Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Art Photography Auction

As readers of my blog know there are many photographers who have influence the way I see and shoot. Ansel Adams, Minor White, Paul Strand, Helmut Newton just to name a few. But, none of these has influence me more than Robert Mapplethorpe.

Mapplethorpe was always an artist, creating beautiful and thought provoking collages, but did not pick up a camera until he was in his early twenties, starting with Polaroid images and making decorative and interesting frames out of the actual film casings. 

He is best know for his frank portrayal of the homosexual leather scene but he also had a wonderful way of lighting a subject, which sometimes got lost due to the frankness of his subject. But it wasn't only male nudes he photographer, some of his most beautiful images are of statues and flowers. Whether it be a male nude, or a flower, this sense of lighting and stark focus on the erotic around us has greatly influence my work and especially the current exhibition I am working on. So, it was wonderful to see that one of Mapplethorpe's  flower images, Calla Lilly, 1984 is going up for auction at the Heritage Auction, on June 9th in Dallas, Texas. The images is expected to sell for between $30,000 and $40,000. and to be the highlight of the auction.
As a photographer whose life was cut short at 42 at the hand of AIDS and who has been maligned after death due to his subject matter in showing a lifestyle that many don't even know exist, it is wonderful to see that their are still people out there who respect him for the photographer, the artist he was.

Mapplethorpe's image along with images by Irving Penn, Yousuf Karsh, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Annie Leibovitz and Richard Avedon represent some of the most famous and influential photographers ever.

I really wish I could be there and see these images and watch the gavel fall being envious of anyone who can afford such wonderful works of art.

Photography, for a long time during it's early years, was not consider a true fine art. But, photographers like these are the ones who helped make it a legitimate art form and have paved the way for me to do what I do.

Lately, with the digital mass marketing camera revolution, photography has become watered down and common place but it is my hope that this auction can spark the flame to those creative and innovative photographic artists to produce work that is inspiring, emotional, controversial and beautiful.

I know I will never stop shooting and my wife will probably find me dead either in my dark room or with a camera in my hand. My hope is that she will be right there beside me when I go and I am sure we will be well into our 80s by then. And I will still be photographing naked, beautiful people!

Thank you Robert.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

No Freedoms in Amarillo Texas

A few weeks ago my wife and I were watching a news program, 60 Minutes or 20/20, when they talked about a  fundamentalist Christian group in Amarillo Texas. They have been compared to radical militant and terrorist organizations. They have played a role in the closings of a strip club and of a swingers group.  Last New Year's Eve about two dozen Repent Amarillo protesters spent New Year's Eve carrying signs, singing and praying outside a business in downtown Amarillo that they claim is a swinger's club. Repent Amarillo's director David Grisham said his group objects to the nonmonogamous lifestyle. Grisham said he's never been in the building but has heard stories about what goes on in there. He heard what goes on, he had no idea of what was actually happening. But not only did they protest outside the club, they photographed people coming in and out, wrote down license plate numbers and thoroughly harassed these people who wanted nothing but to have a good time. The authorities new about the party and all the proper permits were filed, but this radical group decided to target them and infringe on their rights. They went to the Amirillo zoning board and made this group "Route 66" jump through hoops to receive the proper zoning permits.  Repent Amarillo cost the club tens of thousands of dollars in renovation costs to bring the building up to code. After Repent members showed up at parties 32 times, many of Route 66's members left, afraid of being harassed and possible harmed. The Route 66 club was operating as a business, and, with only a few customers left, its owners were left with no choice but to close their doors and sell the location.

This is only one example of how the extreme Christian right feels that they are better than everyone else in the United States and can take it upon themselves to violate the rights of law abiding citizens.

Part of their mission statements states, "It is a ministry committed to the fulfillment of Christ’s commandment of the great commission. As Christians, we cannot stand by and watch 67,000 of our neighbors walking through the gates of hell. A soldier for Christ fights a spiritual battle. The enemy is not our fellow man but the principalities, the powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world . Our mission is to do battle with the lies of the enemy. To do battle with the corruption of this world"

This they call spiritual warfare.

Their website has militaristic theme musics and gun shots all dressed in fatigues.

Again, from their website:

Some of the possible missions that these two groups may be called upon to work will be some of the following:

1. Gay pride events.
2. Earth worship events such as “Earth Day”
3. Pro-abortion events or places such as Planned Parenthood
4. Breast cancer events such as “Race for the Cure” to illuminate the link between abortion and breast cancer.
5. Opening day of public schools to reach out to students.
6. Spring break events.
7. Demonically based concerts.
8. Halloween events.
9. Other events that may arise that the ministry feels called to confront.

Are these this the corruption of the world? Gay Pride events, Earth Day, Halloween and of course the one event that will send you straight to hell, the "Race for the Cure"

But of course they know they are doing the right thing becasue the leader of this group, Davis Grisham, heard the word of God.
"I heard the Lord speak to me," says Grisham, "not in my ear, but in my spirit, asking ‘David, what do you see?' " Grisham says that he "knew it was the Lord speaking," and he answered that he "saw the ruins like the gravestones of a dead, godless society.
"The Lord gave me a revelation immediately, and the revelation exploded in my mind," says Grisham

Normally when someoone hears voices they get put them on some serious medication, but not the Christians, it seems every evangelical out there has heard from God.

It is funny that the first thing you see when you get on their website after the militaristic theme and the gun shots is a soldier and a PayPal link for donations.  That is the one thing this group and all the other evangelistic groups seem to need, money.

Repent Amarillo is being allowed to proliferate through Amarillo Texas becasue it seems that the city council is either too scared or spineless to defined the innocent from such a barbaric group. Oh I forgot, they are Christians they are the good guys... Bull Shit. When someone tells me that they are nice becasue they are Christian I fear them more than any Islamic Jihad.

I am getting so sick and tired of people doing thoughtless and cruel things to other human beings in the name of God. This group is just another in a long line of misguided religious zealots and those who have followed much like the Reverend Jim Jones in his compound in Jonestown,  Guyana, South America.

We must speak out against this oppression and not let these right winged, ultra conservative, liberals take away our freedoms of speech, religion and sexuality.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Vanity Cards

I like to relax with a good TV program, something that can make me laugh, make me cry, make me think or take me away from the everyday bullshit of life. The last few years my wife and I have found a few good comedies that do not insult our intelligence and are genuinely funny. I am referring to the Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men. The later particularly touches home because one of the characters is a 16 year old boy and well, we just happen to have one of those.

One thing we like to do after the program has ended is pause the TV and read the vanity cards. These are writings by the writer and producer Chuck Lorre. At the end of these shows is his commentary on whatever he feels like writing about. They are always funny and some of the time make you think. What is even funnier is sometimes his vanity cards are censored so the only way you can read them is on his website, chucklorre.com.

I suggest that you take the time and go to his link and read some of these vanity cards. You'll find yourself laughing out loud. You have a bad day, read a vanity card, you'll find some wonderfully funny and sometimes deep ideas about the world around us. A recent vanity card, #286 had a series of what seemed to be random thoughts that popped into his head such as, "In public bathrooms I will sometimes use the "children's urinal" in order to feel like a giant." and "I've never understood why anyone would bother making a porn movie that lasts longer than ten minutes." And then there is vanity card #280 in which Chuck Lorre goes on talking about getting old. One line rang a bell with me, "You know you're getting old when... You throw your back out on the toilet. You shave your ears."

So my suggestion is first, watch  Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men, and secondly go to chucklorre.com and read his vanity cards. It sure beats watching a Youtube video of a cat on a skateboard, and won't  kill off any brain cells.

 The photo above is from Big Bang Theory and property of Chuck Lorre Productions.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Is Photography Over?

Is Photography Over? That was the question that a panel at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art asked.
The answers were varied and thought provoking.

Photography in general terms can refer to art photography, iPhone snapshots, X-rays and MRI imaging so is photography over, of course not. But is the art of photography coming to an end, I fear it is.

SFMOMA curator of education Dominic Willsdon emphasized digital technology as an anxiety-inducing novelty that made the question "Is Photography Over?" seem timely.  The panel's  reasonable presumption seemed to be that everyone in the audience has seen and snapped, so many digital photographs that of course photography wasn't over.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The State Seal of Virginia - The cover-up


My wife sent me a link to a post by NPR about how Virginia's Attorney General, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, II wants to "cover-up" the state seal.

It seems that Attorney General Cuccinelli doesn't like that the dominant woman who is standing on top of a submissive male is also partially topless. Now the state seal of Virginia has been around for over 150 years but the recently elected Attorney General feels it is naughty and should be covered up. His idea was a armored breast plate. Kind of a kin to Zena the warrior princess.

My thought is doesn't he have something better to do with his time? I mean he is the Attorney General of Virginia. he might have a few other things top worry about than censoring the state seal. The city of Richmond alone has a murder rate that is 6.08 times the national average. (cityrating.com)

So to make this a priority in his administration might becasue he wants to shield his SEVEN children from seeing the drawing of a bare breast. Yes, I said seven children. A devout Roman Catholic, I think he is is some sort of a race with Mel Gibson.

I hope he directs his attention to more pressing matters like getting the common name of the bird Parus major changed. The name of course would be the Great Tit!