Monday, September 24, 2018

5G Is No Joke!!!


T
5G is coming folks- to everyone's neighborhood. It's a much higher frequency than 4G, but doesn't travel as far- so their new microwave transmission devices are literally going to be ubiquitous... on existing electric poles, traffic signs, anywhere and everywhere in-UR-hood! One is going to be directly across the street right outside our bedroom window... NOT Good!!!

I know, I know... Big F'kn deal, right? Right! The firemen who suffered serious health effects from the cell phone towers in close proximity to their fire station didn't think it was all that funny. None of this technology, from ordinary cell phones to the oncoming 5G tech which takes radiation to a whole 'nother level has ever been properly tested concerning a host of health related problems- yeah, we're talking cancer folks!

Radiation- can't see, taste it, touch it or feel it. But it can hurt you, in a myriad of ways- Big Time! Especially children. And soon, we will all be bathing in an all time record tsunami of it 24/7...

Sunday, September 16, 2018

The ULTIMATE Scumbag SCOTUS Nominee?


Photo: © Stan Banos

Trump may be the last, dying Presidential gasp of White Supremacy to emerge from a prior century of blatant racism, bigotry and dehumanization- but his foul, criminal legacy will linger well past his personal stench and corruption. I was hoping that his rancid brand of racism would die along with him and my fellow baby boomers. But I can see that their cancer has metastasized to yet more current generations as evidenced at Charlottesville and elsewhere, and the flat out, blatant IGNORANCE so prevalent... everywhere!!!

Had the Dems any balls whatsoever, they would have long ago figured a way, some way, any way (short of some ill conceived, last minute, anonymous high school ploy) to stop lying, conniving Kavanaugh from even being considered- just as Thomas* should have been laughed out of consideration. Lying Kavanaugh wasn't even part of Trump's original grand list of Ultra-Conservative SCOTUS nominees that he so highly touted during his campaign- the one, the only reason he was thrown in post Mueller is because he views the Presidency as a position of infallible, God like supremacy... Trump's Ultimate, All Time, Get Out Of Jail Card. And everyone knows it...

ADDENDUM: Wow... Things have certainly gotten interesting!

*He who swore that he rose to success on strength of character alone, and that racism's legacy or affirmative action should never be a factor in anyone's hiring, sure knew how to pony up the phony, faux racial outrage BIG TIME when it came to slithering into his SCOTUS confirmation.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

On Dreams Deferred...


Had to shoot fast on this one and approximated controls w/o glasses; thought it doomed when I realized I had shot wide open @ 1/200 f2.8- but that GR 28mm(e) is a killer, and the distance provided satisfactory depth of field! Photo: © Stan Banos 


Yeah, you know the routine; ya work all year looking forward to... The Big Vacay!!! And then, month after month, week after week, day after day... it-finally-arrives! And it's well over ninety degrees the first four days, and then nothing but a solid wall of rain predicted for the next whole week and then some....................

So went VACATION 2018, VACAY From HELL!!! Aborted prematurely due to reality (was gonna drive from DC to Texas via the South and Gulf environs) . So I'm trying not to let it get to me, trying to stay calm, trying to keep relatively sane telling myself I'll get to try again- this time with visions of Spring, 2019! A new year, a fresh start, a time to regain all that was lost, and more. Yeah, well...
 
Slowly but surely adding to my SQUARED series... Photo: © Stan Banos

Of course, I always try to find the proverbial silver lining in times likes these, and expound on the revelatory insight this minor glitch has provided, the opportunity it has bequeathed, the alternative path that is now made clear to me! And, when one thinks of it in those terms, the take away becomes clearer still- ya got screwed... yet again. Big Time!!!

Well, at the very least, I got to see old friends for an evening, visit with the moms, and The Wife finally got to visit The Mutter Museum. I got a coupla photos (literally), and bought a truly great book for less than twenty bucks.

That said, I wish everyone well in the path of Hurricane Florence- I hope the results are not anywhere near the utter destruction let loose on the entire island, and people, of Puerto Rico this time, last year...

Almost forgot this guy- whose advice I should learn to follow. Photo: © Stan Banos
 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Stopping Fascism




Something to ponder in the interim... He starts 5:00 into the video, and when he does- Chris Hedges leaves-no-stone-unturned!

Monday, September 3, 2018

See Yas in... October!!!


*Photo: © Stan Banos

Travel isn't always pretty. It isn't always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart.. But that's OK. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.   -Anthony Bourdain

Haven't been on vacation since the previous Sept; originally, we were planning on Europe- Spain, Portugal, London, Paris, Berlin, The Netherlands... Some are like old friends, some I've seen bits and pieces- Portugal, I've never been. Bottom line, we just couldn't decide which to pick, and/or leave out... And with only so much time (and the thought that it may just be the last trip we'll ever afford abroad), we decided to put it on the back burner and... road trip USA, once again! Can't complain- besides, for whatever reason, always get more pictures here, than scenic Europe (though no question where ya get the better eats)!

So we're flying to NYC (gotta see the moms), then going to Philly (wife wants to see the Mutter Museum) and DC by train before we hit the road and visit my fellow Americans and Trump supporters down South, on through the Bayou and unto Texas! Yee-ha! I'll be wearing my bright red MAGA cap, well, I'll at least make sure to take my Fuck Trump button off my camera bag...

Looking forward to seeing what the South will yield photographically, culturally- my exposure being limited to those ever so brief bus trips of my youth when I would board a Greyhound for a day and a half trip to New Orleans from NYC for a one day stand to photograph Mardi Gras, then reboard the bus the very same evening for yet another joyous day and a half trip back... A four day sojourn made possible only by youth's vigor and insanity. Still remember how incredibly other worldly The Gulf's topography appeared to this NYC boy from the contours of his small bus window. Looking forward to a slightly more intimate look/see this go around...

*Got lucky on this one! Certainly, doesn't look it here, but this street corner was nothing but a hotbed of the harshest, most glaring light imaginable bouncing off that sidewalk! All I could clearly make out with my naked eye was the guy and his suitcase on the left. I could barely make out some people doing something in the middle, and a constant swirl of shadows around them. Whipped out the GR, aimed into the flaring conundrum best I could, waiting a second or two until the lights and shadows achieved some kinda "balance," and pressed the shutter. Honestly, did not expect much (technically or aesthetically)- figured nothing short of a FF sensor would have any chance surviving that gamma ray burst of a lighting scenario- and... Amazingly, instead of an instant throw away- I had something definitely worth further study. The pocket rocket somehow, some way tamed the monster highlights, I gradually coaxed as much detail from the shadows as feasible, and the composition as a whole appeared nicely in place! Not bad for a wing and a prayer coming home from work!

Friday, August 31, 2018

Divide And Conquer!


Illustration via Tywkiwdbi

I've always found it... amusing how so many people blame the poorest, most powerless people in the world for many of their woes. As if those on the bottom are the ones with all the money, pulling all the strings- they're the ones holding people back from their dreams and aspirations! And yet, that is exactly who gets blamed time and time again...

Why is it that (in America) those in the middle (ie- White Middle Class) seldom look up at their own when daring to question or challenge the monied power structure that separates and uses them as pawns, keeping their heads pointed at those who have even less. Decades past, certain people would tell me in a very somber, sober tone that if only those lowly bottom feeding illegal and temporary immigrants weren't here, deserving Americans citizens would no longer be undercut and undermined, and would happily absorb those very jobs with- substantially increased wages! 
And I had to admit- there was a certain logic to that...

And yet- all I've seen over the decades are those on top sending as many good paying jobs: first to Mexico for cheaper wages, then onward to China for yet cheaper wages, then onward to South Asia for cheaper wages still; all the while their profits soar- profits kept off shore to avoid the very taxes that would strengthen infrastructure, job growth and wages here at home! And as for those not so great paying jobs that are not outsourced... their hours are reduced, their wages stagnated or cut (further), while their benefits... extinguished! The one (1) percent is now even after worker tips- the fact is, US worker lives (or deaths) have now literally been declared... no longer even worth mention!


 But Don't Take My Word For It...


Thursday, August 30, 2018

TOP Of The World Ma!

It's always nice to get a bit o' recognition, particularly from one's peers. Such was the case this week when Michael Johnston of TOP unexpectedly mentioned, complimented, and linked to my work. Actually, it's not the first time over the course of the years, but this year, when making a concerted effort to get my work out there, it sure hit home! Photography, like other artistic endeavors, is something one creates for one's self- but the very nature of the medium is one that screams to be seen.

MJ started The Online Photographer around the same time I started Reciprocity Failure- those heady times of the brand spanking new internet's wild frontier when everyone and their momma started their own blog! There was a real sense of anything possible back then, as well as a real sense of community for those who participated. Then FB, Twit & Insta came along, and... Oh, well.

To have successfully lasted this long with your own thriving "brand" and community, that so many (like myself) sought to originally create, speaks to that person's commitment, originality and sincerity. It's why I've visited everyday since I discovered TOP, and why this particular shout hits home...

PS- And just in case your not familiar with the reference...

Sunday, August 26, 2018

San Francisco Awash In Homelessness


Photo: © Stan Banos

They are everywhere. In our: streets, sidewalks, subways and buses, in our libraries, stores, parks and apartment entrances. They are ubiquitous... And I don't know what to do.

The homeless problem was bad when I first arrived in San Francisco at the turn of the century. The city was strapped for cash- two decades later, the city is awash in it, and the situation more dire than ever. The skyline is chock a block with construction cranes every which way you turn, luxury high rises and condos rising all around us. The tech industry has inundated and infiltrated this town with its virtual culture of promise and prosperity, and yet- the poor, the destitute and the indigent roam the streets more than ever... We now have a new mayor, one of the least progressive candidates who ran, and I have no doubt she will do every bit as much as her predecessors- bare-minimum-nothing.

Last Friday, on my way home from a couple of beers with a friend, I stopped to take a picture. As a photographer, I sometimes cannot not photograph the homeless all around me. I like to tell myself that someday these photographs will somehow make a difference, like the change I occasionally give, the 911 calls I make to report a possible OD. Of course, I realize its not a proverbial drop in their bucket of misery. But after taking this photo, the person suddenly startled themselves awake, staring right at me, confused and anxious- the same desperate, destitute gaze I had photographed just one week prior (see below). And realizing it was a woman somehow startled me in turn. Despite countless previous encounters, I found myself not knowing what to do, or how to react. In short, I panicked, heard myself mouth something like the most disingenuous, "How ya doing," and then hastily retreated in my utter impotence and humiliation- full well knowing I had inflicted yet more pain, instead of alleviating it, instead of just leaving well enough alone...

Of course, this is one problem that will take more than one person to address. And it is well more than one problem. We need jobs, plain and simple, living wage jobs that will allow people to become productive citizens who contribute and pay rent in modest living quarters that have yet to be built! And yes, we need drug rehabilitation programs and mental health programs for those who simply do not have the ability to take care of themselves, mentally or physically even under the best of possible scenarios. Right now, their only alternative is a jail cell, and there's the rub- that's the-most-expensive/least-effective-alternative of all! And most people with mental health issues don't commit violent crimes- they are victims of it! I instruct and provide care for people with intellectual (and physical) disabilities- they're the lucky ones. Substitute intellectual or physical disabilities with... mental (health)- and they're on the streets! One or two more IQ points north of the cut off point- they're on the streets!

Honestly, I live from paycheck to paycheck with my wife in a rent controlled apartment for well over a decade. Our landlord would love to have us out so she could double the rent (easily). We could not afford another apt anywhere in or near this town. And if I'm being completely honest, I too cuss out and despise the homeless. Their very stench alone is unbearable. I have to cross the street and alter my routes because: their tents and/or bodies block the sidewalks I need to use; I might step in their rampant litter, urine or piles of feces; I might step on a dirty needle laden with any number of infectious diseases. Yes, it's very easy... to blame and hate; very easy to join and partake in our current culture of hate, where we blame and victimize the poorest, and most powerless- all so that we may somehow, someway feel that much better!

Technology is not our answer, our future, our savior- San Francisco is living proof. We must invest in humanity, the people around us, in the community we live in. Social media needs to benefit society, not separate us from its reality, inure us from its everyday injustices and inequities. I'm too old to be an idealist- no, everyone can't be "saved," but we owe it to ourselves to make sure everyone has that chance. Look how "the mighty" are now just starting to fall at the very top, the wielders of power who abused it every which way while going out of their way to purposely demean those without. Now, they scramble to retain whatever vestige of dignity and humanity they can possibly salvage. Yeah, it can happen to... anyone.

Photo: © Stan Banos

Friday, August 24, 2018

We've Only Just Begun...


TNY Trump Hounds
Release The Hounds!!!

Poor Little Mikey- his long time steady has left with problems of his own so he asked the new twinkle of his eye to the prom, and so far... not the slightest modicum of slightest interest. Macho Tough Guy Michael Cohen is now the wounded puppy of lovelorn neglect as he pines for the slightest gesture of tenderness from a distant Senor Mueller. And the latter has gone from hard to get, to just plain-not-interested. After all, there are so many other fish in the sea! A magazine publisher, his former love's top financial officer, so many choices- with more yet to come. The guy who would take a bullet for a 5X deferment is now left to wallow in the sorry little pool of his own doing. So very, very... sad.

Addendum: Apologies for calling little Mikey "David" earlier today- what ya get for posting during lunch break...

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Including Those Excluded

Recently, I attended a discussion on Community at SF Camera Work and although admittedly, didn't interact much, as I was dead dog tired with a headache to boot- was nonetheless happy to see that both speakers and attendees alike were a very mixed bag of ages, sexes and colors. So many of the photographic functions I've attended are inexorably such homogeneous affairs. 

Below are two very insightful articles discussing inclusion in photography and journalism from two distinct angles. The topic in both mediums are age old problems that have still yet to be adequately addressed, let alone alleviated, and of course, if you're talking inclusion, one must first discuss how those in question are being... excluded.

Two decades into the 21st century, Western media/photographers continue to portray their point of view without particular regard to the cultures and peoples they are portraying. Sometimes that callous disregard can be blatantly obvious, other times its just simply the narrative we've come to expect. The other article exposes much more subtle (though substantial) nuances in how language, as well as photos, and the interaction and presentation of both can emphasize, minimize or change the context of what we see, read and eventually... believe. The scary subtext to the latter being that this often occurs on a very subconscious level without our realization. This is something I have no doubt noticed along the way, continually strive to notice, and come no where close to noticing to the extent that this most observant person does... The example starting at 5:20 in the video really hit home for me.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Daniel Postaer


Photo: Daniel Postaer

One shining light from the current Pier 24 show is a youngblood photographer from right here in San Francisco by the name of Daniel Postaer. On display were a coupla knockout images that heralded the coming of age of what may well be one very bright star. There were several outstanding images: a "synchronized" cell phone group shot (very reminiscent of a Richard Bram shot), a near apocalyptical shot featuring a woman in bright red heels, and a street corner shot caught mid stride which one can appreciate here for its beautiful light, shadow and dynamic composition- but when seen writ large in person, one can then really notice the centerpiece of said photo, the man who has stopped walking, eyes closed in quiet exasperation, a momentary respite from a life hard fought and unrelenting...

Friday, August 17, 2018

November



This film could have easily been annoying as all hell, particularly the first half when there's seemingly little if any rational, logical story line. But time and time again, just as you're about to pull the plug- it surprises you and makes you: laugh, think, pause and wonder anew. And always, always, always- it carries you through with some of the most beautiful B&W cinematography imaginable... (free on Amazon Prime).

Monday, August 13, 2018

Sorry, Spike...




I wanted BLACKkKLANSMAN to be gangbusters for several reasons: a) I like really well crafted movies, b) I wanted to see Lee back in primo form, c) it's a movie we could desperately use and most definitely need, right now! And although this movie has a lot to say (as do all of Spike's joints) this was far from it; it pains me to say it, but this was such a desperately amateurish production. I left feeling both disappointed and a tad angered that Spike didn't deliver at such a critical moment with something smart, taut and on the money. Instead we were bludgeoned with heavy handed preaching and sermonizing, bludgeoned with caricature acting and deliveries, bludgeoned with a story line that seesawed from boring to ridiculous. And two thirds through the movie I was still praying it was all some elusive set up with a grand master pay off I just could not possibly foresee. Alas...

America Hates, Hates, Hates to talk about race- at least, the White portion does. Granted there's a whole lotta guilt there, a whole lotta stuff to acknowledge, work through, resolve- that's why it's avoided... at-all-cost. The same reason why America scoffs at the very notion, the very mention that every square inch of this land was stolen at the point of a gun. And that's what Lee always strives to bring out effectively- the history, the reality, the consequences of living in a racist society. But in a movie, a non documentary flick that the general populace so needs to see... ya gotta entertain the masses, ya gotta come with the carrot and the stick. And there are, most definitely, ways one can achieve that, be it a suspenseful thriller, or well crafted comedy/satire. This attempts both and fails spectacularly at each, while throwing in a high school production on the history of American racism- and I thought we had been there, done that with Bamboozled. Granted, so very many Americans never got that much needed lesson of our history... I'll listen (and have gladly done so) to Harry Belafonte lecture any day of the week, but cutting to see and hear him speak intermittently during the the course of the movie (unlike say, here) was not only a disservice to the narrative and pace of the movie, but to the eloquence and wisdom Mr. Belafonte most certainly has to disseminate!

Wish I could say different, but the very movie itself exemplifies its own weakness- the most potent portion that actually took it to whole other level was the very end that shows the footage of what happened at Charlottesville, the high definition video of the murder of Heather Hyer and other consequent injuries on the big screen simply takes your breath away. Capture that pure, simple recognition of the evil that is racism on the Hollywood silver screen in a way people can readily assimilate, and you got your blockbuster, and message delivered- minus the preaching. Yeah, you bet it's easier said than done, but I thought it was something Spike finally recognized, understood and was now putting into play. Fortunately, there are other Black filmmakers out there right now who are well on the road to that task...

Friday, August 10, 2018

Cecil!



Quite the cut up, this Cecil- and quite the life's journey! A young wannabe, jack of all trades (in the arts) and master of none as a youth, to head photographer of.... Vogue! That run of success was forcibly concluded due to a rather confusing and unsatisfactorily explained incident of Antisemitism. Forced to repent and reinvent himself, he became a PJ during WWll- from studio dandy to rough and tumble war time location photographer! And then back to the studio post war... Never a dull day for this "Bright, Young Thing," until his dying days...

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Richard Bram- New York

 
Photos: Richard Bram

I've considered getting Richard Bram - New York for a while, it has two photos that I absolutely adore, am in complete awe of (each and every time I see them) and, quite frankly, am quite jealous of! For one thing, I know just how rare an animal it is to come upon them, these choreographed ensembles where everyone cooperates in timely, symmetric synch. And should you be so lucky, it's not uncommon that someone always either moves or disappears just as you're pressing the shutter- that is, if someone doesn't walk right in front and block everything. I'm just glad somebody got 'em- and you also get his now properly famous snow cone photo along with several other great shots; and although many of the other pictures included do not rise to that incredible level of excellence, to be honest... not many can. I always found the red hardcover featuring the photo above incredibly handsome, but what finally convinced me to buy- the triptych foldout featuring three photos that simply work absolute magic in tandem!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Of Biblical Proportions...


This one's got a whole lotta truth to it... 



Photos: © Stan Banos


Can't say I've ever been much of a Bible thumper, it is one curious book though- if only for the way so many choose to claim it their own and twist, bend and pervert it to whatever suits their immediate needs, no matter how trivial or grandiose. The South swore it blessed and supported slavery, more recently, Little Beauregard claimed it backed him up 110%! There's just no end to what this book can: denounce, justify, support and condemn...

The Good Book is nevertheless filled with some pretty good stories designed to teach your average Joe a thing or two- if ya don't take it too seriously (eg- talking snakes, Adam and Eve and dinosaurs walking around together 6,000 yrs ago). I'm not much into the fire and damnation stuff, but I am pretty partial to that community organizer, Jesus fellow- a real Lefty Radical long hair if ever there was, and inexplicably usurped by just about every single authoritarian blowhard who ever did live! Go figure...

There is a bone or two that I do have to pick even with Jesus though. For instance, there's Matthew 6:26 where he tells us "don't worry, be happy," just look at the birds who his father so amply provides for. Now, I've done just that on many an occasion, and lemme tell ya- from the lowliest pigeon to the mightiest eagle... those guys are constantly at each other's throats for the smallest tidbits imaginable. Really bad, piss poor example! Gotta come up with something, anything better than that left over loser of a yarn if ya wanna sell utopia. Personally, I'm thinking he musta been distracted from his original script on that one, perhaps a certain someone in the crowd caught his eye, lost concentration and decided to wing it (and not very well)- the guilt of which which led him to...

The all time winner in my book, Matthew 5:28; which pretty much flat out asserts that if one just looks at another woman- automatic... adultery! DANG!!! Double DANG!!! I mean C'mon... if anyone should know- that doesn't exactly provide a whole lotta incentive NOT to do something. I mean (and I certainly don't think I'm the first to say it) if you're gonna burn in hell for just admiring the scenery, ya might as well do the deed and burn with a few fond memories...

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Blindspotting



Love, trust, friendship, loyalty, race, honor, betrayal- yeah, some of the real Biggies... And they all get their just due with a helping mix of humor and insight in Blindspotting, as they clash, compete and intersect in the present day City of Oaks, CA...

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

For The Price Of An SUV...




And speaking of flying objects, gotta admit- this is pretty freaking cool! And they kept it simple and supposedly affordable by keeping the car part outta the equation. And at (another supposed) 5 min to learn to fly in a simulator- I could see a whole lotta drunken accidents falling from the sky... More here.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Trump (Golf) Baby- USA edition

They actually ended a Bring Trump Baby to the USA drive early on Go Fund Me because they received... too much money!!! The plan is to fly it next to his golf course in New Jersey- BRILLIANT! Just wish MACY'S would have the balloons to fly it in their annual Thanksgiving Day Parade extravaganza...