Word and Image

Photobackstory

Photography: The story behind the image

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Dragonfly

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This guy decided to rest upon the empty screw that awaited a wind spinner. He didn’t move. I got a bunch of shots. I’d like to shoot one flying. It’s technically too difficult for me at this point. I suppose I could do it. But that would be work. I’m retired. Sit! Stay!

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Gone too soon

Chinese trumpet lily – perennial, I got some last year. They bloom in early June. They last about three weeks. Then they are gone. Spectacular but short lived, they don’t look like much after the bloom. I like color all summer. Rabbits like to eat them (lilies). I have mixed feelings about having/keeping them. But during the time they are in bloom it’s worth it.

Steinway

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We got a $29,000 Steinway baby grand when the kids took lessons. We later sold it? It left the house and never returned. Where what its fate was? I never (afraid) to ask. I can tell you that the Happy Farmer sounded better on it. Nuts! Absolutely nuts. But we were never extravagant spenders. Huh? At least I never went out and got a Porsche. Maybe I should have. Bottom line: both kids quit. I might still have that Porsche. Well, I never did and I don’t have one now. I have better pictures of the piano. Why? It’s better I don’t see it to remember that we got it and it played piano lessons for a time.

Oh! High end? Nope. There are $300k++ pianos selling out there in the world. I’m glad my kids were not better piano players.

Night Shots

In the days before digital it was darned hard to do night shots as an amateur. Flash won’t light the Eiffel Tower. You used the film that was in the camera. Lights are bright but will not be sufficient to light up everything in your picture. Digital makes hash of all of that worry. The mini computer can compensate on the fly. ISO adjusts automatically as the light changes. The processor will adapt to artificial light.

Then – You accept noise in your image. Basically, you are thankful for a shot. Now –  The shots are so exceptionally better that you don’t realize how easy it all is today. I’m amazed. I take it in stride and even shot the stars (recently) in the night sky without a tripod. I’m not bragging. I can only say that you can push the envelope and it often will give you something better than expected.

Portrait of the artist

2451 23 Victor

I don’t consider myself an artist. I make images now. But it is more of a technical exercise with problems to solve. You solve the problem. You have the answer. The right answer gives you a 100 on the test. You get an A. Not so fast. There’s more than just pressing the shutter button. Lots of mundane ordinary photos are taken. Famous painters – Rembrandt, Da Vinci – painted themselves in self-portraits. We presume Da Vinci was left handed among other reasons because he did a painting showing his right hand. Clever! I’m a left hander in a right-hand world. I learned to operate right-handed and then adapted. I cut with scissors from the right and from the left. It’s no big deal. But if you are right handed I deem it a lot more difficult for you than me.  Ha ha. I go both ways. I have talent, but I’m still not an artist.

Gotta make a livin’

Everyone’s gotta make a living. Some are creative. Others entertaining. I’ve seen variations with folks dressed like the Statue of Liberty in New York City. And then there is the renowned Naked Cowboy in Times Square. What do you call them? Mimes? This crew would fall into the category of stationary mimes. If you aren’t careful they can startle you as they suddenly move as you pass by. I have to admit that they are worth a look…perhaps a second glance… I was fortunate to have seen Marcel Marceau on a field trip in the 9th grade. He’s among the first artists listed in a google search today. Wow! I count myself indeed fortunate. Take a picture, pay a sou.

Break my heart

Falling down laughing. There’s another generation of young ones learning to spell creatively. Reading and writing is fascinating. I hated to read. My mother had tasked me with reading “The Poky Little Puppy” aloud, over and over. I suppose I should have memorized it. It would have gone faster. And I was good at memorizing things. Nonetheless, it seems to be history that repeats as kids try their hand at spelling in their early writing compositions. Jules was certainly that way. I took pictures of everything. Yet, this was one of the only samples I came across as I scanned. As I translated… it can break your heart. What can I say? Just read it and feel the innocence in her emotional plea. I presume it was directed at me? No matter. It’s a universal thought. I would hug you again if you were here now.

Iconic

The most iconic painting that equates Le Louvre to art is the Mona Lisa. And did you know Whistler’s Mother is owned by France. Don’t bother to go see the Mona Lisa. Its mounted under glass and crowded with people. You are stuck with the glare of the glass that prevents any meaningful examination. I did not know “Mother” was owned by France and loaned out across the United States. We were lucky to see it in Paris. What do I know? What I can tell you is that iconic paintings tend to be in accessible or hard to find. (they’re traveling.)

I’ve been to a lot of museums in the past several years. Am I making up for lost time? Who knows? What I can say is that I now try for a gestalt overview and then a detail of the brush strokes. It helps to include the label so I can identify the darned painting later. No, even though digital makes this easy, I don’t do it. There are a few painters I recognize. Mostly, I admire the technical prowess. I cannot tell much difference. It’s me. I can’t tell the differences in wine taste either. I’m missing a gene. No matter. I have other talent and am content to continue to look and try to be appreciative. It’s a work in progress (me). Ain’t educashun gran?

Halloween

We’re at the national meeting circa 1983– AANS. This is as conservative a group as you’d ever wanna not meet up with. Very! Trust me! They’d vote republican as long as the candidate has a heartbeat and then maybe without the “beat” if they could. We’re newly minted neurosurgeons just out of residency – Henry and I. Neurosurgeons and their spouses showed up in elaborate costumes such as full regale colonial wear. What to do? We hadn’t a clue. This was nearly our first rodeo. Ah! Brilliant! Henry and I went to the nearest men’s room in the lobby. Voila! Arthur Day a conservative from Florida tried to stop us at the entrance. We were streakers. It’s legal. And! We had a ticket. Damn, if he didn’t mutter while he let us in. I never did cotton up to the powers that be in our national leadership. There are some liberals too. We span the spectrum. However, there is definitely a hard core of conservatives who speak for our organization. Not me. They don’t speak for me and I don’t have my opinion counted among them. We’re all just fine that way.

Bacon

Do you like it? Do you eat it? My mom made BLT’s for me during college on Sundays. It would be Sunday lunch with shoe string fries that she fried up in the bacon fat for an extra flavor taste. What did we know about unhealthy eating back then? I used to get a BLT in Morgantown WV when we traveled there for orthodontic appointments. They were memorably sublime. Kidding! I just remember that we’d stop in the same diner downtown and I’d always have a BLT. Some who know me also know I’m a creature of habit. I still like a BLT. …very occasionally, ‘cause they are not exactly healthy to eat. This package was unrefrigerated in the grocery aisle. I paused. Ha ha. This sh*t is worse than Spam. 70 calories 45 from fat! Well, Spam’s worse – 120 cal/slice 110 from fat. Either way, look at the price per unit – $31 /lb. Eat steak. Eat filet mignon. Eat as much as you want. Bacon is fat and it’s expensive fat. Where’s the bang for your buck? I? Me? I still like a BLT when I can persuade my personal cook to make one. Otherwise I don’t order one in a restaurant. So many choices so little time…