Thursday, March 30, 2017

On Droughts And Weather

Well, the CA drought may well be over (it's rained a ton and then some) but I've got me own going. Last year, shitty as it was, was probably the most productive ever; this year, thus far... absolute crickets. And even though the shots ain't falling, experience dictates I take it all in stride... Of course, it just never sits well- does it?

As mentioned previously, some would say: the excitement of the new (ie- new camera, new medium, etc) has finally waned, I'm simply not trying hard enough, etc, etc... And sorry, no- every bit as motivated and every bit trying hard as ever. Shit just hasn't been going down is all; every corner I turn, instead of finally finding something to salvage the day- I just get another sorry bagful of... nothing!

Things will come around eventually- no doubt. It's just an all out shit feel when you're doing your part, and the whole bloody universe acts like it just don't care! 

'magine that...

Monday, March 27, 2017

Amerca's Non-Funniest Look-A-Like Judge

Tom Bergeron
 Do you think we could slip in the guy on the left, for the guy on the right (and I do mean... Right)? I mean no one would notice until discovering the former not only has some semblance of a sense of humor, he would also make considerably less robotic decisions that could favorably influence the lives of fellow citizens, instead of... endangering them.

Attorney Robert Fetter, who represented Maddin in his lawsuit, said Gorsuch's "folksy" and "pleasant" demeanor in the confirmation hearings contrast sharply to the judge he saw on the bench. 

"I did not detect any of this pleasant disposition or folksiness. He was hostile. As a matter of fact, he was quite hostile," said Fetter, claiming Gorsuch went out of his way to "cherry-pick" the law to uphold firing Maddin.

"He went quite a length, in my opinion, to find a way to rule against him," Fetter said. "It shows something about his judicial philosophy or perhaps his bias being pro business or pro corporation. It's just bias."

The Real Deal

Friday, March 24, 2017

RIP- Chuckie Baby! Chuckie Baby! Chuckie Baby!

We lost two Chucks this past week, and although one can never overemphasize the contribution(s) of the one and only Chuck Berry, it was "the lesser of the Chucks" that stole my heart...

For a time back in the Seventies it seemed I'd almost quit TV cold turkey; not that I meant to mind ya, it's just the way it worked out- least that's how I remember it. I was just too busy: going to college, partying, working P/T, partying and failing abysmally at street photography. So I was more than a little amazed when quite by accident, I turned on this wondrous gem of a program that was literally a portal into someone's hysterically manic and manically hysterical mind. 

It was called... The Gong Show- here at last was the epitome of everything TV had ever aspired to- home entertainment at the peak of creativity! How could one possibly explain its appeal? Bad jokes, and sorry "talent," in a god awful format that repeatedly held me transfixed with a big shit eating grin, one solid half hour at a time. The cast, the "talent," The Unknown Comic and... Gene, Gene The Dancing Machine!!! Thank you, Chuck Barris for ART writ large in any decade!

"We'll be back with more... stuff!" 

Murray Langston (still alive)- The Unknown Comic

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Banned On PetaPixel!!

I know- Oh, the Humanity... I, Stanley Joseph Banos- officially banned on PetaPixel! How does one ever live this down... 

PP is like the Yahoo News of photography, and the comments section is very much likewise. I don't blame it for the former, while it features a shitload of shit (far as photography is concerned), it also features the occasional worthwhile news bit if only by default. And the really sad "commentary" on all of this is... it's one of the few online forums left anywhere today where one could "openly" discuss (ie- comment on) the various photographic topics at hand. Unfortunately, many of the commenters (not to mention many of the actual posts) are as knowledgeable about photography as... the average Trump supporter commenting on Yahoo. 

OK, OK- who the fuck do I think I am anyway... Mr. no name, no gallery, nobody! Admittedly, no one. So why was I booted off PP? For being misogynist, homophobic, racist? No, no, no- you can find plenty of them commenting on PP on any given day! I was officially booted for being... "negative!"

Here are the lengthiest comments (again, in response to queries) on the last post I was officially banned on, which were the very... very... last... straw:

Yes, you too can no doubt feel the abhorrent, malevolent "negativity" soothing from my very pores! Almost makes one ill- doesn't it? My preceding comment on this post was in response to a comment asking what National Parks had to do with politics. I had simply responded that it was the political activism of concerned citizens that established our National Parks to begin with! Again- the epitome of "negativity. " Of which I was informed I had a long, lonnnng history of over the past years...

And my "negativity' knows no bounds- as one can plainly witness... here.

But fuck me, and fuck Petapixel- Again... the sad thing in all of this is that there are so very, very few places left to discuss photography in a fairly decent manner anywhere online (FB be damned)....

Sunday, March 19, 2017

RIP- Jimmy Breslin

Jimmy Breslin was always about the little guy, the guy in plain sight (usually somewhere within the 5 boroughs) who never got the press, the spotlight, the praise and adulation. He didn't give one small shit about the Trumps and Kardashians; for him, it was all about those that had to struggle both for a living and a life, and did so with a shrug, a laugh, or a finger pointed high...

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Curious World

Photo: © S. Banos

We now live in a rather curious reality of competing truths and alternate facts. And if anyone was actually listening to the other, they'd soon reach the same paradoxical crossroad where they discover that either side accuses the other of the same crimes and abuses- and often... using the same terms and language. It's the other that's corrupt, the other that is trying to take away and tear down our rights and Constitution, the other that manufactures and believes fake news- and on and on it goes...

And so the question arises- could both sides possibly be... right? Well, many are most definitely mad at the very same things, and while either side most definitely deserves to be angry- the difference comes down to who and what to blame, and why. But like the saying goes, "You have the right to your own opinion- but not your own facts."

The mid-America that overwhelmingly elected Trump is now besieged by every plight and ailment that was previously perceived as the "exclusive" domain of inner city America: massive under and unemployment, wholesale societal neglect and the resulting and inevitable, wanton drug addiction. Those were always their problems, that they single handedly brought upon themselves because of: poor choices, bad life styles and flat out laziness, if nothing else. But now the shoe is more... one size fits all, and it is anything but a comfortable fit. How could this happen to the proud and silent majority, the flag waving patriots, those who traditionally got to look down and point the finger at darker regions elsewhere?

We could as mature, responsible adults recognize our common plight and future, and finally strive to work together to end these historic national ills (that clearly affect one and all), once and for all. But we are neither. 

So we gather on round the usual tried and true- the "savior" who will protect us from all the savage ills and mendacious accusations inflicted by "the other." Once again, he will lead us straight into the redemptive repetition of shameless blaming and vindictive attacks- the easiest, most well traveled road, for those who seldom venture. And once again end up exactly where we started... except, worse.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Every photograph by definition is previous and elsewhere. -John Gossage

Don't know if you bothered watching the video (in the previous post) featuring John Gossage talking about The Pond. To be sure, the book doesn't exactly contain the most exciting photographic imagery ever produced, although quite a few of the photos do sustain a rather hypnotic allure about them. But Mr. Gossage does impart a sizable chunk of photographic wisdom to those willing to listen, while also revealing (amongst other things) that the number of people that approached him at his first book signing amounted to exactly... zero. Oh, and it was the first photo book to not include a photo on the cover (I just caught up to that trend... last year!) and was conceived to be a book only- he turned down Mr. Castelli's request for an actual exhibit (can't tell ya how many times I had to turn him down).

The Pond is loosely inspired by Thoreau's Walden; truth is, it's not even the actual Walden Pond, in fact- some of the pictures contained within the essay are taken in different countries! Gossage did not care about remaining true to documentary constraints, he was concerned about remaining true to his own vision...

"A photo is a fiction. It's not the fiction that implies a lie, it's the fiction that describes the experience you're getting is fleeting, transitory and at the same time, permanent. It is not reality as we normally navigate it."

Monday, March 6, 2017

"Soft Eyes"

Photo: © S. Banos

One of the reasons I (and so many others) will always be condemned to mediocrity is the fact that I lack the proverbial "soft eyes," as Henry Wessel describes it. Basically, it's the condition where we empty our minds into a zen like state of being that allows us to be open to all the photographic possibilities around us. Usually, that would be yet another, nice photographic adage- if it wasn't for the fact that if you look at his work, you can see that is exactly how he operates. The majority of his work is as simple as simple can be: Leica, Tri-X, 28mm- and yet the diversity of his images is striking; he most definitely practices what he preaches. 

I like to think I do the same, but I know I don't succeed very often, or very well- most photo ops have to hit me upside the head to recognize them staring me in the face; and I know that I too often look for those exact things that meet my limited criteria- at the risk of failing to notice all that do not. And that's a failure to grasp opportunities that help one grow and develop. It's something I continually strive to overcome, but something which continues to constrict and limit my vision- tell me to empty my mind, and it's an automatic cue to endlessly ponder the most obvious.

John Gossage is another photographer that can often transcend our mundane world and reveal it for the visual miracles that abound within it. It's a gift which they've obviously honed and mastered. That doesn't mean we won't get some share of keepers to be sure, if only from our constant, if impaired, effort- it just means that we'll forever remain the small fish (in a... small pond).