Wednesday, January 9

A Sense of an Ending

And Its Artist Died
Has the studio soul?
Does it scram with its artist?
Is a studio clothes?
An affectation of him,

Or the kernel of a whole?

Do studios wonder
When harshly left… Forsaken?
About advice to finish
What together they started?

Does Studio mourn an end?

Here’s a lonely, gray Lancaster County, Pennsylvania morning… or mourning, depending on your bent. Can you sense mine that day? I captured its aura through my hand-held Canon 7D’s 17-85mm f4-5.6 glass then stitched the pieces together in PS augmenting its feelings with a bunch of custom brushes and textures. Finally I grabbed Alien Skin’s Snap Art to work in an oil-painted mood of loss or even portention (izzat a word? Regardless, it fit my feeling).

Friday, January 4



Digimos Are Cruel Mothers
Merry New Year Andreas... I'm totally grateful for you response to my last post, and for the thinking it triggered.  I've told you my "Mogul" theory of digital education... Let me reiterate for others..

Moguls are fiendish cuts or bumps that nature or diabolic groomers lace onto a ski slope to challenge downhillers. Fields may often have many hundreds of them. Of course the greater the slope the greater the challenge they present to athletes. Now anyone who can stand up on skis can navigate, say, one of these things. But as the slope increases, well they seem to come faster and faster - goosing up the challenge. 

App developers produce their products much like mogul crafters. Most consumer apps are like any one mogul, meaning they present little challenge to folks with average intelligence... like me, or like a 7, 8 or 10 year-old. The thing is, I have a life and consequently not a lot of time to spend on the mogul fields of application development... the digital moguls or digimos. So I commit those scarce moments I have for learning toward mastering the most essential digimos and no time to understanding the architecture of an entire field of related bumps. Which is why youth (or dedicated specialists) seems so much smarter since digimo surfing is their passion.

Once There Were Dinosaurs 

I first entered the digimo fields in college, BACK IN THE EARLY 1960s, when my undergrad school got an IBM 1620 that was fed instructions (and data) through a combo of wired boards and cardboard cards. Economic education understood the importance of cyber tools but there was so much else to study that residual time for computer mastery was already rationed and there were few spontaneous moments to invest in the computer room (which was an eye-squinting white and sterile environment). And even getting access was time consuming. 

For the next 15 years computers were like Bibles in medieval churches... chained to their sanctuaries and available only by permission to the priesthood. Actually my field of economic study allowed me a LOT MORE access than to others but only for the use of rapidly appearing econometric apps... so I studied and mastered essential digimos - that my field's increasingly mathematical emphasis permitted me to enter. 

Revolution came in the mid 70s with Tandy and Apple personal computers. Any kid with keyboard facility could leap onto the digimo field and careen along even the steepest slopes. Neither scarcity of time, nor a mathematical facility hampered access for kids as developers built an increasing array of new mogul-like bumps. With so much time available to them, great hunks of the 70s youth warp-sped along. Even slightly older folks with computer knowledge were left behind as life crowded out the mastery-time which kids had. 

Let me be clear, kids were no brighter, shrewder, nor more analytical than us... but a hell of a lot more proficient. Plus app developers dumbed down their offerings. computer friendly times had arrived. Instead of apps demanding computer literacy, apps had become people literate. Had to since frankly the bulk of kids weren't all that bright (no population as a whole is). So while I carefully picked out the apps I had to master, youth scampered, skipped, careened, and flashed across whole fields of digimos seeing both the value of each to them AND the relation of each new app to the field as a whole. They mastered deep and wide application knowledge. Fascinating. BTW... application knowledge does not equal development mastery.

Slipping & Sliding 

Given the decades since, the divide between users and masters has grown dramatically. And whole generations of people are routinely falling off of the digimo fields much the same as glaciers calve away icebergs to float off  then dissolve in warmer waters. Digimo mastery, like athletics, is a place where youth are best equipped to play. 

So, when this Blogger challenge (which I grumbled about in my 12/17 posting) occurred a month or so ago, I was lost in this digimo field. The glitch it turned out was tiny, yet not intuitive. I finally carved out a piece of time (once again, my most scarce commodity) and fixed it. Meantime a dozen other glitches have developed in my desired use of other apps, and each will demand similar hunks of time to diagnose and repair. The warm waters of maturity are melting away my aging computer expertise. Grumble. 

Sooner or later as we bob away from the mother glacier we will all sink as we watch kids cavort all over its surface. Sigh...

Commvergence: Andreas Channels The Tide

Do I envy them? Well hell yes. The website you designed for yourself answers so many of the needs which blog sites do not. And in particular it carves into the most vexing irritant of creators of fine art. Blogs are linear. But they deal with the evolution of an idea in precisely the wrong direction... at least for the visitor. What that visitor sees at the beginning - is an end. S/he finds that the conclusions to a stream of thought are the first thing that they see and have to somehow wend their way back to its inception in the thread to follow the intricacies of a concepts evolution. Which is EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE of the way that video, audio, print, and minds have worked for millennia. 

So now you've allowed your visitor... audience... class... acolytes, fans... friends... students... whoever... to more easily start at the beginning and to sense relationships between different aspects of your art (visit Andreas Mannesinger's blog with the link on the right column). This is an important start. Do I envy that... HELL YES! The structure of blogs is inconsistent with the spontaneous evolving  intermix of graphic and alpha conceptual discussion in a usefully accessible way. I cannot easily grab an image I may have posted from ten years ago to expand a current concept. Worse yet, a visitor can not in any casual way sink her/his own drill into the ImageFiction vein of stuff (don't get me started on the primitive nature of tags for navigation). 

Which is why I gave up daily posting a LONG time ago. I consider images and words  to be married... it's a form called illios where both the writing and graphics form a total concept. Graphics are not illustrations. They are not illumination of written thoughts in another form, but instead are irreplaceable components of an illios' concept. They are not worth a 1,000 words, but rather worth no words, nor are any number of words worth a graphic. Each is essential to the illio or concept which is being communicated.... The is communications convergence or COMMVERGENCE. You've begun the task of creating a truly commverged site. There is no vanilla app (like Blogger) that will do that. At least none of which I am aware. And those which may allow me to approximate it are expensive and will involve time to master their internal logic.

In reaction to my problem with Blgger you commented, "Oh my! Infrastructure. Don't get me started. Currently my blog works and it should, as I have nobody to blame any more. Problems like that originally made me leave Blogger. At that time I couldn't add more tags to my posts. Anyway. Glad it works again for you :)"

But your mastery of development allowed you to roam around atop the iceberg, well behind the cracks that calved me away decades ago. So, I continue to make a blog site work to produce comprehensible illios on a blog-device that's like a Conestoga wagon to your starship. Grumble... Oh the wagon generally gets me to a destination, but slowly and with a lot of compromises re. the power of commvergence. I've yet to see a photographer or artist's home site that will allow a true marriage of words and graphics, nor an ability to squoosh visitor-comments into the individual illios. Right now, the business of posting is a complexity that sucks away the artist's time... which is, as I've whined above, the scarcest of all commodities to anyone much older than say... twenty two.

Did I write "grumble" before? 

Monday, December 31

1/1/19 • 12:39AM

Claude Monet wrote, "Light is in league with the passage of time. It is gifted with the power to change not just the color of things, but their form and substance too."

A warm New Year everyone. 

Monday, December 17

Black Bile


I cannot answer or comment upon comments to this blogsite!

Dunno what's happened but when I log in and attempt to reply to comments - for the past weeks - I've been abruptly redirected to the back room where posts are created and edited! Which is where I am right now, composing this essay. Meaning, I cannot post responses to your comments on this site!!! At least until I can figure out what's happened. 

Hence perspicacious thoughts like those from Felix and Andreas - have become orphans. Dunno what to do short of  tedious interaction with the Blogger folks (if there are any. I have a sense that Blogger is entirely managed by an algorithmic robot) so, given so many niggling details of life just now, it's a meeting that's impossible for me to schedule. Which, of course, injects me with a hot-shot of melancholy.

In the interim, if commenters would send me thoughts to the "Email Ted" mail link on the right - that'd be nice.

So, I'm pissed, since I've composed responses to every comment, but cannot drop them here. Grumble. Oh well... Merry and Happy season everyone. Hope it's blessed and wise. Meantime, I'll lurch around mumbling to myself in a cranky huff...

BTW, the 2019 Cranky Huff model has just been released to dealer showrooms where it throbs dully in one color... black matte.


Yep, I've responded to Cedric on this post... Now lemme goto the previously unanswered comments to past posts. Hope it works. Sorry about the rant, but I'm leaving the pict and my explanation. K?

That image up there? It's a Spanish bano serving an otherwise elegant restaurant. Don't know why, but bathroom engineering and design fascinate me the same way that Stephen King's stories used to. Anyone know what a Roman toilet-room looked like? Greek? Egyptian? Mesopotamian? Druid? Talk about "The power behind the throne..."

Monday, November 26


So, how do notions of clean and clutter interact? I mean, minimalists believe that less is more,while that’s me up there in the title image, wondering if more is less?Huh?

Clutter’s the quarry of minimalists and me. We both want to shrink a story to its essence. Yet I do the opposite of whatever minimalists do. Is there a word for the opposite of minimalist?

The thesaurus cranks out synonyms for minimalism like; essential, austere, basic, conservative, moderate, spare, stark, or unadulterated. While its opposites are; embellished, ornate, lavish, and outlandish.

Giants of photography like Henri Cartier-Bresson hunted Decisive Moments: instants when life’s parts lined up into a meaning. They stalked frames of evidence. Like life: Cartier-Bresson’s stories are intricate yet straightforward. But even with their complexities it’s wrong to think of his images as embellished or outlandish. His parts epoxy together. 

Look here at Bresson’s Rue Mouffetard  Paris. 

Henri Cartier-Bresson: Rue Mouffetard, Paris – 1952
Last sold for $43,750

Here’s a sense of time, place, culture, and feeling. It’s a novel squashed onto one frame. Genius!

It’s the whole of a concept that makes a meaning. To paraphrase Antonio Salieri’s wonder over discovering Mozart’s hand-written scores in the movie Amadeus, “There are NO corrections, deletions or additions: None!  Add or remove a single note and the entire masterpiece implodes. It is as if he takes dictation from God!” 

So? Is Cartier-Bresson a minimalist?

I’m re-reading Michael Freeman’s Fifty Paths To Creative Photography, (IIlex Press 2016), and he’s triggered me to think that life and art are all about, lining things up – where to put stuff. Unlike other artists who could move things where they wanted, before digital it was photographers who had to move around. While it’s still a good idea, now we can move life's furniture in post. 

To photographic digital-artists, just as they are to many drawing-artists, what comes out of a camera are reference-images. Many of my artist friends take a series of photo-sketches… that they lug back to clip beside their easels. Some are facial or body expressions, some mood impressions, while many lack the lighting that ignites feelings. Most are simply snapshots of stuff – their photo sketchbook. But they contain the essence of theme for the artist to extract a narrative by realigning the pieces into an inclination greater than the sum of these parts. Which of course is the essence of conceptual art.

Serendipity happens when you find valuable or agreeable stuff you weren’t looking for. Synergy happens when the sum is greater than its parts.  Squoosh the two together and it makes me imagine what Synerdipity might mean. Isn’t synerdipity what the artist does? An artist wills things to relate. 

Once at a party I came upon a pair of literature professors wondering if one could think without words. Distractions happened and I never heard their conclusion – Damn! Perhaps they could have inserted “symbols” for “words” so that they wondered if thought had to involve the symbolic: and that thinking was a matter of sculpting an angel from a stone made up of symbols? Do y’gotta’ have a pile of tangibles to arrange into something intangible? 

For the moment let’s forget that our Latin/Greek based languages  (the only ones I know enough about to make sweeping statements) are all substantially metaphoric at heart. You know that abstract reasoning is also called conceptual reasoning. It’s an ability to problem-solve by identifying patterns, logic and trends from new data, then to focus conclusions. IQ is an attempt to measure degrees of insightful (or useful) intelligence while EQ is a similar attempt to measure the usefulness of an individual’s emotional tools. Great creators in every field are generally high IQ & EQ. They can CQ (Conceptual Quotient) at astonishing levels. 

And CQ is a tool of synerdipity. With or without words, artists reveal patterns. Now, let me digress for a moment. 

Regardless of the complexity of their challenge: mathematicians and engineers seek elegance. Which means they abhor clutter. So does an artist’s concept. In his frame of evidence for my conclusion look again at Bresson’s Rue Mouffetard. Think again about Solieri’s  startled reactions to Mozart’s scores. Both those scores and Carier-Bresson’s decisive moments are elegant in the mathematical and engineering sense. They can be condensed no farther. 

Their frames are bursting with meticulous meaning without any of the embellished, ornate, lavish, or outlandish which thesaurus-makers say are the antonyms for the word minimalism. They contain only the essential, austere, basic, conservative unadulterated pattern of whole concepts. And yet while we have a word for minimalists there is none for their opposite.

Here're three examples of photographic-based art which I could never have accomplished in a wet darkroom.

Here, look first at a 2007 shot I grabbed when a street carnival opened in a small Lancaster park.

Air Chairs • Buchanan Park, Lancaster, PA • May, 2007

The reference image showed a Ferris Wheel’s empty cages juxtaposed against flashing lights and a grey rain-stained sky. But the final image brought those lights and carriages together into a surreal feeling backlit by impossible heavens. 

Second in complexity here is a 2013 Dublin street capture – well actually two snaps. The first one was of street facades which, upon close inspection, showed lingering ravages of the real estate collapse of 2008. See how these are X-ray buildings? You can look right though them as most of their floors were empty. The second, which I placed in the foreground involved a mother and pram against a poster’ed wall. This second of the two suggested hope which was now both placed in front of, yet walled off from, both the immediate and distant past.  Again matching the dynamic (and depth of field) range of these two disparate photo-sketches into this seamless collage was a darkroom impossibility: Synerdipity.

In Sunshine or in Shadow • Dublin, Ireland • May, 2007

And finally, look here at “Time Ravages All Roses 

Time Ravages All Roses • Geo-Collage • May, 2007

Yeah, the reference pix were stark. The coffined background was captured in a Dublin mausoleum, while the taxidermy monkey stood years earlier on an antique shop’s dusty shelf in Beaufort, South Carolina.  I found the back wall beneath an Amsterdam bridge. 

Complexity grows among these three images. “Air Chairs” involves one reference image, “In Sunshine or in Shadow” two, and “Time Ravages All Roses” a bundle of stuff. But just as “Rue Mouffetard, Paris” demands all of its component pieces to complete its narrative, so too do the three images that follow. None of the reference images stood alone. It is their juxtaposition which adds sufficient detail to tell their stories. 

Mathematical elegance does not require fewer equations, but rather the fewest components to prove a premise.  I suggest that minimalism in conceptual fine art photography demands sufficient pieces to convey a unity of both complex thoughts and feelings. Which means adding stuff until (but not beyond) the narrative’s need for clarity. Which means that in conceptual fine art, more is necessary until the point is made elegantly. See what I mean? CQ is the tool of synerdipity.

With respect to conceptual art, more is frequently essential to make a Spartan point. Which brings me back to the question… If conceptual fine artists are not minimalists, then what are they called? Why is there no word that defines the opposite of minimalist: A word that compacts elegance, and irreducible meaning? Have you ever noticed that until there’s a word for something, it doesn’t exist? Take say, the internet”. Or how about feminism, cartoons, or fusion cuisine? Did electricity exist before it was named? How about econometrics, existentialism, or porn? 

Perhaps synerdipity’s the word for that which is definitely not Spartan, austere, spare or stark, yet not outlandish, decorous, ornate, lavish, or outlandish. Is the frame of evidence opposite to minimalist that carries none of those pejorative overtones synerdipidist?

 Just wrestling with the synerdipity of art, y’know?

Wednesday, November 14

5 Mirrors, 6 Windows

Bedroom Window on the Arno, Florence, Italy, Oct-2007

Sometimes I feel less like a spectator than a speculator about my feelings. You get that, right? I wind up, not so much presenting facts as representing emotions. Someone told me that speculation is a necessary condition of artistic creation. Andrew Wyeth, for example, represents ideas as feelings. His work shows misty colors that a hand-wave might swipe away... along with the moment.  

GEEK STUFF: Shot of the Arno grabbed with my Canon 60's  EFS 17-85mm lens. Hand-held at about 7:30am in the very early Fall of 2007. Processed in PS-CC and Topaz Clarity to enhance the dynamic range of the curtains. Our second floor apartment was on the Lungarno Ameriga Vespucci about 4 blocks down-stream from the Ponte Veccio. 

Sunday, October 28


Drive south along Interstate I95 and leave North Carolina. Within a quarter of a mile South of the Border appears on your left. It's a sprawling tourist trap filled with clip-joint shops, restaurants, a gas station, and assorted tourist attractions - including a large public toilet. It presents you with a battle between ticky and tacky, with tacky ahead by a nose.

The motif is sort of stereotypical Mexican... as imagined by people who don't seem to like Mexico all that much. Now I'm not a believer in the concept of La Raza. Most Latin Americans that I've met have as much European blood as me. However they are as ethnically different from my Irish ancestors as Serbo-Croatians. There is a Latin culture that's taken on unique national characteristics as you travel from nation to nation. What ties them together is Spanish.

However, ethnic cultures always seem to clash - and those clashes produce some hot sparks, even fires - right? Last week, a television news lady was fired from her network job on NBC for having a discussion which seemed to license black-face halloween costumes. Which brings me to South of the Border in South Carolina.

Here's that Pedro public toilet. So? Is "Pedro" not as ethnically insensitive as black-face costumes? The place has been around for decades -  perhaps half a century. Its designers probably consider the motif to be fun. Moreover it's thousands of miles away from the Mexican border. But... have definitions of humor changed drastically enough over the last couple of decades to pop the place's humor balloon? Is South  of the Border a racist (or at least an ethnic) dog-whistle?

Thursday, October 11


Distinguished Austrian art photographer: Andreas Mannesinger - Vienna 10/8
My friend Andreas generously gave me an entire day of his time last Fall to tour his city. It was a gorgeous, if hot, walk through the capital of European art and music history. Nowhere has  contributed more to Western thought and culture. Imagine, I had a personal guide to wander the ancient city's streets. And what a guide. Many of you visit Andreas' site where he's uploaded a stunning image daily for what? 12 years? More? If you've not grazed his work.. go on over to:

Of course with only one day to "do" Vienna - I was overwhelmed. But Andreas took me through the streets,  subways, river banks, pubs, restaurants, and historic sites that I'd never have found on my own. We even had time to relax for an hour in the university's quadrangle to sit and talk about this moment in world-time. 

This was our second chance at a photo-shoot together. Our first came when we met in Florence, Italy in 2007. Odd thing about Andreas... he doesn't age! It must be something in the Austrian water. On the streets, Austrians are handsome and intelligent people - Perhaps they hide plain and ugly folks? Nah... :-)

Saturday, September 22

Dappled Street Art

Musser Park, the Green Heart of Lancaster, sits fifty feet from our front door. It's the city's only central green space. Weather permitting, it fills with lunch-baggers, free-range kids, rallies, pick-up games, family picnics, music groups, holiday events, sunbathers, young loves or readers on benches, chess players, dog walkers: like that.

Sometimes it's where people assemble to do politics in the sunshine. Then, thousands come to learn and share beliefs. It's a civics place that allows for loud and quiet reflection. Over the last handful of decades we've renamed parks, now they're public spaces (as if they weren't before). Even among public tumult, even when hundreds or thousands of people swirl around... A man can sit in the grass, and try to figure out a moment in time. 

In Musser Park, more than sunlight dapples. 

Monday, September 10

Crystal Clarity

What's clear? Is anything doubtless? Anything? Look, there ought to be facts. Things that... are, correct? I know some deconstructionists. Literary scholars. Well, sort of. Each was once upon a time an academic... College instructors. None earned tenure. Literature departments gush green Ph.D.s into a collegiate labor market that's become a lot like the market for art. Which is to say, no market at all. Increasingly universities are contracting arts and humanities positions through attrition. So tenure-track demand has fallen below replacement levels. Supply of humanists way overwhelms demand. 

Markets require a price that will clear surpluses. Yet only a negative price will clear a market like art or deconstructionism. Meaning? Market entrants will have to give their services away or, increasingly, pay customers to take them. Now subsidies are effectively a way to pay customers to accept a product (think Tesla). And while there are significant heaps of government,  donor, or endowment subsidies to colleges and universities - they have not reached a level sufficient to clear the market (in fact they've fed the beast). Meaning? There will at first be a bulge in unemployed humanists, until eventually many leave the market, seeking to retrofit themselves to fit the demand for customers who are hiring. These are labor markets only tangentially (at best) in need of deconstructionidt scholarship.

To the market emigrants, deconstruction becomes perhaps a memory, a hobby, therapy, or a creed - maybe all. Trained to deconstruct... they do... in business, government, non-profits... in whatever port the storm's driven them. Which is different from critical or strategic thought. They are graduate critics - a lay priesthood. 

Nothing to them is clear. Subjective kicks objective's ass. 

They're trained to miss the point. They are driven by a faith in nothing. Nihilism. The critical question is: How acceptable are life options. If we take our eyes off of that for even a moment, we are at risk of allowing distractions away from the obvious. Like the numbers on a pay or assistance check... smiles on family faces... risk benefit results... Or risk benefit analysis at all. 

They are driven by a faith in nothing. Nihilism. Only to discover that hope is not a business plan. 

The GEEK STUFF?  Nothing special. Here's a grab-shot of  vessels cooling before packaging at Ireland's Waterford Glassworks. The golden light bulb cast turns mood into fact. Reflections spark the imagination. As in life, we confront each successive object through its foreground. Knowing even the nearest future through what the immediate moment permits us to know. Is reality what filters allow us to believe? Or is it crystal clear that here are three beautiful objects? Of course, beautiful's a weasel word, huh? Adjectives do that. 

Wednesday, August 29

Bernie Came To Town - 5 (End)

Here's Vermont's Democrat-Socialist Senator and 2016 Democrat Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders. He's speaking before Jess King's logo in her race as Lancaster County's Democrat candidate for Congress in November 2018. 

Pity that Senator Sanders won't come out of his shell :-)

He spoke flames to this crowd who began hot for Congressional candidate Jess King. There is nothing more American than a summer stump speech from an explosive orator who's scattered facts onto a bed of bubbling emotions. The base is entertained, informed, and cranked to a pitch to, well... pitch for anyone this guy likes. Sanders is a missionary for his ideology.

While a partisan wants to grab power for a party, an ideologue seeks to focus power narrowly toward a cause. Trump and Sanders are both ideologues and each has a base of believers. Ideologies are similar to religious doctrines. At some point unanswerable questions are satisfied by belief. I was once a progressive liberal, now - not so much.  But recollections are tickle-able.

This group's triangular shape reminded me of the famous Marine rising of the
American Flag  over  Iwo Jima toward the end of WWII. 

Yeah, the crowd tickled my golden memories of solidarity, hope, and faith. I could feel the shoulders, smiles, and heat of unknown friends crowding against me from rallies past. Here's a community of people bound by wants, needs, and desires. Do they all agree? Mostly - well maybe not the unknown sign holder up above. And who knows - if the devil is in the details - there probably are a bunch of micro disagreements among these folk. But they were making memories aligned with mine. 

There was logic here, and facts... but overall there was feeling. Maybe. by the time you're visiting this cluster of five posts, you'll know Jess King's and perhaps even Senator Sanders' futures after the November 2018 elections. Maybe you'll care. One thing's certain - this lady above, and her sister-in-Sanders/King below - will... care deeply.

Welcome to small-town-grassroots America.

POSTSCRIPT: Since I posted this series an election was held and the candidate that Bernie came to support in Lancaster - Jess King: A Democrat for Congress -was crushed by over 50,000 votes by Amish-born Congressman Lloyd Smucker in November of 2018. 

Tuesday, August 28

Bernie Came To Town - 4

So? Is Bernie Sanders controversial or mainstream? Izzit possible to be both? Who decides whether something is "controversial". To some President Trump is controversial, other find Mrs. Clinton leads their list of controversial folks. By the way, is there something wrong with being "controversial"? Is that a negative label? Miriam Webster defines controversy as, "a discussion marked especially by the expression of opposing views." And "controversial" the dictionary define as, " Of, relating to, or arousing controversy." Are these bad or even dangerous things? 

I'm going to guess about this happy mother and child that, even if she finds Senator Sanders, controversial, that she neither finds him bad, nor dangerous. Mothers rarely expose their babies to hazards. In fact, to the degree that she finds the Senator's views to be in opposition to others, they don't seem in opposition to hers. Hence - there's no controversy here. Yet, someone has defined this Senator, the present President, and the views of so many others to be controversial. Who are the labelers? 

A supporter of AFSME vigorously supports Democrat Congressional candidate Jess King.

Yessss... there are people strongly invested in Senator Sanders and Jess King's views. And frequently they represent groups to which they belong. For example the enthusiastic lady above wears a tea shirt sporting the emblem of the American Federation of State and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union which feels changes in legislation or the courts might be difficult to deal with. 

Nobody likes change. Many hopefully endorse it, yet find its disciplines uncomfortable. Hope's a fragile business plan. Now I'm not writing about trends here... Trends are like the ocean's currents that move things along in a kind of predictable way leaving lots of time for, well, assimilation to a trend's dynamics. It's when people notice changes in trends that they go like, "Huh"?

Where's Waldo? Is Democracy lost like Waldo, or has it found it's
setting among the large  audience in  Musser Park, PA?
Then they wonder where their world's going... or went. Irving Kristol, wrote "The leverage of ideas is so immense that a slight change in the intellectual climate can ... twist a familiar institution into an unrecognizable shape." Which is when people wonder, "Where's Waldo?" What's happened? 

A random grab shot of about a dozen of the thousands of faces listening to
Senator Bernie Sanders speak  in  Musser Park, Lancaster, PA. 

Political rallies can be about groups or individuals... Forests or trees. It's the trees that I like. The emotional waves that beam from faces: each telling a separate story. Here's an exercise, click on the image above then plumb each expression and let it plop you onto a story arc. I  learn the most about forests when I pay attention to the trees. 

Niccoló Machiavelli, the father of modern political science, taught his Prince, "Whoever wishes to change the government of a city to his whims and wants it to be accepted and to maintain it to everyone's satisfaction, will have to retain at least the shadow of the ancient ways, so that to the people nothing will seem to have changed although in fact the new laws are in all respects completely alien to those of the past." 

When  "reform" changes things - politicians aren't above faking a tradition when necessary. The appeal to tradition is useful both to sustain a social experiment or to destroy it. Think of the phrase so many politicians are quick to tell us when they oppose opponents of the impact of their experiments, "That's not what America is about.

Waldo is about the forrest, faces tell the story of the trees. 

Sunday, August 26

Bernie Came To Town - 3

Once I read a guy who wrote, "We regard politicians as self-interested opportunists and nothing else."

At 7am noises began for the 10am event. Sanders fans began swirling onto Musser Park's quadrangle.  The media likes contention. But most political gatherings in the U.S. are filled with happy, enthusiastic people which dials down chances for unpleasant, click-bait, stuff. So the average rally doesn't get much coverage. See this fella below? He came to hear Bernie Sanders, but happily waggled a Jess King lawn sign at me. That's the deal, Sanders is the headliner and opening act, the local Democrat candidate follows up as the main event. Point is that the campaign trail for every candidate is lined with believers and audiences who love a parade. Regardless, the price is right and most folks are in a great mood.

Speaking of signs.

Along the edge of the crowd, a critic of the Senator and the local Congressional candidate hefted his argument into the sun. It seemed to me that the lady was in kindly debate mode. Cynics say we have lost belief in politics as a source of betterment in our lives. Believers who pack into Sanders or Trump rallies haven't lost faith in politicians' interests in their dreams. 

Thursday, August 23

Bernie Came To Town - 2

And the beat goes on.

Street portraiture's a bit like fishing. I cast my lens into a pool hoping to catch a prize... Something worthwhile. There are two kinds of artistic images. The first is a question, the second an answer. Oh, ok... maybe there's a third - the image which both asks then answers. Frankly, answering questions is above my pay grade. Personally I feel that asking questions is what the best art does. Answering can too often become a polemic.

So I look for questions that each visitor to my work answers alone.

The first in this series set the tone for the questions that occurred to me on May 5th. Here's another, more will come and perhaps the entire set may contain an answer. Synergy happens when the whole becomes greater than its parts. When each sentence is a question, perhaps the impact of the essay is what Sextus Impericus invented maybe 2,200 years ago? You know, a set of questions which while each is seemingly unrelated the whole allows inductive insight?

Truth is revealed from the bottom up. Now don't get me started on "truth" - OK?

What can we conclude from this man and young woman? He wears a wedding ring. They each carry signs... His read, "America Is For All Of Us", and her's "Jess King For Congress". Each of the signs were given to early arrivers, but no one had to take them. Bernie spoke as I grabbed this image. They were rapt, nodding to his points. Can we tell more? He wears a fashionable stubble. Her ears don't appear pierced. I'm imaging that this is a father/daughter pair, their jaw and cheekbone lines suggest a familial relationship. Can you find more clues? Their expressions are serious, attentive. Awaiting Senator Sanders, they'd stood and squinted into the sizzling Spring sun for hours. 

GEEK STUFF: Same equipment as the first in this series. However the afternoon's sunny contrast pulled me to use Alien Skin's Exposure 4's powerful emulation of Kodak Ectachrome EES to take advantage of its saturated palette and low contrast. It's was a workhorse film with a tiny grain structure and reasonably wide tonal range at low ISO (ASA) settings. Plus my 300mm lens permitted a sufficiently narrow depth of field to pluck my subjects from the large crowd surrounding them.