban setting.

The picture. Simple. The faded Mardi Gras beads drew me to the scene. That’s what they look like after the sun and rain and humidity have stripped them of all their color. Black. White. Gray. Cheap plastic beads. Luckily they were hung on an iron fence that is topped with fleur di lis. Our symbol. The state’s. The city’s. The NFL football team’s.

I think the combination is symbolic. Iconic.

The rest is all manipulation in post production. For the cinematic effect.

That may be symbolic too.


All things pass.
All things must pass.

Yesterday was hard. For many people.

Today is a new day. Keep moving forward. That’s what I say. Then again, I say that every day. It’s time to regroup. It’s time to do whatever it is we do. Don’t be denied. As my friend, and legendary New Orleans chef Leah Chase would say, “Put on your pants and get to work.” She’s 93 years old. When she talks, you listen. She’s seen a few things in her lifetime.

That’s about the end of politics on Storyteller.

The picture. No. It isn’t an extension of the take that I published yesterday. This came by sheer luck. Yesterday. It isn’t one of the occasional series, “what the dog saw” because she didn’t see it. She isn’t with us at the moment. I was walking. I saw it. That’s all there is to it. The original was a little over exposed so I corrected that. The rest is pretty much as you see it.


Along the Way
Along the Way

You know me. I often make my best pictures along the way. One the way to some place else. I took this picture while we were walking. With my i-Phone.

Let’s discuss this for a minute. There is a group of photographers that say, i-Phone pictures really aren’t serious photography at all. That may be so. But, there are art galleries and some advertising agencies that champion loosely produced i-Phoneograhy. It has become a useful tool.  And, for sure, it illustrates that old saying about the best camera.

Question: “What is the best camera?”

Answer: “The one that you have with you.”

That said, I mostly use it sort of as a sketch pad. I like bigger image files. I like the choice of lenses and stuff like that. And, I like working with RAW files. But, as in all technology, change happens quickly. New iPhones, which are often chasing other smartphones, will have RAW file capability, better lenses and larger image files. Am I suggesting that we all switch to higher power smartphones? Noooooo… All things in moderation. Even moderation.

Oh yeah. The picture. I’m not telling. You tell me. Please. Just know that I didn’t place the leaf in that position.

In my Mr. Spaceman moment, I forgot to title this post. It’s now called Blue and White.


Details. It's all in looking at stuff.
Details. It’s all in looking at stuff.

I took a stroll in the French Quarter. I just photographed what I saw. This old wrought iron fence is one of the things that I stumbled upon. Fleur de lis as symbols are everywhere in this city. Some guy even stenciled them in gold on all the city trash cans. At least the ones in the Quarter.

I would have worked a little more on this particular scene. But, the poodle wouldn’t let me. For those of you who have been around a little while, you know that he thinks that he is the boss. I know that he is right. Understanding that is best for both of us.


Mardi Gras beads left behind in a burned out building.
Mardi Gras beads left behind in a burned out building.

Very strange. I was passing by this place on the way to some place else. The building was pretty much abandoned after the storm. Somebody decided to rebuild it. Then it caught fire and burned to the ground leaving only the sub flooring, the fire-place and the chimney. Okay. Not exactly to the ground. I’m not sure what caught my attention this time, but I stopped. I decided to walk around. I found these beads. This is no accidental placement. Gold, Green & Purple. Mardi Gras colors.

I didn’t set this up. That’s not my style.

Ooooooooh. Ghostly. Or not.