Thursday, December 29, 2016

Golden Days Before They End

Klaus Pichler- Golden Days Before They End

Haven't bought a photo book since some time in the beginning of 2016, not to say that there isn't anything good out there- but living on modest means certainly has a way of curtailing unnecessary acquisitions. And at this point in life, hoarding is a very unattractive proposition all around, so one learns to be hesitant, selective, and ultimately- appreciative. 

Recently I've been asking all the wrong people (ie- people my age)- how do young people afford their fun these days? Everywhere one goes, there are no more dives, no cheap thrills where fun is had at discount. Again, perhaps it's because I no longer know where, or even how to look. Everywhere is gentrified, everywhere is upscale, everywhere is seven and eight dollar beers! How do the young afford it?

Of course, think of the good ol' days of suds and yore, and Anders Petersen's Cafe Lehmitz immediately comes to mind. And that's not a bad precedent, but Golden Days Before They End manages to rise to it's own level of originality and authenticity. Cafe Lehmitz foresaw the the future, documenting the loosening of sexual mores and attitudes within a small community that would soon spread worldwide. Klaus Pichler records a paean to dives past; those darkened, dank and familiar places of sticky beer, worn out floors and denizens well past their primes, establishments beyond endangered and well into extinction. Ever walk into one of those "Traditional Irish Pubs" with the 200in TV monitors that have been pillars of  the community for all of three months after being sold, reconditioned and remodeled? Makes me wanna puke right into one of their authentic $25 pub food platters.

One of the things Petersen didn't usually get credit for was the technical proficiency of his available light B&W portraiture, you won't find better in the analog kingdom. Like Lehmitz, Golden Days' images are also technically impressive, almost painterly at times, even though available light is not the rule. And also like Lehmitz, Golden Days' images will endure and outlive its subject matter- full of the quirks and characters that makes life well worth remembering...

Klaus Pichler- Golden Days Before They End

Sunday, December 25, 2016

OK, OK...

Much as I want to, much as you want to, we all can't stare at Santa forever... Let's try this seasonal take on David (minus the naughty bits) for a more classical (and classy) change of pace...

Photo: © S. Banos

Friday, December 23, 2016

HO! HO!! HO!!!

Ya didn't think what Santa does came easy, did ya? It takes practice, patience, years of trial and error, in season and off, before he can finally assume the position. You know, that jovial, familiar, holiday pose for which so many of us remember him so fondly- to this very day!
Photo: © S. Banos

Best of thoughts and wishes in the Holiday Season- MERRY XMAS, y'all!!!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Yeah, I Know...

All Photos: © S. Banos

This is the time of year when we look back and make recommendations and observations on the year's occurrences both large and small, photographic and otherwise. Unfortunately, this will not be the case here; the year, in short, was dominated by the deterioration and death of my father, my acquisition of the dreaded Shingles- not to mention, unknowingly self eviscerating the visuals from nearly ten years of my blog... nice! On the "happier" side, I finally delved headfirst into the digital realm with my purchase of a GR, and managed to self publish three books

This past week I went back to NYC to help my mother move- suffice to say, I have never (ever) worked harder (both physically and mentally) in my entire life, the excruciating details of which (yes, there's more) I may get into at some later point. Anyway, the kicker at the end of it all- I was to return (for the first time in my entire life) with a certain share of monies in hand from the sale of my parent's small but centrally located condo. However, our idiot, asshole of a so called lawyer did not perform the most basic of lawyerly due diligence, which resulted in the postponement of said sale... the discovery of the fatal discrepancy occurred at the very closing of said deal as one and all were happily signing away on the plethora of expected paperwork! It has now been made abundantly clear to me (something said "lawyer" should have readily seen) that I will also be needing the services of a probate lawyer to finally consummate said deal. This means a delay of around two months, an eventual return trip to NYC, and the borrowing of money from a variety of trusted friends and resources- did I mention the barrage of additional paperwork involved, in addition to the bills and accumulating debt? This has, in effect turned into its own F/T job- just in time as I return to work this Mon. Did I also fail to mention just how hard my probate lawyer laughed when I regaled him with sad said details of the gross incompetence exhibited by my initial "lawyer?" At least he apologized for laughing, one apology more than I got from said incompetent.

Anyway, not to be a complete Danny Downer at the Christmas Yuletide Season (and in full acknowledgement that there are those with considerably larger problems worldwide)... in lieu of the traditional end of year lists, I'll simply include my slowly accumulating square format offerings. Must say- I kinda love these "little" guys...


Photo: © S. Banos

Friday, December 9, 2016

A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence

This year has by far been the worst year in movies. The wife and I average going to the flicks about twice a month, one of the few affordable means of entertainment at our disposal- and FWIW, we usually do not attend the Hollywood blockbusters. This year we went one, two, three even four months without even one worthwhile offering, catch something fair to mediocre, and then another months' long wait...

Desperate to relax and watch something fun and/or compelling, I stumbled through the usual Netflix offerings, and decided to chance upon something with a most decidedly dumb name. First off, if you're not a fan of deadpan humor, look elsewhere- for this is deadpan stripped bare, concentrated and... relentless. No pratfalls, no one liners, no fits of uncontrolled laughter. The scenes in A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence are prolonged, often repetitive and overbearingly slow. And I loved (almost) every goddamn second of it.

For one thing, it is one of, if not the most beautiful film I have ever seen. And it is the subtleties of the visuals in every scene that outright mesmerizes, despite the purposely laborious pacing. One is immediately absorbed by the pastel color schemes, particularly the repetitive pea green motif; each scene shot wide with enough details to counter the intoxicating sparsity of action, dialogue and story line.

Noticeably photographic in its aesthetics as it may be, it's definitely not for everyone. But if you want to experience something truly unique and visually compelling, not to mention a wickedly perverse sense of humor, you're definitely in for a treat. Oh, and the last scene is as surreal, unexpected and foreboding as it gets.