Friday, April 26, 2019

On Holiday...

Frozen In Time... Photography in a nutshell.

Like an aging beauty queen, San Francisco still has its charms; but while the tech industry has poured google plus amounts of $$$ into the economy, it is money that remains very much within the confines of their private virtual reality. The downtown area and adjoining SOMA (South of Market St.) neighborhoods are now 24/7 open air toilets* amidst their ever propagating towers of luxury apt buildings and five dollar coffee cafes. The homeless, the (seriously) mentally disturbed and the drug addled now roam the streets en masse like like a united full scale zombie nation, morning, noon and night...

All Photos: © Stan Banos

The area bordering Sixth and Tenth Streets between Mission and Market is an outright zombie apocalypse of the walking wounded, people with: needles sticking out their necks, arms and legs, arguing vehemently with themselves or yelling at passerby before passing out in their own filth. And the longer we continue to ignore them, curse them and just wish the problem away- the more their numbers have grown and the farther removed from reality we both continue to become.

Sometimes while walking through the midst of that daily stench and depravity, it actually feels as if the ancient embodiment of evil unearthed in The Exorcist once again lives and thrives amongst us, guided by the offices directly overhead that house the head over heels tax incentive beneficiaries: Twitter, Uber, Yahoo and countless other tech start ups... 

PS- I'll be on vacation next coupla weeks, we're going for the road trip we never took last year through the southern states (from DC to New Orleans), when we got hurricaned and flooded out- if it happens again, we got plan B through The Rust Belt. Either way, got my MAGA** hat, Lock Her Up and Build The Wall T-shirts ready to roll (joke, small joke). See yas in late May when I return for my radiation treatment courtesy of Verizon who insists it's 4G, while those actually installing it (PG & E) swear it's... 5g! Sounds all legal and legit to me, no?
*Thanks, Eric!! **via Gotham!

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Two Photographers With A Message

Photo: Dana Lixenberg

Many moons ago while talking photography with an African American friend, we got to discussing the ethics of photographing the down and out- something I continue to consider, reconsider and reevaluate to this very day. I was considerably more hard edge back then- hell, people get themselves into the positions they're in, they make their own choices in life, blah blah, blah... had it all figured out. 

My friend countered with- "Why would you want to take a photo of a brother when he's down, ain't there enough of that already out there?" At the time I took it as if he wanted to ignore and sugar coat the reality of life- as opposed to "look it in the eye and show the truth no matter what" me. But with growing maturity, I began to see the strengths of his argument, and the arrogance and ignorance of my own. Although Hispanic, I did not grow up in the inner city the majority of my life- and although about as low as lower middle class can possibly get, still enough to come from a place of relative privilege.

For a long time running, there has been a certain "reality" that has been readily depicted and accepted: inner cities = minorities = drugs = crime = violence, etc, etc... And that's the kind of limited equation that formulates prevalent, racist mind sets that readily dismiss "those people" as... "animals." And it's a damn easy way to (not) think, as someone looking from the outside in.

I'm not going to go into all the reasons why poverty, crime and inner cities exist and intertwine as they do- not going to go into why: red lining, sub prime loans, food deserts, racial profiling, inadequate health care, schools and housing all go into creating these nightmares long before people are even born to make their (already purposely limited and predetermined) choices. I've done that elsewhere, as I've also made the case for personal responsibility- and it's not a particularly easy line to draw, one requiring generous applications of both hemispheres.

What I am saying, what I think my friend was saying- is that there is also a need for a certain degree of balance. The evils inherent to inner city life have now been laid apparent to those who have never even set foot, from: Eugene Richards, to The Wire, to the daily news which tend to make them pretty damn evident. But to the day, we're never quite equally furnished with the: images, modus operandi and perp walks of the White collar criminals who help create and finance those illegal activities from top down.

So yeah, hats off to a coupla (White) photographers who didn't fall for the immediate stereotypical "gritty, real life" photos of drugs, guns and crime, that faux and envied notion of earning themselves their requisite notch of perceived hardcore photo, street cred. These two photographers ditched the obvious to put in the time, maturity and effort to come up with something much more grand, balanced and nuanced- something that speaks to the complexities of life itself, regardless the time, place or people...  Such is the work of Dana Lixenberg and Matt Eich. The former's unpretentious, slice of life portraits hearken back to August Sanders monumental celebration of those not accustomed to such attention, while Matt Eich  presents us with intimate moments of the everyday, both big and small...

Photo: Matt Eich

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

A Decade, Just a Decade...

"The evidence before us suggests that we are set for disruptive and uncontrollable levels of climate change, bringing starvation, destruction, migration, disease, and war... It is time we consider the implications of it being too late to avert a global environmental catastrophe in the lifetimes of people alive today." (emphasis mine)

And, uhhh- it kinda goes downhill from there...

Friday, April 12, 2019

Broke Ass World!

Well, I've been honored to have a piece published on 5G Tech on legendary San Francisco celebrity/activist Broke Ass Stuart's website!!! Let's see how many people ignore it completely or... praise the fact that it will bring us all incredibly more lifelike virtual reality which we will then enjoy the benefit of while watching in hospital recuperating from our EMR induced illnesses...

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

In The Company Of Strangers: Americans Parade- George Georgiou

Photo: George Georgiou

Most photographers (incl yours truly) when working a crowd at a large event go about looking for individuals who are either symbolic of said event as a whole, or for the outliers that it may inevitably attract. George Georgiou kinda plays it both ways, by photographing highly detailed sections of large swaths of crowds at a time, one can make out both the contrasts and similarities between varying individuals. These multifaceted, B&W photographic updates that would make Norman Rockwell proud are an interesting take on "the forest for the trees" idiom; and as always with Georgiou- great, insightful photographs...

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Permission To Radiate American Citizens

Well, below was my say (3 minute Max) at an appeal to deny putting up a 5G cell phone antenna directly opposite out apartment. To say it fell on deaf ears would be an understatement- it was a show trial at its best, a pure procedural SCAM writ large. I also presented detailed medical documentation (highlighting: abnormal brain scans, profound memory loss, etc)- which of course, they never looked at before officially approving Verizon's request bribe to install. If I babble incoherently (more than usual) in the near future, well...........

And so one day soon, we'll see them erect said antenna outside our bedroom window and just wait to see what short and long term effects their little experiment will have on our health... And remember- this shit's coming to your (USA) neighborhood as well!


Radiation- can't see it*, can't touch it, can't even feel it; that’s its very nature- the ability to invisibly go right through walls and windows unimpeded, and penetrate our very cells, changing, mutating and permanently damaging our DNA forever.  

In California it is illegal to install and operate cell towers and antennae near any fire station. Under the CA SB649 exemption for firefighters, no one involved is allowed to acknowledge the reasons, even though it is common knowledge that EMR radiation emanating from such antennae wrecked havoc with the health and well being of the firefighters within the station in question. A myriad of serious, short term health problems resulted: skin rashes, memory loss, fatigue, mood swings, headaches and confusion that led to basic inabilities to perform their required tasks; the long term health effects remain unknown.

These antennae so affected the very strongest and healthiest among us that it prevented them from carrying out their life saving responsibilities- and yet... it is perfectly legal to place them in close proximity to pregnant women, infants, the infirm, and the elderly. This is criminal conduct in any civilized nation, criminal conduct that was paid for and condoned on the state and federal level. And by placing these antennae atop city owned property, it will position companies like Verizon to argue that if people do develop long term health complications due to long term EMR exposure- it will be the fiscal responsibility of the city of San Francisco, not their company to deal with...

The tobacco companies repeatedly reassured us that their product was, in fact, safe and non addictive, and public alarm, both unnecessary and alarmist. Trust us they said, we would not put your health at risk- our studies don't lie, our researchers don't lie, and we, the company executives would certainly never lie. Studies and reality proved otherwise. The pharmaceutical companies told us that opiates such Oxycontin and Oxycodone were safe as prescribed and also non addictive- once again, profit and propaganda triumphed over truth and science. 

Verizon says it will take EMR readings, and that naturally, they will be well within safety limits. Their readings, however, will in no way whatsoever reflect the real dosage of what we will absorb 24/7, day after day, week after week, year after year as we eat, rest and go about our lives at home. Radiation will continuously penetrate our: skin, organs, skull and brain tissue while we sleep. And let’s not forget that radiation damage is cumulative- permanent and cumulative.

Once again, the refrain echoes anew, “Trust us...”

*if one actually could- game over...

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Franco Fortini- Landscapes Bathed In Light

I love Franco Fortini's landscapes, both for his sense of space and composition, as well as his highly introspective and contemplative viewpoint, which in truth, doesn't say a helluva lot- just that I find them utterly beautiful and eerily fascinating! They're obviously, purposely overexposed- probably mimicking the sun drenched, semi-arid, Sicilian landscape. On a couple, it does somewhat hinder my appreciation of them, but as a whole, it's a wonderful body of work I will return to, repeatedly- for appreciation and inspiration...

Photos: © Franco Fortini

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Just In Case...

Ya don't hear from me in a while, my hard drive is sputtering along in its apparent death throes. Fortunately, I've pretty much backed up everything that counts and I'm gonna try an "emergency restore to factory virginity maneuver" to see if  I can add a coupla more years..........