Saturday, July 4, 2015

Bhudda Board Doodles

I'm hiding out because if I were at home I would have to be cutting grass. Having a difficult time being productive.


Monday, June 29, 2015

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Gay Pride Parade, June 27, 2015

It can not be argued that with the Supreme Court Decision, June 27th, 2015 was truly a historic day. There will be much celebration and considerable wailing and gnashing of teeth. I am not nearly as much concerned with what it added to one segment of the population or detracted from another segment as I am for what it has done to States Rights, the only recourse we as a people have against an all intrusive Federal Government. In the long run that will be the greatest consequence of todays ruling. And it is not a good consequence.

In the meantime. I went to my first Gay Pride celebration. Not necessarily to celebrate but to do what I always do--take photographs. I have intended to go in the past but I seldom knew when the parade would take place. This year, thanks to Debi I was informed. .

The decision of the court just prior to the celebration greatly intensified the celebration and the mood of the participants. I didn't get many photographs that I feel are keepers but I am very partial to this one taken while we awaited the start of the parade. I didn't get this young ladies name but she and the group of young people she was with were very pleasant company and as you can see, very excited.

I do have others which I may post later but right now I am underwater with obligations and I still have another photoshoot this afternoon up in the Woodlands.

I will say this. When I first moved to Houston I was very impressed with the small town feel of such a large city. It was not uncommon to strike up conversations with total strangers in a grocery store or on a street corner. Houston has lost that--or maybe it is just that I have lost it. Anyway, yesterday, at least temporarily, it was the Houston of old. I had more conversations with strangers yesterday than I have had in a very long time. That was good. I don't think it had much to do with the occasion or the celebration. It just was that there were a openness yesterday between people that I have not recently experienced. I enjoyed that.

Maybe I need one of these. Beauregard thinks I would probably do much better as a photographer with an iPhone but this Samsung is looking good.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Received from the Printer

I stayed home today to do washing and clean house... what house cleaning I do anyway. Glad I did because my photographs arrived (see previous post).

Generally at first I am displeased with the print versions. I see all the things that I could have done or maybe should have done differently. But this time, even though I see things I could have done differently, I am actually excited about getting them into frames. I want to hold off hanging them on the wall outside the studio until the next open studio but I am not sure that I can wait that long.  Now to start on something for the August open studio. I still have the birds from the rookery that I need to get finished--that may be the route that I go.

I would hope that many of my friends get a chance to come by and see them. As I mentioned, I understand that religiously themed art is not much in favor and at times controversial, but maybe they could be viewed as I think photographs, what I do with an image from a camera, should be viewed as, to quote duChemin, line, shape, form, tone and sometimes color. I think they are good viewed either way. I do believe the context is strong and pretty much unequivocal. The prints, in my not so humble opinion, actually look better than the digital files. Did I mention that I like them? lol

Right now I am going to fix some lunch then when the drier stops and I have the clothes hung, to heck with cleaning house--I am off to the studio!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Open Studio at Aurora

The open studio will be after the NWHPC photowalk on West 19th. You can drop in early. Refreshments won't be served until 6pm but you can view the art. Would love to have everyone stop by. There is some pretty impressive art hanging in the gallery area and I will be hiding in the meat locker.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Random Thoughts That Have Nothing to Do With Photography

Waiting out another water event in Houston. They are predicting two to four inches of rain, BUT there may be up to TEN INCHES IN SOME AREAS. They don’t tell you that those areas may be in the forest of West Madagascar sometime during the Monsoon season, but somewhere there is going to be an area that receives ten inches.

I determined long ago that weather people do not get paid on how accurately they can predict the weather but on how many people they can scare the pegebers out of. From the looks of the grocery store last evening they are getting big bonuses this week.

People this is a tropical storm, not a hurricane and they are comparing it to Alisha in ‘83? People, that was thirty-four inches of rain in our watershed—even if their speculated ten inches missed Madagascar and fell in Texas it still comes nowhere close.

I’m so scared that I went to Whataburger this morning for my usual breakfast and watched the water rise in the intersection that I would have to pass through on the way home. It was not up to running board level (does anyone remember running boards anymore?) so I am in good shape. That’s just a normal rainy day in Houston.

Wishing I had a camera. Loved watching the sprayed water play across the lighted head lights of the cars.

Speaking of automobiles, yesterday I was running on fumes so I stopped for gasoline. Only got ten bucks worth because of the price on the freeway. After breakfast I stopped at my favorite station and it was five cents a gallon higher than the freeway—another benefit of rain events. The posted price was ten cents a gallon higher but I got there before they updated the pump.

Alcy always gets concerned when I run on fumes but after having driven a F150 for five years, or more, that did not have a gas gauge and on three of the four occasions that you did actually run out of gas you coasted right up to a gas pump you develop a new and greater respect for the native intelligence of Ford vehicles. The farthest I ever walked with a gas can was one block.

I always try to avoid Krogers but when I bought ‘survival’ food yesterday I forgot onions and bagels and Krogers is close. I am cooking man food—a crockpot full of red beans. I got the salt pork but forgot the onions. Today, all they had was Bermuda and I usually use white but it is going to be good because I was crying like a baby before I got them cut up for the pot. Even though I soaked the beans overnight they won’t be ready to eat before midnight but tomorrow is going to be a feast.

California should be paying more attention to Texas. It seems that we are getting their share of the water so we must be doing something right. And please, this time, don’t anyone make the ridiculous comment about the water being “of Biblical proportions” without at least more than a cursory review of Genesis.

Update At Noon: The National Weather service upped its prediction to four to six inches of rain in the Houston area but just now admitted that at the present time there is NO rain falling in Houston. BUT up to twelve inches may fall in the Austin area--major yuppie complex and more apt to be true believers. Keep in mind that the storm has come ashore west of Houston which means that we are on the wet side. Austin is west of the storm--generally the drier side of a tropical rotation. I hear there is already a critical shortage of tofu and Ben and Jerrys west of Smithville! 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Off to the Printer

It has been three very long days. I know everyone else can slap these out in ten minutes but it takes me from one to three hours to get one I will keep. Was at the studio until after nine yesterday. Today at about 4:30 I thought to myself that I needed to go get something to eat and the next time I looked at my watch it was 7:30. But finally the die is cast and they are at the printers.

I have been doing glossy but I want to see these in matte. I finally decided on the black and white versions and sent along a couple of color to see how they look. Won’t have them for the open house this month but for next.

Here is my final section. I sent the two dark ones of the crucifix in Galveston and a couple of the colored ones from the previous post. I would love to see some of these printed on a nice watercolor paper but that costs a lot of money--more than I have to play with.

Anger and Blood--or something like that

I am in an angry mood—okay, I stay in an angry mood. Just jumped into a Facebook conversation that I should have stayed out of but sometimes I just have to throw the BS flag.

People that do not understand that photography is a visual language and not a technical exercise eventually bore me—eventually is defined as very quickly in my lexicon.

Anyway I am doing crucifix again. I am fully aware that religiously themed art is out of favor and even to some offensive—good! I don’t photograph for other people I do it for me. I need something new to go on my wall for the next open studio so I am reworking photographs of the crucifix, which I frankly, Scarlet, think of as religious art.

Life sized crucifix at a Catholic
cemetery in Galveston
The photograph below is one that I had never processed because at the time I was involved with a project that it did not fit into. It was taken at an antique store on Yale not far from the studio. It was like finding a mother lode of crucifix.
On the original image I included the price tag because it was taken when I was still working on The Price of Christ images. On the ones I am redoing now I am removing the price tag when it is convenient. If not I leave it. And, No, they don’t look like photographs. I don’t consider them photographs. And if THAT offends you, I don't care. They are images that just happened to have been given birth inside a camera rather than at the end of a brush or pen and brought to fruition in my somewhat convoluted thought processes. A couple of them I like.

original with tag
reworked without tag
There is so much that I would like to say about this photograph—this is still a photograph. It has not been converted to an image yet—but it probably will be. The crucifix is only hinted at but I think I have included enough that anyone that is familiar with crucifix will get the picture. It is like any language, it does require some prior knowledge of the 'words.' I do not know that the iris, or as my mother would have called it, the flag, has any religious connotation. But as my friend Paul says, “It drew me.” It did. Even now it does. Do I know exactly why I took this photograph?  Do I know what meaning I find in it? Not exactly but I have some fairly strong suspicions. When elements are placed within the frame of a photograph they take on relationships and I find an interesting relationship between the flower and the legs and feet of Christ. Could I verbalize that relationship? With a little effort I could come close probably to several different thoughts. Right now that to me is not important.  I just know that having this bright burst of color, having the meaning associated with flowers, especially the delicacy of the iris, at the foot of Christ on the cross says something to me that seems to be of importance. The color of the iris, purple, that I have chosen to enrich,  has an association to royalty, nobility which adds its own metaphorical note.

This is what I work for in most of my personal photography. I don’t often succeed but I still find it necessary to try. As an explanation, I distinguish between my personal photography and my throw away photography. On rare occasions they are the same or one sneaks into the other, but generally they are miles apart.

There is a verse from a Stephen Crane poem that comes to mind. At the line where it says, "What? You define me God with these trinkets," Janet always left the room when I read A Little Ink More or Less, because she swore that I was going to be struck by lightning at any moment and she didn’t want to become collateral damage.

“Where is Hell, Show me some bastard mushroom, Sprung from a pollution of blood, It is better.”

I can read that with a considerable degree of conviction which it what primarily concerned Janet.

Maybe the iris has sprung from a pollution of blood. I am not sure what I see that makes the image important; just to suffice, to me it is.

Here are a few of the others…

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Once Again, Is It Retrogressing or Regressing? Or Does It Even Matter?

From Creative Authenticity, 16 Principles to Clarify and Deepen Your Artistic Vision by Ian Roberts

Principle Six—Showing Up
Keeping a sketchbook journal can give us a resource of possibilities. No matter how much or how little time we have for their development, writing down notes on ideas or images is crucial. WriIting them down the moment they come to us is also crucial…
When we give them attention, they grow stronger.

As Emerson wrote, “To believe your own thoughts, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men—that is genius.”

Your call is unique. No life is like yours No one responds to life the way you do. Giving precise expression to that personal press of spirit in the stuff round you—that is “genius.” The word comes from the Latin meaning “in the spirit of a place.” We give voice to how our spirit blossoms in the face of something that moves us.

The screen that these ideas fall on, yours, is different from all others. Genius is recognizing its personal importance, trusting it and doing something with it. Because when we start, and start boldly, as Goethe says, “there’s genius in it.” Things start to happen. There is an expression, “with practice comes luck” or as Louis Pasteur aid, “Chance favors the prepared mind.”
I read a lot. Probably more than I should. I probably read when I should be doing something more productive. But I enjoy learning what people that are much more knowledgeable than I am share or discuss about what they think. I promote reading. I try occasionally to promote books At one time I tried to promote Creative Authenticity on another blog that I had. Frankly I am not sure that the people on the blog read what I copied from Creative Authenticity much less made any further effort to pursue the book.

Maybe it is simply easier to have me read the book and share what I find to be personal high points rather than it is to read the book to absorb the knowledge being shared so that you might find what has importance to you.

Toward the end of last year I attempted to start a meet up group to study the writings of David duChemin. I wanted to use his Photographically Speaking in a text book fashion, front to back for a thorough understanding of what he had written because it is excellent stuff to know. Some bought the book but no one that was at the meeting has since mentioned a single passage from the book that they found relevant, interesting, inspiring, educational or that they questioned. That partially influenced my new year's resolution previously mentioned. I concluded that I am really the only person that wants to know this stuff.

There has been a drought in photographic writing but it has been broken in the past few years. David duChemin, Chris Orwig, Bruce Barnbaum and several others are doing excellent writing. It  reminiscent of the days of Ralph Hattersley, Minor White, Lou Bernstein and others of the Fifties through the Seventies. Regrettably most amateur photographers only want to know the latest jazzy technique rather then trying to understand what photography is. Technique for technique sake is a sad state of affairs but I am trying to become comfortable with it--more so than in the past.

I whole heartedly agree with Robert's statement that everyone's life is unique, that no two are even close to being the same but as much as I love the writings of Emerson I must question that I any longer have to believe that what is true for me is true for all men. Maybe it is okay if what is true for me is only true for me. That has not always been the case but it is the premise that I started the year on and so far it has not been so terrible.


One of the members of NWHPC, a very good friend, is moving out of Houston. I discovered that he had never eaten a No. 99 at Tookies in Kemah so we set up an opportunity for those that could get away in the middle of the week. A No. 99 is a hamburger that has had the patty marinated in wine. Janet and I fell in love with the No.99 back when we had a sailboat docked at the Seabrook Shipyard in the Seventies. It is well worth the drive.

Ten club members met at Tookies and surprisingly, for a week day, the place was packed but we got there near the end of the lunch hour so the wait wasn’t terribly long. We enjoyed a great meal and good company. Afterwards those that could stuck around for some photos.

Several of us ended up at the Kemah Boardwalk. It began to rain so we stopped in the Cadillac Bar for some place to sit and talk. Less than ten minutes after we got there a front must have come through because the wind hit; wind and water totally wrecked the table. Even back fifteen or so feet from the open front of the dining area was getting water. We found another table and occasionally shot photos of the havoc.


To put in a plug for Cadillac Bar, there were seven of us and some had mixed drinks. When we had to move they supplied the new table with chips and dip and when it come time to pay the bill they said it was on the house. The next time I'm in Kemah for lunch, as much as I hate to give up an opportunity for a No. 99 I plan on eating at Cadillac. I haven't been to Cadillac in years. I took my brother there and he pinched the waiter so I have never been able to go back.

Going through an old computer drive I came across photos of another photoshoot some six years ago that just about got rained out—the very first photowalk put together by Joe Lippeatt for the Houston Photowalks Meetup. That night fifty or more photographers met at the Lakehouse restaurant at Discovery Green. Just as we were branching out to do night shots of downtown an electrical storm hit that in North Texas would be called a full blown gully washer--almost constant thunder and lightening and tons of water. A lot headed for their cars and sensibly got out of downtown. Most stayed under the awning at the Lakehouse. Me? Well I walked down to Main Street to photograph Metrorail. Along the way I waded water that near the curbs got up to my knees. It tried to only shoot from beneath some overhead protection but even at that I was soaked to the bone; my camera was soaked and I was using a new 17-35mm lens for the first time. Fortunately for me, the camera and the lens suffered no permanent damage. I heard that others did go downtown but I didn’t see another photographer until I returned to Discovery Green an hour or so later.