Monday, February 17, 2020

Hypocrisy Central


Trump, Barr, Graham, Pompeo, Giuliani, McConnell... A veritable Who's Who of Biblical Proportion HYPOCRISY...

Friday, February 14, 2020

Film Noir



Been diving deep into Film Noir (again), there's just something about it that remains forever young- despite the passage of time, styles, whatever... And of course, it has everything to do with the attitude, rebelliousness and that inner most certainty that this world just ain't right no matter what you do. It's you (and your gal) against the world- and even though you still lose in the end, at least you got to look it straight in the eye and spit in it's royal face. Plots are fast paced and direct, the women hot and reassured, the B&W cinematography often captivatingly innovative (due to budget constraints).

And then there's just... the feel- that Big City, Adult feel where grown up people were dealing with grown up problems in a mature urban setting- No Kids Allowed! Even if those problems were ultimately solved, or at least negated, in the most juvenile of ways. There's something romantically, tragically heroic and refreshing about them, these singular jabs at the collective consciousness in a time of white bread wholesomeness.

YouTube has a ton of 'em for free- unfortunately, you're gonna have to scan through a few before finding one that has a pristine enough print to actually enjoy viewing... But well worth the effort!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Welcome To...

The Unites States of Monarchy!

Photo: © Stan Banos


I stay out of things to a degree people wouldn't believe... -DJ Trump 

Got that right (esp. the last part)!

Sunday, February 9, 2020

It's Not About Feeling Good...


Photo: © Stan Banos

Or making yourself look good- it's about doing what works best! Because.... ABOVE! 

Planting a Trillion trees sure sounds like a damn good idea, and for the most part, probably is... Although the money could be better spent- only that would involve real effort, real work, and real commitment! But, hey...

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Muddying The View


Contemplating Big Muddy, and the family dynamic.         Photo: © Stan Banos

Actually... Big Muddy is the proper appellation for the Missouri River, not the Mississippi (ie- Ol' Man River) above. But here at the delta in New Orleans, looks like you couldn't go wrong with either.

Pretty much forgot about this image taken last summer, somehow discarded it as an almost- now, I'm downright captivated by the varying body language, individual gestures and unique juxtaposition of all concerned as they lose themselves in the moment. Safeguarding memories and experiences has always been one of the most primary of motives for the very existence of photography. Although I'm forever looking for a photo, I'm not always photographing- in fact, I rarely do. Even when I travel, I'm not going to photograph the Eiffel Tower just because it's the Eiffel Tower- there's already a gazillion postcards and Google photos of it already, I'm gonna experience its majesty live and in person. Now, should something unusual happen in front of, beside, or... when I turn around and look in the opposite direction- Snap! Otherwise...

One particular study concluded that people remember that which they photographed less than that which they didn't. But there's an inherent flaw to said study, the subjects were taking pictures basically to record and document details of the objects which they were assigned to observe. They weren't creating photographs, they were recording details for subsequent description/classification. Two very different purposes, two very different results. When you're simply documenting, you're free to dismiss once in the can. When you're photographing for something intrinsic you hold near and dear, well, there's a hella lot of thought going into the taking of that photograph (consciously, or not) and it's subsequent examination/evaluation. And often despite all the preparation in the world, you still ain't sure of what you got, until you look and contemplate afterwards- and maybe, as above... look and contemplate some more.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Beautiful...


Pelosi shows world what she thought of Dotard's speech as she avidly tears into it... Go Girl!!!

PS- And as Ms. Pelosi was ripping up Trump's speech, Trump's legal team was in court trying to get rid of the "preexisting condition" clause- as Trump vowed in front of the entire nation to never touch it!

PPS- And a hearty CONGRATS! to that brave American Patriot, Rush Limbaugh, who was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, yes, that brave American HERO who sent out his brown skinned maid to cop his Oxy when he was jonesin' for a fix!

And DOLLARS TO DONUTS- you just know he'll go after our Social Security if he gets another 4!!!

Friday, January 31, 2020

Impeachment Lite!

Well, they haven't officially voted yet, but just like any WWE wrestling match- The-Fix-Is-In! This whole Impeachment Lite debacle is very reminiscent of the Investigation Lite concocted on behalf of Brett Kavanaugh by the FBI (on order from on high)...

I remember listening intently to a former FBI agent describing in detail how thorough a job an FBI investigation would be, including: intense interviews and background checks of any and everyone even remotely associated with the case wherever they were, paper dating analysis, driving Dr. Christine Blasey Ford around until she found and identified the house where the attempted rape occurred, etc, etc, etc. Oh, that guy is so cooked, I thought! And, of course, thought wrong...

No such investigation occurred- it was a sham, a Whitewash, a set up... The Fix Was In.

And no different here. Nixon couldn't dream this, Cheney couldn't manipulate it- But Cult Trump has; this long time, international criminal from century past has succeeded in undermining our country, our democracy, our very republic. And he has done so by dividing us with an unrelenting onslaught of lies, vitriol and propaganda that would have made any Soviet ministry official more than a little proud.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Chunky!

Took a glance at EXIF data the other day when I saw- "Planar Configuration- Chunky." Cool! Seems it's something to do with how pixels are stored, either separately by color, or all together. Chunky is the latter. Are you... Chunky?

Thoroughly useless info directly signaling the need for time better spent on mind expanding drugs...

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

When It Comes To HYPOCRISY

Always give credit where credit is due- when it comes to out and out, in your face H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-S-Y Writ Large, Republicans are unequivocally irreproachable both in quantity and quality! Just when you think they've broken every last remaining barrier imaginable before descending into the utmost nadir of despicability... they rise, regroup, and plunge ever deeper into depths of unforeseen and shameless delight!

Thus we have none other than Ken Starr, asking how we've arrived at our current Impeachment Madness in these Semi-United States- yes, the very star so critical in the impeachment of a former POTUS over a workaday BJ... a crime so incredibly heinous that it even irked private citizen Donald J. Trump to the extent that he called him out as both... "a lunatic" and "freak."

Monday, January 27, 2020

Eggleston, W.

Many of you have probably already seen this, but in case you haven't... it's actually quite better than I thought it'd be, and does go into the the behind the scenes history of both man and art. Eggleston, of course, was one of a very small handful of people who first popularized color photography in the photo art world. And his "democratic" style of photographing the banal and mundane were met both with massive fanfare, and criticism. I remember someone once described Reggae as "inside out Rock and Roll," and that's the visual equivalent of how Eggleston's work appeared to me at that time, way back Seventies' way- familiar, but different, in an inexplicably original way. Color photography had been around for decades, only... not like this!

Up until Eggleston, most color photography was just B&W with color added, or photos where the color really overpowered everything else (eg- abstractions). Eggleston somehow managed some kind of mystical, magical balance between content, composition and color that made his particular vision sing a different song!

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Finally!!!

Not that it's going to do a damn lick of good with the scared shitless Yes Men Republican Senate- but finally, F-I-N-A-L-L-Y!!! a DEM who put his heart and soul into a methodical, yet impassioned, step by step take down of a soulless, duplicitous demagogue.

Senate Television via Getty Images

 Thank you, Congressman Schiff! 

Oh- and speaking of... C-L-A-S-S...

Friday, January 24, 2020

Still True Today...

Elliott Erwitt-  "I don't believe that photography can change the world, 
but it can show the world changing."

Yup, as most clearly evidenced... Here!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

"Things Happen."

Yup, they happen all the time... Good things, bad things, all kinda things! For instance: when ya don't pay the rent, steal a few items from the grocery or jewelry store, lie to the FBI, kidnap a jury member at your trial-  "things happen!" End of day, ya go home, pop a few beers with those offended, and... it's all good! I'm sure that's the way it works where you live too! No worries...

If the Dems ever gain control again- that's all that should come outta their mouths unto the ears of disapproving Repubs for at least a good year. It's a resounding echo that should cut both ways....

Monday, January 20, 2020

It's Official- THE Guy To Vote For In 2020


Women's March 2020*       Photo: © Stan Banos

In a more "normal" election year, the banner above would just be a nice har-har, nonsensical, throw away joke. Now, it's every bit as much the urgent, tre serious, no nonsense plea for a return to some measure of sanity and normalcy in the US body politic.

Every POTUS is an ego supreme, but even Nixon had a realization of his own limitations. Trump-does-not. I always thought mid America would recognize and call out a Big City Con Man- especially one from NYC. I thought wrong. Give props where due- Donald J. Trump is The Greatest Showman, THE Greatest Con Man of the last half century- bar none. Unfortunately, he is also very much: a criminal, habitual liar, racist, traitor and seriously mentally deranged...

He's been involved with both The Mafia and The Russian Mob since the '70s- why the press did not expound, elaborate and emphasize these life long associations when he became the Republican standard bearer is beyond me. He lied about where his father was born (his grandfather fled German conscription), lied about his bones spurs, even lied about how many floors in Trump Tower- not to mention how Hillary got "millions of votes from illegals" (while insisting he won the popular vote). But when he lied about how he had more people at his inauguration than Obama, then had his henchmen repeat the blatantly disproven inanity ad infintum, that's when the grown ups in the federal government of the US of A should have come to a Full STOP and pressed for a reset. Right there and then was all the warning needed- in Big Red Letters, Sirens Blaring... We are in the hands of an overgrown child with nearly unlimited power, a seriously deranged Fuck Up who clearly Does-Not-Give-A-Flying-Fuck about anyone or anything other than himself, his fame and his ridiculously fragile ego... of which the most cursory glance of his personal history would have clearly revealed for any given year! The man lies even when he doesn't have to- and his hypocrisy... limitless!

The only reason we haven't had a war (yet), is because that would mean more work for The Donald, a war would seriously cut into his much cherished TV "Executive Time." But if he is (s)elected for yet another four years, the insanity thus far experienced is but a prelude- meanwhile, an entire continent burns out of control as our Mighty 5X Deferment Hero urges his cult followers to burn more coal and punch out any who oppose his dictates...

* More in post below...

Women's March 2020


Problems: Local and National                  Photo: © Stan Banos

This Women's March was considerably smaller throughout the country, although their sentiment was very much the same: repeal and replace the Man Child Maniac currently in The White House (when he takes time off from his golf course). The one in San Francisco was about a quarter the original's size (which was Truly HUGE indeed), still large enough to constitute several blocks marching down Market St. Present were a host of supporters for this year's Democratic presidential candidates- who was in the lead? See post above...

Parade's End        Photo: © Stan Banos

Thursday, January 16, 2020

The (Not So) Golden Hour, ie- Three Shades Of Gray

 
Photo #1*        Photo: © Stan Banos

There are countless posts and articles on the glories of shooting during... The Golden Hour. Magical, mystical, exhilarating, transformative- just some of the superlatives used to describe the quality of light that photographers all crave to shoot in. And I most certainly ain't here to deny it- I have seen rather ordinarily, even drab vistas and landscapes literally transformed into surreal scenarios of other worldly beauty and wonder at said time. The ability of The Golden Hour to heighten and saturate hues and colors is not to be belittled. However... but... that said...

I haven't seen all that much written on how B+W responds to all this glory and wonder- it's usually considered from the viewpoint of color photography. And while you can no doubt get some incredible images with long, dramatic shadows using B+W, those beautifully golden hues and saturated colors that are intensified during the golden hour, often don't translate so successfully into monochrome. Instead of the long, exquisite and extended tonal values that you may well anticipate, you can end up with frustratingly shortened, truncated shades of black and white that will well leave you scratching your much disappointed head. Instead of infinite shades of enhanced grays layered between silken whites and deep rich blacks, you can end up with what may very well look like three muddy, lumpy shades of gray. You can seek out the technical reasons elsewhere, I'm just interested in the results.

Photo #2*        Photo: © Stan Banos

It shook me the first couple of times it occurred, I thought the mystical, magical properties of Golden Goodness would also somehow transition into and illuminate the more somber world of B+W! And then... I finally realized the reality of the situation. If you're shooting B+W in The Golden Hour- concentrate on those long, dramatic shadows. That's where you'll get your drama. You may even be able to make those shortened tonal values somehow work in your favor, but you're gonna have to anticipate, experiment and devise your own formula for success according to your shooting style and subject matter- but then,  Black and White was always about learning to work with less...

*Photo #1- I shot, reshot and reshot some more, and always with the same result... a massive expanse of uninspiring grey. 
                 Shot it once in color... BOOM!

*Photo #2- Even with the long ass shadow, if it wasn't for that dramatically patterned sky... another flat blob of two tone grey.

PS- Blogger flattens images even moreso...

Monday, January 13, 2020

First Of The Year

At the beginning of every new year, I always get a bit antsy as to when I'll take my first keeper of the year. What if I've lost it; what if that's all she wrote? It's irrational (perhaps), still- always in the back of mind.

This year it came early, and quite unexpectedly- and even then, wasn't quite sure... On my way home the first Friday of the year from the routine beers with my childhood friend, I saw a sight that stopped me in my tracks: the man before you having a special, self made moment- a ritual, a ceremony upon sacred ground the likes and meaning of which we will never be privy to. Of course, most would have simply dismissed and avoided him as yet another crazy, so it goes in  the streets of SOMA.

     Photo: © Stan Banos

I made peace I resigned to taking photos of the homeless whenever I've deemed... 'necessary' for lack of any other meaningful explanation or excuse. And I don't mean to make light of any of it; I've thought, written, rethought and rewritten about this often, and at the end of the day, I guess it's better to have some kind of halfway respectful documentation of anyone and everyone in whatever socio-economic spectrum, cause Lawd only knows- there but for the grace of god...

Anyway's, it's night time (too dark), I got three pints on an empty stomach (it's the alcohol talking- there's nothing there), I might anger the hell outta him or anyone else who notices (definitely not good)- keep walking, stay safe, and get something to eat.

So I yank out the GR, crank up the ISO and, yes, could it be... Am I actually gonna use its built in flash for the first time ever!? And it's done. I go home and... pretty much what I expected- you were drunk, Stan. You have to play Where's Waldo just to find the subject- and when ya do, so what. Shoulda kept walking, now get some sleep.

Next morning I take another peek just to lambaste it in a manner most sober, and... I kinda like it. Composition's neat, sharp enough at 3200, the lighting and color eerily illuminating and minimalist- I'm even liking the fact that you do have to make the effort to look for the subject, even though he is front right and center. And what the hell is going on there anyway? A certain aura of mystery, not my usual thing. All of a sudden, I definitely do like it- a lot! Still do. And you might well say, big shit, Stan- I don't see it and I ain't buying. And that's cool too...

Friday, January 10, 2020

Over A B-B-BILLION Animals Dead!

 
Photo: Supplied
 

This is pretty apocalyptic- and that's not hyperbole! As someone once (rather accurately) stated, "The difference between a Billion and a Million is about... a Billion." That's how badly a Billion dwarfs a mere million.* I could hardly believe it when I heard that something like a million animals had died in the Australian Hellfire- but a... BILLION!  GOD DANG!!!

More info and how you can help...

And, of course, this has nothing to do with climate change- which is a mere hoax. Seriously, aren't there laws which prevent and/or punish people from propagating lies (not to mention imposing policy) that imperil peoples' lives (and that of their children)!? The epic melting of continental glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica, the super storms that leveled Puerto Rico and the Bahamas, the mega drought and hellfire of Australia- these are just the first few baby steps of the worldwide climate rampage that will usher in a new world at century's end that most of us reading will be fortunate enough not to live through...

*One million seconds is eleven and a half days- one Billion seconds is 31 and a half years...

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Tolerized?




Tolerieted? I gotta tell ya, I just don't care, if these people don't wanna learn how to speak English- they can all go back where they came from... MAGA Baby!