Thursday, December 13, 2007

Money and MPG Rant

So recently Ive been putting thought into the feasibility of this grand photographic road trip of mine. I want to drive from here Washington D.C to Los Angeles shooting happily along the way with by big old camera. One of the expenses Ive tried to figure out is the essential requirement for a road trip gasoline. The figure I came up with around $900. Yeah that is most likely on the low side but still a lot of gasoline. Today i think I paid $35 to fill my tank that hopefully will last more than a week. I have been contemplating getting a new car with better mileage my PT Cruiser is great otherwise but 25 mpg on a good day not so good. So I've been thinking about a Mini, perhaps with the many green programs coming up I can find a grant that will let me buy one almost double the mileage but at least a half less storage. Oh well such is life, hopefully it won't come to traveling across the scorched earth in search of the precious juice. If you haven't watched The Road Warrior so it puts gas prices in perspective.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Where are all the good deer dead in the heart or in the head?

Having recently started a new documentary photo project based in the Northern Virginia area I wondered to myself, why are you photographing a dead deer on Braddock road again? The old project featured a dead dear but that made a little more sense the project was on suburban wildlife; the deer representing a clash between people and the other animals that run around or more specifically the clash between a deer and a car. This new project that I call anthropological landscapes the first shot taken dead deer on Braddock road I just saw it and drove by at first and then realized yeah your going to go back and photograph that aren’t you; and while I was walking toward it that familiar stench of a dead deer on Braddock road hit me again not as bad this time as the last. I was thinking the whole time why are you doing this again what is this supposed to represent other than its all you've found so far to photograph; I don't know all I know is that there is always a dead deer on Braddock road.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Perfect Moments

Spalding Gray talked in“Swimming to Cambodia”about always wanting to have a perfect moment everywhere he went while in Thailand during the filming of “The Killing Fields” it took place whilst he was swimming out in the ocean. I have thought back on some of my perfect moments in no particular order for this addition of T.G.S.A of P

Washington D.C at American University specifically Bender Arena on Sunday October 25th 1998 I saw the band Garbage perform. Earlier in the day I had gone to an autograph signing at the tower records in Rockville, MD I got my guitar autographed by the band, instead of taking the whole thing I just took the pick guard Butch Vig thought that I was smart for that but that’s not the perfect moment. The perfect moment was at the show that night. I was front row on the rail and during the song Number 1 Crush Shirley Manson singer for the band and one of the most beautiful women ever, kneels down on stage in front of me and sings the entire second verse of the song to me staring directly in my eyes the entire time. Perfect moment I could have instantly gone into a coma and relived that verse till they pulled the plug and it would have been a good life.

Paignton Beach, England fall of 2004, on this beach there is a point where the rocks are all perfectly smooth and flat from the ocean’s waves. They are the perfect skipping stones, one of my favourite things is skipping a stone it is a simple pleasure the stone jumping across the water, it is a combination of accomplishment for the number of skips and a relaxing pastime. So on this beach are the perfect skipping stones; it was getting towards sunset the tide was out the waves small. Perfect stones and a calm ocean I lost count of the number of skips some stones made as they leapt over what waves the ocean had for me simply paradise. During my stone skipping nirvana a dog ran up to me and hung around just long enough for me to take a photograph; a perfect moment captured on film nothing better.

Edinburgh, Scotland (Home town of Shirley Manson) it was my first trip to Scotland the ancestral lands and it just seemed like home. I woke up early for some reason just prior to sunrise I was in a hotel on Princes Street right next to the Scot Memorial. I looked out the window as the sun rose the sky was a living canvass of reds, yellows, purples and greys the clouds moving swiftly the colours shifting behind the silhouettes of the city spires and the Salisbury Crags in a perfect organic moment of pure visual ecstasy. I shot an entire role of film during this it was easily the most amazing sunrise I’ve ever seen.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

This Is A Public Service Anouncement WITH GUITARS

Ok this isn’t a public service announcement with or without guitars but I listened to my first pod cast recently. It was This American Life.
The program was all about not letting go it featured stories about a couple people who were bullied in school; a woman who bought a house with a permanent tenant; another woman who thought of a joke and waited several years to be able to use it. The pod cast was about an hour long and the voices were all rather dry; by dry I mean without much effects being used such as a slight reverb to give the voices a little more depth. So you would think an hour of people talking that would get a little boring and it would have save the small touches of other sounds. Music was used sporadically through the pod cast it broke up the otherwise monotonous voices, it did get a little heavy handed between segments the crescendo of the music went a little to high. In the second story where a writer named John R recalled being thrown into a lake during his school years. (For being an arse a schoolmate reported) . The use of street sounds with the dry voice gives the impression that your walking down the street with him to the site of the alleged lake toss.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

To pixel or not to pixel

“The world breaks everyone and many grow stronger at the break“;. I think that’s Hemingway I got it from the movie Croupier. Technology breaks as well but in a different way the old replaces the new’ dose the old grow stronger. With new technology new things arrive old ones take on new meanings . There are three ways that I can think of to take a photograph Digitally, Traditionally, and Alternatively. First I will define my usage of the words .
Digitally would be taken with a digital camera, no film just a light sensitive chip. I know some people who would not call this process photography due to the lack of film they would call this digital imaging I‘ll get back to that point later . Traditionally this would be your good old film be it black and white or colour; positive or negative . And lastly Alternatively which basically to me encompasses all the other processes that precede the plastic based film of today.
So as a photographer one has many options as how they want to work; .It’s a good time to be a photographer in my opinion . Working digitally (well Ill just be honest and come out and say it I have yet to make any money non digitally since the change over) is great for assignments and event shooting digital is great for shooting in different types of light , used to be you would have to pick the film for the situation with digital you can shoot for any situation that may come up and I’ve yet to run out of memory but used to run out of film. Digital is great but well to be blunt it doesn’t get me off like shooting film. For my own work (the stuff that doesn’t seem to pay in $ anyway) I chose to work with film and not only with film but big old heavy clunky cameras shooting one sheet of film at a time, no rolls of 36 for me. Sometimes I even use old printing processes; sometime the original image for what is now called alternative process is digital in origin .
So one can work photographically in many different ways so why is it and I will draw from real life that people can’t seem to accept either the change in the medium or the desire to work with the older technologies . Most of the photographers I know use both . Every so often though I get into the debate of is digital still photography or is it something new my answer to that is if it isn’t photography then we would all be doing either daguerreotypes or calotypes the media changes like all medias have changed . This brings me to my second point if you choose to work with film you shouldn’t be looked down on for doing so. An example a guy I know was walking through D.C. near the Corcoran with his camera. He shoots with an older view camera like myself. Some of the photo students yelled at him to get into the 21st century . I don’t get it why discredit one way over another why limit yourself, find what works for you and pwn it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What is Art?

A girl I knew in high school told me stories of her aunt taking her to the art museums when she was little. Her aunt would make her go up to the work and ask aloud “But is it Art?“
What is art? That is the question. Art is everything and art is nothing; I don’t know if anyone has said that before sounds deep though. Now that I have made such a statement of specificity lets take a more semiotic approach. Webster’s dictionary defines art as 1. Human creativity 2.skill 3. Any specific skill or it’s application 4.any craft or profession, or it’s principles 5 the making or doing of things that have form and beauty; creative work. I should mention that my dictionary is from 1978 and not much help in clearing up this question of what art is. Lets take definition number 1 on human creativity that’s another very specific idea; human creativity that’s given us a lot of things including reality television and those little dogs whose heads bob up and down as your driving. Not to say I don’t find enjoyment in either of those things but is it art. Definition 5 implies that to be art something must be beautiful and I agree that a lot of art is beautiful but then again a lot of it isn’t or is it?
We’re not really getting a clearer idea of what art is just more questions; so lets see, I have a friend who is a sculptor; now here we go a sculptor one who makes sculpture so he must be an artist therefore what he does must be art. He even gets paid for his work as a sculptor; he sculpts cars for one of the big three in Detroit. So cars are art then, there are many beautiful cars in the world the 1969 Ferrari 250 Gt California comes to mind, it is so choice, a 1983 Honda civic wagon not so choice. So we’re back to a personal taste, ok I know few people I hope would chose the Honda over the Ferrari given the choice. There are also people who only consider a car as something to get you from one place to another; is art then what we personally find attractive or stimulating to our senses and emotions? Maybe that is what it all comes down to art is what we like; although I have another friend who likes movies but not films, I take his definition of a film to be a more artful movie. Guess that ruins the art is what we like theory. What I do know is that I was once told by one of my teachers that good art should ask questions not give answers.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Elvis and Me

I took this photograph while in Las Vegas on August 2nd. The Elvis stands on the street and if you give him some money you can take your picture with him. I gave him five dollars he was a good Elvis and the previous day I had won sixty eight dollars on an Elvis penny slot, so five seemed to be a good price for the photograph. I was using a speed graphic the old standard camera of the press. Mine was made in 1953 and had been my father's and possible my uncle's as well. The Elvis was interested in the camera and made a joke that his aunt just through one away out of her attic. I took one exposure and talked a little with the Elvis told him that I am Elvis's fourth cousin-in-law which is true to the best of my knowledge. He immediately asked me if I got any money I told him no and we talked about Lisa Marie and that she had sold most of her interests in Elvis and the Elvis also talked about how there was a fund set up for any of Elvis's illegitimate children should they step forward.

Afterwards I thought to myself I had photographed an Elvis impersonator with the kind of camera that Elvis would have been photographed with. I started to think who is the real impersonator the Elvis on the street or me with the old camera.