Once upon a time there was a shop on the right side of the high road to Taos in the lovely land of New Mexico. A Roadside Attraction? Maybe not for everyone but it’s part of a photographer’s mind set… if it’s interesting, stop the car, right? Lucky, I guess, that most of the people I travel with are like minded. ;0)
Well, in 1996, this little shop was owned by a quiet man… a man nice enough to take the time for a conversation and a permission to take this picture. Right on the busy road, he seemed able to relax into the dusty light and show us around. Inside, the room was cool and dusky, full of various and beautiful bones… so many shapes. There was a bear skull and there were incredible snake skeletons. Anyone who knows me already understands the draw… been collecting bones and rocks since forever.
I scanned the old negative yesterday and have tried to make it right. The shop was empty last September when Opera Boy and I stopped. Santa Fe has a huge chunk of my heart even though I don’t get to go often anymore but I always thought I’d see this shop again. Stop while you can… Roadside Attractions may not be there the next time you swing through.
Preservation Jazz Hall is a place where history has piled up and I think photography is a kind of a pile of history, too. Everyone has their own version of a place so each history may seem a little different but if you put them all in the pile, it blends into itself and comes down to us of a piece.
Someday soon, Opera Boy and I are going to travel to New Orleans for a visit. It’s been 40 some-odd years since I lived in the French Quarter but parts of it rush up behind my eyes with such clarity that it is hard to ignore. When he decided that it was our next destination, I got the scanner out and pulled some of my favorite images of the Quarter from the early ’70’s.
This one was from a hot October night at Preservation Hall… it was crammed with steamy people and nobody cared because the music was so fine!
Of course there will be a camera in my hand when we go… hoping against hope that it hasn’t become it’s own little theme park… hoping to catch a glimpse of my younger self on the avenue or looking out a window. Someday can’t come soon enough. ;0)
I added this and a handful of others to my website… now that I have a Personal Work section, even I get to visit them more often. Maybe I’ll see you there? ;0)
Once upon a time, I used to turn to Infrared film for a jolt of inspiration… it was a voice for me that I didn’t apply to my regular work. It required me to pay attention differently and I know that was the key.
In 2005, I heard that you could have a camera converted to Infrared and I thought it would be the answer in the digital age. I took one of my D70s out of regular service and had it converted. I was disappointed by it in a couple of ways, the biggest issue being that I no longer got to look at a scene through a red filter… apparently that was a strong part of the seeing process for me. The other problem was that it never really looked quite like the film had… there was a texture and a light to it that was missing. You can see some of my film work in this post.
A few days ago, I pulled that old camera off the shelf and wandered around my yard with it… trying a few things as a test. I have new software in my aresenal now that may make the difference. Yesterday, I took the camera with me to meet a new friend and I took some more photos while we talked. Something tells me that I may have a new way to see again… I’m not sure, yet, that it will match my film days but it will be something different and that is a wonderful thing. ;0)
1987 was a good year for getting out with my camera. I had taken the gigantic step of giving up my day job at Jake’s Famous Crawfish to make photography a full time thing. I knew it would take some doing to get it going but the transition also gave me new chances to work on my own art. My photographer friend, Don Hamilton, suggested that we head out one afternoon and we found ourselves in an old warehouse on the west end of the Burnside Bridge. It had always caught me because the windows were full of mannequins… piles of them. Inside was a jumble of light and limbs. Some were old, some new… some oddly staged and some, very obviously forgotten. Don and I spent a couple of dusty hours there… lots of film got used that day but this one has been a favorite for a long time. Last I heard, the mannequins were moved to a property in Linnton but I have yet to find it… maybe I should stop and ask sometime.
My apologies in advance to my good friends who actually work with wet plate and some of the lovely older photographic processes… I know that this will just seem wrong. This is another iPhone image… this time it is from Hipstamatic… Tinto 1884 + D-Type Plate. It is not an app for the faint of heart and, so far, there are many subjects that don’t translate well. I will use it sparingly.
I ran it on Instagram the other day and am tickled to report that I have sold a nice print of it… for my old-school friends, you’ll be glad to hear that it is at least on a good, proper paper and will last a long time.
Last Spring I posted about being all excited by the addition of an iPhone to my gear bag… I have not been disappointed. Sure, I needed a real phone but I bought it for the camera. There is good photography going on in this very portable genre… if the apps are handled well, art happens. It is something you carry in your pocket and it has changed my already odd habit of looking at the world for things I’d like to keep, maybe to share. It makes me self-assign on a very different level.
The lead image here is a section of the Seattle Music Experience… the Space Needle is off to my right in case you go up there… huge, crazy, beautiful planes of metal designed by Frank O. Gehry.
Opera boy and I took advantage of a recent clear, cold day for a walkabout near Powell’s Books. This one was processed in an app called Decim8 and it is an interesting departure from it’s rather straightforward original… I don’t usually go this far with my images but I am liking this one very much.
This stack of bowls was a display at Rejuvenation Hardware… that place is an absolute candy store for me. I never had the nerve to just wander around with my real camera but with the iPhone, I look like every other shopper there taking notes in the showrooms. ;0)
Opera Boy and I wandered a little further in the cold sun and I found this one… that’s him in the hat.
Anyway, these are a few I felt like putting up today… tomorrow, the real business of 2013 begins again and I have other work to finish. The play will take a back seat for a while.
Seattle’s Pike Place Market is always a draw for me when I have a little spare time… sure, it’s crazy crowded and maybe a little too full of tourists but something in me enjoys watching the hustle. Camera-wise, it takes me to other places in my life like the flea market near my apartment in the French Quarter or the older parts of Coney Island… there’s a little ‘midway’ about all of them.
These two ladies had found a less trammelled space for a conversation and coffee. Out that bright window is Elliott Bay and Puget Sound full of ferries and small humped islands… on a sunny day you can see the incomparable Olympic Mountains. I imagine it was a fine view for the silent parts of a conversation.
Me, I just like to watch the world go by.
Apparently, I am an easy mark for any technology, old or new, that gives me a way to see. This last Sunday I had the pleasure of taking a full day workshop from a very talented photographer, Jan Sonnenmaier. She is a woman I have known of for years and I am sorry I haven’t done more to get to know her before now.
Jan teaches an iPhone camera workshop. Keep in mind that for a few years, I have taken a rather dim view of the whole idea of camera phones. I just didn’t get what the fuss was all about. Until now. My new iPhone 4s has more than twice the megapixels of my first pro digital DSLR. Besides the whole file size issue, it also has some of the most nuanced options you might ever hope for. Jan introduces the best apps and goes into the guts to show you how it all works.
Long story short, I now have a small presence on Instagram @joeytallboy and a fantastic array of tools in my pocket… can’t wait to see where it goes from here!
New tools, old tricks, I guess… I joined the ranks of the iPhone Tribes yesterday and while I haven’t done much communicating, you can bet I have been trying to become one with it’s camera. ;0)
In my camera history, I have always roamed my own house and yard to try out any new gear… film, lenses, cameras… it’s a really good way to see how something new is going to translate for me. These are everyday places for me. I am used to the light and the shadows… the moods of my home.
I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised and very happy to have a new voice in my bag!
There was once a sunny day when two friends decided to take a walk about. Ross Hamilton used to wait tables with me at Jake’s Famous Crawfish… we found kindred artistic souls in each other, though I believe he was a true Renaissance Man… many more talents than I will ever have. Ross told me he wanted to take the cameras to this SE Portland switching yard and I will always remember his quiet grin as we stood above the tracks. We gave up the daily contact as we took separate career paths but he was good about calling with a lunch invite or just for coffee. He’s gone now… lost his battle in 2006 but he left behind a world of friends.