Monday, November 19, 2018

And Speaking Of Goddamn Fuckin' IDIOTS...



Behold, a man so overwrought and consumed with empathy and emotion that he actually forgets the name of the town he came to visit, the name of the town he was just at not five minutes prior, the name of a town that was wiped clean from his thoughts faster than the very fire that consumed it...

Good Thing Climate Change Is... A "Hoax"

Photo: NASA
We've had our days of smoke in SF before, to be sure- but never this severe or prolonged in my years here. Ten days going on... and they say the the Camp Fire causing it won't be out till the end of... the month!

In the meantime, I've come down with a nasty cold and sore throat while becoming privy to the very latest in fashion concerning filter masks: round ones, square ones, pointed ones, bulbous ones, flat ones, designer ones (in leopard print no less)- even a futuristic looking metal device that only covered the nostrils. Somewhat post-apocalyptic when a quarter of the population in town go about their business wearing masks.

Kind of reminds me of the overall greyishness I encountered in Moscow, although the air here now is No Joke- no cigars for a while. And here I am whining, while those 144mi North have lost life and home...

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Zen While It Lasts

Now, I'm not the type to incite or promote violence...

I have this little fantasy where I buy a Leica Q  (probably the sleekest, coolest, best looking digital camera made thus far). Light (actually, no, I held one- looks light, but it's a veritable brick in weight and feel) and portable, it's all I could ever need and use as I take it everywhere shooting only Leica worthy photos for the remainder of my life...

Actually, I'd be quite happy using one of those fellows, but...  I do need a 20mm~ when shooting events. And as far as spending $4,000+, well, that certainly ain't gonna happen. Fact is, I'm pretty happy with my GR and X-T1 (mated with a 28mm~, the latter looks pretty damn cool itself- even if the one on the GR is sharper), and I may upgrade in a few years, or not. Sure, the GR has always acted up a bit on the rare occasion (probably why I got it so damn cheap "as new" to begin with), and the the X-T1 does miss focus now and then, but truth is, I just don't shoot that much to warrant any immediate upgrade. And technically, I can't complain about 16in medium format quality prints from instruments that small and light, and (relatively) cheap!

After forty years of B&W... I'm quite happy with color, no regrets whatsoever. Limited as my shooting still is, it's way more than before with my everyday GR and the option to go Square, not to mention, spending way less time in post- going back to actively shooting B+W film (still got quite the backlog) is nowhere on the radar, least not anytime soon. I'll always have fond memories and much respect, but truth is: it was much more labor intensive, and ultimately, more limiting creatively...

But, If you're gonna punch anyone...   Photos: © Stan Banos

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Legacies...

Photo: © Vivian Maier

Waiting to see the new Buster Keaton doc, I chanced upon Vivian Maier: The Color Work at a local book store, expecting to see the usual hodgepodge collection capitalizing on a name. Boy, did I ever get that wrong. If anything, this book proves Maier's outright expanse of photographic genius- she was not only a superbly accomplished B&W photographer, she also had the refined chops and natural instinct to understand and successfully navigate the world of color whenever she so chose! These are not the results of occasional, haphazard experiments, they are proof positive of a firm grasp and mastery of the medium(s): square, monochromatic, or... otherwise. Those who'd continue to pooh-pooh this woman as some kind of idiot savant, second rate artist, only reveal the limits and inadequacies of their own prejudice.


Photography is the easiest art, which perhaps makes it the hardest. - Lisette Model.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

A Touch Of Class...

 
Photo: © Stan Banos

Tinted windows- gotta admit, they always add that certain veneer of... class- do they not? Anyway, we had a record number of car break ins last year (most committed by organized "crews-" who knew?)- always thought they were just random crimes of convenience, but that really doesn't attest to the numbers, does it? Shattered car windows are just another common San Francisco sidewalk obstruction to avoid along with the: vomit, discarded needles and piles of human shit that abound. Step lively!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Garry Winogrand: All Things Are Photographable

The one, the only, Gary Winogrand (with the picture sent from God).

I had pretty much given up on ever catching this, started to think I just dreamt it up- so I did quite the double take when I rechecked the week's meager movie offerings just before I was about to call it a wash. And there it was...

I'm old enough to have caught the master doing his little dance on 57st and 5th on a coupla occasions, methodically moving in and out of humanity's flow. And I've always found it a joy to view his photographs, masterful combinations of humor, subtlety and directness that they are. He brought the (street) game up a whole 'nother level- both in terms of quality and quantity. I had thought him rather coy and flippant when discussing photography, in retrospect, he strikes me as disarmingly honest, with a definitely unusual directness...

As for the film itself... can't say it was a great doc, or that I learned anything particularly insightful. They talked about his personal life, Women Are Beautiful and the latter years of shooting "blind" and at a distance, amongst other things. Perhaps I already know as much as I need- he took some really incredible photos... lot's of 'em!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Why?

Photo: © Stan Banos

Love this photo, personally idiosyncratic as it may be. The most desperate of people spilling out their most intimate of feelings in the city's most overlooked and unseen nooks and crannies. This one written out in... toothpaste? Who was the person who wrote it, who betrayed them, and... why?

Monday, October 29, 2018

Wings of Desire Redux



Well, I've yet to see the Gary Winogrand doc anywhere, but did get to see an old friend this weekend- and it's looking fine! Wim Wenders Wings of Desire got a multi year 4k restoration that brings this B&W (and color) masterwork back to its pristine origin. Hadn't seen it in some time (even forgot that Peter Falk was in it) and it was amazing to see Wall Era Berlin come to life again (they're back in vogue, ya know). It held up quite well, but also had a good laugh at the stereotypical complaint of how European "art" movies are always inundated with serious looking people talking pretentiously to themselves. I suppose the younger me found it a welcomed relief from the usual American car crashes, now I find both a tad tedious- not to take anything from it...

One of the things I so love about the flick (in addition to just plain looking at it) is that it is a contemplation, a celebration of those things small and ordinary in life, those things so often overlooked that make everyday life so worth living, and experiencing- some of the same things that certain people with light capturing devices try to highlight and share...

Otherwise, it can just be a matter of:


Photo: © Stan Banos

Friday, October 26, 2018

Photo Eye Daily


Photo: ©John Meyers

I've said it before- if ya don't subscribe to Photo Eye Photo Book Daily- you're really missing out on discovering some really great photographers- and the occasional good deal! For instance, never heard of either Jon Meyers or Lars Tunbjork- both formidable photographers, and a Bill Burke book for... $20- I'm in! 

Photo: © Lars Tunbjork

Monday, October 22, 2018

Mark Peterson- Eugene Smith Grant


Photo: © Mark Peterson

Mark Peterson's news images are quite noteworthy to be sure, what I find particularly "noteworthy" however are how Trump supporters' comments mock both the images and the award itself as yet another "liberal" hoax and attack on their cherished beliefs and... "freedoms." 

Meanwhile, with all the backlash against anything even remotely... "intellectual," I'm waiting for our first official book burning- I'm somewhat surprised it hasn't happened yet... perhaps we have the internet to thank.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

It Just Never Stops... EVER!!!

Yeah, it's been going on for years, decades... longer than I've been alive. But then the frequency and frivolity really got outta hand until it's become almost (almost) "comical." White folk going completely outta their ever lovin' way to get in other people's (ie- those considerably darker) business for no real, rational, discernible reason. As if unjustified police shootings and racially biased voter suppression still isn't enough...

All 1- 2- 3- 4 of these racially biased latest examples happened within-a-period-of-a-week!

Yeah, Well...

Been saying it for years- Would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to have Elizabeth Warren President of these Semi-United States! But unless she figures out a way to effectively counter, and get past our current POTUS and his juvenile name calling- she will continue to get pummeled long before she even enters the ring, to the extent that he won't even need the Electoral College to save his orange spray tanned ass.

Welcome to Empire 2020 folks- A land, a time when science, facts, and common sense no longer matter, that small maniacal slice of time when Ignorance x Arrogance rule supreme and herald the inevitable economic, societal and environmental collapse of most of what we once knew. All told, it was an interesting ride at that...

Monday, October 15, 2018

Work Worth Remembering...

Photo: © Joel Sartore

Photography- the instrument, the technology, the very essence of how we best capture the heart and soul of the moments we deem most worth remembering in our lives. Many photographers like to think that at least some of our photographs will be worth reflecting upon long after our departure from this fleeting mortal coil. Joel Sartore needn't ponder the inherent value of his work, despite the fact that its very size and scope borders on insanity.

In a future condemned to environmental collapse, his work will testify to all that we have lost, and all that we have caused to lose; each and every photograph of The Photo Ark a testament to what we were given, and what we sacrificed to our own greed, shortsightedness and stupidity...

Thursday, October 11, 2018

AT THE FAIR!

Usually, I hate, Hate, HATE when someones mugs for the camera. But this guy brings a smile to my face every time. From the tip of his Super Hero mask and goggles (complete with nostril harness), to the wires that appear to run from small battery packs on either hip, right to the very base of his winky- and let's not forget those complementary matching doilies on either side! Not sure what the calligraphy signifies- but one BIG Thumbs Up!


HURRY! HURRY!! HURRY!!! That's right folks, years in the making; forget the rumors, threats and back door dealings- this is
 The Photo Event everyone's been waiting on...

OK, OK, so it's a goddang BLURB- how excited can one get? Yeah, it is, what it is. That said, I'm kinda thrilled to see just how well these guys stand up all assembled under the same roof! After repeated rejections over the years of trying to get any of 'em published, it's good to see that they most certainly... Represent! 

Granted, AT THE FAIR may not exactly be everyone's cup o' tea. But content matter aside, these images live up to the aesthetic considerations that go into any "good" or "serious" photograph- and humorous as some may well be (and I did tend to edit towards the lighter side), I think there's an obvious stretch of humanity that runs throughout the series. I'm neither Gay, nor into S&M- but if you can't step back and see just a wee bit of yourself in the continuing insanity that is the human race, you're either neck deep in denial or just not a very fun person to begin with...

Not sure what either of their super powers would be, but I'd definitely see the movie!  Photos: © Stan Banos

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Good Thing Global Warming Is... A Hoax!

Or Michael could have been, like, ya know... BIG

Giant fucking freak storm after freak storm- but Repubs won't dare utter the words "Climate Change" even as their constituents float by on their furniture. And this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. All the warning signs are going off big time all at once: ice caps melting at unprecedented levels, sea levels rising, oceans and atmosphere warming; aboriginal peoples all over the world, be they on ice, sand or jungle undergrowth all full well know it; we're diving head first, right smack into some serious world-wide catastrophic shit! And god help us all when it all hits the breaking point and we go into... free fall- cause Donny The "Self Made Billionaire" doesn't give a flying fucking shit cause he won't be around. Pretty fucking funny, huh?

Monday, October 8, 2018

Remember... The Future Is Fiber Optics?


We paid B-B-Billions for our fiber optic tech, it's in the ground (like right now), and it's lying pretty much dormant; even though it's the safest, fastest, most reliable and... cheapest way of transferring data for our telecommunications needs and devices. So why have we abandoned it in favor of tech which has already and yet to be proven carcinogenic tendencies?

Two weeks ago I didn't know what the hell 5G was, and just figured it the inevitable march of progress. One week later, I found out that at least some of what I had researched wasn't quite true- mainly cause the technology is so new and is just now in the process of being deployed (without the proper, needed testing)! Currently, my wife and I have started rallying the troops to fight a 5G transmitter which is slated to be located right outside our bedroom window, which will sautee us in high intensity microwave radiation 24/7. And I've already discovered that they hadn't notified anyone in our building about their intentions- a direct violation of the established legal protocol.

All the information you want to know (and more) about 5G is right here- and how to organize to defeat it in your neighborhood. Even more scientifically based info... Here!

Friday, October 5, 2018

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

So...

Halfway through the "Limited Investigation" (aka- The Blackout Sham), Kavanaugh or Ford have yet to be interrogated, the former has NOT been polygraphed, a whole host of witnesses have NOT been interviewed along with leads NOT followed, and turtle-man McConnell and Self-Made Billionaire Donald J. Trump certainly don't seem like they're breaking a sweat that "I fall asleep before I do anything stupid when drunk" Kavanaugh gets voted in at the end of the week. 
 
He lied about the emails, he lied about the yearbook, he lied about the "drinking games," lied about the drinking age, lied about "Blacking Out," lied about Ford's witnesses "refuting" all her allegations- and did so while soberly impersonating the nasty, vindictive drunk that he most certainly is. Why would anyone NOT believe him when he so vehemently denies an attempted rape allegation?

This is the man our POTUS and his Republican enablers have deemed...The Best of The BEST!!!

Monday, October 1, 2018

Dear BookWright...

 
Sorry guys- ya didn't make it, this cut.   Photo: © Stan Banos

I've begun putting together At The Fair- my photobook on the leather fairs in San Francisco. I'm happy to say that it's looking quite good! It's not that I ever doubted the photographs themselves, it's just that, well... after having them repeatedly rejected, over and over and over again- it was revelatory to see just how well they actually looked together! The book will be in two parts: eleven B&W photos followed by twenty one color. Yes, I think both mediums complement each other quite nicely; and why those particular numbers... why not? I could easily include more of each, or a more rounded number, or make it just color (of which I have more)- but this just seems to work nicely. 

Dealing with Blurb's bookmaking software called BookWright however has been a slightly different matter. Altogether, it's pretty damn decent... except that no matter what I've been able to do- I can't position each photograph in the exact same position on each page in a uniform manner! They're usually just a little bit... off! It hasn't seemed to matter all that much when I've gotten my previously made books in hand, but still- I don't think having a feature that can automatically lock equally sized images into the same position on successive pages is something so totally beyond today's digital realm. In fact, I would think it a necessity- it takes a helluva lot of needless time to try and center each and every one (they don't move about as seamlessly as one would hope using the margin rulers) on each and every page! 

So I sent an inquiry to Bookwright asking if I had missed something, done something wrong. No answer. So I sent another. No answer. So I was just about to send my congratulatory follow up below, when something called common sense whispered... not to, at least not until I finished, and had a copy or two. Cause something tells me, with my luck, that's the one they'd actually read, and actually respond to...

Dear BookWright,

Thank you for totally ignoring both of my inquiries regarding your book making software. With said track record, I know you won't mind my genuine non-gratitude in wishing you all to go FUCK URSELVES repeatedly, and since you'll no doubt ignore this as well (if anyone even takes the time to actually read any of these, so that they can, in fact, proceed to ignore them)... FUCK U again for good measure. 

Sincerely,
Stan Banos

Friday, September 28, 2018

Spineless Bystanders Give Nasty Drunk A Pass

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford gave very credible, very believable testimony in the AM- by the PM, it was all but thrown aside and buried. And once again- spineless, feckless Dems allowed it all to happen!

The very same afternoon after an expert witness stated she was unequivocally, 100% certain of who had attempted to rape her (while laughing in the process)- that very same man at first played the wronged victim card with waterworks challenging Florence herself, only to transform moments later into the nasty, vindictive drunk he no doubt relishes. Lindsey Graham then amplified the hype into a steroid fueled torrent of self righteous indignation not seen since Christ vs. the money lenders!

All the Dems had to do was follow Dick Durbin's lead and hammer home the one question, the only question that mattered- why is he and every Republican present Absolutely Terrified of an FBI investigation? Instead, they effortlessly squandered their opportunities asking him about... yearbooks and drinking games.

Ironically, Orrin Hatch had it right when he called this an even bigger circus than The Clarence Thomas Affair of '91- back then, the sexual predator granted Supreme Court membership was accused "only" of sexual harassment. This man was positively identified as an all out physical predator, and after all of today's faces, taunts, and outbursts (emotional and conspiratorial)... there is considerable doubt that he has the judicial temperament for any court, let alone this country's highest, and that he is quite adamant in suppressing any relevant testimony and investigation. You needn't be a law student to ask why...