Until next time...
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Happy Fat Tuesday, y'all!
I'll soon be in the French Quarter. Just printing travel vouchers and doing all of the last minute items I always hate so much. If you are in New Orleans, or planning on meeting me there, I hope to see you soon. Save travels one and all. If you are in Austin, I'll catch you as soon as I get back. This trip won't be a long one, but hopefully a fun excursion over to New Orleans.
Now, where did I leave that wonderful slice of King Cake again?
Until next time...
This is a macro shot of some grass I happened upon in my travels.
Speaking of travels, gearing up to get out of town this week. Headed over to the Big Easy (aka New Orleans) for a National Geographic Weekend workshop. I will be staying in the French Quarter and shooting a lot around town, so please be on the lookout for me if you happen to be out that way.
In the meantime, I'm getting ready by doing lots of mundane type things. Today it's car in the shop, haircut, laundry, etc.
I'm also fighting with the printer trying to ready some work for another upcoming show. Tonight will be framing and the start of packing. Wish me luck with that one, right? (It's always hard, if not impossible, to expand the space/time continuum. While you and I might very well understand this, do please try to argue the point with those who make our carry-on luggage. Oh the horror of it all!)
Until next time...
Happy Valentine's Day to all in Internet lands.
This Valentine's Day finds me doing paperwork, ordering supplies, and hopefully spending some quiet time with my little buddy, Chase. No worries though, as most of you know already, I'm actually married to my camera. (One of the great things about being married to a camera is that, on days like today, heck, I don't even have to buy chocolates or flowers. New lens cap, anyone?)
They were handing these things out at work and so I thought it might be a good idea to get one for photographing. I hope you like my little heart-shaped goodie, as I had to endure running away in fright from the pastry pimps. Oh, are they good at handing out empty calories, those food pushers are. I had all to do to keep from them, escaping with merely a chocolate chip cookie (and a small one at that!) plus the goodie you see here, which, in fact, ended up being a rather nice model.
I hope you are having a great dinner tonight or out doing something fun. If you're not the romantic kind, hopefully you are doing something art-related (and not, ahem, copying model releases in triplicate or filling in gallery insurance forms as, believe me, these are very boring tasks.)
Romance is a great inspiration for artwork, so I hope you'll find some on this, the "hottest" of nights in the year. Enjoy some quiet time if you can, for spring is just around the corner and we all know that brings absolutely crazy opportunities for us all. In the meantime though, it's red, red, red all the way, on this the very "reddest" of days. Heart-shaped goodies, chocolates, flowers and lots of fun abound for all.
Even if you happen to be alone this Valentine's Day, look on the bright side. After tonight, a dozen roses will suddenly get cheap again! (Might be a good time to plan on shooting some still life imagery, wouldn't it? Go on, you know you want to give it a try.)
Until next time...
It's all over the news and, tonight anyway, it will soon too be all over the Grammy Awards: the death of Whitney Houston. To a lot of people from my generation, Whitney Houston was *the voice.* She was the singer who could really sing. She was the pop icon, the "big" star, yes, but she had the pipes to prove it. She was the type of singer that, when your mother told you, "they don't make singers like they did in my day!" you could quietly point to in response. There's no doubt about it, Whitney could sing.
Of course, we all know now too that she was troubled too. She had a problem with drugs and booze and men and she liked to party too much while resting too infrequently. She didn't know when to stop. She was an addict. Tonight, there will be many people celebrating her life, her legacy (as well they should-she left the world with some beautiful songs) and many people too commenting on her drug use and her fall from grace.
I thought about posting my usual "RIP Whitney Houston" entry today, but instead decided to use this as an opportunity to say a bit more about her celebrity and her death because I feel that there are a few things we can all do to remember her legacy in a kind and positive way.
For starters, and this may seem pretty obvious but I'm going to come right out and say it. Don't take drugs. The easiest way to quit using drugs is to never take them in the first place. If you are on drugs, get help. I know that sounds very easy to say, and it's almost simplistic (too simplistic really) but, if we all (and I mean all) started to collectively look at problems with alcohol and addiction in different light, it we start supporting people and helping them actual get off the crap, rather than passing judgement, the world would be filled with fewer addicts. So tonight, in my own simplistic way, I'm going to start out by saying that. If you are on drugs, get help, get off of them. If you know somebody who is on drugs, encourage them to get off them and please encourage them to seek help. It's a simple thing really, but it makes a difference. Drugs robbed us of a wonderful voice when they took Whitney away. How many voices, how many visions, how many great artists do we have to say goodbye to before we start to change the way we look at the problem?
Next up is the "celebrity" aspect of her death. I know, in fact we all know, there is going to be "deathbed gossip" about how she died, where she died, who she was with, what she was taking, etc. And the media hounds, the tabloids, the paparazzi, in the infinite "wisdom" (ahem, read: thirst for publicity and audience) are going to publish her deathbed images. They'll show police pictures of her slumped over in a bathtub or, even worse, strung out on the floor with pills and pill bottles all around her body. There will be shots of ambulances, stretchers, doctors attending to her maybe, perhaps even her daughter being treated in the hospital. I know this is simple too, and maybe you can't help yourself, but I'd beg of you: don't look. If papers are selling "glamorized" images of her death, don't buy them. Don't purchase what they are trying to sell you. Please allow Whitney and her family the decency of a private death. Before you slip off and say, "but everybody else is doing it!" or "but I really want to look!" I'd have to ask, "really? Do you really need to see pictures of a singing sensation slumped over in a bathtub? Don't you know what empty pill bottles look like and can't you move on with your life and focus instead on something positive?"
Isn't the world a better place that that? There are happy puppies and kittens you can surf on the web. Heck, there's even porn. Go look at some supermodels bare breasts, it will do the world more good in the long run. Don't we have enough death and destruction as it is? We really don't need to see images of Whitney Houston's death anymore than we need to see photos of children starving in Africa and, let's face it, we can actually do something about the starving children. So, I'd beg of you too, don't glamorize her death, just don't buy into the hype.
Whitney Houston was a great singer and had a great voice. Now with her passing, isn't it time we celebrate her life and her artistic accomplishments? Listen to her music, yes. Hopefully, we can all find something positive to take away from that and we won't need to drag out her death in tabloids and nasty images from stalking paparazzi. Photography is better than that, please don't buy into that sort of hype. It's not going to help you remember Whitney and it's only giving the world more crap. It's just spreading around the suffering and there's really no reason to do that.
As an artist, I'm going to do my best to remember Whitney in a positive light. I'm going to try to do my part to help get people off drugs and alcohol. I'm going to try to be more tolerant of people suffering from and (working hard) overcoming addiction. I'm not going to judge people by the battles they've had with these demons in the past (we all make mistakes and we are all, at the end of the day, only human too.) I'm going to avoid the tabloid circus that will, no doubt, unfold right before my very eyes. Instead, I'm going to quietly slip into the happy cocoon of my headphones and fondly enjoy some of the wonderful music Whitney Houston left behind when she left us too soon. I'm going to remember and celebrate the best she had to offer because, when I pass, I hope somebody will do the same for me. It what all artists hope for, so why deny Whitney that? If you called yourself a "fan" of hers when she was alive, isn't this the least you can do now that she's passed? If everybody got together and did the same thing, wouldn't the world be much better off for it?
R-I-P Whitney Houston. Your golden voice will be missed.
Until next time...
Yesterday, it was announced that Kodak is going to stop making cameras and completely remove itself from the camera business.
For many photographers, myself included in this lot actually, their first camera was a Kodak camera. Technically speaking, if you ask me, my first "real" camera was a Nikon FE. I say "real camera" because this was the first camera I got that allowed me any control over any of the settings. I got this camera in the early 1990's. But, if you dig back a little more, you'll find that I actually got my first camera when I was about four years old. It was a Kodak Instamatic style camera and I kept it until I was in my teens, replaced then with a Kodak 110 camera, then later a "disc" film camera (onto an Olympus point and shoot, which I still have by the way, and then the trusty Nikon FE after that.) So, you see, my first camera was a Kodak too, although I lack the fond memories many people have of the old Brownie line of cameras. I never did get a Brownie camera, although I have always wanted one for Christmas.
This death of Kodak got me thinking. If I were in charge of Kodak, what would I do? What would I do differently? How would I try to save the company or even move the company forward, given the new generation of digital imaging? (Many people don't realize it, but Kodak had partnered with Nikon in the early days of the digital camera to help bring digital imaging to where it is today.)
So many people have started to come out already and talk about how they have fond memories of their old Brownie cameras. Indeed, the Brownie was Kodak's bread and butter for a long time. It was "THE" camera everybody had. It was cheap and it took great pictures. It ushered in the new dawn of everybody owning a camera and really took photography to the masses. Yesterday was a sad day indeed, when they announced the maker of the trusted little old "Brownie" would be making cameras no more.
Back to what I would do.
What I think Kodak should do is come up with a "Digital Brownie." Yes, there are many digital cameras out there, probably too many and, yes, I'm actually crazy enough to advocate for yet another, but, bear with me on this, I think Kodak could pull this off. What I would propose is a "Digital Brownie" camera that would be a small, lightweight digital box style camera that was set up and designed for shooting good digital black and white images. When I say "set up and designed" I mean set up and designed, as in "right out of the box."
You see, I think there really is a niche in the digital camera market, actually a niche to fill, if you will. There are many cameras designed to be light, easy to use, work underwater (!) be shockproof, etc. but there are none designed to shoot black and white straight out of the box. And black and white images are hard to work on in Photoshop. It takes skill to post-process digital images and come up with good (I mean really good) black and white images. Kodak could fit in here. Kodak could design a small, lightweight "Brownie" camera that came with software and processing pre-set to capture the best black and white images. They could put this in a cute, "Brownie" retro package and sell it to all of the kids who want to have a "Brownie" camera just like Grandma and Grandpa. Grandma and Grandpa might even buy one. Think of how popular they would be at Christmas time? Every old person would buy one for their kids and grandchildren as gifts. I could really see this happening. The conversation would go something like this, "When I was a kid, cameras all looked like this. We didn't have cell phones and pictures came in black and white." It would be Kodak's "Holga" moment, if you will.
Black and white photography is timeless. It never goes out of style and it always looks good when done well. Brownies (and the "Brownie" name) are synonymous with good black and white images. I still wish I had a good Brownie camera to run black and white film. Yes, sure, I have a Hasselblad, and, yes, it's a GREAT camera but it's darned expensive. A Brownie was cheap, almost on the level, and a lot of fun to play with. Brownies were great cameras and I think there really is a place for them in the digital age.
Kodak could even make Brownies with several versions of "glass" or filters-for example, one where they had an old "crappy" scratched glass filter over the lens to make the images look worn (as if from an old camera) and one new "nice" glass filter to render them sharper, for those who want it that way and like a more modern look to their pictures.
This would be such a great camera, I could really see it catching on. I sure as heck would want one. But, alas, it will never come to pass. Kodak will be busy, I'm sure, making whatever it is they make now. (Fuji makes drugs now. I guess all that Velvia finally went to their heads!) Nobody will ever get to own my newfangled little "Digital Brownie" for the new generation, and that's a sad thing really. It really is a sad day, even if not many people use Kodak cameras anymore. It's the end of yet another era.
If anybody has an old (working) Brownie camera that shoots 120 film and is offering it for a reasonable price, please do let me know. Yes, I'd still be interested in such a beast, even given all of the cameras I have access to now, there's something somewhat magical about those old Brownie cameras that's hard to replicate in our new gear. Film be damned! I so would shoot one anyway.
Until next time...
I know I've been quiet for a while. I haven't actually been quiet, no, I've been underground, hiding. It was time for me to take a slight recharge and take a weekend off. I've been doing so much lately, I felt I really had a need to take a weekend off, take a little bit of time and just relax a bit. This weekend, I stayed at home and watched TV, relaxed, and didn't do too much of anything. I know I'm grossly behind on a lot of stuff, but I really felt the pressing need to take a break, so that's just what I did.
I watched the Super Bowl on TV, well parts of it. I took a nap kind of in the middle of it, but somehow managed to wake up in the middle of the halftime show. I kind of liked the half time show, it was fun to watch anyway. I don't know about "the greatest show on earth!" hype, but it wasn't half bad. I really like The Voice, as I watched the premier of that afterwards too.
My TV viewing habits of late can best be summed up in one word: YUUUP! I've been watching a lot of (read: almost nothing but!) Storage Wars.
For those of you unfamiliar with this show, it's a show that follows people who bid on empty storage lockers in California. I know, it's strange, not the kind of show you'd think would be addictive. Unfortunately, for me however, it's very addictive. I keep watching it and watching it and watching it. I saw Barry get the mini piano and the scooter (oh the scooter!) and I saw Brandi and Jarrod double down on their store. I saw the first, the very first, YUUUP trucks. Oh my! Addicted, I tell you. I'm addicted.
Not to mention one of the bidders, Barry, reminds me a lot, a whole lot in fact, like Mythopolis. I swear he looks just like him, so much so it's almost scary. I feel like I'm watching Mythos bid on storage lockers in Southern California. Really, this is crazy stuff, I tell you!
How do you recharge? Do you take time away from art and intense photography and wind up doing something totally silly, like watching reality TV? Or do you do something else? I bet it would be fun to compare notes sometime.
That is, unless you have stuff in a storage locker in southern California, I'm sure.
Until next time...
Tonight is the big opening reception for "Mixed Media" aka the 35th Anniversary Juried Exhibition from the Austin Visual Arts Association. This shindig is also called "AVAA at the DAC" for short and it promises to be a fun night with lots of great art on display.
AVAA openings are usually crowded and I anticipate this one to be no less so. Wear comfortable shoes and drink plenty of water. Please don't elbow other patrons in order to purchase your artwork-we have plenty more in the back, just ask the nearest sales clerk for assistance. Oh, and, should you happen to spot any celebrities, please do let me know who they are. I'm expecting here name, title, country of origin, last major motion picture (staring) role as well as a brief explanation of who the celeb might be in layman's terms as, when it comes to celebrities, we all know I'm one heck of a layman. (I do recognize Drew Barrymore, at least I would have had I know she was like all grown up now and not six years old anymore, the way I remember her being when she played in E.T. Come on now, I can't be the only one who stays up late at night wondering what happened to those pig tails, can I?)
See you at the DAC, folks!
Until next time...