Monday, June 5, 2023

RAW Vs...

 Think the difference between RAW and the final edited image is night and day? Then go to 9:00...

Friday, June 2, 2023

Think Quick...

Photo: © Stan Banos

Catholicism has this particularly peculiar practice called "confession" where one proclaims your sins to a priest in a darkened booth, and he, representing The Almighty himself, then absolves you of said sins- until you show up the next time with a brand new batch of more, worse or same. I was standing in line waiting to go into the confessional once, maybe around fifth grade, desperately trying to figure out exactly what to proclaim I was guilty of. I finally, somewhat hesitantly, copped to having impure thoughts,* even though I wasn't quite sure exactly what the hell that entailed, just thought it sounded all encompassing enough, yet somehow, vaguely specific enough, so that the priest would accept it at face value without questioning further- questions concerning the details of which I would have absolutely no idea of... Fortunately, it worked, I think we both fully realized we were in a no win situation which could only get tragically, or at best comically worse should one enquire further. 

As a matter of protocol, priests are not allowed to divulge our transgressions to the authorities, not even if you're a serial killer, not even if you're a fellow priest buggering little boys. Wonder what the penance is for those two "Mortal" Sins? Gotta be a helluva lot more than the coupla Hail Mary's and Our Father's that my "Venial" Sins usually garnered. 

*DISCLAIMER: I do not by any means mean to imply that I originated that oft used pre/pubescent phrase, it was, as I now recall, the most ubiquitous of go to avoidance terms.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

An Archaeology of Silence

I've been lucky to have seen some pretty good art in my day, perhaps because I've survived and persisted through seeing so much of the shit that passes for it. Much of it has been in the realm of photography, the one medium I have a passing acquaintance with. But I like to think that I can enjoy and sometimes even appreciate quality in any form, be it a vintage watch, a good cigar, a Renaissance painting.

On Memeorial Day Weekend, I visited Kehinde Wiley's tour de force at the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco. The highly detailed and decorative paintings, along with the reclining sculptures were impressive enough, but they neither grabbed at my soul nor any other part of me (others, maybe most, would very rightfully disagree). A major let down considering the hype concerning the amount of emotion that this exhibit was said to induce in all that saw it. Yes, incredible technique, but... 

And then I came upon the sculpture of the same name- two stories in height, in its own darkened and discreetly lit chamber, reminiscent of entering some sacred Roman temple of yore. And there I stood- transfixed, mouth agape, as if bludgeoned by a ball bat upon gazing upward. I don't think I've ever experienced such a gut punch from a work of art my entire life; the size, grandeur, majesty- people reverently stood in silence, walked slowly around it, strangely seeming to adhere to the outer walls that contain it, as if keeping their distance from whatever power it exuded to all who dared view and present themselves before it! 

The horse itself is classically magnificent, but what transforms the whole piece unto the realm of art mythology and personal resonance is the body of the black male atop it, on its back, legs splayed to one side, a solitary hand drooping down the other. Both stunning and heart wrenching, something I am not likely to forget ever- no photograph could even suggest the in person experience, none included...

Sunday, May 28, 2023

25 Seconds...

I tend to be judgmental, sometimes to the point of being prejudicial, not so much in a raced based manner, more in the way of stereotyping people. Everyone does it, it's part of sizing people up, it saves both time and kinda lures you into a false sense of confidence- you are a man of the world who knows how it works and are a good judge of character and your fellow man! 

Unfortunately, I probably (undoubtedly) get it more often wrong than right, something I have to constantly remind myself- particularly because I-so-hate when people pigeon hole me. So I really kinda love when I get it so wrong and people surprise the shit outta me- in a positive way! Like this guy, or...

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Carl in Perkins! Can't get over the look, sound and feel of this video in all its B&W wonder! Half crazy man, half steam punk...

Bare bones minimum/Maximum impact; wonder if it ever played MTV?

Sunday, May 21, 2023

The Ever Changing Construct

Recently I wrote a post about the ridiculous insanity of a "Mexican American Neo-Nazi," the writing of that very term a sheer exercise in lunacy. That said, some people to this day refuse to believe just how malleable the construct of race actually is, to them it's as clear as uhhh... black & white- despite the numerous examples throughout history proving otherwise. 

This video briefly traces the history of Italian American immigrants in the United States particularly down South, where they were basically seen and treated as another version of N-word until they were gradually redeemed and upgraded to official White status when it served a purpose. It also neglects to mention how the arrival or Puerto Ricans (my people) in the North helped boost that White privilege upon Italian Americans, just as Italians helped solidify the Irish (previously regarded as non White apes) unto their honorary White status. It always helps to have a new fall guy (traditionally just a shade darker) to hasten the ascension of the previous group of racial downtroddens. Now there are certain factions of the KKK that actually accept Italian Americans into their fold (even Ron DeSantis could join)! How do you spell "progress?" 

And so we get to the present day where even light skinned Cuban Americans who speak without accent can be effectively perceived as "White" in these United States. And the Carribean to this day remains a hotbed of racial hierarchy based on skin color and secondary 'racial' attributes. 'White' Cubans predominate the expat contingent who fled Cuba under Castro to Florida; poor, dark(er) skinned Cubans predominate those who remained on the island. Puerto Rico, the island I'm most familiar with, also maintains its colonial heritage: skin color, hair texture and other secondary 'racial' characteristics can easily come into play when considering one's social status, deliberately or unconsciously. And then there is the case of the Dominican Republic, where the majority of peoples African heritage is clearly on display; and nowhere is it clearly more in denial- because everyone knows that anyone "Black" is obviously located on the other side of that island's border in a place called... Haiti! Hey, someone's gotta hold up the bottom line if we're gonna keep this whole system up and running. 

BTW- Amazingly, it's still a very popular notion to hold up Haiti as proof positive as to how a Black run enterprise can only produce a "shit hole country" (to use official Trumpian terminology). Unfortunately, none who believe that have even the slightest, most tenuous knowledge of how Western countries (incl our own) have throughout the centuries purposely gone out of their way to repeatedly and perniciously punish Haiti into the economic, social and worldwide pariah that it remains simply because they (a colony of Black slave labor) had the audacity and ingenuity to defeat a major colonial power... 

Saturday, May 20, 2023

"Mark Your Calendars"

Submitted w/o comment- except to say that Fatman Motherfucker is going down! Here in Atlanta starting in late July/early August, in DC over the purloined documents (and quite likely Jan. 6), and even in the appetizer in NYC. No matter- Fatman Motherfucker is finally... F-I-N-A-L-L-Y going down!

Monday, May 15, 2023

Two For The Road

Yeah, the video's title quote is one very much, well worth remembering. But the one that really got me was, "I want my picture to be more important than being there." That's what separates a vernacular snapshot from a work of art. If you can do that... well, there ain't much more you can possibly do, is there?

Friday, May 12, 2023

Nuclear Redux

Well, someone seems pretty damn high on reviving an old flame. And I really can't deny a whole lotta of what he says, problem is (actually, problems are) he can't deny a lotta what opponents still say, whether he cares to admit it or not. I'll let Mr. Stone explain and expound his own talking points on the strengths of reviving nuclear energy, all I can say: we still haven't figured a safe way to store the deadly, centuries lasting radioactive waste; this most recent Russian/Ukrainian debacle has highlighted just how vulnerable and potentially catastrophic traditional nuclear sites can be; talk of safer, new fangled micro plants present ever more attractive targets for terrorists from any political faction you choose; and even if you could eliminate all the aforementioned, humans always (as in always) make mistakes- a leak or fire in a fossil fuel plant can be a generational disaster at most, screwing up where nuclear fission is concerned can result in centuries of human and environmental catastrophe. And let's not forget just how prone to lying and obfuscation the nuclear industry worldwide has been throughout their history.

But... you needn't take my word (or Mr. Stone's for that matter)- if the Japanese and their obsessive attention to detail and commitment to procedure can't effectively avert a major freaking disaster that will literally continue to threaten their children's children (and well beyond), no group of humans anywhere possibly can!

Tuesday, May 9, 2023


Photo: © Stan Banos

We're movin' on up; think of it- Latin X children throughout our great land can finally dream of being Neo-Nazis! If that ain't progress in the US of A, I don't know what is- America really doesn't see race after all! Nick Fuentes never got the memo that he couldn't be a Neo-Nazi simply because he's Hispanic. I mean even a dark skinned "mulatto" the likes of Enrique Tarrio can be a full fledged White Supremacist now. And if that don't top all, Yeezus freakin' himself is a self professed Hitler acolyte! No way I could aspire to such lofty possibilities back in the day.

Been thinking on this for a while now and this whole Mauricio Garcia mass shooting really set things off, I mean, I had to go see what the guy looked like (upon writing this very paragraph) cause he most definitely comes off like some blonde haired, blue eyed Nazi in good standing- and, uhhh, surprise... let's just say he would have indubitably been on the receiving end of any OG SS officer's Luger. 

Seriously, I don't know what to make of this, then again if you can pervert the teachings of a Jesus Christ, an ideology of complete compassion and pacificism, into... "White Christian Nationalism" just to suit your needs- hey, sky's-the-limit! If you can do that in your own head, then believing yourself some form of mythological White super being no matter what shade of Brown, Black, or "non-White" you may be... piece o' cake! And shooting up a bunch of innocent men, women and children to justify it- easy fuckin' peasy.

Sunday, May 7, 2023

How The Mighty Have Fallen!

The arrival of Whole Foods is usually one of the last steps of gentrification's final victory statement in any given neighborhood, but (with well over 600 emergency calls in one year) they kinda jumped the gun this time around; like Mike Tyson at the end of his career when he no longer bothered to bob and weave, didn't do the work and just rushed straight in, high on his own hype, expecting to deliver the inevitable knock out blow- and instead, getting himself KO'ed in return.

Too damn smug and arrogant to even consider what they were surrounded by, like the scores of luxury apts (they were appealing to) rising above the swelling torrent of homelessness below, they just plopped themselves right smack into the swirling zombie morass of the mentally ill, drug ravaged heart of San Francisco, and surprise, surprise- even their gleaming aisles of high priced premium goods couldn't keep the riff-raff at bay!  

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

The Quiet Girl

No explosions, gun fights, super heroes or their obligatory super powers- no CGI, period! This is about as bare bones a movie and plot line as one can possibly get- and all the above, all the more worth celebrating in any gosh darn movie these days! Presented in near square format, it is beautifully shot- like as essay of color photographs shot with a twins lens reflex.

The Quiet Girl (did I mention it's entirely in Irish) is aptly named, she's just trying to survive without friends or any close attachments in an essentially loveless family. The father is a selfish, uncaring bastard and mom is barely treading water herself with the rest of the kids (and another on the way) et al...

She is sent to a cousin's farm for the summer, a couple (who we later find out) has recently lost their own young son. The wife is a loving sort who immediately takes to the child, her husband, hardened from the pain of loss is a tougher nut to crack, but slowly succumbs.

It's hard even for the audience to warm up to the girl, she is after all, "quiet," somewhat aloof (as can be expected), and not particularly cute in a way that would make one automatically warm up to her. But one eventually does take to her- it's just a kid desperately wanting to belong and be loved, by anyone. And she finally, finally, finds just that with her new relations, only to be returned at summer's end to her loveless home environment. The sense of doom is visceral, it's the kind of existence that quashes any hope, any dream, any will to continue- the kind of gut punch that breaks child or adult alike. It ends with her running after her temporary family after they reluctantly drop her off and depart for their farm, her father running after her to forcibly reclaim that which he wants no part of...

Sunday, April 30, 2023

100% Not Staged! Not AI, Not CGI...

Can finally add "Wildlife Photography" to my repertoire.         Photo: © Stan Banos

As we all know, many a recent wildlife photo competition entry and winner have been found to have been somehow staged. Let me emphatically assure all viewers that this candid, in the wild photo has not in any way been staged, altered or manipulated on site, in camera, or via any form of digital processing. Furthermore, it has not been lured or coerced into appearing through gastronomic, financial or sexual compensation (particular emphasis on the latter).

Wildlife is making a small comeback in some areas of our world, particularly as they encroach upon urban environments. There's hardly a park in San Francisco that doesn't sport a Beware Coyote sign; nevertheless, I was recently taken aback spotting this rarely seen specimen in my neighborhood park- the iconic "deer in the headlights" gaze probably the end result of my in camera flash, after which it quickly rebounded to its natural state.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Bro's Got Balls!

While not exactly war zones, young Mr. Caz purposely goes out of his way to visit and show us some fairly dangerous places in his videos- places even locals dare not tread, and ya gotta give him his just props for that.* So how does blonde, crazy man Kurt get away with it- over and over and over again in some of the most dangerous hoods throughout the known world? How does this energetic young gringo (which he humorously denies being at one point when called) go parading about, forever engaged in his never ending, open air narrative, camera ostentatiously poised aloft** as if shouting 'look at me, look at me' anywhere and everywhere he goes! 

At first, it seems downright miraculous, not to mention foolhardy- and it most definitely is that. But watch closely, and there is a formula to his success... Like a shark, he is forever in constant motion, confident, and always moving at a brisk pace; only stopping to grab some quick street grub, ya really gotta move just to keep up with him- very much a moving target! And he's engaging, open to meeting people, he really loves getting out there and doing the friendly impromptu meet and greet- the man is the epitome of an out and out extrovert writ large! And he makes the active effort to learn the necessary bits and pieces of the language, customs, greetings and background history he needs to get him through his current moment, country, situation. He's already almost as fluent in Spanish as I am- not very, but enough to get by... And he's not a fool- he doesn't wander about at night looking to get killed, and will at times, hire a local to transport him from one spot to the next in some of the most isolated of dodgy areas. 

As he gets people to respond to him in a positive manner by signaling out, his high visibility and energy tends to create a positive feedback loop with those around him wherever he goes which doesn't exactly make him invulnerable, but most definitely works in his favor. And it's evident that he really does believe that there really are good people in some of the seemingly worst of places...

*Me? I wanna chill on vacay- no, don't wanna lie on no hot sand doing nothing on a beach, just don't wanna be looking behind my back every step of the way is all; I'm an introvert for the most part and much prefer calling my own shots (as much as possible) when it comes to risk!

**whereas most photographers strive to conceal theirs

Monday, April 24, 2023


4/22/2023 6pm PDT         Photo: © Stan Banos

Over the years, I've come to firmly believe in reincarnation, which was part of Judeo/Christian beliefs back in the day (way back in the day) before both religions became more commodified to suit their more earthly needs. FWIW- reincarnation is in complete and total harmony with Christ's "live forever" teachings.

My belief in reincarnation stems (in part) from NDE recountings, which are often slagged off by doctors and scientists alike as mere drug induced, oxygen depleted hallucinations- fair enough, until some patients also started recalling individual details that happened (during their quasi brain dead state) in the operating room by the surgeon and his crew as the former "float" overhead and watch said goings* while also experiencing some combination of a life review and a short introduction to the secrets of the universe (including the role of reincarnation), all in short order. Eventually, in this time relevant/irrelevant scenario, the person is persuaded to reunite with their broken bodies after first pleading to stay in the far better realm (a realm often inconsistent with their own religious or atheistic beliefs). The individual details differ but the basic scenario remains- we're here to experience, learn and thereby graduate to the next level. 

Religion is basically the politicalization of spiritualty (never a good thing), and our fledgling science is limited by its own arrogance and pitifully limited resources and technology- just look at the trauma inflicted on age old scientific theories by the Webb. We confidently stroll about thinking we got it all straight about our creator(s) and his, her, their ultimate plan- just ask any acolyte of any major religion (or cult), or just as confidently amble forward in our indomitable armor of science... despite not knowing what 96% of the physical universe is made of, or even where it isYeah, and you're calling me crazy...

*or you can choose to believe debunker Woerlee's swamp gas alternative facts!

Friday, April 21, 2023

A Brief Disagreement


Without comment...
(actually, make sure you click on Man, at end of video)

Wednesday, April 19, 2023


Of course, they could've avoided paying 1 penny- had they ANY proof Dominion lied.      Photo: © Stan Banos

The price of Fox’s “continued commitment to the highest journalistic standards,”
ie- they'll continue to lie their asses off (for fear of their viewers)...

Monday, April 17, 2023

The Droning Of Stephen Shore

Photo:  © Stephen Shore

Stephen Shore is widely recognized as an American photographic master of the latter twentieth century- particularly of color photography. And not unlike others who reach such heights of confirmation and affirmation, he chose to go in diversely divergent tangents not wishing to repeat that which he already pioneered and exemplified. And like so many others who choose this route, the aftermath is full of much smaller projects not quite so illustrious...

Topographies: Aerial Surveys of the American Landscape is one formidable project however, filled with handsome landscapes taken from a bird's eye view via drone. Many of the images are stunningly beautiful and each is lavishly reproduced complete with their respective GPS coordinates. Interestingly, while some are very obviously taken from an aerial viewpoint, one could unknowingly mistake others for the photographer just being at a high vantage point. The former tend to be flatter, more abstract, two dimensional compositions, while the latter provide more depth- and a more unique and intimate perspective... 

All Photos:  © Stephen Shore

Friday, April 14, 2023

Thought I'd Seen It All...

Walking on my way to work each and every morning: the squalor, mental illness, drug addiction, filth, feces, vomit, etc, etc. I feel bad enough for some of the pooches these people own- but this, this is on a whole 'nother level...
FWIW- It's Fent, not crack.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

The Holy Trinity!

Space Jesus-  OK, OK, a triptych, not...  a Trinity!

Yeah, yeah, I know, I know... it doesn't take 12 years of Catholic childhood academia to know this post features only one of the ever iconic trio, namely- The Son (minus The Old Man and the ever lovin' Holy Ghost). Dad had the entire Old Testament to himself, then sonny came along and got his own book, but I don't have the slightest idea what the Holy Ghost was or is, frankly, I don't think any of the priests, brothers or sisters in all those 12 years knew either. It always seemed the lackluster afterthought of what was essentially a two man tag team- was it just a feeling, an amorphous non-corporeal entity, or a white dove that flew around and... and? We never found out, no one ever spoke of "The Ghost," we did speak of the name change however, the "Holy Spirit" was a decidedly better term for that which we couldn't define, describe or identify- it also sounded a tad less spooky and helped delineate it from the other character, the uhhh... Friendly Ghost.

Action "PEEPS" Jesus!    All Photos © Stan Banos 

But then, I could never make sense of "the soul" as a kid either- no idea. For a good while I thought it actually resembled a conch shell and was an actual human organ (physical, spiritual or some miraculous combination thereof) that made its home deep within our chest (where people usually indicated when they spoke of it), somewhere around our heart- or more practically, actually encasing the heart to provide the latter some amount of protection. Now, that made sense! I think my confused and conflated religious imagery may have come from all the depictions of Christ's after burner of a Sacred Heart. I couldn't make sense of his internal combustion engine of a heart with all the fixin's, and for the sake of my prepubescent sanity probably just decided they were rather badly rendered depictions of the more pedestrian, seaside conch shell.

Could never make sense of that triangular women's reproductive system thingie either. It would always appear at the weirdest times and places and had no idea if it represented a demon's head, some stylistic set of moose antlers, or... or? Literally could not make head or tails of the damn thing- was it possible that they were mistakenly depicting it upside down? But even that wouldn't help, seems there was always a bit of artistic license on that one. But I digress, not that there was a point to be made in any of this in the first place.

Get on the Cross Jesus- he makes me smile the most!