Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Margins of Excess



Max Pinckers Margins Of Excess looks like a truly fascinating book, I've never seen it in person- and with that price tag I'll probably never own it... but it sure does look interesting! Afar from a monograph photo book as one can possibly get- but certainly down with the "you can't make it up" vibe that I most certainly treasure...

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Insult




I most certainly needed a score card to differentiate the players, but the distrust and animosity between Lebanese Christians and Palestinians is both real and palpable. As the title alludes to, an insult sets off the sparks to follow in this well crafted yarn. Fortunately, the violence is held to a minimum, despite this area's powder keg history of volatility; in fact, this is largely a court room drama par excellence!

The plot unfolds around two hot heads on either side, each as stubborn and confrontational as the other. There is no good guy/bad guy scenario, while they both act the jerk, we gradually, methodically discover why they both came to be the hard heads they presently are- and one can hardly blame them...

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Time Out...


'Cause we could all use one- Reality is just waaay hard!        Photo: © S. Banos

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Gun Safety 101!


PS- I just somehow, someway erased my entire post on this subject, just trying to add this cartoon... and thing is- it says everything I tried to, only so much better!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Two For One...


Photo: © S. Banos

Oft has been the time when I've spent the entirety of the most beautiful of days imaginable: searching, begging, pleading for one, just one half way decent photo- how can one not come home with at least one small morsel of success from such a god send of a day!?

Well, if you're me- it's pretty damn easy, and pretty damn often- and all the hoping, wishing and a tryin' just don't add up to the smallest hill of beans. So...  ya suck it up, rub your dogs- and wait for the next day, and the day after that...

The other weekend after doing some long overdue housework, I managed to steal an afternoon hour for a short promenade and a stogie through the neighborhood. Coming upon a uniquely bedecked bus stop, I realized that if it had any chance, I'd need my 21mm equivalent on my X-T1, not the 28mm equivalent I had on my ever present GR. So I speed walked home, retrieved the X-T1, called and arranged for a model to meet there, and returned within the half hour- knowing full well that such second chance return trips are rarely successful in photodom- the light fails, the original subject matter has either changed (and not in a good way), or is completely absent. 

This time however, the gods smiled down and threw in the very complementary (and as it turned out, very necessary) human element; and on the way home- was serendipitously treated to the image below! Again, we're not talking Pulitzer Prize Winners, but the kinda images that'll keep me happy till then- the kind that should happen all the freakin' time...
 
Photo: © S. Banos

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Mark E. Smith- RIP

As memory serves, my then girlfriend (Hi, Sharyn!) introduced me to The Fall back in '80 or so when the world was considerably younger. And Mark E. Smith, the founder and lead singer, appeared very much the antithesis of a rock star- more like a slight 14 yr old public (ie- private) school student in button down shirt and suit jacket uniform from Thatcher England. Not quite the swooning or bad ass rocker one would assume, but a skinny nerd (albeit one you wouldn't turn your back on)  who just stood stoically beside his mike onstage literally rifling through seemingly random 8X11 loose leaf pages searching for lyrics to mouth. Huh!? And one would hardly call it singing- more of the Dean Martin/Leonard Cohen school of talk/sing, except less melodic, more snarly. Think Army Captain in the midst of a battle's mayhem, barking out orders to those still left alive and somehow able to fight on. In fact, many of The Fall's songs sound very much the inspirational battle march featuring strong, unrelenting repetitive bass lines that would at times fall into a controlled chaos, only to be resurrected again only stronger and more unrelenting...

The years were not kind to Mr. Smith, or more rightly, he was not very kind to himself (nor to anyone else for that matter)- alcohol, cigarettes and whatever else took an unrelenting toll as the boy like demeanor quickly dissolved into a mass of premature wrinkles and eye bags embodied within a stooped, uneven posture. Hank Williams died at 30 looking every bit 60, Mark E. Smith died at 60, looking a very worn 80. His body of work however remains strident and unbowed: eclectic, rhythmic, against the grain...

Friday, February 2, 2018

Joe Frank- RIP


Joe Frank passed this January, he escaped The Holocaust and managed to overcome a number of very serious, longstanding medical conditions, among them: surviving a kidney transplant courtesy of a cousin who then... presented him with the bill! His voice had this singularly mesmerizing quality that he often combined with a rhythmic, minimalist soundtrack which rendered his storytelling into a near hypnotic transience. It simultaneously relaxed and induced a state of intense concentration, probably as close to a drug experience as one could possibly conjure solely through a radio and the spoken word. It's interesting to hear how so many of his fans had the very same reaction (as me) when first stumbling upon his program on the airwaves, mainly- "What the hell is this?" A weird mixture of: humor, pain, confession and... surreal genius.

He had a way of speaking directly to you, and despite you- his narrative was an entity unto itself, encountering, interpreting and reacting to the various stimuli it confronts each and every day, from the miscellaneous to the life altering. Human relationships, particularly those between the sexes were always more intricately and inexorably complicated than they appeared. And Joe would silently revel in all their complexities, large and small, making his wry observations, offering little solution and often making it all the more problematic- only to continue the journey one more time...