Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The Gates in Snow

    Taken with Diana Camera

Well, as I expected, I have made a lot of barely adequate pictures of various small parts of The Gates by Christo & Jeanne Claude. It is one of those subjects that sort of defies photography. I have looked at a lot of web based images and have not seen a great image really anywhere. Though I am sure they do exist.

P.S. on the New York City notes... We went down to Times Square before leaving and also made it to Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum. While making photos, a taxi splashed a rooster tail of freezing water on me, hick tourist that I am. So, as you might imagine, I was thrilled with the attention. Or chilled maybe. Anyway, I may post a few more of these images if they are worthwhile.

Monday, February 21, 2005

New York City

    Taken with Rolleiflex TLR Camera

We are heading home today after having spent the last four days in New York City. Primarily, we came to see The Gates by Christo and Jeanne Claude. And pictures will follow if they are any good. I have to say that I thought it was a great installation. The observations I have heard over the last few days run from 'Neat' on down to "Just think of what could have been accomplished or how many people could have been fed with the $23 million it took to complete this project." Conceptually, I wonder if there isn't a more dynamic subject in New York but it is hard to dismiss the effect of all the burnt orange trails winding through Central Park in winter. But is it frivolous? Yes, probably. The money went somewhere though just as it always does; and jobs were created; people brought together; the arts were/are supported and promoted; ideas and conversations were provoked, exchanged, encouraged; the materials will be recycled; the park was transformed, then returned to itself again with no sign of construction, no downed trees, no holes, etc.; and though I haven't read the fine print, I understand that proceeds go to the New York City Park System and I believe a conservancy as well. So, though it may be frivolous, something wholly original did take place.

I am basically of the opinion that much of art is frivolous when considered solely for its direct material impact upon the lives of others. Mine included. So much navel gazing, so many idle obsessions and esoteric thoughts. But collectively there is an intangible power in the process. Crafting objects and caring about them is what made earlier societies different from, and essentially more beautiful than ours. In all of our rampant production and crass materialism, the percentage of objects that are carefully and lovingingly made today is getting smaller and smaller. This point was underlined for me as well this weekend, when we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We checked out the Temple of Dendur, funerary crafts, armor and arms, ornamental jewelry from earlier cultures, great impressionist works, and so on throughout 5000 years of man trying to realize his/her potential, connect somehow with hisown existence. And those of us who were lucky enough to be milling about, in our machine stitched clothing, with our cell phones on vibrate, our uplinked PDA's, with our robot-fashioned cars waiting outside, we are lucky to have anything unique at all in our lives. Unless we have made it ourselves. So, all things considered, I thought The Gates was excellent really. And of course, the Met was amazing as well.

Last night, it snowed about six inches, and so I got up early to check out the park in the snow. While there, I noticed a small group of people sort of moving as a group and learned from a couple of circling photographers that it was Christo and Jeanne Claude. They were out to see how their work looked in the snow. It was very sweet really. They are small people, made smaller by age, and were walking arm in arm through the park seemingly oblivious to the posse around them. But pleasant. Smiling and walking and talking to themselves. It was raining and pretty dark actually but I think I might have recorded their blur. We'll have to wait and see. But the memory is good. Anyway, some newer images will follow. I haven't made that digital camera purchase just yet, so it will be a few days.

Also, I should mention we made it to the International Center for Photography, the Museum of Modern Art, The Lion King, Slava's Snowshow, a few random galleries, several excellent restaurants, including Gramercy Tavern with good friends. A great trip, this one.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

101 Things To Do In 1001 Days

    Taken with Holga Camera, Pinhole

Okay... so this was my original attempt at completing 101 Things To Do in 1001 Days. Based on the original idea, which comes from triplux, who has started a movement of sorts it would seem judging from the number of others following suit. And to be honest, it could have gone a bit better. I feel like I started out strong but then as I sort of fazed out of the honeymoon stage with the blog, I let things sort of slide by the wayside.

I have always been a list maker, i.e.

- Get dressed
- Feed the badgers
- Soak feet
- Make vasectomy appointment
- Watch 'Hair', the musical
- Undress
- Admire self
- Get dressed again
- etc.

As for this 101 Things To Do List, I think I completed about half of the things I set out to do and will have to endeavor to do better in the future. Some things were a little pie in the sky and some things were a little too easy but all in all, I have to say that having the list is better than not having the list. So I am putting another one together presently.

But anyway, for posterity's sake, here is the old list.

Completion Date: November 13th, 2007

The Criteria: Tasks are specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks should also be realistic and a bit off-task from the regular routine (i.e. represent some amount of work which must be done).

~ 1. Visited LA. and San Francisco - 7.19.06 thru 7.26.06
~ 2. Visited New York City - 2.17.05
3. Have portrait made at Walmart / Sears / Penney's
~ 4. Attended / photographed A Roller Derby Match, the River City Roller Girls
~ 5. Go to the theatre / 5 times -
...The Lion King, 2.18.05
...Slava's Snowshow, 2.20.05
...Volume of Smoke, 2.25.05
...The Blue Man Group, 3.12.06
...Bark, The Musical, 3.14.06

6. Visit Mexico City
7. Complete 15 Chapters of 'Untitled'
~ 8. Saw 'The Gates' by Christo, 2.18.05
9. Show work in new cities, 3x
Rotterdam, September 2007
Seattle, November 2007
~ 10. Bought a Digital Camera, 3.23.05
11. Paint a portrait
~ 12. Took a Rockclimbing Class, 6.8.05
13. Travel somewhere by train
14. Go Snowboarding
15. Cross Process some film
~ 16. Photographed Standing Stones, 6.10.07
~ 17. Bought art, 5.31.05
18. A Perfect Date each month (as defined by my date)
19. See a Vikings game
20. Visit Hawaii
21. Take Dancing lessons
22. Buy a couple of new suits
23. Sky Dive
24. Scuba Dive
~ 25. Threw a party - 6.20.06
~ 26. Framed ten photos collected from other photographers, 6.14.05
~ 27. Framed an old drawing, 6.15.05
~ 28. Build a new Darkroom with running water, 1.20.06
29. Run a half marathon (or, less likely, a marathon)
~ 30. Finally submitted images to Aperture Images, 6,28.05
~ 31. Attended Photo Lucida, 3.12.05 - 3.16.05
~ 32. Read five books recommended by five friends (no objections)
... Recommendations so far:
~ Botany of Desire, by Michael Pollan - It was excellent, many thanks to C.M. for the suggestion
~ The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini - One of the best books I have read in a long, long time. Thanks to R.G.for the suggestion
~ Austerlitz, by W.G. Sebald - I had trouble getting through this one, the story was sort of submerged beneath the overly excellent prose. Thanks to P.D. at Chop Suey Books for the suggestion
~ Chronicles, Vol. 1, by Bob Dylan- Very funny. Renewed my appreciation for Daniel Lanois. Thanks to R.J. for suggestion
TechGnosis : Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the Age of Information, by Erik Davis - Thanks to M.R.

33. Get a physical / G.I. whatever you call it
34. Volunteer : (Habitat 4 Humanity or new / different)
~ 35. Went to a comedy club, 6.24.05, 7.3.05
~ 36. Visited Atlanta, October for Atlanta Celebrates Photography
~ 37. Visited Italy, 7.18.05
~ 38. Wrote a song, State of Mind, 2.11.06
~ 39. Visited the Mutter Museum - 7.27.06
~ 40. Spent the day walking, 7.22.05
~ 41. Spent the day biking, Amsterdam, 7.17.05
42. Go to Southside Speedway
~ 43. Got rid of the huge piece of TV furniture, 3.22.05
44. Make Sushi
45. Make Homemade beer / wine
~ 46. Replanted Gardens, Spring 2007
47. Public Kareoke
~ 48. Start lessons for a new instrument, mandolin, 4.12.05
~ 49. Went to the Psychic Festival, had a couple of readings, 5.7.05
~ 50. Got a new passport, 7.12.05
~ 51. Used it, 7.15.05
52. Go Horseback Riding
53. Ask my parents to do something they want to do
54. Ditto just Mom; Ditto just Dad
55. Ditto Brother & Sister
~ 56. Visit FoamHenge, 1.15.06
57. Visit Egypt
~ 58. Cooked from & threw a dinner party (from Best of Everything), 1.23.07
59. Write a Children's Book
60. Collaborate with someone
61. Attend services / visit a Mosque
62. Attend services / visit a Jewish Temple
63. Attend services / visit a Buddhist Temple
64. Attend a powwow
~ 65. Visited a couple of waterfalls, North Carolina, 6.27.05
~ 66. Rented a convertible - 6.7.06
~ 67. Get together a promotional CDR, 3.5.05
~ 68. Baked Bread, recipe for Pumpkin Bread, 2.26.05
69. Read 5 Classics ignored to this point
~ 70. Made soup in the winter
71. Don't Speak for an Entire Day
72. Carve Something out of Wood
73. Write a Thank You note to an old teacher
74. Find an old friend
~ 75. Camping with Walker
76. Make Flavored Vinegar
77. Host a Mystery Dinner
~ 78. Cleaned the Basement, 3.7.05
79. Write a letter a week
80. Mess around with Super 8
~ 81. Nice weather & No work = Sunday Roadtrip
82. Get photos to someone who has given up on them (3x)
83. Store my crap somewhere else
84. Get some photo gear/cards going (via CafePress or similar...)
~ 85. Each Room, Five things to Charity, 3.8.05
86. Visit Cuba
~ 87. Go Ice Skating, 4.23.05
88. Curate a Toy Camera Show
~ 89. Made large Iris prints, approx. 30" x 30"
~ 90. Archery with Walker, with friends, 2.26.05
~ 91. Visited a Castle, Castel San Angelo, 7.21.05
92. Go to Sundance ( or SXSW would be cool again )
93. Swim in a lake
94. Weld something
~ 95. Celebrated Solstice
96. Walker's Mix #5, #6
97. Chalk Drawings
98. Refinish Dining Room Table (or any other piece of furniture)
99. Go tubing
~ 100. Got a Chiminea for the backyard, 6.16.05
~ 101. Made Bread Pudding, 2.18.07

Also, I have thought of these along the way...

Stay in a haunted house or hotel
Start up a Dream Book

Monday, February 14, 2005

O valentine, this I endure for thee!

~ Sylvia, in response to the First Outlaw when he says,

"Come, I must bring you to our captain's cave:
Fear not; he bears an honourable mind,
And will not use a woman lawlessly."

from The Two Gentlemen From Verona

    Taken with Holga Camera

There is no end to the treacherous material gambits that we set out to amuse ourselves, or, even more inisidiously, that we employ to test the mettle of others. This high and sentimental holiday, I'm giving my baby some chocolate and some crabcake bling. Chocolate sauce actually. Mmmm.

Which reminds me... Hey Rebecca... Yes, I am talking to you. I am feeling like I cannot be completely candid here for fear of mooditudinal reprisal from a certain beautiful sibling of yours. Can we make some kind of arrangement whereby, I can speak my mind however absurd and it isn't taken off-line to the land where real people behave strangely and sensitive people like me are so misunderstood. Sometime say, when I might want to write for effect about being Condoleeza's backdoor love slave because I have strangely come to enjoy taking it from behind from our Republican administration. But then I must remember to check myself because my scribular indiscretions might make it to the attention of specific and lovely others and then I will be frowned at. Frowns like mystical fists of disdain. When those same lyrically spiritually evolved others are generally so unamused by me that they wouldn't read my adolescent ramblings anyway. What do you say?

Why O why can I not prostitute the trust and goodness of my loved ones for the amusement of blog skiting strangers? This is so incredibly unfair!

Thursday, February 10, 2005

New Galleries up @

    Taken with Holga Camera

I have posted up some new galleries over at and expect to post a couple more over the next few weeks. If you use toy cameras at all, you should consider posting some images there as the first gallery is free and there is a new system in place that allows you to manage your galleries... is an online collective of photographers who use plastic cameras, such as Diana or Holga cameras and there is a wealth of knowledge in the forum. This is where I have gotten many of my modification ideas.

Thanks for enduring the shameless plug. Ah... for a second there I forgot this was a blog and the fact that it is 'shameless' should be taken for granted. Cheers.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Dreaming of Ghosts

    Taken with Holga Camera, Closeup Filter

What to say about this one? I'll string some thoughts together later. I have to head out this minute. More closeup stuff the last few days but this one seems to jump out at me. Dreams, death, rest, sleeping. ghosts, beauty... and on and on.

I have been trying to make sense of things lately... Shit, gotta go. Enjoy. Comment and give me something to riff on, would you? Otherwise, I am going to have to get into a semi-lurid dream I had last night. Not the real hard stuff but still lots of id tinctured lady thoughts...

Monday, February 07, 2005

Post Cosmetic Disorder

    Taken with Holga Camera

Feeling bleary after a late night. But must say that I have long had a thing for the beehive hairstyles of old. We had dinnner out with friends for my birthday and all was excellent. Good food, drinks, great hair. Exciting stuff, fooled around with a fisheye lens strapped to a Holga. Nice night, though one of my friends was actually falling a sleep at the table at the night's end. So, we are all a little older, I suppose. Metabolism slowing, must... at... least... finish... this... thought.... Snnrhhhk...

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Imperfection With Confidence

    Taken with Holga Camera, Wide Angle Video Diopter

I have been writing again recently - see below - which is something I haven't really even tried to do in a few years and it feels pretty good. The catch is that I have often thought of myself as having more style than substance, generally speaking. To be honest, this 'style / substance' remark is my self-deprecating 'admission' whenever I meet someone new. You know the little catchy factoid that you drop out there with a casual taking-you-into-my-confidence tone. So it looks like I am so straight forward and sincere and shit. Well, some of that has been refined from multiple performances I now freely admit. And I feel a little better to get that out there. But it is, nevertheless, kind of true. What you see then is someone who gleefully plaigarizes himself whenever his poor memory can decant a vintage four star limmerick or tidy syllogism that brought the house down a week, a month, a year ago. But when pressed to deliver something real, honest, opinionated, spot together, a genuine human narrative, then I often resort to flambooshery.

Oops, there I go writing again! Woo hoo, look at me go! When I meant to simply lay out some groundrules for this here yarn I do spinning. I suppose I am going to keep writing while taking my visual clues from my photography, my reading, my conversations... lo, I'll even rip off the occasional plot device from blog comments if any are so bold to share them. And should you be so kind, one day you, too, might be thanked in the acknowledgements of a, published-on-demand, first novella by Scrappy Jack Asburger, my nom de plume. I know, it sounds like Assburger. What is it with you... ha, ha... are you in like third grade?

Here's what you can do. Just toss off great names from your past. For example. I went to grade school with Cathy Tinglestead. I haven't seen her in thirty years but I will never forget that name. Or you could volunteer an embarrassing anecdote. Essentially, I am writing and just sort of letting fly... some things are imagined, there are the occasional glimpses into my psyche, my underbelly is present throughout and all of these faltering sources might manage to feather a cozy nest. But I remain open at this point. Still trying to determine direction, dramatic tension, hair color, automobile makes, etc. Meanwhile, my great gothic plotbird of prey is scouring the neighboring valleys hoping to see the glint of sun on a copperhead, the flash of a rabbits silver coat, when instantly all time will seize up, and the momentum of atavistic survival carries her down, rapidly, noiselessly, mercilessly towards the unsuspecting prey until this gentle suggestion of narrative's flesh is rent and splayed upon collision and as the resulting jerk rips our story from its life and lair, and as its spine is crushed by our lover's talons, then it will yield its last terrified shreak before submitting to shock and then nothing. Then it will begin its long journey aloft above home and the familiar and makes its way back to us where we might nourish ourselves on its memory. And record it for posterity!

What I mean to say is let me know what you think. As a photographer I am fairly confident in what I want to do, hope to do, and understand that I am not quite doing it most times. Your criticism of photos is welcomed and valid and I enjoy it also but my life does continue when someone doesn't like my work. Writing, on the other hand, is a less fluid enterprise for me and I am just feeling my way along, not sure what to keep and what to pare away. So, I would enjoy the input should you have something to offer.