Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Creative Dilema

More Camera Bag trickery. I like the silhouette of the trees, the cloud patterns, yet I can't get away from the white hole in the sky where the sun pours through. It's this, more than anything, which makes me mistrust it as an image. Look at the clouds just above the tree-line to the left, and it's as though the image has been 'solarized' - which takes it completely out of the realm of naturalistic photograph, and into the realm of studio manipulation. And since the image is a result of someone else's pre-sets (settings to accomplish the effect), I'm less inclined to congratulate myself on it.
On the other hand, perhaps if I use someone else's pre-sets to create a successful image and it doesn't bring software manipulations to the forefront of my mind, then maybe I'll enjoy the image more? We'll see.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Comal Food Store

       This image was shot on my i-phone, using the Camera Bag app. I'm looking forward to exploring Instagram over the coming months. I have misgivings about the proprietary rights you sign over to use the software, but the creative opportunities strike me as worth exploring. There's clearly some amazing work being done through the app.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Once More, With Feeling

It's true that the blog has been inactive for a while. Since Miller (above) is unlikely to fight the assertion, I'm inclined to lay the blame at his feet. Babies, they take up time.


I'm hopeful that the blog lives again. Watch this space.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Graduate.

For the past three years, Yesi Ruiz has surrendered her weekends (Friday/Saturday night, Sunday morning) to work at Olivia Restaurant in South Austin, polishing glasses and silverware, bussing tables...whatever has been asked of her, and always performing her duties with a lovely charm and positive attitude...

Yesi just graduated from high school, she's heading off to Texas A&M to study psychology. As a parting gift, the wait staff at Olivia paid for a set of prints from a photo session I was happy to donate. These are three images from our mini-photo session...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Desert Dreams

                                                                                       Palm Springs, 2012

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Martin Parr on 'Too Much Photography.'

I'm utterly bemused by people who feel compelled to photograph their meals. To what purpose? Will it help you savour the taste again later? Do you have friends who are fascinated to see what was on your dinner plate last week?

Likewise, I wonder why so many people don't bother to edit their photos. They post The Complete Holiday Snaps on Facebook. But who do you think is going to go through them all?

English photographer Martin Parr agrees with me, it seems.  Hit the link:

In the days of analogue, photos were printed up and then carefully selected images were placed in an album. Now they just hang around, clogging up the hard drive on the laptop or phone. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Love To Love You: Donna Summer

It's the way things are done, isn't it? An artist dies and we re-consider what their work has meant to us, belatedly offer a bouquet when it's too late for the recipient to be the beneficiary. This, reported in the New York Times coverage of Donna Summer's death last week from cancer, at age 63:

     John Landau, the chairman of the nominating committee at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, also issued a statement - an unusual one in which he said it was unfortunate that the hall had never inducted her.
   "There is absolutely no doubt that the extraordinary Donna Summer belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame," Mr. Landau wrote. "Regrettably, despite being nominated on a number of occasions, our voting group has failed to recognize her – an error I can only hope is finally and permanently rectified next year."

 Then again, who considers the Rock and Roll Hall of fame particularly meaningful? And yet, it's typical of our culture.

In 2004, I expressed my own appreciation for Donna Summer in a long-ish article that can be found below. The piece was written pre-Gaga, and before hip-hop production blurred the lines of distinction between itself and house/techno...which is to say, before the latest resurgence in interest in dance music. But I think that as an appreciation of a true and unique talent, it holds up:

Meanwhile, on KCRW, late-night DJ Raul Campos - whose nightly show is always worth listening to - got it right with his tribute. He opened his show with 'Love To Love You Baby,' and later went on to express how much Donna Summer had meant to him, and to the people in the DJ community he'd looked up to when he was learning his craft. He also explained that some time ago he instructed friends that when he dies, three records should be buried with him - one of which ought to be 'I Feel Love.'

Certainly it's one of the half-dozen most important songs in the history of dance/electronic music.

You can find Raul Campos's Donna Summer tribute show here:

And finally, a lovely interview with Donna Summer on NPR"s Fresh Air. Terry Gross is a peerless radio interviewer, and though this might not represent her best work, what comes through (and what Gross obviously deserves some of the credit for), is a real sense of Summer's personality, of her like-ability and decency. If you're unfamiliar with her story, you'll also likely find it instructive as to how much she contributed to her own success, writing much of her own material.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

He Walks Amongst Us

      And apparently still carrying the cross. Seen on South Lamar Ave, Austin, TX.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Art Is A Word

For years I had a postcard of this image on my refrigerator door. Alas it's gone now, along with several other, slightly more salacious images. I think this shot  was taken by Bettina Rheims. I still love it. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Let Them Eat Cake

Selected pictures from a three year old's birthday party...

... Happy Birthday to Andrew Bates Jr.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Kids Are Alright

The gentleman in the picture above is Andrew Bates, and the folks who share the foreground with him are his 3 year old son, Andrew Jr, and his wife, Susan. Andrew (Sr, that is) is an artist who, amongst other works, produces lovely pencil drawings of children for delighted parents. For Valentine's Day this year I made a trade with Andrew - he produced a spectacular drawing of my son Miller (which I gave to my wife), and I had to somehow live up to my part of the deal by producing a family portrait for his wife.

Now, one requirement Andrew had was that he didn't want anything too rigid or stuffy. He preferred an image that would capture something of the madness of his daily visits to the park with his son. The image above is the one that makes me happiest, makes me feel that I met the requirement. At the very least, I owe a debt of thanks to the little girl in the picture for helping me out.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Michelle Knapp Auction: Portraits

Last year I donated a portrait session to a fundraiser for a local teenage girl, Michelle Knapp. Michelle was struck down by a grave illness and her parents incurred significant health care bills while Michelle underwent treatment and rehabilitation. Family friends, the majority of whom work in the restaurant industry here in Austin, helped raise an astonishing $25,000 for the Knapp family through a silent auction at a food and booze event held at North by Northwest. 

Charlie Childs won the auction for a portrait session (along with several other auctions, I might add). Charlie sat on his portrait winnings for a several months, but finally cashed it in last month - and with good reason. These portraits are from a series I shot of Charlie with his fiancée - now wife - Caroline, the week before they were married. Apparently it's been a lucky few months for Charlie...

And, I'm happy to report that in the months since the auction, Michelle Knapp has made significant strides in her battle against her illness. Having been hospitalized for several long months, she's now living at home with her family, and a bright future lies before her.  

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What I've Been Reviewing: David Hockney: A Rake's Progress by Christopher Simon Sykes

My review of this upcoming David Hackney biography is available online at:

                                   A Bigger Splash.        David Hockney