That’s what this picture feels like. I made the post production match my dreams. I really need a city to do this properly. I have some old cityscapes that might fit the bill.
Some dreams I have, eh?
They say that dreams are about some unsettled issue, or an answer to a question that you didn’t know you were asking. In my experience, unsettled issues are always part of life ,so I think it’s the unanswered question. I still don’t know the question.
Mostly, I till don’t know why the interpretation of my dream seems so bleak. I have some ideas, but I’m not ready to share them.
The picture. It started out as one of my power line pictures. I added another, flopped them and started in the sky. The original sky is perfectly pleasant. Along I came to destroy it. I worked back and forth a little until my vision became a reality. I made one version that took the changes beyond this. That’s a picture for another day. That’s truly until the end of time.
Even though we are five days from Summer Solstice, and the longest day of the year, those of us who live in the south have had summer-like weather since some time in May. We had a few cooler days, but for the most part we feel the heat of 90 degree days. And, we are moist from the humidity.
Even though I seemingly jumped the gun, I didn’t. You understand.
The foreground of the picture is composed of summer weeds and leaves. It is photographed against a background of almost pure bokeh. The out of focus part of the picture. Everything is backlit.
The changing of seasons reminds us of that. In some places it sort of comes like a knife slicing through butter. In other places, it lingers for weeks until it finally sneaks up on us. The leaves are gone. The air turns cold.
That’s what this picture is about.
One day my dog was sniffing in the grass. The next day she couldn’t find the grass. Now the leaves are gone. The grass is brittle with cold. Some grass is dead. Some is hardy and will make it through most of our kind of winter. It doesn’t smell the same to her.
I don’t have the sense of smell that she does. But, I can see. That’s what I do. I see. I react. I push the button. I come back to the studio. I try to help you to see what I saw. To feel what I felt.
Sometimes I’m successful. Often I’m not.
That’s the way it goes.
It went that way for me yesterday. I received an email from the folks who run the black and white contest. If you recall, I offered them one of the best pictures of my career. The black and white version of Big Queen speaking to the media with photographers surrounding her. I’d like to report that it won something. But, no. It wasn’t even considered for anything. One of the best pictures of my career wasn’t good enough for anything.
What does that say about my career?
As you know, I’m going through some soul-searching. Some of it is about technical issues like websites, blog sites and how to best access my archives. Some of it is about me. My work. My continued work. It is true that I have earned a good part of my living from my pictures. I always wonder if I am sort of a fraud. If it came too easy.
A few days ago I mentioned that writing this blog on a daily basis came easy to me. I talked about my mental and emotional practice. It may come easy because it is all worthless. Often, the trial of doing anything equals the quality. Maybe, I’ve been fooling myself. And, you. Maybe not.
I don’t know.
The black and white contest posts the winners today. I’ll have a look. Maybe I’ll look and laugh. Many of these contests are popularity contests. Some are not. We’ll see.
Oh. One more thing. If I want to make WordPress the sole provider of my work, that’s easy. A few mouse clicks and I’m done. I’m done with Squarespace and GoDaddy. What remains to be seen is if I’m able to turn Storyteller into my commercial site with the blog as part of that. I’m very capable of learning. I believe life-long learning is the key to staying young. It may even curb dementia. On the other hand, I don’t want to be forced to do anything. I’m too old for that silliness. If I have a choice between learning to code for WordPress and — oh let’s say — playing the guitar, the choice is fairly simple.
By the way. Spell check wants to turn GoDaddy into Gordy. Hmmmmm.
A friend of mine said that music exists in a time and place.
He wrote that as part of an acknowledgement to the death of Marty Balin. Who is he, you might ask? He was one of the founders of a seminal band in the middle 1960s. They were called in various incarnations, either Jefferson Airplane, or Jefferson Starship. They were way ahead of their time. Today, probably the only two well-known songs that you never hear on radio is “White Rabbit” or, “Somebody to Love.” You might know the Starship’s work a little more.
That got me thinking.
Pictures do the same thing. They exist in a particular time and place. If you went through almost 50 years worth of my work you’d see style changes. You see my move from black and white film to color film photography and finally, to digital color capture. You’d also see something more important. You’d see the change in my subject matter. And, the pictures would reflect me. Me, at a certain time and place. Because, all art is autobiographical.
That’s the truth.
Now, in my time, I’ve legally retired from my business. The Feds were informed. My health insurance changed. They are starting to give money back to me. Money that I’ve earned over the years.
That doesn’t mean I’m done.
The biggest news is that I’ve managed to secure a two book deal. With a real publisher. Without the angst that so many of my writing and blogging friends seem to feel. It was fairly easy for me because if you do this work long enough people seek you out. And, I have no expectations.
Some authors tell me that they’d rather self-publish so they control their work. Control is overrated. Distribution is king.
Without the help of a real publisher very few people see your work. Sure, you can build a community. That’s why so many writers blog. It’s also why WordPress is primarily a writers framework. That, for WordPress, is where the money is. It’s also why any publishing success within that framework is limited. A few people break out, but note that word. A few. Near as I can tell, less than 1%
All of that written, I have plenty of work to do.
In a few days I’ll be invited to show my street work in a gallery show. I have three smallish stocking stuffer books to complete. Those need to be finished by the end of October, for potential Christmas sales. And, there is the huge issue of my archives. I’m building a mechanism to easily locate my best work, my best seconds and thirds. That is my estate. You know why.
That’s my story.
I won’t stick to it. Things always change.
The picture. Oh, I made it after a bunch of storms passed on a day when we had to dodge rain drops in order for dogarito to get her walks in. If you look deeply, you can see the reflection of the sky, of trees, but not of me. The rest was easy. Mostly, I darkened the image to bring out the colors. That’s it.
I’m listening to Jefferson Airplane. Even though I’m writing, I have to pause as images of my youth come into my mind. Man! I miss those times and those people.
Unfortunately there is something to any old saying. You can never go home again.
This picture is a continuation of an experiment I started sometime last week. The good thing about digital files is that they are easily transportable. You don’t even have to carry any kind of hard drive. They live in a cloud. I download a picture, tinker with it on an iPad or some kind of laptop and put it back where I found it. Eventually, I download it here, to Storyteller. When it’s time.
Oh. Y’all know that a cloud is just a marketing construct? Right? It’s just a server or server farm. You can pretty much make your own.
The picture. The process. The image wasn’t created on the computer. The underlying file is actually a photograph of my dad’s old watch parts. These are gears. Circles. Wheels. On a watch they sort of spin constantly. Rocking back and forth. The help to keep the time. If they stop, time ends. The world comes to an end. No. Not really. Your own personal world might need adjusting. But, that’s nothing new. At least, for me.
All the rest is stuff that came out of my head. In some places they tell you to stay out of your head because it’s a very dangerous neighborhood. Think about that for a moment. `
This is a spin on old advertising saying. “Parts is parts and pieces is pieces.” If I recall correctly, somebody was advertising fried chicken. This isn’t fried chicken.
This is the internal working of an old watch.
A few weeks ago I posted a picture of some of my dad’s old stuff on Instagram. Everybody who saw the picture seemed to like it from both an artistic and emotional perspective. So, I put that information away in my brain and let it stew. And stew. A week or so ago, I thought it might be fun to re-photograph some of those watch parts. So. I did.
I actually made a nice little series. I think I’ll explore this a little further. I’ll show the work to you as I finish it. I’m in no hurry. This work is really just for fun.
About yesterday and those more painterly exploration and experiments… I received a couple of well thought out comments across various social media.
The most interesting was from a long time online friend. She said that it didn’t matter about the technology. That we don’t care if an old-fashioned typewriter or the most modern computer was used to create a written piece. And, that it shouldn’t matter how we create visual art. After all, art is art. I’ve said this for a long time, especially when somebody makes a big deal of not using Photoshop to help them in post production. Generally, I say something like “Ansel Adams — the saint of nature photography — created an entire system of exposure, development and printing to make the picture say what he wanted to say.” She reminded me of that.
She also reminded me that just because you have the tools — the software in this case — it doesn’t mean that you have the mental or emotional tools to do it. She’s right again. Thank you.
One more thing. As you know, for the sake of online privacy, I rarely mention names. I won’t again. I do have to say this. When we reach a certain age, we start getting cemented in our ways. Locked in. Set in stone. A photograph is a photograph. A drawing is a drawing. A painting is a painting. Never shall the technologies mix. That hasn’t been true for years. But, still we try to put things in boxes. What a mind my friend has. I think she’s about 15 years older than me. And, look how she thinks. Beyond how an artist thinks. I’m in awe.
Okay. I’m back to normal. Whatever that is. I was wandering around The Bywater when I happened to pass by Vaughn’s at the right time of day, with the right light. I’ve never been that lucky before. Usually, the light is too bright. Or too dark. But, just like Goldilocks’ porridge, this light was just right. So. I stopped and made a few pictures. Vaughn’s is a classic juke joint. Blues and jazz. Usually local musicians hold sway there on certain nights.
Pretty soon this guy passed by and didn’t mind being in the picture. In fact, we started talking about sports. This year’s Saints. That’s about the only pro team anybody in New Orleans cares about. The Christmas lights? No. This picture isn’t that old. But, the lights might be. For that matter, they might be twenty years old. Around there, anything is possible.
The picture. I was unprepared. I wish that I had a tripod. But, I wasn’t expecting to be there at that time. On the other hand, I rarely use a tripod. So. It probably didn’t matter.
So. I know what you are wondering. “What’s the deal with Sweet Caroline?” Well. I never saw or heard or anything like it. But first, a little back story. This is the ‘titRex Parade. No. It doesn’t mean what you think it does. The name is short for Petit Rex. No. I didn’t misspell it. It’s French. It’s a DIY Mardi Gras parade, which was started in response to the big huge super krewes that take over major streets for hours on end. They say that it was inspired by Bacchus. That’s a huge parade. Many of the Bacchus floats have trouble making turns on New Orleans’ narrow streets. By comparison, this parade is tiny. And, so are the floats. Check them out. They are about 12 inches long. They are pulled like a child pulls a pull toy. The really cool thing is that if one break downs, it can be picked up and fixed by one person. Break downs are a major factor in parade delays. This parade is really nothing more than another kind of second line parade. Those, for me, are the best. There are maybe two marching bands. Maybe a dozen floats. The parade rolls through St. Roch, which is now called The New Bywater, and eventually finishes in The Marigny where it sort of blends into the Krewe of Chewbacchus. That’s another DIY parade, albeit a little bigger. But not too much bigger.
So. Back to Sweet Caroline. You know it. It’s an old Neil Diamond song. Let me further set the stage. The people who live in these neighborhoods and attend the parade are either hipsters, old hippies or folks who look like they got trapped in 1967. Nice people, but they like hipper kinds of music. Normally. Maybe. Here’s what happened. The first marching band stops. They start playing Sweet Caroline. When they get to the break and the chorus the entire parade starts singing at the top of our lungs. Not only do we sing Sweet Caroline, but if you remember there’s a three beat count using horns and bass that sort of goes like, “boom, boom, boom.” It’s instrumental. But, we sang that too. What a glorious and joyful noise. Everybody was smiling and laughing. As a wise song writer once wrote, ” Live Music Is Better. Bumper Stickers Should Be Issued.”
The pictures. Come on. 🙂 By now, you know me. F something and be there. Just find the picture and take the picture. The best way to work in the street. I do have to tell you one thing. I really like parades like this. I can just join the parade and walk with them.