Monday, October 14

How Many Tecks? Smell-Ography?


Juxtaposition... That's a terrible English word. It has the sound of someone coughing up some spiky mess. JuxT-A-PoSi-TION!!!!! Do the French have words like this? Even an angry Frenchman sounds like he's singing a love song... Oooops, I just checked and that's a French word! How can that be? Well, it's all in the pronunciation I suppose. In French that T's got to be muted. And the TION... ain't SHUN, it's more sensual as their tongues glide over the sition ... to a more graceful see-shown... In French it's a six syllable word while we English speakers compressed it to a harsher five.

Well anyway... As I crafted this Duomo bus stop something began to pique at me... How many technologies are obvious in the image? I count three... (1) the cathedral itself's a big lump of medieval tech, then (2) there's that electric light glowing in the lamp that's popped on until twilight turns to day. Finally (3) the big package of bus that's stopped to intake and outtake passengers. But do we count what's going on behind the screened trellises glommed onto the building? And while the sidewalks seem ancient, how about that road bed. Are the wafting banners woven on ancient looms? I doubt it.

How many "advances" have wandered into this plane over a millennia? Technologies are ideas made whole. They're imaginations we can touch, just as solidly as the Duomo of Florence's walls and windows. My fingers are dancing upon someone's thoughts. Is she or he - the designer of my keypad - still alive? The designers of my software? The imagineers of my typeface, pixels, colors, mice?

And did all of these wonderers ever eat... pizza? Was there a Dominos' parlor on each corner of downtown Firenze in 1296 as they broke ground for that astonishing building? If not Dominos... well were there pizzas then? Same recipe? Anyone there eat New York or Chicago slices? Did Pizza chefs in Old Tyme Rome compete with Pompeii's vacation parlors?

Did Marco Polo's import of pasta sweep the Italian boot by the time the Duomo went up? Imagine, this all might have happened before noodles arrived... Which makes me wonder... what lovely scents wafted through the air  at this bus stop place in 1296. Garlic? Tomatoes? Pizza?

We still have these lumps of tech, but those ancient scents and sounds? Nope. Lost to history. Smell-Ography's yet to be. We can only look at the early evening juxtaposition and wonder what's missing forever, huh?

By the way, is scent a dimension? Would it not bring an additional fullness to my bus stop up there? Hmmmmm....

Sunday, October 13

Cut To The Chaise

Canon G10 processed in PS6

It's election time in the USA. Promises are inflating like a fat guy at a complimentary smorgasbord. Each politico to the mic's piling on more free stuff. Until that ape up there. How's anyone going to top that slogan? How about universal credit cards that have 100% NEGATIVE interest rates? Hell, why stop at 100%...

Hmmmm.... what comes after infinity?

Someone's suggested I call this image, "Don't Cry For Me Socialista". But isn't that show-tune already playing for a while in Caracas: Right? 😁

Friday, October 11

The Communications Room

Istanbul, Women pray separately in the Blue Mosque.
Do women have a separate channel to the spiritual world? So many religious sects conclude that the male pipelines sit somewhere apart from the female. Do they head off in different directions? Run parallel? Is one vertical, the other off into some fifth or ninth dimension? As the West seems baffled around the edges by gender, much of the cultural worlds are emphatic about their strict definition and distinct differences even when it comes to divine communication. If one can use the prefix "co", before that word at all.

Up there are three devout people working to meld their beings with the infinite as they've been taught to understand the way this stuff works. They're devoted to processes that are pretty ancient for us humans. I wonder if the crowd that built, say, Stonehenge, understood different gender channels to the divine? And are we the first to atomize those genders or did they have dozens of networks on their prayer comm-sets?

Or... maybe... in the clichéd words of horror-creature movies.... "Professor be careful: There are some things that man was not meant to meddle with?"

GEEK STUFF: Canon 70D through its  EF-S17-85mm glass handheld then posted in PSCC 2019. I got permission to take these shots from that male official you can see in the upper left and lower right squares after he studied my media credentials. Nope, he did not demand a tip. 

Tuesday, October 8

Lancaster Winter Crop

An Amish team punches Fall soy seeds into the land.
Not a typical Fall scene lit by the neon colors of the season, huh?

Soy's harvested in late September then the crop seed's replanted in October for winter germination. At least that's how I understand it... and I don't understand enough about agriculture...Well not a lot more than it's greatest byproduct... beauty. Here - nearby to my home, a 6 mule team pulls a fall planting head across the soil just before the first snarls of winter paint the Pennsylvania leaves.

Geek Stuff: Captured by my Canon 20D through its faithful EF-S17-85mm glass, handheld of course, then processed in PSCC 2019 with help from some Topaz filters carefully brushed onto the appropriate spots to capture the sharp stubble and hairy tails. Oh... BTW - it is wrong to ever take a picture of an Amisher's face. We respect our neighbors around here - so I will never purposely do it, and if it happens accidentally, I trash those images.

But yet, do I need a face to convey a stoic muscularity of this man and team? While faces do reveal intricate personal stories... can they be any more expressive than this gentleman's shoulders and his freedom to go a distinctly individual direction in the face of a world-storm of technology?

My Amish neighbors simultaneously live among us, show a determined pride in their country, and live a successful and proudly religious life. Oh, and they also continue, for example, to invent and manufacture farm devices, employ cutting edge agronomics, all along with computer repair and maintenance projects which attract worldwide customers. Their detailed craftsmanship and quilting arts command international attention.

Yeah, they're a surprising culture, eh?



Saturday, October 5

NYC - THROB!



Tuesday, Manhattan,10:20 pm. Who cares? 
I'm over it. Yeah, the place throbs hot 24/7. So do a lot of cities. But frankly NYC's showing darkening age lines. Much of the skyline's a backdrop for Rhapsody in Blue. Gershwin imagined that haunting piece in 1924. 
The British novelist L.P. Hartley wrote, "The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there."
New York's like that - a visit to the 20s. Not as high as other cities anymore... neither in buildings nor creativity. It's not as clean as other places... neither in in streets nor imagination. It's a city of scuffed shoes, frayed collars, cheap-suited-babble, and crumbling pretensions. A narrative about hardscrapple romantics held up between bookends of homeless and trust bunnies. 
They do things differently there, but unless you squinch your eyes and imagine the clarinet glissando into Gershwin's plaintive rhapsody... New York throbs not so much with excitement but more like the paper thin skin that tops a throbbing-fat boil.
It's old news.

GEEK STUFF: Canon 7D Mk.II,  EF-S17-85mm, ISO 1500, Hand held. Post processing in PS CC 2019. Multiple layers/liquify filters/brushes - custom tools. Tried not to just grab NYC's searing glare and smell, but its bends-making density, and the cacophonic din as well. 

Thursday, October 3

Rome: An Arch Comment?



Ruins of the Roman Forum from Palantine Hill.
From the Palantine Hill most everyone scopes the ruins of the Roman Forum. The Arch of Septimius Severus (here center right) fascinated me. The thing went up in 203 AD in celebration of Rome's defeat of the Parthians. 

Why my interest? Well the Parthians were essentially the Persians and for some 400 years (247 BC to 224 AD) ruled in most directions from the center of what's now Iran beating up the Romans pretty badly until stopped by Rome's emperor Septimius Severus who pushed them back west of the Persian Gulf - hence the Arch.  

Pendulums swing and now Persian successors in Iran are once again rattling swords toward the West (and vice versa). But, what tickles my imagination is nations' desires to build grand arches. People stand around and photograph London's Wellington Arch, Paris's Triomphe, Germany's Brandenberg, Shimbashi's Victory Arch, St. Petersburg's Victory Arch... on and on.  


 Whyzatt? And why are they all so stereotypical? 

The one up above is far from the world's oldest but after almost two millennia it's a curious model for so many of the rest. It also stands as a reminder of the joint emperors, brothers Caracalla and Geta, who erected the thing and inscribed it with tributes to themselves. After Caracalla got Geta murdered he had ego stuff carved over all references to his brother. So, like most commemorative arches, this one too is all about blood. 

Blood arches are among the things that make me think that: Because you can do something is no reason to do it. Y'know? 
GEEK STUFF: Took this from the place everyone stands on Rome's most famous hill with my Canon 7oD through Old Faithful... my EF-S17-85mm. Pre-processing? Well a multi thousand mile trip plus a hired guide through the ancient city. Post-proccessing? In PSCC 2019 I wiped away the original colors and brushed back my own colored feelings then made a big bunch of trash and debris in the lower left-hand corner go away with artsy negative space.
             :-)



Sunday, September 22

There are 42 million Ugandans


There are 165 million people in Central Africa, 42 million of them live in Uganda. Along that country’s southern E/W highway, here are 3. They tell a story?

Is there such a thing as "ethnic geneolgy" or is that too Lamarkian? Wait... Lamark was a Russian geneticist/philosopher I think, who claimed that ideas, memories, and attitudes could be stored in the genes and hence reproduced among generations When his attempts to prove that failed, Stalin killed him. 

As I walked about, these guys repairing their water-bike* showed less than welcoming looks to a European guy with a pricey camera, boots and ... probably... attitude. Remember, Uganda was a British Colony and remains part of the British Commonwealth of Nations. English is one of their three official languages. All of the signage is in English. White folk are not exotics to them, although perhaps maybe we are in this tiny widening of the road deep in equatorial Africa. 

I'm an atheist regarding "ethnic genealogy", but not cultural legacy. Moreover most homes sport satellite dishes that grab Hollywood and US TV. So, for example, Oprah and The Rock are both celebrities in Uganda. So those looks... are they windows into what? 

GEEK STUFF: Canon 7D, EOS EF-S17-85mm, finished in PSCC2019.


*Clean water's a valuable commodity in much of Uganda where people travel long distances daily to government wells to provide for their families. Most do that on foot (mainly women),lining the roads as they balance those yellow tanks on their heads. Fellas like this make their livelihood carting as many jugs as possible on scooters to homes or businesses that can afford their service. 

Wednesday, September 18

Within the Hagia Sophia



Hand held in front of recovered early Christian artwork (6th century) under reclamation on the ancient cathedral’s walls. Um…. full disclosure… Every element in this image was in the Hagia Sophia on that afternoon. However the arrangement has been, um, enhanced :→

GEEK STUFF: Canon 7D, EOS EF-S17-85mm lens. Post in PSCC 2019 and assorted custom tools. ISP 1,500 – dim light, great Canon processor, note the lack of grain. The camera’s magical. BTW… The afternoon that I visited the Hagia Sophia was in MID SUMMER! Those burkas had to feel toasty, huh?

Tugging this concept together it occurred to me to wonder whether discovery can be substituted for creativity? Or for that matter, is process the same thing as artistry? I've asked many artist this same question, "What percentage of any final work did you discover during the process?" the average of the responses is about 85%! Hmmmm.... is art merely discovered rather than imagined? Perhaps illustration is the only true form of artistry since an illustrator's gotta' begin with an idea that s/he then imagines into finality? 
And yet, illustrators are not highly regarded by fine artists. Weeeeerd!

Sunday, September 1


While I write this, Hurricane Dorian – 9/1/19 - rumbles off the Florida Coast… Will it veer? Collide? Smash? Crush?
Last year, as the air grew cranky, I wondered along the shore of Boynton Beach, Florida, imagining roilings shuddering from some dark thing that was no longer distant.
Had I wandered into the moment before torrential combustion? An instant when the pistons of a storm seemed to be building up a force of wonder powerful enough to punch through brick and steel as effortlessly as a radio wave? In my imagination, nature’s phasers seemed to be clicking their settings up beyond stun.
But was the storm impending or receding? Were things shuddering from aftershocks of a retreating massive fiery tumult, or the blunt fists of an oncoming furious demonical onslaught?
A moment like – well – what the world’s news media seems to hourly predict for us all.

GEEK STUFF: The reference photo was captured on a late afternoon stroll through my Canon 7D Mk II’s EFS 17-85mm glass. Then in PSCC 2019 I got to work imagining a storm’s first tendrils snaking along this pretty palm-lined foot path which meanders through the sandy shore of Boynton Beach.  

This is ImageFiction born from the maddening storm like the invective and jabbering idiocy which spews from the 24/7 news cycle. Like most art, 'Storm' is a question rather than an answer. Why? Because questioning’s what artists do, answering, on the other hand, is way above our pay grade.

Friday, August 2

Patagonia 12 Buenos Aires Street Scenes

More streets to come...
(1) Hot model (and statue) posing in La Boca on Friday summer afternoon.

(2) Caliente! Buenos Aires corner sizzles in high summer sun.

(3) Along the La Boca neighborhood of Buenos Aires are balconies
vividly accessorized with mannequins like this of Evita Peron.

(5) Man w/ Fedora on Sunday streets of LaBoca neighborhood

(6) Musicians line the Streets along the wall of the Recolleta cemetery.
You're never far from music in  Buenos Aires.




Friday, July 19

Patagonia 11: The Punta del Este, Uruguay Puzzle



What’s the difference between seeing and noticing? Does one go to the machinery of logic, the other to the place where imagination churns? Maybe our senses send signals both ways at once? Do we escape into details to avoid over-heating our cerebral processors? Or maybe we both notice AND see details to collect as many as possible for logic and imaginations to process later?

I like to troll scenes with a camera so that the heavy lifting of collecting analytical fodder can fill up memory cards with facts while allowing me distill out whatever truth they contain at leisure. Yeah, that’s it… that’s why I postpone conclusions until I can swim around in snapshot images like Scrooge McDuck in his money crammed pool. 

Donald Trump Jr announces the Urugua Tower
Punta Del Este's a playground for South America's (and Europe's) successful. This summer-time city's golf-course-like-feellng boasts lawns better manicured than the work of a Parisian nail studio. As a Yank, I noticed a beach-front two-story photo of Donald Trump Jr. boasting the erection of a Trump Tower filling with luxury apartments. In this Spanish-speaking place it was hard to miss that the building’s advertising was in English.

A tour-taxi drove us through acres of the sort of mansions that line the roads of Palm Beach, Greenwich, CT. and Beverly Hills. The city's often compared to Cannes. Perhaps tacky’s been outlawed by Punta del Este where homes sit upon multi-acre hillsides of green, most with spectacular water-views. 


The air’s scented with gold.
Casa Pueblo; The house, gallery, museum, boutique hotel, and 
castle of artist Carlos Paez Vilaro (1923-2014) in Punta Ballena,
near Punta del Este, Uruguay.
Has this city of 9,200 (swelling to  perhaps 30,000 in summer) overcome or simply banned poverty? After hours of touring, we spotted NO low-income housing. Mercedes seem driven by the middle classes while the coolest youth drive Lambos as parents are chauffeured  about in Bentleys and Rolls. Until those streets, I'd never seen Bugattis in the wild.

So? Here's what puzzled me since our visit to the city. Why are struggling Latinos streaming north to the U.S. when La Dolce Vida glimmers in Punta del Este (along with Chilé and Argentina)? Es desconcertante, eh? Thoughts anyone?














Tuesday, June 18

Patagonia 10: Grim - The Falklands

Click on any image for a blow-up... 
NOTE- This is NOT best viewed on a mobile phone which will delete images and text. 
Ever wondered? Here is
the middle of nowhere
The Falklands...   are a glum archipelago about 300 miles east of the coast of Southern Patagonia.You cannot escape by swimming but perhaps you can stow on a fishing boat. There're about 700 square miles containing rock, sand, some brush and a bunch of seabirds. They're hours away from Argentina by plane and about a day or so away by boat. So. if ChilĂ© can own Easter Island in the Pacific, well, Argentina figures they ought to rule this place which they call the Malvinas. 
Falkland 1983
War Memorial
They're about 8,800 miles from Britain which has claimed ownership since the 1830s. That's when they took them from the French who previously grabbed them from the Spanish... Or maybe it was the other way around? In 1982 the Argentines invaded but were repulsed by the Brits, who it's rumored, that four years before under Maggie Thatcher they were trying to get rid of the place and its approximately 4,000 inhabitants. But those British subjects hold onto an important kernel of Parliamentary votes.

So, with a bunch of pomp and difficulty, the English rag-tag navy managed to eek out a victory over the invaders - who will undoubtedly try again - or that's what everyone thinks and causes the British to keep some thousand troopers on the rocks, at shuddering expense.
Waterfront Row in Stanley
It's hard to say exactly what the Island inhabitants do for a living, other than police, maintain, school, farm some sheep, and health-care one other, mostly in Stanley, the capital city. Its 2,100 people seem nice, speak English-English, watch American and British satellite TV and are totally inter-netted. 
Upkeep's not a homeowner priority.
The weather, much like London's, is - spontaneous. The temps are mildly chilly all year round, rainy, infrequently snowy, and rarely hot. Perhaps the best description is, um, grim. But, did I mention that it's a hard place to escape. We trudged past the governor's mansion and wondered what he screwed-up to get the appointment.

Marmont Row for Brit pensioners
Some of the pensioners homes are particularly snug and well kept along the waterfront. And of course they sport white picket fences and tidy English gardens. Notice how few trees are in any of these images... None are native to the place, nor are most of the vegetation populating the gardens.


When we were there on a mid-weekday, almost everyone, except for a dozen or so school kids on a sports' field, was inside. Perhaps that's the norm? As I said - we wondered what people did in Stanley but except for shopkeepers who were busy with a cruise ship visit, there was no one to ask


A village of hills
Built upon a jutting finger of rock, the place is hilly, but not San-Fransisco hilly... just sort of annoyingly difficult to walk. The tallest building's about three stories high, and since everything's on a rock face, every structure's got a view of the protected harbor. A harbor that's insufficiently deep to berth large-draft ships. Tourism's a big money-maker to Stanley since Patagonian tour ships routinely stop. Why? I guess someone's paid them off. Most of the population's historically been composed of British Service pensioners. Odd, since life's essentials are boated or air freighted in from great distances - it can't be a cheap place to live.

St. Mary's Catholic
Like every other tourist place, the biggest attractions are their two churches, a smaller Catholic chapel, and the southernmost Anglican cathedral in the world. For some reason, the Cathedral sports a couple of blue-whale jaw bones that were restored a decade or so back and I guess form a backdrop for every non-Catholic bridal party.

The Anglican Cathedral & Wale Bones

The British call these places, "box-churches". They're fabricated structures from the home country and were sent to each new conquest of the former empire to be assembled-by-numbers in their new possessions - bells, belfries, altars, stained windows, and pews. If you've seen one, you've seen the lot.

Custom House & ubiquitous Land Rover


Like most socialist-ruled spots, the public buildings, roads, and infrastructure's are among the best maintained (look at the Parisian and Russian subways for example). No real difference on the Falklands. Police, public health, and municipal buildings there, like this custom's house, are among the spunkiest. Of course the Governor's mansion (Government House) seems the  grandest in Stanley.

The Falklands historically were a sort of garage for repairing ships caught in the maelstrom of sailing around Cape Horn, a business which has Panama-Canaled away. Leaving little behind of historic, scenic, or recreational interest. It's not someplace where anyone intentionally goes, but instead people seem to wind up there on their way. So here's 80% of our gang of wayfarers trying to figure out if we should pay a couple of hundred bucks to take one of the multitude of Land Rovers on a three hour ride to a distant beach where some King Penguins were spotted a couple of days before. We didn't and those who did reported that IF there were Kings there - they'd swum away.

From left: Gib &; Marty Armstrong, Mary & Joe Mayberry, Howard Roath, Me, and Barbara & Frank Pinto.













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Sunday, June 16

Patagonia 9: Buenos Aires • Vanishing Point


Freudian fun decorates a Recoleta tomb 'erected'
before the psychologist's ideas roiled across the West. 
Thousands wander daily through Recoleta cemetery here in the epicenter of Argentina's brilliant city. They're exploring the excesses of the nation's richest families proclaiming their posterity, or at least trying to grab a piece of immortality for what? Their names?

These are the pyramids of Argentina writ tiny. The metropolis is just north of earthmoving Patagonia where seismic forces are working to crumble South America's lower tip  back into seas. 

So it will take a tad longer in  geological time to crumble all of these little buildings-for-the-dead back into watery dust. 7,000 miles away from Rome yet all built in that ancient city's classic forms - I wonder what will remain of these ruins in a couple of millennia? Judging by the cracks already - you think archaeologists of the fourth millennia will find as much remaining as we do today on the Italian boot?


Here I prefer the word necropolis to cemetery. The olden latonical word has such an ancient sense of what? Dread? Already, well over a century of weight's chipping and cracking at these facades, while hairy grasses are reclaiming the domes - tamping them back into earth. All while gravity and inner moistures are doing what they do to the flesh and bones entombed within these sepulchers of the rotting rich. Brrrrr...

Real estate gone now in Buenos Aires Recoleta cemetery, so the families built upward creating a sort of congested dead lock - dread lock? The hubris of wealth crammed resources into these spots that geological time's crumbling, pounding, and packing back down.

Recoleta Cemetery is not so much a final resting place, but a slow-motion vanishing point.  

*GEEK STUFF:* Captured by my Canon 7D Mk II on February 2, 2019 then processed in PS-CC with a myriad of custom tools and filters. The tombs seemed a clutter of the unfeeling muscles of once-powerful Argentine historical footnotes.


Tuesday, May 28

Patagonia 8: Buenos Aires - Deadly Thoughts


How do I wind up in cemeteries? Seems our guides, or friends find the largest and most historic dead-zones for us to wander (and wonder) about. So on February 2, 2019 - at about 10am: Here’s a moment in  El Cementario Recoleta where Argentina’s largely 1822-1960 very rich and/or famous are spectacularly interred. It’s a tourist magnet. And at its epicenter my Canon 7D MkII snapped this decisive Buenos Aires moment. Our brains are wired to bring order to puzzles. To find meaning in disparate stuff.

And in the park's epicenter - with all of the ornately crafted and bejeweled mausoleums about, my camera found this decisive moment of passers-by...

Strangers among the dead

And as I studied the moment... this came to mind:

“So… did’ja ever see a
poem?” she asked, her foot tapping.
.
 “Y’know, in another language?
Maybe Spanish? But, like, 
I don’t understand Spanish.”

“So… I’gotta’ geek at words that
sorta look English-ly?”
That foot twitched quicker.

“Which reveals what? 
Maybe there’s sorta’ 
D-E-E-E-E-P stuff in there?”

She paused, foot tapping loud.
“So… well look at this image. 
It’s kinda like that.”

Her tapping paused…

“You know what I’m sayin’?”

Well do you... um... know what she's sayin'? There seems to be a story in that image, perhaps a visual poem... haunting me as much as the opulently haunted little bone-homes lining the avenues which lead to esta centro del Necrolpolis de Recoleta.