Thursday, January 29

The Story in Art But Don't You Love Her Madly

Must have been influenced by Akira Kurosawa, David Bailey or Edward Weston.

Must have been influenced by Akira Kurosawa, David Bailey or Edward Weston.  Or all of the above?  I've stepped back from what I have been doing as far as my approach to visual art is concerned.  I also have been studying and re-studying photos by the masters.  I've also gone back to my roots in photography - stuff that I did early on and didn't really know what I was doing but knew there was something about it - the excitement, the feelings and the story ... ah, yes the story... this for me is very important in art.  It is always the story that attracts me in art.

#story #blackandwhite #blackandwhitephotography #bw #bnw #fineart #fineartphotography #monochrome #IAMGenerationImage # surreal #blur #existentialism #MeaningOfLife #fashion #glamour #fashionphotography #portrait #close up #lookingup #perspective

Tuesday, January 27

Fear and Loathing

I am a black man living in a so-called post-racial America.  My ancestors were slaves.  People have decided my fate.  My life would become a failure.  This is all by design.  I am fearful.  I am angry.  I am a problem.  What are you going to do about it?  

#IAmGenerationImage #BlackandWhite #BnW #BW #Abstract #AngsandUncertainty #corroded #organic #textured #wetplate #AlternativeProcess #FineArt #FineArtPhotography #BlackandWhitePhotography #portrait #BlackPeople #BlackisBeautiful #fear #loathing #FearAndLoathing #fractured #cubism #collage #geometric #surreal #AfroAmerican #postracialAmerica

Monday, January 26

My muse left me and why I am closing all my social media accounts

There is a gig that some people recommend to me that I don't really expect to be feasible.  A photo exhibit.  It requires money.  Lots and lots.  Yes, money that makes the world go round.  It is somewhat a leap of faith as such investment could fail catastrophically.  I knew one artist who had great materials for an exhibit.  She used up her retirement savings to pay for the invitations, the gallery rental, promos, and food and drink for the guests.  (Yes, you read right - food and drink - people will not show up if you don't provide them.)  At the end of the day, she managed to sell a couple of prints that represented a tiny fraction of what she had spent.  Perhaps, she was just not lucky.  But I never really believed in luck.  Luck it seems to me is a very thin invisible wire between survival and disaster, and so is an illusion to think that people can keep their balance on it.

In the olden days, an aspiring artist may be able to find somebody to help kick start his venture.  One can find these generous supporters in social hang outs.  Andy Warhol, being a social butterfly, hanged out with people who he swindled to fund his projects.  I suppose nowadays with social medias like Facebook and Twitter, one can have some followings.  In my experience, quite a few of these "followers" don't really care about my art but merely wanted me to go and like their page.  It's the "I'll scratch your back, you scratch mine" approach.  Which drives me to frustration because I would not like something that is utter rubbish, which is mostly everything I've seen.  Perhaps the feeling is mutual.  People think that my work is dung but are willing to show contrived appreciation just to win back a favor.  I don't think that is my gig at all.  That is why I am so close to killing all my social media accounts.  It would not be an accident.  Selah.

Thursday, January 15

The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Icons Behind the Lens Series)

Marc Riboud's The Eiffel Tower Painter next to the not so famous Kodak Duaflex.

My apologies to Milan Kundera, the author of the 1984 post modern novel... but it just seems fitting to borrow the title of his book.

Marc Riboud shot The Eiffel Tower Painter in 1953.  While the camera next to Riboud's iconic photo was most likely not what Riboud used, the structure of the camera dovetails to the scaffolding where the painter is standing.  The camera is the Kodak Duaflex, which is a 620 roll film pseudo TLR made by Kodak in the late 1940s and discontinued in 1960.

The camera is quite easy to operate.  There are three settings for the aperture: hazy sun, bright sun and very bright sun.  There are three settings for focusing: close-up, group and very far.  The speed of the shutter is fully manual.  In fact, it depends on how long you hold it.  Hold it for a short time in case it is too bright.  Hold it for long time in case it is dark.  Any idiot can operate this camera.

#Flickr #surreal #tripod #LongExposure #PhotoAsBackground #tribute #StillLife #Monochrome #KodakDuaflex #BoxCamera #IAMGenerationImage #vintage #analogue #camera #IconsBehindTheLensSeries #VintageCamera #film #MarcRiboud #BlackandWhite  #blur

Saturday, January 10

What if it really smells fishy? (The freedom to express)

Art for art sake but what if the fish is really fishy?

The last time I posted a photo like this and said it was smelly I received a number of hate comments, chastising me for calling the fish smelly.  Maybe I should have clarified and should have chosen a more appropriate word like "fishy".  Even then, I suspect there would still be unhappy campers out there.  I thought about this matter of "political correctness" when it comes to expressing one's opinion in light of what happened to the violent attacks in Paris.  Even the White House refused to call it a terrorist attack for fear of something ... I don't know - retribution?  I hope not.  Or is fear from the losing the "you-name-it" sympathizers.  Even though the French authorities call it a terrorist attack.  Even though the perps claimed they were from Al-Qaeda.

Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier said it best, ""Our job is not to defend freedom of speech but without it we're dead. We can't live in a country without freedom of speech. I prefer to die than to live like a rat,"

Je suis Charlie.

#jeSuisCharlie #PoliticalCorrectness #freedomOfSpeech #artforartsake #CharlieHebdo #StephaneCharbonnier #Charb #stilllife #IAmGenerationImage 

Friday, January 9

Holgas and Diana (Icons Behind the Lens Series)

Sergio Larrain's photo behind two Holgas and a Diana.

Can dogs be better artists than us?  Here I was shooting this still life of my toy cameras and Sergio Larrain's photo, and our Pomeranian started complaining.  She insisted that she needed to direct the shoot.

My tribute to toy cameras.  I have a few of them, couple of Holgas and a Diana, which I cherished and made remarkable photos.  They say that post-modern art is about the process.  Yeah, the ones I've taken with these toy cameras may look crappy but the process resulted in very interesting experience and stories to tell.  The photo on the middle was shot by Sergio Larrain in 1957 at Valparaiso, Chile.  The original photo must have been taken with a professional medium format camera or maybe a Leica. (Somebody please tell me if you have this information.)  But what would it looked like if it had been taken with one of the toy cameras?  Hence my interpretation of Larrain's iconic shot.  I think it still looks good.  Personally, I think it even looks better.  Anybody wants to trade their Leica or Hasselblad with my Holga.  I'll trade two Holgas for either one.

#Flickr #surreal #tripod #LongExposure #PhotoAsBackground #tribute #StillLife #Monochrome #Holga #Diana #DianaF #IAMGenerationImage #vintage #analogue #camera #IconsBehindTheLensSeries #VintageCamera #film #SergioLarrain #Valparaiso #Chile #BlackandWhite #ToyCamera #MediumFormat #SergioLarrain #blur

Wednesday, January 7

Don't dump your vintage camera on a dope (Icons Behind the Lens Series)

Yashica Mat 124G and background photos by Vivian Maier (above) and David Bentley.

Juzno:  May I ask what camera do you use?

Vivian Maier: An old Rollieflex.  It's one of the best.

Juzno:  I have a slightly used Yashica Mat-124 G.  Do you want to trade?

Vivian Maier: Monsieur, you must think me a fool.  Why on green earth would I do that?

Juzno:  Yours is old.  Mine is newer.  It was made from 1970 till 1986 and was the last TLR produced by Yashica. Even if this type of camera seemed to be obsolete because of its appearance, it still works very well.

Vivian Maier: Que horroe!

Juzno:  No, really, you ought to consider.  According to the Instruction Booklet, it comes in handy for snapshots or when shooting fast-moving objects at eye-level. Just like the old Rollieflex.

Vivian Maier: I would dump your camera on a dope.

Juzno:  Now wait a minute...

Background photos by Vivian Maier (above) and David Bentley  (below).

#Flickr #portrait #tripod #LongExposure #PhotoAsBackground #tribute #StillLife #Monochrome #YashicaMat124G #IAMGenerationImage #vintage #analogue #camera #IconsBehindTheLensSeries #VintageCamera #film #VivianMaier #DavidBentley #BlackandWhite #TTL #MediumFormat #urban #urbanism #porttrait #vertical

Tuesday, January 6

Say you want a revolution (Icons Behind the Lens Series)

Chairman Mao comfortably behind Pentacon Six

John Lennon sang about him.  Nixon visited him.  Pope Paul VI smoked opium with him.  (I'm kidding on the last one.)  I'm talking about Chairman Mao Tse-tung.  Formidable at one time.  Poets, Priests and Politicians took notice of him.  Walter Bosshard shot this portrait of Mao in 1938.  Mao was yet to be future founder of the People's Republic of China.  At this point, he still has everything ahead of him.

I always wondered why great men usually don't show their teeth when being painted or photographed.  Until I read that great men like anybody else have bad teeth.

On this tribute, I decided to shoot a still life photo of my Pentacon Six along side Bosshard's portrait of Mao.  No special reason.  It was a pure act of randomness on my part.  My creative juices have dried up, and I felt uncompelled to make sense of what I was doing.  Perhaps, subconsciously I affiliated China's communism with the East German's.  Originally known as Praktisix, the Pentacon Six was a product of then communist East Germany.

#Flickr #portrait #tripod #LongExposure #PhotoAsBackground #tribute #StillLife #Monochrome #PentaconSix #IAMGenerationImage #vintage #analogue #camera #IconsBehindTheLensSeries #VintageCamera #film #MaoTsetung #WalterBosshard #BlackandWhite #TTL #MediumFormat #Negative #TTLMeteredPrisim #Communist #Communism 

Tuesday, December 30

The Art of Flamboyance (Icons Behind the Lens Series)

Noel Coward behind the Ansco Super Memar 

Sir Noel Coward is arguably the epitome of flamboyance.  English playwright, composer, singer, director and actor.  That is why I decided to use his photo as a background for the exemplar Ansco Super Memar.  Both are products of the 1950s.  Loomis Dean captured Sir Coward in 1955 at the desert near Las Vegas to depict his song "Mad Dogs and Englishmen".  The camera was made in 1954 by Agfa, the same company that manufactured the film.

I made a few decent shots with this camera.  The viewfinder is bright and uses a neat rangefinder, which focuses with relative ease.  I love this camera for its functionality and for its classic look.

As for Dean's shot of Sir Coward, the urbane artist complained that he doesn't wake up until 4 o'clock in the afternoon.  But with limo and a tub of ice and liquor, Coward was persuaded.  He goes on to say, "Splendid, splendid ... now if only we have a piano."

This is my latest installment to paying tribute to vintage cameras and icons behind them.  For techies, you would be please to note that I've been using the Carl Zeiss 100mm Makro mounted on the Canon 5d Mark ii set at f/22 and at a very long exposure.  I'm also using LEDs to light up the subject.  The killer shot is actually a composite of images shot from different lighting direction and later on layered so I can paint out desirable shadows and highlights.

#Flickr #horizontal #portrait #tripod #LongExposure #PhotoAsBackground #tribute #StillLife #Monochrome #AnscoSuperMemar #IAMGenerationImage #vintage #analogue #camera #IconsBehindTheLensSeries #VintageCamera #film #LoomisDean #NoelCoward #LifeMagazine #rangefinder

Saturday, December 27

Harbor Ventura in the Sunset

Boats along Ventura Harbor

I'm sorry to write that this post is tired and boring so I'm hoping that the majestic sunset photo above will make up for it.

There is a popular 70s song called Ventura Highway.  I wish somebody would have written a song about Ventura Harbor.  I think the harbor has far more romantic appeal than the crowded highway.

We did something different this Christmas.  We went up to Ventura to spend Christmas there.  The drive was not bad since everybody was going on the opposite direction: towards Las Vegas.  I read somewhere that casino try to out do one another this time of the year.  Also, everything is open.

We stayed at the same hotel that Mimi loved.  She has become familiar with the place that she would mark every turf we passed by.

One thing that I learned about going out of town during Christmas was that almost all the restaurants were closed.  Las Vegas is an exception.  The only ones we found out that were opened were Asian restaurants and ones in hotels.  I suppose both of them don't celebrate Christmas.  I bet that these restaurants make the most profit during this day.

#vacation #VenturaHarbor #travel #boat #sunset #CaliforniaSunset #IAMGenerationImage 

Friday, December 26

Brownie Girl (Icons Behind the Lens Series)

Partial photo of Alfred Eisenstaedt's Children and the Puppet Theater Behind the Kodak Bbrownie Target Six-16

The Brownie Target Six-16 was introduced in 1946 and was discontinued fifteen years later.  It was originally priced at $4.  Nowadays, one could get an acceptably functional one between $30 to $80.  I say "acceptably functional" because one could never really get a shot that would be comparable even to today's cheapest camera available.  I'm not sure where I got mine.  I'm sure somebody must have given it to me.  I have a few more Brownies, which kind people gave to me and which I also plan to pay tribute to later on.  I have not much use for them.  The camera uses a film size 616, which is almost impossible to get hold of as Kodak discontinued its manufacture in 1984.  Maybe Kodak thought that 1984 would turn the States into the dystopian era similar to George Orwell's 1984 novel.

Although the Brownie is in a different era as Alfred Eisenstaedt's photo of Children at the Puppet Theater (shot in 1963), the nostalgic feel of the photo and of that of the camera go well together in my opinion.  I must be post-modern.  Because I don't have much regard to historical accuracy when it suits me.   Eisenstaedt's photo captures the children's excitement as they watched a puppet show.  The Brownie captures the same excitement for amateur photographers who could take pictures without pawning the family heirloom.

I love it that the little girl is leaning towards the camera and looking at Eisenstaedt.  Everyone else is engrossed at the puppet show.  Come to think of it, the image reminds me of Orwell's 1984 for some reason.

#Flickr #horizontal #portrait #tripod #LongExposure #PhotoAsBackground #tribute #StillLife #Monochrome #KodakBrownieTargetSix #IAMGenerationImage #vintage #analogue #camera  #IconsBehindTheLenaSeries #VintageCamera #film #AlfredEisenstaedt #ChildrenandthePuppetTheater

Tuesday, December 23

Mama miya My Mamiya - an afterthought (Icons Behind the Lens Series)

Nina Leen's Whippet behind Mamiya-6

If you are a person who likes to be the center of attention, I have two suggestions when getting photographed: (1) do not pose with a young child, and (2) do not pose with a cute dog.  I guarantee that either of these two will blow you off and steal your show.  Hence I may be making a big mistake in composing the picture above.

Nina Leen shot this fawn-and-white whippet in 1964.  The dog became a superstar in Great Britain.  To my eyes, the photo has that classic portrait feel that I thought would be a cool background for my classic Mamiya-6.  Initially the vertical photo above was going to be my tribute to the Mamiya-6 but I ended using Bill Beall's Busted as a background photo just because it looked better on screen.  In doing Icons behind the Lens series, I realized that the horizontal or landscape format worked better when displayed on the screen of a computer.  My dilemma is that horizontal formats do not work well in books as opposed to vertical or portrait format.  I'm still trying to figure out a way for the audience to appreciate looking at photos in both a book form and the web.  Sometimes, the square format is the compromising solution.  But this would mean cropping the picture  since I'm using an SLR with a 2x3 format.  I think that would be a waste of pixels.

#Whippet #NinaLeen #portrait #VintageCamera #IconsBedhindTheLensSeries #IAMGenerationImage #Mamiya6 #StillLife #LifeMagazine #FoldingCamera #MediumFormat #6x6 #tripod #LongExposure #PhotoAsBackground #tribute  #vintage #analogue #camera  #film