No Trespassing

“Sign, sign, everywhere a sign, blocking up the scenery breaking my mind..” (5 Man Electrical Band)

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Morning fog

Camera: Agfa Isolette

Film: Fuji Acros

Dev: HC110 dilution E

 

 

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Platform Apparitions

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The similar white hair and white clothing of this couple caught my eye while waiting for a train. The brightness together with slight blurring (looks a bit like flare I don’t think it is lens still seems to be performing well in other photos) makes it look a little bit super natural to me.

Camera: Olympus XA

Film: Arista EDU 100 (shot at 200)

Dev: HC110 dilution B

Fake News

fullsizeoutput_962Camera: Leica 3f/summitar

Film: HC110/semi stand development

There was a homeless fellow that used to have a little used book and magazine stand on the corner up the street. Most books were a dollar or two. Mostly he got them from donations either at his stand or people would give them to him outside of Powell’s. I got a couple good ones from him. He was an interesting guy and I could tell he had a sense of humor about politics. Well he got kicked out of his spot there and who knows where he is now.

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This was taken last summer, and it reminds me how long this latest Red Scare has been going on in the media. It’s relentless. I don’t even watch network news most days, but it’s all around us, on the radio, on the internet news sites, and on the magazine and newspaper stands. Of course you couldn’t say Putin was a good guy before Trump was elected, but the media didn’t direct nearly as much attention at him as compared to now. People forget how much our media dictates what we see and what they want us to think is important. Still, it is surprising to me that some people lose their critical thought to jump onboard just because they hate our president so much. There were so many issues people were focussed on improving in this country while Bernie was running just a short time ago (and before that), and none were about Russia. Now, it is just Trump and Russia. And fake news because that is part of it too. It helped spread the evil and contaminate our souls. Turned us into mindless patsies for Putin. Print and television media is more sophisticated than ever, and never has it been controlled by so few. Competition is coming from the internet, thankfully, and there are still some good journalists out there, however this too is under attack and anything that contradicts their narrative is in danger of being labelled as fake news, with efforts underfoot to protect our fragile minds from its content- thus giving “official” sources full control.  I’m a cynic and a skeptic I know, but I have good reason to be. I have read a lot of good books, talked to interesting people, and have always tried to learn from what I see.

There are very good books I have read by the way that give many historical examples of the manipulation employed:

Media Control, by Noam Chomsky

All of Chomsky’s books (that I have read anyway), give examples of a biased and complicit media, however this one is the most specific and concise I think.

Propaganda , by Edward Bernays

This is the modern propaganda “bible”.

The People’s History of the United States, by Howard Zinn

Zinn’s book while not focussed on media per se, nevertheless gives examples in history where our respected media ignored events, downplayed them, spun them as something different, or went along with the official story which was a untrue. The fact that we know very little about most of the events in this book , or know a different story, says it all.

Sorry about delving into politics, but I guess you could say that photography for the most part cannot be separated from it;-)

 

Miami

 

I walked around Miami a bit while waiting for a flight the next day. I walked from the Airport area to the Civic Center. It didn’t seem that far on my phone.. My feet were black from the rubber coming off my flip flops, and I was developing a nice blister. Didn’t come across anyone on the sidewalks. Not many people about. Seems like no one walks in that city. Well, I didn’t walk in the glitzy areas where everyone goes. Feels about as far away from Portland as you can get.

Camera: XA2

Film: Tri-x

Dev: HC110 semi stand 50 min

On the road near Warm Springs

I finally got a scanner again- a Canon 9000F, the same one I had in Japan. So now I can start scanning my negatives that have piled up over the last couple years.

I think the second photo is stronger due to the composition, but both captured the quality I saw that day on the drive out to Central Oregon. I will see how this prints out after summer when hopefully I can get into a darkroom again.

Camera: XA2

Film: TRI-X

Dev: HC110 Semi-Stand 50 min/68F

The bricks of the Yellow Brick Road weren’t made out of gold, they were just painted yellow.

How important is truthfulness in photography?  In photojournalism at least the importance is obvious. A photograph, as Susan Sontag writes in her essay In Plato’s Cave (On Photography, 1977), “passes for incontrovertible proof that a given thing happened.”  Well maybe not so much nowadays, at least not exactly as it happened..

Manipulation of images isn’t a new thing of course but it wasn’t so easy in analog times, and there was always the physical negative to fall back on if required, unless it had been destroyed, in which case it may have called into question the authenticity of the printed image.  With digital imaging and sophisticated and capable image editors today we are not so sure, and presumably it will only become more difficult.

Well, in this case , a well known photographer has apologized for the offending staff’s transgression (now there’s an excuse of I ever heard one..), however it led sleuths to discovering interesting things about some of his other photographs, such as people or objects being removed.

If a child has been removed from a photograph because it made for a more effective photograph does this mean that the event photographed didn’t happen?  If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around…? I would say yes and no, but more precisely, the photograph has now portrayed a different reality of the event. Some might say that, well, the child could have been removed from the frame during the composition which is true but in that case that is exactly what should have been done.

Another interesting instance was this Nikon competition where a badly photoshopped image won, and led to all sorts of great fun! Some competitions now require the original RAW file to be presented together with the final image. In the future will there will be some sort of 3rd party authentication or guarantee for photographers selling prints perhaps?

The offending images may still have all the qualites of a beautiful photograph, the perfect Flickr algorythm, but they have lost their luster to those that know. Sacrilege! You can picture in your mind the owners of the artist’s prints upon hearing of this fiasco rushing to check the ones they have on the wall were unaltered “real” photographs. It brings a smile to my lips..

The episode does raise more questions about the ability to use photography for portrayal of “reality”. I say “more” because photography has been used to selectively manipulate opinion since day one. I suppose I am a bit of a cynic when it concerns the business that is the art world (art or Art?).  “Legalized money laundry tis all it tis”, I can hear the wizened old guy say as he spits from his creaky rocking chair to the dusty road beside him, some of it landing on the edge of the porch, spittle clinging to his beard like morning dew..

The bricks of the Yellow Brick Road were not paved in gold, they were just painted yellow, and at the end of the road the Wizard of Oz turned out to be a just a man after all.

Best!

Jordi

shibuya

3F 7F 6F, cranny in Shibuya. Leica 3f / Summitar 5cm.

This image has only been adjusted slightly for contrast/exposure level and contains everything and nothing more (except pershaps some dust from the scanner that I missed..) that was in the camera’s viewfinder at the time of pressing the shutter;-)

Why??

That was someone’s question on one of the wonderful video demonstrations by master woodworker Paul Sellers. In the demonstration Mr. Sellers uses a square, a pencil and a chisel to make a mortise and tenon. Mr. Sellers calls himself a lifestyle woodworker, and has his shop in Penrhyn Castle in North Wales where he gives demonstrations and apprentices a few people every year.  In addition to teaching how to make furniture, he teaches how to make your own tools, such as a rabbet plane, how to sharpen your chisels or re-tooth an old saw blade.  His pieces are in the United States White House Collection.  He uses a handsaw made in the 1700’s.  How cool is that?

Well that simple (and lazy, albeit humorous) one word question, “Why?” got me thinking.  Why should you work with your hands taking three or four, or maybe ten times longer for each mortise and each tenon, and each dovetail until weeks, or maybe months later you have a piece of handcrafted furniture made by you, when if you just bought a dozen or so power tools and a shop, you could turn it out much quicker and with much less effort?  Better yet, why not just shop at a furniture store in a couple hours (or a few minutes online) for less than a fraction of those power tools? Why just get one piece, when nowadays with how cheap the stuff is from China you can probably buy a set for the whole house at IKEA? Who cares, when you move just throw it out.

There is the obvious that we have way too much cheap stuff that we don’t really need, as well as the environmental aspect, but there is another. Our Cheaper Faster More is often made in deplorable conditions that we publicly condemn, yet support with our dollars. Even where the working environment is clean and safe, there are other consideration such as the grey line between free choice and that of wage slavery. I recommend checking out some of the interesting photographs of factories in China by Edward Burtnynsky to get an idea.

I see a similarity with woodworking and photography. Mr. Sellers is using tools over 100 years old, many of which will keep working for generations into the future.  Film photographers everywhere are using cameras forty, fifty, and even 100 years old.  Meanwhile the scrap heaps are full of plastic electric tools and plastic digital cameras made only a few years ago. Mr. Sellers is lovingly and painstakingly making beautiful furniture that will last, and enjoying taking the time to do it. Film photographers are lovingly and painstakingly taking the time to make beautiful photographs (well, hopefully to the photographer at least..). And more importantly, enjoying it.

P.s. You can see Paul Sellers’ website here.

usa today bananas

USA Today and old banana (the banana isn’t fake), Portland Oregon. Leica IIIf / Summitar 5cm