We have cousins who gently say grace with each meal where we gather together. It is a gentle sentiment of thanks and blessing. There is a fine line these days. For, if you are not with me, then you must be against me. Too often now, I look upon religion as a sign of oppression. There are many faiths. But I no longer feel safe if I am not on your team. Is it about team? Or, are we about mankind?
Washington DC has always been a traffic nightmare. It’s a planned city. But then the planners did not plan for traffic, as in auto traffic jams. There’s precious little parking. There are lots of one-way streets. This sign is in an intersection and the entrance to a major highway. Turning onto the highway, a car must compete with the flow of pedestrians in the crosswalk. It is the perfect traffic jam. Saturday evening and I was jammed up two blocks back waiting through three traffic lights. Cars who felt privileged were cutting in all along. It was mayhem. Nice going. It’s nice to see good government in motion. NOT!!! Snafu, how true…
This was an eyesore series of buildings seen from the elevated subway by millions. The owner let the abandoned building stand (decades) waiting for the value to be more and then enough to be of value to develop. He just didn’t care about his abandoned buildings enough to maintain any semblance of care. Graffiti covered the buildings and reached legendary status. Then the fight began.
New York Times 2/12/18 – Judge awards 21 graffiti artists $6.7 million judgment for destroyed graffiti art. The owner/developer destroyed their art on his buildings. I can see (pun) the arguments from both sides. Isn’t graffiti unwanted art? As in, we see it on the subway cars and the MTA cleans it off. (I took these images from a subway car.) This stuff has collected upon the buildings over the years. The buildings were abandoned and awaiting development. The art is on someone else’s property and was done without permission. There is an act – VARA – Visual Artists Rights Act. Yup! There is! Oh boy. ‘Nuff said!
The story? Mine? I saw these (buildings/art) long after I rode the subway with any frequency. I got these images on the way back (not going to) from an event in Queens. It was August 2010 and it was with my trusty Nikon D200. My digital files are scattered/organized. The database is lost among backup hard drives. Voila! First, I had to look through my database. The key word – subway. I would not have listed it as “5Pointz.” Then cull the index word. I’ve taken pictures on at least two occasions. Once would do it for my purpose of finding an image. It’s art that’s gone now. I remember the controversy about destroying it. It was fun to see from the train. It was placed illegally upon someone’s wall. It became legendary. The owner repurposed the wall. The art is gone. It’s worth $6.7 million. It was there long enough to be considered valuable art.
Silvercup? This is a bread factory sign overlooking the Queensborough Bridge. As a kid we drove to Manhattan via this bridge. Each time we passed you could inhale the wondrously enticing smells emanating from the plant as fresh bread was baking 24/7. The place is a movie studio now. The sign has been preserved. It’s right next to 5Pointz. Signs are covered/developed/destroyed all the time. The argument here is/was a true conundrum.
Hey! I got an image that’s (art) gone now! I found it in my archive in short order. Sadly, I knew I had the image and it was indexed in a way that only I know. Shortly no one will be able to access this stuff without looking frame by frame. That would be 200, 000 plus (>300k) images. Nope. …it ain’t happening. Hey?! Are my images valuable? Nope. History.
If you are a certain age you might remember Howdy. That would make you old and of black and white TV age. The last episode of the show – Clarabel was supposed to do something special – speak? I was sick and never saw the episode. It is a regret of my childhood that I still remember. The old Comet sign is about to be covered. It will never be seen again. I figure the next time, the building will be demolished and this bit of history will never come to light. Ringling is gone. No more three ring circus. That’s recent. And Yearbooks? Who wants old high school yearbooks? Really? …just don’t throw ‘nuthin away!
I post according to what catches my eye at the moment. I photograph eclectically. Stuff. I shoot graphics. I shoot current event. I shoot history. I do fish! I used to photograph my kids a lot. My wife never liked her picture. So there were less and less of them. Random shots. Random thoughts. At least it’s not fish today. I have to break up the line up or else I risk changing the blog to a dive blog. Change, it happens. It’s sort of inevitable. To some of you who know me, this is more meaningful. But there is a Chinese saying, “May you be born in interesting times.” Or, “Every journey begins with the first step.” Or, even more trite, “Today is the last day of the rest of your life.”
Interesting times? How about Trump? Who’d ever have thought he’d be nominated and that a very large number of people are supporting him. Sorry, I guess you can guess my politics. But really, I don’t believe in any of them. No one you elect actually does anything for you. They do so they can be re-elected in the next cycle. Cynical? Maybe.
Change? Yup. Kodak? Film? Who were they? Digital rules. Cameras? Nope. Everyone pretty much uses a smartphone now. The game has changed. Brick and mortar stores are going. You even buy shoes online now. Amazon rules. I haven’t set foot in a store to buy Christmas presents in a few years now. Online sales prices lie to me. MSRP is a come on. No one pays retail. Not for a long long time. So the sales price is a come on too. But no one can hide on the internet. So lowest prices are pretty easy to shop and it’s a whole lot easier than walking or driving. Bye Macy’s. Gimbles is gone. So too are so many other stores. The anchor mall stores here in Saudi are grocery stores. Everyone needs food….for the moment.
Park? I’ve been a nomad for a lot of years now. I never intended nor expected to be. It has been an unparalleled adventure. I would not have willingly mapped it out this way. But moving seems to suit me. My family moved on average every two years till I was eighteen. I told my wife and she gut renovated our apartment twice so we stayed thirty years at one address. My kids lived in different countries on different continents. Risk, adventure, wanderlust? My parents left China to journey to America. They gave me opportunity. I’ve been very lucky and blessed. The timing for me was so very fortunate. There has been badness. But on the whole it’s been pretty nice. I opened Lightroom to look for some images today. Random. But thoughtful. Or as Bing Crosby sang in White Christmas – “….I count my blessings instead of sheep…”
Is it really so? There are some extremes that I just can’t fathom. At the airport J says there are separate entrances through the gate for men and women. This would be Saudi Arabia because it ain’t so in NYC, JFK.
We were in a marina north of Jeddah and here it is, a sign of the times. Huh? To go out you step through separate gates. I just don’t get it. Families walk together and singles, that would be me, are allowed to walk anywhere public. Imagine a market in which there was a men’s section. Perhaps we should have exclusive hospitals for men and women staffed by same sexes. It just doesn’t make and sense some days. Ha ha, it’s a joke right?
And the road signs warn drivers about… something you don’t see in the USA. I have to say that I have braked for moose after I saw the sign in Maine. I never saw a moose on the road in Maine. But there was a moment when I realized that hitting a moose would be like hitting a truck. I got the wise notion while driving in the fog in Maine, that the GPS device gave you good forward idea of the road and its curves ahead. The rub is that if you happen upon a moose at high speed, you will hurt yourself. I slowed down and got cautious. So far no sign of any stray camels. I tend to doubt there are any wild ones about. And like moose, for me, any sighting is worth a photograph.
This is one of among many business signs that I photograph as a collection. I’ve never gone back and actually collected the slides and images in one place. But I keep shooting signs that I like. Someday…. I think it began for me in the early ‘80s with a trip to Hawaii. But who knows? So I continue to shoot signs. Susan shoots flags. To tie in this non sequitur, I believe this shot was in Newburyport, a town that Susan introduced to Lisa and where Lisa then led me on a photo op. Get it?