Thursday, January 29, 2015

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 #closeup #lookingup #perspective


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

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?  

Concept and Photo © 2015 Rob Castro

#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, 2015

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, 2015

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, 2015

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 09, 2015

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 07, 2015

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 06, 2015

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