Friday, January 10, 2014

Purging Myself From the Internet

No More "Likes"
There was a time when I was an evangelist for the Internet. No longer.  I had a moment.  I saw all the crap on my news feed, which now looks like a ruptured sewage line in my garden. New people mysteriously show up as my friends on FB.  

So, I have decided to review, revoke, reduce and recycle my friends and followers. I will cull my news feed from all politically correct sites. I will no longer tolerate any material having to do with anyone's God.

There are too many photos of cute animals, peaceful settings and posters of clouds. It's like we've all been given a dose of Ambien along with our purple Kool-Aid.

Gone from my sites will be many “friends” or “followers” who invite me to join games. Who has that kind of time? To those who never commented on my blog posts. Gone.

I no longer want to be tagged.

From the beginning, I wanted only one thing from my friends and followers: Amuse me. Nothing more. Nothing Less. Never try to sell me anything. 

In my moment from going from Saul to Paul, (this analogy is the only thing I learned from the Bible), maybe two people know my opinions on whether the Oakland A’s should get a new stadium or why Arsenal fans are a bunch of wankers. Or how I really feel about Brazil hosting the World Cup. 

I once enjoyed “sharing” my thoughts in blog posts, always trying to be original. Now, however, I feel irrelevant in a room full of invading space aliens.

Maybe it all began with the introduction of  “like”. This is starting to piss me off. I want to be “Loved”, or at least feared.  "Like" is an Ambien side-effect.

Giving a “like” is not as satisfying as giving a flirtatious wink to someone on a busy street corner or in a crowded elevator.  That is rare enough, but it is so much, much more intimate in reality.

I have had “friends” pass away. I miss many followers who disappeared.  I once enjoyed George Carlin quotes, and today I get Deepak Chopra.

Make no mistake, I am grateful for my good friends and supporters. With them, I know more about their lives than my own family. They can sustain me as any friend would who lived nearby. They already know I like them.

They will accept me as I find my way back to being amused.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Found Objects # 7: Photojournalism

Jennifer Warnes from Broadway after Hair, 1971, Aspen

As I wrote in Found Objects #2: Photos of Jackie, I was a neophyte journalist and not naturally talented with a camera. After graduation I was headed for a galvanizing experience in Aspen, where two newspapers were locked in trench warfare, so aptly described in Hunter S. Thompson's The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales From A Strange Time. 

I later wrote my experience during that time in a piece, From the Same Volcano as Hunter Thompson I recount a humiliating rookie experience fresh out of J-School.

I photographed car wrecks, rugby games, graduations, high school football games, rugby games and ladies’ wet t-shirt contests. Anything to stay away from reporting on the town's moronic politics.

One of the perks was meeting Dwight Hooker, the famed photographer of Playboy's double page spreads of the early 70s. I offered to be his guide to finding and interviewing girls for a series, Girls of Aspen. What I learned in a few days with Mr. Hooker could fill a library.

One of my first assignments for our paper was to photograph Jennifer Warnes fresh off the run of Hair, in which she starred.

Taken during interview with Jennifer Warnes.

Jane Dornacker
This singer was a much beloved entertainer in San Francisco's Castro District circa 1974. Being fans we got a ring side table to see her Leila and the Snakes in performance of "Don't Touch Me There", which she co-wrote for The Tubes.

A crowd favorite: "Don't Touch Me There."

The Boy and the Whale

I heard on the radio that a Blue Whale had washed up on the beach near Half Moon Bay, south of San Francisco. We beat the crowds and I got this shot of a boy contemplating the whale. This photo was later published by Friends of the Earth in "Progress As If Survival Mattered". 1977.

Boy surveys a dead Blue Whale 

There are literally hundreds more slides waiting to be investigated. A box is no place for memories. 


Saturday, November 30, 2013

Found Object #6: Brazilian Magic

The painting embodies for me a Brazilian's approach to life. 

You see this in futebol, bossa nova, samba, carnival, fireworks, the beach, street singing and dancing. Everything is a sacrament to the senses.

Their movements are mirrored in smiles, and the way their bodies embrace a slow sexy dance with a cheeky flourish and a twinkle in the eyes. 

Life is measured in a steady beat, like when the evening waves wash up on the shore at crespucolo.

16”  41cm
12” 31cm

This painting, ironically, has a life of its own.

Not only had it spent a lot of time as a half-finished painting in a box for two decades, but it had been confined to a sketch book that had seen better days. 

When I finally retrieved it I put it on a shelf in a small closet, where it lingered, and at one point was crushed and torn. Soon, it was destined for the trash. 

The painting would pay the price for my resistance to opening myself up to the art it was calling me to.

Then one day it virtually flew from its perch on the shelf and landed across my feet. The painting was happily finished over the summer 2013.

Whose to say it was not a bit of Brazilian magic.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Found Object #5: Somalian Sunrise

When I painted “Faduma's Ritual”, I envisioned Faduma Ali, a Somalian woman, standing on a minaret in a moment of deep reflection.

At the time of the painting I was writing a biography of the Duke of the Abruzzi

Faduma Ali had known the Duke all her life, first as a young girl who lived in the village the young prince had created.

Throughout the years, the Duke’s arrivals in the village was a time of great celebration.  The girl might have trekked to the coast and stood there awaiting the arrival of the ship's commander.

Faduma, a woman of considerable beauty, would later begin a romance with the Duke and eventually they would live as a couple until his death.

The painting reminds me of my own rituals spent longing for someone or something we don't have a word to express.

12” 31 cm
9” 24” cm

Faduma's Ritual is a companion piece to Toil.

They had both been rescued from a box headed to a dump.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Found Object #4: Two Views of a Greek Isle

The scene was inspired by the fishermen of Naxos, a Greek island in the Cyclades of the Mediterranean. 

Toil was painted over a number of months, some years after visiting Greece in the early 80s.

The two fishermen continue to fish while the other boats lie in harbor. It could be early morning and perhaps these fishermen had already caught the best fish.

Or the scene might suggest the end of a long day like every other day, in which they had not caught as much as the other fishmermen, who were home enjoying their fresh fish. 

During the days, I spun stories like these on the beach, often after following Dionysius and his denizens around Naxos in a night of frivolity.

Today’s hardworking residents of Naxos bear little resemblance to Dionysus, who knew nothing about toil.

As I applied the paint to the canvas, I was the one who was now checking my metaphorical nets twice a day to see if I’d caught anything.  The painting taught me something about daily toil.

12” 31 cm
9” 24” cm

Toil was recently discovered in a box devoted to last-minute packing decisions made under duress.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Found Objects #3: A View of the Lake District

This photo looks out on sheep grazing in the fields and country lanes at the foot of the Fells in the Lake District of Northwest England.

I took the photo from a window in a B&B run by a family of self-proclaimed gypsies.

Returning from a run in the Fells, it was nice to see a table in the room set with delicious scones  garnished in crème and cherries, and served promptly at 4 pm along with a pot of dark English tea.

Shot with Nikon FE on Kodak Color film.
19 ¾” width (51 cm)
28 ¾ lenth  (73 cm)
Mounted on hardwood surface

This photo was yet another object that was recently discovered rolled up and tossed in a box and forgotten. 

The paper was dusty and torn. It had been stored in the box since 1982.

The original color transparency had been taken 30 years before, then made into an inter-negative, and printed on a single sheet of photo paper.

Now I will be able to look out a window and see this beautiful scene.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Found Objects #2: Photos of Jackie

These three photos are my first rolls of film. I took them as part of a photography class assignment. I was using a box camera at the time. 

My composition of the negatives was poor, no sense of depth of field and the weeds in the foreground were blurry.  I got a D+ for the assignment. Yet this would set the stage for my later becoming a photojournalist and having my work published. I would also meet and work with well known photographers over the years who would greatly influence my work.

My model for this particular shoot was Jackie Cox, my girl friend from Littleton, Colorado. We were attending Colorado State University. 

What is this for again?

How long this going to take?

We done yet?

Found: three 2 1/2" x 2 1/2 negatives
taken between 1966-1967
City Park, Ft. Collins, Colorado

I found these negatives in a box sitting squashed underneath several pounds of paper layered with dust. I nearly tossed them into the trash, but then decided to get the negatives developed. I am so glad, because the result was a lasting and wonderful memory.