Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Lyin' Piece Of... Photograph

 

Photo: © Stan Banos

Debated on whether I liked this photo or not, and although nothing gangbuster for sure, decided I do. Below were a few thoughts that came to mind...

1) Simple, yet handsome lighting with complementary blue, grey and brown earth tones, subtly monochromatic in effect!

2) Reminds me of large format color photographs made popular from the eighties to present day- 'cept shot with a palm sized camera, arms outstretched fully overhead to 'manually' straighten them verticals.

3) And... this banal image lies like all hell because of its very context:

I'm not going to get into the reasons, causes and consequences of homelessness in San Francisco, another conversation I've engaged many a time here. Suffice to say The Bay Area is beset with rampant inequality and homelessness, and San Francisco's downtown streets are rife with the absolute filth and squalor of those both mentally ill and addicted.

The photo above however almost makes it appear as if someone rather casually chose a scenic urban setting, as opposed to a rural one to spend the day... 'camping,' like kid's in their backyard- an idyllic scenario nestled within a clean, metropolitan canyon. Probably good eats just a block or two away, no doubt- maybe with a cool, clear brook beside it! 

The reality, of course, is much different- someone desperately avoiding the stench and insanity of the more crowded street encampments, trying to maintain whatever control of their lives they may have left for one more evening...

Friday, April 30, 2021

Whoa!

Seeing a UFO flying about would pretty much freak me the F out- but... digging one up?

Sure... can you prove it? 'Course not! Bob Lazar was a physicist who worked at S4- the super secret facility, adjacent to not so secret anymore Area 51, where they keep the... really-good-stuff. When employees at Area 51 say they don't know nothing about no alien shit- they ain't lyin'! Ol' Bob was fired for not following security protocol, and they've made his existence a living hell since: threats on his life, regular raids on his home, erasure of his public records to make him out a liar (records since discovered by journalist George Knapp, which sync with everything Lazar has claimed about himself).

How 'bout one 4X the size of an aircraft carrier (also being tracked on ground radar)- right next to ya... in a 747? Remember this one on network news back in the eighties! The pilot was a well respected aviator in Japan.

 

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Worth Remembering...

I'll be incommunicado for next coupla weeks while I attend to some family matters. I've scheduled a few posts to go up in the interim, so do check in, but regular blogging will be suspended probably till early May. In the meantime...


Keep in mind that the true measure of an individual is how he treats a person who can do him absolutely no good.  -Ann Landers

HELP ME!!!

 I'm Transmitting...

Monday, April 26, 2021

Nomadland

Nomadland was one of the most depressing films I have ever witnessed- Full Stop. It is also a can't miss flick about the experience called life in all its: beauty, loneliness, and daily, near insurmountable struggles. Contemporary America is the setting; Frances McDormand is your guide.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

One Question...

What of the three cops who aided and abetted The Murder of George Floyd? Not trying to be cute here, but as long as cops think they're not all responsible... They're-Not-all-responsible!

"I Thought I Was Dying"

 Oh, this is way, way, waaay... too precious:

Why weren’t we shut down for COVID one-through-18?"

Deep- very deep (followed by)...

I have had flu symptoms for the last 10 days and I thought I was dying.


What else in your v-a-s-t spectrum of Uber Right Wing, Wango Tango political, conspiratorial and 'scientific' knowledge would you wish to edify us with... Mr. Nugent? Speak up!

Monday, April 19, 2021

Bill Dane

 

Photo: ©Bill Dane

Bill Dane's work has inspired me for decades, although his name, for whatever reason, just didn't register. His B&W aesthetic from the seventies remains as astute and formidable as ever, actually it continues to eclipse and surpass much of what is done... to this day. Can't say I care much for his color work, at all- but when you got a B&W legacy like that, I still take a knee.

 

Photo: ©Bill Dane


Saturday, April 17, 2021

"The LEAST Compelling Videos"

Take that to the bank! I don't know who makes the ultimate decision(s) on this subject in our multi-layered strata of government(s), but somewhere down the line the decision has finally been made for a slow and gradual disclosure process. Just as important a question- why have they finally decided to do this... now? You don't have the government 'leak,' release, and confirm, such deeply guarded information without major policy change.

And yeah, officialdom will... eventually treat us to at least some of the up close and detailed videos that will provide incontrovertible evidence not of our ordinary, everyday reality. The story line they will then offer is, in part, being written (and edited) on how we the public currently react to the trail of cookie crumbs they are now ever so gingerly releasing... because many of us would just like to continue:

 "...being happy in our ignorance."

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Fujifilm 18mm f1.4


Been waiting for a Fuji 18mm update for years, though I always knew, I probably wouldn't get it because most likely it would be: too big, too heavy and too expensive. The current 18mm f2 Fujinon (cute little pancake that it is) is way mediocre- sharp in center, mush in the corners and chromatic aberration up the wazoo. How it's costs $600 New just adds to the insanity.
Sometimes it gets outta the way despite itself and makes the shot, other times... I'd happily pay $750 for a new and improved f2 at twice the size, instead of this bloated, 3X the size and weight 1.4.

I told myself if the f1.4 came in at a 58mm filter size- I was in; at 62mm, it just crosses my size threshold (no matter how many times they tell us how small and light it is), though make no doubt- I still lust for its image quality. If I were to do a particular long term project where I'd really need a 28mm equivalent, I'd pull the trigger. Meanwhile, I'll just make do with the roll the dice pancake, and fortunately... I also have a very high quality 18mm lens in my everyday 2.8 Ricoh GR.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Without Comment...

 

VICE Fucks Up!

As I've said on more than one occasion, the portraits taken in The Killing Fields of Cambodia are some of the most powerful in the history of photography. Full Stop. The fact that they also succeed as portraits that can be labeled "art" is an irony writ large that will, at best, help succeed in keeping those pictured, and the reign of evil that extinguished their lives, forever in the minds of public discourse worldwide for generations to come.

At first, I thought the technician in question, who colorized and then (Why, Lord?) further manipulated and defaced the portraits by pasting smiles upon their faces, was some pathetically out of touch 'do gooder' (for lack of a better term) operating under the very dubious assumption that he wanted humanity to remember these people as they existed in happier, more humane times. Thoroughly misguided, but... at least, (somewhat) plausible. Then we learn that the Vice interviewer(s) had no idea that the original portraits were, in fact, unsmiling and replete with terror. And then, the ultimate perverter of history goes on to reveal his true colors by actually discussing and analyzing his theory as to why... they were smiling when photographed! Beyond excusable, beyond despicable.

This was followed by the most shallow of mea culpas from VICE:

The story did not meet the editorial standards of VICE and has been removed. We regret the error and will investigate how this failure of the editorial process occurred.

Sounds like they got someone's name or date of birth wrong. No apologies to descendants, no official condemnation of the manipulator's lies and deception, no reference to the vile reality behind the abhorrent alterations...

Seriously, VICE- What The Fuck! 

Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Photographer

 

This simple snapshot was a bitch (don't like using that word, how 'bout... bastard?) to edit. And I usually hate portraits 
    with smiling subjects, but... Viva La Excepsion!        Photo: © Stan Banos


The winter months have come and go, usually the time I work on my B&W negs. This winter season I had planned to start working on my B&W panoramic negs, most of which are not damaged- unlike the majority of my B&W archive (god, it still hurts like hell just saying that). But I didn't work on a single one. 

Sheer laziness? Not really. I simply noticed that a good many of my color images were not up to par. Everything from something as basic as misjudging contrast to obvious color shifts, an inconsistent array of both heavy handed and insufficient editing. And every time, I was like...why hadn't I noticed that before? Pretty much what one would expect from someone with very limited color experience and even less expertise with editing software. 

A handful needing help popped up immediately, and the more one looked, the more others became apparent... So I quickly found myself immersed in doing the necessary, cosmetic nips and tucks on my recent color archive (commenced in 2016); some, pretty simple fixes, a choice handful requiring almost as much time as some of my B&W wounded (almost). 

And throughout that time I found myself becoming more attuned and familiar with this still new (to me) medium of color and its distinct myriad of diverse subtleties and nuances- a medium I'm still having a lot of fun with and will probably spend the remainder of my years exploring. 

PS- The photo above looks considerably better than it did before, and maybe every bit as bad when I give another look some years hence...

Friday, April 9, 2021

Papa H

I know nothing of writers or writing. While interesting to learn that he achieved international, rock star status for his literary exploits, I'm definitely not a big fan of Hemingway the man after watching his 6 hour PBS bio. For someone who considered himself so enlightened of the human condition, he was very much the average racist/misogynist of his day who used as many people and killed as many animals as he could during his lifetime. Yet another artist whose work could achieve genius, but whose dominating personality never wandered far from loathsome.

I think his son pretty much nailed it when he referred to the oft mistaken notion concerning his supposed love of his adopted, island homeland and its warm and welcoming populace, "I don't think he ever gave a damn about the Cuban people."

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

And So It Goes...

 

Photo: © Stan Banos

Don't know how this year's gonna work itself out (photographically or any other way). Things are still not gonna be back to full... normal, far as commerce, travel, socialization, picture taking ops- that'll come the next. And I'm crazy for it like anyone else. Definitely got one good European trip left in me, and when it happens (the first with a color camera), wanna experience it without the current restrictions and limitations- though dying to experience something other than the shit stained streets of San Francisco right now.

Anyway, thought I was pretty much through with Covid related photos when I chanced upon this scene, subtle, yet all encompassing in what this pandemic has imposed upon us all- the personal restriction, loss of social freedom, and prolonged, overall sense of metastasizing ennui. And it's all there in this long neglected corporate landscape of weed laden lawns, shuttered offices and a warning sign every bit as worn as its slogan.

PS- And as soon as we're able to fraternize freely, I'm gonna hit each and every dive bar (outside of work) I come upon on any given day at any given time, not necessarily to get drunk mind ya- but just because one can!

Monday, April 5, 2021

Sunday, April 4, 2021

The True... Q

 Yes, yes and... YES! The Q Conundrum: exposed, outed, obliterated- BRILLIANT!!!
(starting at 1:45)

Saturday, April 3, 2021