Thursday, March 29, 2018


Intrigued? Here's the hour long, unedited version...

Recently, The Wife, has become rather obsessed with chemtrails, she checks them out first thing every morning from our apt window that has a fairly decent view of the environs above. Yeah, I know, I know... Conspiracy Theory Rabbit Hole; leave it alone and let it lie- sensible, normal folk just don't go there! And that is why I'm letting these other professionals make the argument... Many think they are spraying aluminum particles to counter the effects of global warming, and there is no denying that there are quite a few individuals and institutions that are very aware of the increase in toxic, non naturally occurring aluminum throughout our environment - hhmmmm... 

Now, for the most part, I can't tell a chemtrail from a contrail with anything near 100% accuracy- and many who swear they can are not taking into account things like: altitude, temperature, humidity, condensation, barometric pressure and all other measure of wind and weather factors that can simulate a multitude of effects. Granted. But there is no doubt that: a) we have been unknowingly sprayed, b) have an alarmingly large increase of environmental aluminum and other chemicals in our natural environs  (see/hear above), and c) and lord only knows what this can or cannot do...

Bottom line- One Simple Question: if this is simply a question of normal contrail exhaust condensing into ice crystals instead of simply dissipating- why are they expanding into cloud formations? They either freeze and condense (ie- concentrate and grow smaller) or dissipate and... disappear! Normal contrails do not exponentially expand in size and volume (see below)- unless something else is going on...

Photos: © S. Banos   Now, I'm not saying- but...
That's one helluva "cloud" from that single C... trail!

Monday, March 26, 2018

March For Sanity...

Photo: © Stan Banos

Well, it was heartening to see the many thousands (of all ages and races) that showed up in San Francisco to protest our current armed madness in the US of A. The poise, intelligence and commitment of this particular group of teenagers to address this situation in the absence of their elders is one of the few beacons of hope these past few many years... 

That hope was certainly tempereded upon reading this- remember when Republicans were... Anti-Communist
Addendum: The recent NATO led action does not negate the above- the point being that Republicans of yore would have been rabidly demanding like actions from the get go...

Photo: © Stan Banos

Friday, March 23, 2018

Benign Coincidence...

Photo: © Stan Banos

So I'm checking out Blake Andrew's blog as I'm oft wont to do on occasion, and click on his link to Josef Chladek's photobook website- which is quite fun, as you can well suss out for yourself. And the very first book I serendipitously clicked upon and examined on his magical bookshelf, Sorry For Damage Done by Vincent Wittenberg and Wladimir Manshanden, was delightfully relevant to what I'm currently starting to amass...

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

How Much Worse...

Can things possibly get? Actually, quite a bit! Thoughtful synopsis on past, present and... possible future.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Oh, Donny Boy! A Meditation

You can do this Donny- U the Man! U got the power, the power supreme... Show the world who is Boss of Bosses. Mueller is nothing, no one next to U! Light him up- show him the door, and rid yourself of this most ungrateful of parasites once and for all. Some may yell in envy, but they'll quickly respect the beauty of your power! In a week, no one will even remember his name! And you'll be home free, right as rain- to do as you damn well please, as you've always done, as you were meant to do...

Now's the time, Donny Boy- now's the time... Do it.
Unleash The Hounds Of Hell!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

The Words I've Been Long Longing To Hear...

Someone with name brand recognition finally spoke up- 
directly, forcefully, no holds barred... this is how you deal with a tyrant!!!

America has no doubt been wounded by the grievous corruption this most self congratulatory of oligarchs has incorporated and disseminated throughout the ranks. Our "democracy" has always been the most imperfect and fragile of institutions, but we cannot allow whatever good the long, turbulent decades have achieved to be dismantled piecemeal by the venal policies of a bloated juvenile brute and his minions. 

I had thought America's bromance with cluelessness had long been left behind in the aughts, instead it has reemerged with a particularly virulent strain of hostility and vindictiveness, while foreign powers have been allowed to poison the waters from... within. These are uniquely troubling times, times as such that someone considerably left of center gleefully welcomes and applauds the exclamations of a former, unrepentant CIA Chief! 

Fortunately, Trump has enthusiastically derided, belittled and turned our country's main intelligence and law enforcement agencies against him. The massive, unrepentant ego, buttressed by a phalanx of law evading lawyers, that has allowed him to escape repeated, ongoing criminal activity undeterred throughout his career in the private sector will finally meet its match in this particular game of thrones- a game where the outcome will not be decided by the magnitude of his bluff.

Friday, March 16, 2018


Photo: © Stan Banos

Scientists tend to be pretty conservative folks, that is, irrespective of politics, they're not exactly prone to making wild, outlandish statements without ample evidence to back up that of which they speak- and even then they tend to be overly cautious. A lotta people think that scientists put out the most extreme versions of climate change imaginable, and truth is, they are pretty tame in the general assessments of the future that they make public.

Personally, and I'm not the only one- I think this downplaying of what may possibly (ie- most probably?) happen does no one any good. It lulls us into complacency- uhhh... it may get bad, then again... it may not. Couple that with the absolute naysayer deniers, and it's small wonder why what should be The Number One Issue the world over is currently such small potatoes.

Raising sea levels mean more currently inhabited land will be underwater, hence more competition (ie- conflict... WARS- GODDAMNIT!) for remaining lands and resources- not to mention desertification of other vast swaths of arable land, etc, etc... I don't have kids, the wife and I will be outta here soon enough- but damn, I just don't get these Conservatives (the ultimate irony of ironies when it comes to nomenclature) who don't give a flying about the future- if only for their kids...

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Rejection: A Stalwart's Guide

Part of overall series (not submitted).        Photo: © Stan Banos

Years past I would sometimes enter competitions hoping maybe (just maybe) I'd get lucky, maybe enough of the other contestants were sick, on vacation, mistook the entry closing date- whatever. And... I... just... might... be able... to sneak... in! Of course, there's no such luck, but as the years passed and turned to decades and I created and amassed more and more work, I was able to learn from my mistakes, hone my photographs into more formidable essays, eliminate the wheat from the chaff and submit a portfolio of photographs each and every one of which could stand on its own two feet. 

Well, that kinda took care of the... quality, but not so much... the content. Previously, whenever I summoned the courage to show my portfolio in person (eg- Mardi Gras, Pet Cemeteries, etc) it would follow a fairly predictable routine. The editor, curator, gallerist would smile, rub their chin, and wave fellow office workers to look at the work. Pretty soon you had everyone including the interns gathered round the table discussing the individual photos and then reminiscing about their own personal tales and experiences. After a while the chuckles and tales of present and yore would die down, everyone would return to their posts and I would be left alone with the decider in chief who would (very) curtly thank me for bringing in the work as his demeanor resumed its staunch business solemnity. It was all well and fun, but... photography is a serious business- and who would be even the least bit interested in those kinds of photos!?!?!?

Nevertheless, hope springs eternal, and I was feeling pretty damn good about the strength and cohesiveness of the twenty photos I was submitting to The New York Times Portfolio Review 2018. Surely, after several years of trying they'd finally have one wee slot to fill with some fairly well envisioned humor... Forget fifteen, I ain't greedy- I'll settle for FIVE minutes!

Alas, yet another rejection notice deluxe. Not entirely unexpected at this point, to say the least; but at this point, the kill shot is- hey, this-is-the-best-I-got... will ever get. No, it sure ain't work that'll save the world- and god bless those that do and continue to do that work. SERIOUSLY! But, I also think (and have witnessed how) we could also use a laugh here or there along the way...

Anyway, for your personal perusal, and unabated acclamation and criticism as per the custom it has become here- below are the rejected but unbowed twenty (some seen, some new): relax, enjoy, take a load off...

All Photos: © Stan Banos

All Photos: © Stan Banos

Friday, March 9, 2018

On The Frontline

I'm in middle of reading/viewing On The Frontline by Susan Meiselas, in particular, the parts concerning Nicaragua and El Salvador. And I found it somewhat disconcerting, since when I initially got her book Nicaragua back in '81, I was most struck by the immediacy of her work. There was a sense of intimacy both with her subjects and her subject matter- the guerillas and the revolution, respectively. I imagined her at their meetings in secret enclaves both within the city walls and rural mountain outposts, bearing witness to the planning of the battles to follow. I imagined her following closely by as they trained, prepared, and ambushed a ruthless enemy- their official revolutionary documentarian.

So I was quite surprised to read how she was, in fact, quite the outsider, never knowing when or where the next skirmish would ensue, never being truly accepted as one of them. Not privy to their plans (how could she), she was constantly following rumors, forever relying on luck and intuition. Despite that reality, despite that most obvious divide, she was still able to convey that behind the scenes sense of presence and proximity.

Photography can be a funny thing, anyone who's done it long enough knows that one can take individual pictures that can be as misleading, as they are revealing. We know this. But despite being held at arm's length, there was a particularly genuine sense of authenticity throughout Nicaragua- somehow, someway Meiselas was able to draw us into that conflict, and not only engage us in the chaos and turmoil thousands of miles away, but also provide a modicum of insight as to what it was also like to be an ordinary citizen simply trying not to be the next person killed...

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The Ignorance We Inherit

  Photo: © Oliver Clasper

A while back on PetaPixel (before I was officially banned from the site), there was a considerable controversy about a photograph that alluded to lynching being used to advertise something or other. A lot of the commenters said, so what if it did- after all, lynching was an equal opportunity killer in the good ol' US of A. Now, PetaPixel is not always known for its insightfully intellectual banter- and it was on just such an occasion that I found myself compelled to comment just to try and set some semblance of the record straight. No, Whites and Blacks were not lynched in equal numbers, they were not even lynched in equal manner! And yet, despite the long trail of undeniable fact and history- they left the conversation with... whatever they wanted to believe (ie- in denial). Which not only explains why they remain ignorant (and racist), but also why we now have he who personifies both ignorance, and arrogance, currently occupying The West Wing.

Not unlike Eva Leitolf's Looking For Evidence, Oliver Clasper's The Spaces We Inherit brings that history home to present day America; it's rather banal photographic presentations of horrific racial crime sites is a thoughtful, reflective follow up to the haunting Without Sanctuary, the collected photographic history of an America so vigorously denied, buried and revised.

Friday, March 2, 2018

The Opioid Contradictions

Photo: James Nachtwey

Decades past, it used to be Black and Brown people in inner cities, now it's majority White people- all over the country, from rural enclaves to small towns and major cities. The opioid epidemic is, well- just that. Even Ultra-Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh was addicted to OxyContin (often deploying his Hispanic maid to make the pick ups to avoid detection), and President Trump has ceremoniously declared the current US opioid problem a "National Health Emergency," but has not funded a single dollar more to help combat or alleviate it- despite the fact that it continues to worsen and intensify. Rush, a vocal proponent of punishment for drug abusers (who also lost his hearing  due to his opioid abuse), never saw jail time- and I've yet to hear of any contributions from the multimillionaire to any drug rehab program.

Anyway... TIME magazine has (for the first time in its history) assigned one photographer to cover its lead and only story in its current issue. It would be well worth looking at if only to see this master photographer do what he does best, but it is particularly well worth reading and contemplating both the images and information concerning the enormity and magnitude of this very human catastrophe. 

I chose the photograph above simply because it is a block I rather cautiously traverse (to avoid stepping on discarded needles) almost every day on the way to work- what you see above is a daily, ongoing scenario. Of course, Mr. Limbaugh would never ever equate himself with any of these unfortunates. His money bought his way out of jail, bought his way out of permanent deafness, bought his way out of the pain and public degradation that most addicts unlike himself have had to endure...