Monday, July 4, 2022

Right vs. Left (Conspiracies)

Conspiracy Theory from the Left:  More than one person was involved in the assassination of JFK.

Conspiracy Theory from the Right:  JFK, Jr. will reanimate, reappear and usher Donald J. Trump triumphantly back into the White House.

Back in the day, most conspiracy theories came from the Left; conspiracies were one of the few venues of communication available to those who were not in power in such a Conservative nation. But things are considerably different today, no one trusts the government, what was once mildly Left is now center Right, and the Radical Extremist Rightists are in control and getting stronger by the day. And one of the ways they maintain and strengthen their hold on power is through their use of: lies, innuendo, rumor and conspiracy. And give credit where credit is due, they have raised the level of conspiracy theory to a whole different art form- to the degree that it no longer need be based on any semblance of reality. Hillary Clinton runs a child sex ring from a pizza parlor- fortunately, a true believer was stopped by police in the nick o' time before he shot up a most ordinary pizza parlor he believed the offending party! Certainly, that example was the epitome of outrageous inanity, nothing could possibly top that for sheer audacity and ridiculousness. I-was-wrong...

Yeah, the JFK, Jr. one! Personally, I couldn't decide which was the more insane proposition- JFK, Jr. reanimating and reappearing or switching parties for no explicable reason in order to somehow, someway lead Trump back into the White House! Total, complete off the wall insanity- and yet, and yet... the faithful came by the hundreds and dutifully assembled at Dealey Plaza to witness just that (and then refused to leave till they actually witnessed it)! That is the epitome of ignorance, the zenith of gullibility that sways today's Republican base. But have faith true believers- I was fooled once, the best is yet to come...


"Hey! That's what I hear- that's what they're sayin'..."  Happy Fourth!!!

Thursday, June 30, 2022

NYC '22

 

Paola Pivi- You Know Who I Am, 2022

Was in NY for a week, and no, I won't go into my usual gentrification rant yet again. It was the yearly excursion to visit: moms in the nursing home (and a dear friend in the ICU), the post Covid Mermaid Parade, The Bronx Documentary Center and last and not least, to chow down on as many slices of Two Boots pizza as I possibly could in the time allotted. Located at The Jane in the Meatpacking District, I started each day on The High Line by gandering at the guy above, art as it should be: free, multifaceted and humorous; how can you not start you're day on the good foot looking at that mug and all it stands for!

All Photos: © Stan Banos





On the other end of the The High Line was our old 'friend,' The Vessel (or if you're Eastern European- "The Wessel"), the $200 Million doodad of everything art shouldn't be- gaudy, ginourmous and the centerpiece for NYC's currently most expensive neighborhood. (Un)fortunately, it just may have to be... dismantled. Closed since July of last year due to its penchant for attracting those with a penchant for jumping off its higher levels, including one guy who supposedly first murdered his mother- the latter which has pretty much become the de rigueur, signature statement of mass shooters everywhere. You'd think they'd have a plaque for this guy right next to it for breaking the mold and just offing himself after the fact- bloody saint he is! Anyway, they only let you walk into the middle of The Vessel these days, and on the ground floor only- climbing any of its 16 stories, 80 landings and 2,500 Escherian steps is strictly Verboten! It's now been rendered almost Banksy...est!

Charging Bull


 



Walking about certain parts of the city, I noticed how something was kinda... off, actually couldn't explain it at first. Of course, foot and car traffic seemed well below 'normal." Duh-uh! Plum forgot that little pandemic thang; apartments must be really cheap then- right? Anyway, walk I did- at one point I heard my train arriving and proceeded to run up the subway platform stairs as I have countless times since childhood. My body from the waist up lunged forward and upward, while my legs emphatically rejected the go message and remained glacially stationary! My body was Reed Richards waist up, Ben Grimm waist down. First time that has ever happened, and at 66, I had no choice but to laugh it off and just be thankful- it was 5pm, and had been walking since 10am. 
 
 


Brooklyn in the foreground; Queens in the back.

 


Managed to get a snap here, a snap there, but didn't think the lot amounted to much of anything, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I actually did manage to score a few keepers (even if only one at the parade), and... ten slices of pizza overall. Most regrettably, a standard, everyday jelly donut of perfection at The Donut Pub now costs A Whopping... $2.50!!! I had once thought that our known universe could not possibly support a donut that cost over $1.00; I thought much the same of a movie costing over $10.00.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

“The Clavicles”

They’re either next to the testicles... or just east of the Rockies- either way, never heard of ‘em referred to in the plural pre-Trump.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

South Bronx Photo Central

I finally got to visit The Bronx Documentary Center as it was busily preparing its current and most timely exhibit on the Russian debacle in Ukraine. A little gem of a storefront in the heart of the South Bronx, it is also the home of the Tim Hetherington Photobook Library (open by appt), a fantastic one room selection of photodocumentary works to which I was privileged to contribute my own collection, and that will soon be expanding. A short half block away is their annex, which houses an even larger exhibition space- BTW, not only does the latter have a pressed metal ceiling... it has pressed metal walls, and ya don't exactly see them everywhere!

When I arrived, Michael Kamber, hammer in hand, looked like a one man wrecking crew, except he wasn't destroying anything- hanging, aligning and directing everything and everyone (a dedicated team of diverse young bloods) in a last minute frenzy to get the whole shebang up and ready by showtime that night! Ya see the guy and you understand just how he's able to accomplish all he's done and continues to do, one very intense (yet most hospitable) looking guy built like a Special Forces Master Sergeant, you get the feeling he usually accomplishes what he sets out to do- did I mention he speaks Spanish like a native? 

Anyway, Urgency! Ukraine is only up for two weeks (due to prior show commitments) and features some of today's leading photojournalists with some truly strong imagery- a panel discussion will be held on 6/28 featuring some of the exhibit's photographers. Be sure to visit whenever in the NYC area- the IRT #2 or 5 will get ya there...

Thursday, June 23, 2022

The Cruel Radiance


Recently, I posted something declaring it was high time the public got to see the consequences of gun violence- particularly of the mass shootings with 'assault type' rifles. I was aware of (at least some of) the downsides inherent with such an action, but thought it (and still do) the right thing to do. Because when you got kids (KIDS!) getting shot to pieces in cold blood, on a random, repeated basis- How much fuckin' worse can it get?!?

Well, the woman above wrote a book covering the history and consequences of such action- interesting reading to be sure, and then some. And while there are definite consequences that would, in fact, be disadvantageous, Susie Linfield has researched, considered and deliberated all the possible consequences of such action(s), making her ultimate stand not a guess, but a rather well thought out and highly reasoned imperative!

She also goes on to talk about photographing poverty and other social tragedy- something I've continued to question myself about for decades to this day (as any conscientious photographer should). One writer (Jim Lewis- Slate) goes on to state that such photos should be only be... "casually composed, without serious compositional attention." It's such an incredibly ill thought out and naive belief, I guess the obvious lack of care and/or respect inherent in such an attitude (that would directly reflect upon the subject matter) is just not up for consideration- casual or otherwise...

Sunday, June 19, 2022

A Few More...


Photos from the March For Our lives on 6/11/2022 in San Francisco (woulda had a coupla more but the dang XT missed focus- yet again)... Looks like I just might have to train  myself to manual focus again, just like I had to train myself to compose using my right eye, instead of my left...

 


Yeah, wish there was a little something-something to balance the right hand side- 
I just like her all too much!




Amen- most definitely! Above and Below...


Photos: © Stan Banos


Wednesday, June 15, 2022

The Springtime of Our Youth

 

Photo: © Stan Banos

 

Saw it from half a block away, a pure and simple snapshot to be sure- so full of life and promise and hope. Of course, it would all be over by the time I got there, and it was- but it wasn't... They were taking one more shot, one more try- and I was there!

Dad seems detached, but it don't matter none- cause Mom's bursting with such joy and pride! Young blood standing proud looks toward her with love, care, appreciation. That's all he needs- tripod at hand, he's already proving he can do it on his own. Youth = Hope; hopes and dreams as big as he is tall, as wide as the building behind them.

 And I wish him all the possible best!

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Double Barrel

 

Photo: © Stan Banos

 
Gotta give it up to anyone capable of finding humor in any of this...

 

Photo: © Stan Banos
 

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Ques: What Do You Call A Mass Shooter... The Day Before?


Ans: A good guy with a gun!

BTW- There's been well over 200 mass shootings in the US of A just this year... thus far!


Obviously, the sooner a child becomes acquainted with guns, the more responsible he becomes. It bestows a certain sense of maturity...

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Time To Show The Bodies...

I was a child living through the Viet Nam War. Back then, it seemed like that one too would never end. But I remember what helped turned the opinion of many who continued to support the war- the photos of the bodies... children's bodies. The most iconic image etched into the minds of anyone from that era was the sight of Phan Thị Kim Phúc OOnt (aka- "Napalm Girl") trying desperately to escape and run from her pain, burnt flesh running down her body...

But even prior to that came the first hardcore salvo that had die hard supporters scratching their heads in bewilderment- morally, ethically, "patriotically." That was the My Lai Massacre photos, dead women, old men, and yes- dead children and babies. Many of them. Innocents slaughtered by the wayside, with the same maniacal, casual disregard- caused by the very same lineage of weapons that continue to slaughter civilian innocents to this day! Those photos caused anyone with a beating heart who still thought we were on the side of "right" to realize how we were blatantly allowing and perpetuating the most hideous of atrocities...

It's time to show the children's bodies here at home- time to clearly, irrevocably show and expose the slaughter that these bought Republican shills are allowing to occur on a now regular basis. All we are ever allowed are their never ending torrent of fantasy induced excuses. They are well beyond shame, beyond reason. It's time to actually see the results of their words, their policies, their willingness to do absolutely nothing in the face of continued carnage!

PS- Yes, that's one helluva ask of any parent or family, but when all we can possibly hope for are cosmetic changes of no real consequence- perhaps an Emmett Till moment is just what we need.

Friday, June 3, 2022

Pure Joy!

This pop tune (if it can be called such) is just so utterly catchy and contemporary, her movements so utterly steeped in tradition...

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Remember...

 That shop sign somewhere in the UK about "All Americans must be accompanied by an adult?" Yeah...

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Insult To Tragedy...

In case anyone missed this over the weekend (and everyone should- particularly the families of those related)- Trump ended his slurred, mispronounced tribute insult to the slaughter of innocents with his now signature jerk-off dance. Truly touching... Bravo performance! Like him or not- the guy just oozes class and sincerity!

Sunday, May 29, 2022

If A Photo Is Ignored On The Internet...

One of my recent self publications (Say What?) was featured last Friday on This Week in Photography at A Photo Editor. Needless to say, I was quite honored and more than a little surprised. Such things don't exactly happen everyday. It's nice to occasionally have what one creates noticed and seen by a wider portion of the public, particularly when the very raison d'etre of what one creates is- to be shared and seen! Sure one creates, one photographs simply because one has to, but... Photographs, paintings, movies only truly exist when actually... seen! 

And rightly or wrongly (it shouldn't, but it does), a public review also garners the work a certain cache of legitimacy. Once 'approved,' the work has been officially vetted, condoned and now officially matters, ie- at least beyond the scope of... one!

Now, what's taking so long for Old Man Steidel to call? It is a holiday weekend, I suppose...

Photo: © Stan Banos


Wednesday, May 25, 2022

We're No1, We're No1...

We're No.1!!!

Crisis Actors Strike Again!!!

There they go again. Yet more crisis actors trying to ramp up sympathy and support to take away our god given right to own as many guns as we want. It just never ends...

Monday, May 23, 2022

1.618

 

Photo: © Stan Banos

Recently I photographed a tag consisting of three words that I sorta suspected was somehow tied into something larger- it was. Then I chanced upon this particular number and wondered the same- drug reference maybe, Nazi code? Obviously, yours truly's not the brightest bulb in the pack, or I would have recognized it right off as... The Golden Ratio!

Thursday, May 19, 2022

1... 2...

Last Sept I took a photo (with my X-T1) that turned out to be out of focus on close examination. Both of my X-T1 bodies had occasionally taken out of focus photos so it was just a matter of time before it occurred with a shot that was actually near and dear. When it finally did happen, I actively began searching for an X-T2, something I had been contemplating for some time to alleviate said problem. I didn't need increased burst or continuous focusing modes- just something to nail focus on a single shot in good light. That's not asking much these days. So I was more than happy with my LN X-T2 for $600. Confidence restored, focusing issue resolved...

 

The eye actually blinked (as did the camera).          Photo: © Stan Banos

So this past weekend I shot a very similar shot with my new and improved X-T2- a funny snapshot of some guy in a ridiculously weird costume; an easy-peasy, plenty of light and contrast, non action, full length portrait if ya will. And... BOOM!!! Every freaking bit as unfocused as with the X-T1; and once again, Focus Magic software somewhat rescued the image (at least for online viewing).

Get an X-T3 or X-T4, they really nailed the focusing issue, Stan. Uh-huh... If I wanted a body as big as, or bigger than a FF Sony- I would get a FF Sony! Well, just manually focus then and STFU! And that's exactly what I'd do, had I my younger eyes and patience. But I don't, and I wish I had something learned or clever to wind this up with, but I ain't got that either. Maybe Fuji just doesn't like silly ass costumes- but I'm waiting for the day when it's not just a funny snapshot, and instead, is one of those once in a lifetime portfolio highlights that will be little more than a blurred (and accursed) memory...

Monday, May 16, 2022

Two Christlike Apparitions...


Pro-Choice March, 5/14/2022                           Photo: © Stan Banos
 
 
And all in one weekend 

(so shortly after)!


Bay To Breakers 5/15/2022                          Photo: © Stan Banos