Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Jason Bay to the Mets

Anyone who knows me will happily testify that my crappy Red Sox have been breaking my heart since 1988. They've been punishing my psyche for so long that when they do win, I'm waiting for them to blow it somehow.

I was disappointed in hearing of left fielder Jason Bay's signing w/ the New York Mets. At the same time it doesn't surprise me, nor am I losing THAT much sleep over it. There are simply some teams out there that are so poorly run from the top down, you just kinda know that if a big free agent goes there, they're doing it simply for the paycheck. I don't blame them & it reinforces the comedic fodder in 3 years when (insert the free agent of your choice) demands to be traded because he want to win. A-Rod, I'm looking in your direction.

So w/ Bay's signing, he joins the "stellar" lineup of Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, & Carlos Delgado. This is the same team that finished 70-92, 23 games behind the division rivals & pennant winning Philadelphia Phillies.

Is anyone willing to bet against me that the Mets will still have yet another crappy season in 2010?


In other news...

Below is a picture of Lauren & Leeann playfully reinterpreting Gordon Park's legendary "American Gothic" where he himself was reinterpreting Grant Woods' 1930's piece of the same name.

It was a very spontaneous shot, nothing overly thought out but certainly fits into to my tongue-in-cheek creative nature.


Feel free to opine if you so choose.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas

I do hope everyone had a great Christmas.

I've been trying to write a blog dissertation attacking the commercialization of Christmas as well as the idiots that buy into it (no pun intended) but it doesn't feel right. Besides, publishing it really defeats the purpose of the holiday season.


In other news, here's a picture of Jenn. As a sucker for smiles, she photographs quite well & has piercing blue eyes.


Feel free to opine, critique, whatever. Just please leave (at least) a first name so I know who's commenting.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Glass House Dysfunction

I have a hard time respecting politicians beyond the local level. The lying & soapboxing for the cameras is nauseatingly transparent. If politics is theater by another means, when I go to a play, the actors actions will not effect the lives of real people beyond an emotional response.

I give you the example of State Senator Betty Little, R-Queensbury & my own representative.

She said, "(Gov't) is now beyond dysfunction. It is madness, or something."

I don't disagree w/ her sentiment. However, one could argue that she is just as much a part of the problem as the very people she's attacking.

Senator Little could have contributed in solving this dysfunction if she had the intestinal fortitude switched sides & would have been hailed as being above the childish fray by citing *holding hand over her heart* "for the good of the taxpayers of NY" when her own Legislative chamber couldn't act like mature adults. As was shown, that didn't even remotely happen.

Senator Little could have alleviated the state's budget crisis by voting "yes" on the State Senate's Same Sex Marriage bill. After all, people do need to pay a fee (among other things) to legalize their marriage. To say nothing about how macabre that some lowlife like State Senator Monserate who was found guilty of misdemeanor assault for slicing up his girlfriend's face w/ a piece of glass can be allowed to marry yet two homosexuals who love each other cannot. I guess "equal protection under the law" means "equal protection for some people but not others."

As the saying goes Sen Little, "Fix your own darn house before you start worrying how others are doing." If you are bankrupt of ideas or do not have the courage to put them through, you should tender your resignation for someone who is willing to step up.

Following picture I feel is quite in line w/ the theme of this blog:


Feel free to opine, critique, whatever any part of this blog so long as people can civil adults.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Carter Speech on Religion and Women

Apparently, I'm not the only one questioning religion's oppression of women.

I found an excerpt of a speech by former President Carter as reported by the NY Times. The full text is here.


In other news, this is my butt-kicking painter friend Heather.

This was one of the rare instances where I was more decisive in selecting her wardrobe than she was. :-)


Feel free to comment, critique, opine whatever so long as you're an adult about it. Also leaving a first name at minimal is mighty helpful to.

Monday, December 14, 2009

One of Those Weeks

Its been one of "those" weeks.

Last weekend's shoot got cancelled due to a snowstorm. The spot that I've been milking since God knows how long has temporarily been retired due to said snow blocking the route to get there.

Later this week, that shoot got canceled due to stress over a school final. Can't blame them for it since I've been there. We're both looking to reschedule but until we're actually shooting I'm not holding my breath. Life gets in the way sometimes.

Multiple inquires but nothing ever of yet.

Snows again, this weekend. I know I should expect, it tis the season & whatnot but it won't stop me from venting. I'm definitely not a winter person. :-)

This week's prize was getting into an argument w/ a friend. I cracked a joke in a moment of levity that I've said a thousand times over including them. They get ticked off, which happens. When I ask why or what's changed, the best the person can come up w/ is "Quit playing dumb. If you don't know, then I'm not going to tell you." So much for getting the benefit of the doubt. As if I don't have enough real drama in my life w/o the petty, manufactured faux stuff. LOL *rolls eyes*

All I can do is shrug my shoulders. That & remain optimistic that this week will be better.


This here is the super sweet Alyssa which was taken this past summer during my stay in Boston. We went to one of those old pre-colonial fort tourist places down somewhere on the Massachusetts coast. It was yet another abysmally rainy day.


Feel free to comment, critique, opine, whatever. Just leave a first name at the very least.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Analysis of the Church's Relationship with Women

Earlier this week, I discussed the Church's role in defeating same sex marriages. Today, I'm taking a closer look in how it treats women. I think these issues are more linked than people care to admit.

One of the Catholic Church's main missions is to promote social justice through equality on THIS world. Yet why is it that w/n their own institution, they are regulating women as being 2nd class citizens?

Think about it. They preach, "we believe in quality for all" yet how they conduct their business is anything but. There's a glass ceiling for women. They can assist in how the church is run, they can teach, they can recruit members but when it comes to actual leadership roles, sorry, they're unfit. Is this not an exploitation?

Winston Churchill during his political exile in the 1930's repeatedly denounced the Nuremberg Laws that legalized the discrimination of German Jews (among other things) "for nothing more than how they was born." Why cannot the same be applied w/ the Catholic Church & its treatment of woman? Were they any other establishment, there'd be a class action lawsuit accusing the Church of "sexual discrimination" or some sort of conspiracy to keep women down. Furthermore, the government would step in & say, "You have every right to conduct business as you see fit. But we cannot condone such actions. Therefore we will suspend the tax benefits those very same benefits that enable the status quo."

If you look closely in the Bible in how they describe Christ's conception. God created Mary free from original sin. He then later chooses Mary to carry his son (or himself, depending on your interpretation). There's a big tadoo in how God's gift to man is "free will."

At the Annunciation, Gabriel announced, "Don’t be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bring forth a son, and will call his name ‘Jesus.’" (Luke 1:30-31). Notice how its phrased, "you will" as opposed to "will you". Mary had no choice in the matter. Sure she may have been honored to have his child (or himself...didn't that whole Trinity thing split the Church at some point) but she just as well may have been revolted by the premise. So because Mary never consented of her own free will to having the baby, does this not mean God raped Mary? Where is Mary's "free will"?

Certainly has to make one wonder.

Why women still continue to support the church & its hypocrisy. My theory? Stockholm Syndrome.

Think about it. Stockholm Syndrome is "an emotional attachment to a captor formed by a hostage as a result of continuous stress, dependence, and a need to cooperate for survival."

What's the stress? Could be anything from excommunication to denial of the sacraments to the denial of the soul's acceptance to heaven. What's the dependence? The spiritual renourishment. Why the cooperation for survival? Again, the fear of being excommunicated, the denial of sacraments, &/or the souls denial into heaven. Because of this, people become dependent on its teachings & interests w/ little critical thinking. In this context, can the church not be viewed as the captor?

Until the Church starts scrutinizing its own actions & do work towards a better world on this Earth as outlined in their mission in the New Testament (peace on earth; feeding the sick, lame, & poor; leaving this world a better place than when you found it; spread the word of God; loving thy neighbor as I would love myself; to name a few...), I have a really hard time taking anything they preach at face value.


This is Amanda. Taken during a very rare nonrainy moment while I was out in Boston this past summer. I swear it rained like 45 of the 60 days I was there, pretty ridiculous even by Boston's weather standards.

The shoot got cut short because we had to race outside to stop her car from being ticketed which we were successful in doing. Nonresidential parking in Boston is a pain in the rear. I recommend using their public transportation if at all possible.


Feel free to critique, opine, whatever, all I ask is that you be an adult about it. Oh yeah, & leave at least a first name if you're not a blogger member.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Church Forgetting its own Mission

I am deeply discouraged by the Church's role in defeating gay marriage in both California last year, Maine this year, & a last week in the NYS Senate.

Personal opinion #1: I can care less. If a gay or lesbian couple wish to be miserable for the rest of their lives through the bonds of matrimony like any other straight couple, who am I to deny them that wish?

Its hypocritical of the church, an institution that supposedly "seeks justice on this earth", to spend so much time, energy, & money on the very opposite. The last I checked, the New Testament is about loving thy neighbor, helping those that are less fortunate, sticking up for the oppressed, doing that to which you know to be right, saving souls, being honest w/ yourself & your relationship w/ God, healing the sick, etc. Its never about keeping people in bondage, making them be 2nd class citizens in the kingdom of God.

Personal opinion #2: When the church gets seeks change through the political process & betrays its own values, does it not demean its own moral authority?

Considering the scope of the (unfortunately) STILL ongoing pedophilia scandal here in the US as well as recently revealed abuses in Ireland, I'm puzzled why we citizens should take the Church seriously. Why should they dictate how OTHER CONSENTING ADULTS conduct their own business when they cannot control or ignore abuses in theirs. This is not even including the coverups that went on for DECADES.

I guess the message they're still trying to send is that 2 men screwing each other is a no-no but if its one of their one screwing a little boy or girl, its as Martha Stewart would say, "a good thing."

Personal opinion #3: Maybe the tax exempt status of the Churches should be revoked or more scrutinized. Or maybe gay & lesbian couples should get a reduction in their tax burden.

The Fourteenth Amendment gives "equal protection under the law." It broadly defines citizenship & the constitutional rights, particularly due process. Using this argument...if gay & lesbians do not have the same rights as straight folk, why should they be obligated to pay the same amount of taxes or serve on juries or other things like that. Also using that same logic, churches should start paying taxes. Are we the taxpayer not footing the bill from public services like fire & police protection? W/ that same line of reasoning, the gay & lesbian communities are essentially subsidizing their own oppression.

I'm honestly surprised in the NYS Senate debate, nobody framed it in such a way as helping ease the state's budget crisis. They could have had a nice windfall from all the new marriage licenses being issued to the new gay & lesbian couples. But then again, this is the same government body that was in session for the entire month of June because they couldn't act like adults & get a quorum. All the while getting no work done even though there's something like a $2 billion dollar budget deficit that (to this very day still needs to be resolved).

Personal opinion #4: Government at all levels should completely get out of the marriage racket & give everyone "civil unions" for all those who apply & qualify. It doesn't matter if 2 guys want it, 2 girls, & 1 guy & 1 girl. Completely leave the marriage business to religious institutions. Who they choose & deny should have no weight or special benefit w/ man's law.

Maybe I'm just a fallen Catholic who will burn in hell anyway (I'm a "pornographer" after-all who shoots half-naked girls that are wearing more real estate than the girls in the undies section of the JCPenny's catalog) but I can't take their mission seriously when I'm more educated about their own mission & what the messages of the New Testament than they are.


In other news...

This is Samantha & her fiancee, Ryan, in one of their goofy moments that is supposedly "pornographic" (like I'm supposed to be ashamed that is "porn).

For some reason I keep thinking of the song, "Anything You Can Do" from "Annie Get your Gun." The lyrics go, "Anything you can do I can do better!" "No, you can't." "Yes, I can." "No, you can't." "Yes, I can." & so on.


Feel free to opine, critique, whatever. Just be an adult & leave a name when you do.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I got talking w/ a photographer friend of mine & the topic of expectations arose. For the sake of expediency, we'll call her Jane (as in Jane Doe)

Well, it didn't happen right off the get-go. Jane's an art student & got married over the summer. Her mother, apparently, was complaining that its taken her wedding photographer 4 months to get the pictures done. Nevermind the fact that the photographer in question is Jane's trusted friend. Nevermind again the fact that had Jane not offered to do the pictures to get the experience, she (according to Jane) would have been a bridesmaid. Nevermind again that Jane's mom was never privy to whatever agreement the photographer & Jane herself made.

"This is a really nice picture of the family taken by (Jane's Mom's friend)," the mother said. True, it is & it has a nice mat & frame to boot. The only problem being NO ONE'S LOOKING AT THE CAMERA because their attention is on the person who's supposed to be taking the pictures in the first place. Needless to say I smiled, nodded, & said, "It is, isn't it." Its part of that picking your battles thing & its not like Jane's Mom's opinion would changed.

But anyway, Jane made a comment that really got me thinking & is thus the inspiration of this blog. "You'd think that with a few photographers in the family," she & siblings, "she'd be able to appreciate how lengthy the process can be."

So we got talking, mostly to blow off steam to like minded individuals.

However, all people see is the end product. Unless they're involved in "the game" so to speak, its like a foreign concept to them. It'd be like my older brother trying to explain to me why some pro soccer team blows chunks or my sister explaining what to take into account when formulating a lesson plan. I can get a vague idea as to what they're talking about in better empathizing w/ their plight. But in actually understanding the topic in question, its to foreign for me to grasp maybe because I have no tangible use for it.

There's nothing wrong w/ it. It just is what it is.

So why does it happen?

Personal theory #1: Enthusiasm.

I cannot tell you how many times I've given small scale, unedited "proofs" to one of my subjects & then later seen them on Facebook or MySpace. Those are meant for their eyes only (& state it as such in the release they sign) or at least "not for public display". I wince even more when they attribute my name to it. It matters that people are seeing images that have not had my tender loving care. This is a reason why I stopped giving out proofs unless its a hire job.

They're so excited to get "something" that it overrides their good sense. Its sorta like how our old dog Buddy was. Whenever he'd see a fellow canine, he'd start barking & subsequently lose his mind in the excitement.

Personal theory #2: the "Blinders" Effect.

When something is outside of a person's knowledge orbit, there can be "fog of war" effect. Meaning the unknown is an element in & of itself that creates uncertainty. In such cases, people revert to their own knowledge base regardless if its even remotely applicable or accurate.

So if a person's political knowledge base is limited to what they've observed in NY State politics, they'd likely think that politics on all levels is dysfunctional.

Personal theory #3: Differing Perspectives.

Time & again, I see people make dreadful choices. Here's an exchange I had many moons ago:

Me: Are you sure you want (that shot)?
Subject: Yes, I do. Its one of my favorites!
Me: May I ask why? Not trying to be mean but you look constipated, not to mention caught you mid-blink.
Subject: Its alright. I just like how you captured my boobs. You made my A-cups look huge!

Considering we all look at things differently, I let the matter drop. There's like no way I could belabor the point w/o hurting her feelings.


Speaking of weddings...

Here's the something from the Connor-Filin wedding. & no, the bride isn't the aforementioned Jane Doe. She's my dear friend Shiloh, one of my earliest & treasured subjects.

It was a cute little ceremony last Valentine's Day, held up in Lake Placid. It certainly brings a smile to my face knowing that happy endings are possible & at the same time is a birth to a new beginning.


Feel free to opine, critique, or whatever, just be an adult about it.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

What I am Thankful for

What am I thankful for?

Simply lots. But in no particular order:

- my siblings. Though I'm sure I drive them nuts & they periodically drive me nuts, I'd rather have them than not.

- my parents. Though it can be rough at times, I'm grateful that when the chips are down I can depend on them if need be.

- my subjects. Their participation in some of my crazy ideas allow me to participate in my craft & allow me to give my unique vision to the world.

- my brushes w/ the law. As someone who has gotten numerous speeding tickets & cops questioning why I'm tramping around dilapidated buildings, none have ever gone so far as to put me behind bars for long periods of time. Maybe its because they were nice or I managed to slither my way out somehow but I'm not really sure which not that I'm going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

- my community. Not to loud. Not to crazy. Enough activities to keep me occupied when I come out of my hole. Close enough to travel places when I want. Not for everyone but it works for me. The autumns make it all worth while.

- my life. No matter how crappy I THINK my life is, I'm grateful in knowing there's always someone out there that's worth off than me. That brightens my spirits knowing I'm not as bad as them (in that perverse sorta way).


This is Shannon indulging me in my love of working in forgotten spaces. The costume is her idea.

I'm tentatively calling this, "Searching for the Last Post-Apocalyptic Trick."


Feel free to comment or opine or critique, if you so desire. Just act like adults & leave a name when doing so.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pocahontas Meets the Ridiculous

I encourage my subjects to suggest ideas no matter how crazy or ridiculous they are. Because I'm quite nutty in my sensibilities.

Maybe I was dropped as a child. Well, in fairness no, I probably wasn't. However it wouldn't at all surprise me if it stems from me eating Play-doh as a kid or whacking myself in the head one to many times w/ a Matchbox car or eating paint chips or something. Yes, I was THAT kind of child.

During my most recent visit w/ Samantha, her fiancee Ryan had this idea involving a feather, a piece of twine, & a leaf. Somehow w/ just that alone, I had this vibe that me & him would get along just fine.

Stuck for specific ideas but always playing w/ relationship dynamics, I gave them a reverse Pocahontas storyline. The age old savage meets civilized man (or in this case woman), savage threatens man, man civilizes savage, man & savage fall in love. Its quite Victorian minded if I do say so myself, though that theme has been around since well before Babylonia. I just let them run w/ it & see where it took us.

I'm choosing this shot because I really like their body language.


Feel free to opine, comment, criticize so long as one can be a civil adult. As well as leaving at least a first name so I know who's commenting. :-)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Friends, Boyfriends, & Escorts, Oh My!

The topic of whether one of my subjects is allowed to bring a friend, boyfriend, or escort for their own comfort level, periodically arises from prospective applicants.


1. This can be a touchy subject for a variety of reasons. But here are my own personal guidelines, they are welcome to come so long as:

- they bring something to do, like a book or homework or something. My shoots are NO WHERE near as exciting as America's Next Top Model. They are often downright dull unless the person is directly involved & has something at stake in them.

- they aren't distracting for either of us. Rarely happens but I've had models trip out because THEY think their BF is subconsciously judging them while he watched. I'm not sure why they insisted on bringing them to the shoot in such instances but that's neither here nor there.

- they be willing to help if needed.

- their actions, good or bad, are ultimately a reflection on you. If they bail at the last minute & you have "no one else to come", its a reflection on you. Likewise if they assist in being aiding us by holding a reflector.


2. Though I'm laid back & almost don't care (if it makes the prospect more comfortable, having someone along is fine by me), it can be an issue for other people. Their concerns may run something like this:

- equipment theft or liability issues

- what kind of personality will the friend have? Intimidating? Outgoing? Controlling? Unrealistic? Open minded? Inquisitive? They often won't know until gameday.

- limited space in the location/studio itself

- the friend's view about the shoot. Some people view it as a workplace. Their argument is is that you wouldn't take your friend to the doctor's when you get a physical or to the dentist to fill a cavity or to the day job? Why would you bring it to a shoot?

- We photographers are just as at risk "of something happening" as you models are. For all we know, you might be coming in hungover (I've had that happen once, she was sent home before she stepped in the door) or high.

- No one is allowed on set unless they're actively involved in some way. The theory is is that since they have nothing at stake, they're not going to care about getting good results.

I may not necessarily agree w/ everything stated in the above but its a viewpoint worth looking at.


3. I also hear this statement on occasion:

"(You) should always bring someone with (you), because there are a lot people out there in this profession for all the wrong reason."

I often wince upon reading that.

Newsflash! There are people in it for the wrong reasons in ALL professions. A woman is 3 times more likely to "have something happen to them" (however that's defined) by someone they know than they are by a stranger. The "Photographer Rapes & Kills Blond Model" simply makes for a juicier headline & boosts ratings. Creepiness is hardly limited to ones profession or skill level.


4. Though there's a certain level of trust needed when one operates in the public eye, there are ways that one can reduce the risk of "something happening" (however defined).

Sometimes I think people fall on the "I need to bring a friend standpoint" because they just don't realize what else they can do. In no particular order, here are some suggestions:

- Have you actually talked to the person over the phone? Texting & email doesn't count because you cannot get a read on tonal inflection.

- Have you met the photographer in person? This is not always practical because of distance & free time but it sometimes can happen, particularly if you both are local. Body language reading can help in these cases.

- Have you told someone where you're going & who you're w/ & for how long? Have you also given the friend the photographer's contact name & number?

- Have you asked for references? At the very least, what was the photographer's reaction?

- Do you plan on doing periodic call-ins or texts (maybe during wardrobe or set changes?) to a trusted friend that everything is still alright?

- What kind of communication vibe are you getting? If you have questions, is the other person willing to explain things? Or like in emails, are things vague or terse?

- If you still wish to have someone come w/ you & the photographer is not comfortable w/ it, have you thought about having the friend as your driver, you being dropped off wherever (most likely w/ the photographer) & then allow them to use the vehicle to go chill somewhere locally or catch a movie while you shoot?

- Have you communicated clearly to the photographer what you will & won't do prior to the actual shoot? Have they actively acknowledged it in any meaningful way? Don't assume.

- Have you asked any questions?

- I've worked w/ models/subjects who say nothing when something is making them uncomfortable? Have you spoken up? I cannot speak for others but sometimes I become tunnel blind focusing on what I'm doing that I don't notice (for instance) the model is shaking from the cold.

Taking all this into account, does your Spidey Sense still tingle?

I'm not the type to think any one of these taken alone would raise an eyebrow. However collectively, a person may want to take a second look at the applicable answers, their context, & tone. Use your situational awareness vibe, evaluate, & act accordingly. No two instances are the same.


Below is Shylah & her fiancee, Brad, participating in my "Critique of the Unsatisfied Relationship" series. Please let me know if I've yet to explain both the origins & what I'm trying to specifically explore in this series. I'm constantly exploring the subtle nuisances w/ relationships.

Both their body languages feel appropriate for this entry.


Feel free to opine, critique, compliment, slam, whatever so long as you act like civil adults.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Congressman Coward Votes No on HR 3962

I've been following the debate over Universal Health Care trying to make sense of all the different options & form a half-way educated opinion, as I've written w/ my Sept 14, 2009 entry.

The Representative for NY's 20th district, Scott Murphy, voted "no" on HR 3962. In his press statement, he writes:

(1) "I firmly believe that health care reform is critical to strengthening our nation. However, in order to achieve this goal, we must address the fundamentally flawed system that has led to skyrocketing costs, bankrupt families and extremely profitable insurance companies. For these reasons, I voted no on H.R. 3962 tonight.

(2)“This bill makes a number of important reforms, which I wholeheartedly support including the elimination of the lifetime caps on insurance benefits and the pre-existing condition exclusion, invests in prevention and primary care, creates a health insurance exchange to force insurance companies to compete and offers a public option for people who want to get away from for-profit insurance companies."

Ok, he's trying to be for the little guy. I get that. Yet he turns around & says this:

(3) "I have consistently said that any bill that Congress passes must curb costs and keep health care affordable in the long term. During these difficult economic times, an unacceptably high price tag will stress our already overstretched federal budget and place even more burdens on our hard working individuals, families and small businesses. We need to fix the system now, and not put off the hard choices for another generation. Furthermore, I am deeply frustrated by the last minute addition of over $50 billion in taxes on the two largest private employers in the 20th District – medical device manufacturers and paper mills."

Emphasis mine.

(4) “As a small businessman, I am also concerned that H.R. 3962 falls short of making health insurance affordable for the small businesses of the 20th District; it fails to reform the fundamentally flawed incentives in the system, which continue to drive costs upward; and it fails to restrain the monopolistic practices of private insurers, which allow them to continue to increase premiums already weighing on families and small businesses."

When comparing paragraphs 1 & 3 this begs the question, who is Congressman Murphy really for? Is he for the people who put him in power by a mere 1465 (out of over 161,000 cast) or is he simply out to protect his benefactors that give him his $$ w/ state sanctioned bribes?

It'd be one thing if he voted against it because the current plan fines people for not having health insurance or that it basically neuters the public option (all legitimate grievances). However in paragraph 3, he's against the provisions that raise taxes on the industries in his district. Let's back up for a minute. During his special election, he was perfectly fine using tax payer dollars for handouts to private industries (even after they demonstrated in screwing up their own finances) but when it rolls around for them to put back into the system, its an outrage. I guess it shows where his priorities are.

If you also take a look at paragraphs 2, he lists all the ways it attempts to fix the very problems he's concerned w/ yet flips flops on why the current bill isn't good (paragraph 4). This would've been less confusing had they appeared in two separate statements (as opposed to just the one). Or maybe they're just playing the old "if you can't dazzle them w/ brilliance, bewilder them w/ BS."

His "no" vote begs the question, what has he actually done to help align the bill w/ his beliefs? Did he propose any amendments to address his concerns? Has he given a floor speech? If not, then what exactly has he been doing since he took the oath of office? Its not like Congress has had much else on its agenda.

Murphy's Health Care position reinforces the notion of being a typical politician w/ no firm beliefs. He makes his decision by licking his finger & putting it in the air to see which way the wind is blowing. Murphy votes against the Stupack Amendment (as reported by PlanetAlbany), a provision disallowing federal funds to pay for abortions in the reform package. He wants it both ways. He pays lip-service to appease the pro-abortion segment yet votes against measures that directly effects his own campaign contributors.

His "I need to study the issue" mantra (as he said countless times when asked about the Federal Bailouts to both the auto, bank, & insurance industries) may have served him well during his special election this past spring, yet conveniently is in favor of it when its outcome is already assured. The "I need to study the issue" doesn't carry the same weight or slack when you've been studying it for the last 6 months. This isn't like the national budget where they cram God only knows how many pieces of legislation in less than a 48-hour period (if that).

I used to be one to scoff whenever pundits said, "So & so's vote is going to come back & haunt him come reelection." The American voter has an incredibly short memory. But w/ instances like this, I understand where they're coming from. To paraphrase Musing of a Fairly Young Contrarian, "If a candidate cannot even be bothered to hold a core set of beliefs, why should I obligated to vote for him?"

Mr Murphy take a lesson from your fellow Congressman like Rep. Thomas Perriello (D-Va.), Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Ohio), Rep. Steve Driehous (D-Ohio) and Rep. Zack Space (D-Ohio), all vulnerable freshman. "Grow a pair & actually stand for something."


This is another shot of Government Center when I was visiting Boston this past summer. (I'm using the clickable thumbnail version because its a little to wide)


Feel free to opine, criticize, whatever so long as said views are expressed in a civilized manner.

Monday, November 9, 2009

the Massachusetts Coast

I have many topics I've been wanting to discuss lately but haven't figured out a coherently way to put them into words. Actually, that's not entirely true. I have put them into words, I'm working on a way that senses for the readers.

In a completely unrelated topic...

When I work, my aim is to get my subjects to subconsciously drop their everyday armor. This often takes the form of us simply chatting. Other times, I'll ask questions that get them to open up about whatever.

Hearing Jenny discuss her life was endearing. She had such zest in how she described her family life, her home, her kids, her neighborhood, among many other things. It turns out, her husband has North Country NY roots as well as being college buddies to my own city councilman. Small world considering Jenny's based in the Southeastern Massachusetts coast.

My shoot w/ her is another of those laid back chat, shoot, chat, break, get munchies, shoot some more, get under shelter because of the crappy weather, rinse, recycle, repeat.

I'm picking this shot below because it allows me to tell an anecdotes:


The above was taken on the MA coast in Jenny's region. A few seconds before it was taken, she is shouting (barely audible over the crashing waves) warning me of an incoming tide. I wasn't worried (& told her so) in the hopes I was able to get the shot I was looking for, specifically having the waves crash in the foreground w/ her in it. I got the shot I was looking for & my lower body was drenched in the process.

It was worth it & yes, I had the foresight to bring flip-flops & a change of pants during that trip.


Feel free to comment, opine, criticize if you so desire. All I ask is that you keep it civil.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Parker Posie Jewelry

I get random fits of inspiration.

I was informed by a little birdie that one of my Farenell Girls, Shannon Parker, began dabbling in custom jewelry.

In one of my "what the hell" moments, I asked if she'd have any interest in starting a collaboration of sorts. She sends me the jewelry, I shoot them w/ people wearing them, all three of us (myself, Shan, & the subjects) get usage rights out of them. Viola, everyone's happy.

Shan agreed.

Flying blind (partially done by choice & to preserve maximum flexibility), I was trying to do these as 1-part portraiture (I'm a sucker for those) & 1-part jewelry showcase.

Little would I know until after the fact, that she likes 'em tough. "Fierce" (w/ a couple of exclamation points) was how she enthusiastically described them when I emailed them to her.

It was tough in a lot of ways having to position the model in a specific way so the jewelry designs were actually seen. But I'd like to think I was up to the task.

I'm not saying either of us is any more correct than the other, we're just liking different things about what was produced. But here are a couple of my personal favorites (in no particular order):

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2. I liked these particular creations a lot. I guess I should rephrase. I like them a lot AND my perpetually broke-ass self was able to afford them at just the right time. These were given to my mother for Mother's Day.

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Shanon's favorites:

3. Seeing her "babies" w/ people in everyday clothes, was a compliment made by the jewelry creator for this one. Its something I'll have to remember if I'm blessed w/ ever working w/ her creations again:

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4. Clarification, the bracelet in this shot is the piece in question:

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Its all good though. I'm very happy to help out yet another Farenell Girl.

Feel free & opine if you so choose. All I ask is that you keep it civil.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The First Family Portrait

I am quite amused at the chatter I'm seeing regarding this Annie Leibovitz picture of the First Family:

Some of the comments I've heard.

1- "Its crap. She's breaking all the Photo 101 rules, chopping off hands, bad cropping, white outfits. My professor would be rolling over in his grave."

2- "That's the best she could do for the most important family in the world? That's it?"

3- "Sorry it’s a crappy shot. I could do a better job."

4- (paraphrasing) Another was bitching about how a control image freak like the Obamas could let crap like this get by.

5- "No forethought was put into this at all."

6- "Where's the dog? People trust their Presidents when they have a dog...well, except for Nixon."

My responses...

1R- There's more to an image than following the rules. There's a thing called capturing your subject's emotional connection w/ the camera & (if applicable) to each other. Lord knows if we viewed Diane Arbus's work in the same way, they'd all be thrown in the trash bin.

2R- I guess this responder has never heard of playing to your audience. In this case its Miss Leibovitz's employer, Vanity Fair, & by extension, its readers. The First Family, if they had any say in the matter to start w/, were probably looking for something that makes them look semi-normal but also showcases their familial connections to each other.

3R- I hear this a lot when people criticize Richard Avedon's work. Yes, something may be crap. If you can do a better job, put your money where your mouth is & do it. People forget (or choose to ignore) that being a good businessman is not really about producing the best product overall, its about producing the best product you can but more importantly, being the right fit for your client.

4R- Had this person said this during the 2008 Presidential campaign, I probably would have agreed. But things have changed, for better or worse. A bickering legislature, 2 wars that are still dragging on, appointees having considerable dirty laundry of their own, being embarrassed on national TV by Representative "You Lie."

5R- If no forethought was put into this image, that would mean that she got lucky. I could only dream of being even 1/4 that lucky & on a consistent basis as she. I'd also disagree about the no forethought opinion. The children are grouped closest to the parent that resembles them. Older daughter & mother dressed in predominantly a black wardrobe. Younger daughter & father dressed in predominantly white. Hands interlocking & our leaning on the parents to draw a further connection as a family.

6R- Ok, I've got no real answer for that. LOL

I'm certainly no cheer leading fan of the President but I can certainly empathize w/ him & by extension his family. Anyone who in less than 7 days can go from being vilified for "losing" an Olympic Games selection & turn around & still be vilified for "winning" a Nobel Peace Prize (decisions neither of which he had any control of whatsoever), all I can do is shrug my shoulders & shake my head.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Harvard Square Hijinks


This past week I came down w/ some seasonal disease or whatever. I pretty much ALWAYS get something when the weather swings crazy from hot to cold & vice-versa. Gotta love livin' in the Northeast as well as being half dead & narced up on over-the-counter antihistamine while popping Vitamin C tablets likes its Halloween candy.

Going into photojournalism mode is always an adventure. I know I've said that before w/ my model shoots but on a scale of 1 to 10, my model shoots range usually range from 4.5 to 7. The more complications entailed, the higher it goes. Shooting news stuff ranges from anywhere from a 6.5 to 9, for the same reasons.

I just never know what kind of characters I'll encounter, what their reactions will be, how I'll deal w/ it, etc.

Which leads me into yet another entertaining antcedote regarding this image:


The image was taken this past summer during my stay in Boston. Its specifically at a park outside of Harvard Square.

The story behind this shot was that some old guy looking like a scraggier version of Robert E Lee was convinced I took a picture of him (I didn't). To appease him, I agreed to delete it & continued shooting. He caught on that I hadn't done so, so he asked to see me do it. I refused. He raised his voice while I continued shooting.

I pointed out that since all this was happening on public property & that I'm a taxpayer, I had as much of a right to take pictures as he does. If he doesn't like it, I encourage him to spend his time at his private dwelling.

He reminded me that he was in this neighborhood a lot & that if ever I was walking across the Harvard Campus at late at night, he wasn't going to get any help from him. W/o mentioning that I wasn't expecting to be at the Harvard campus late at night, I replied that I'd keep that in mind.

He raised his voice again insisting that I delete his phantom image. By this time, I shift my camera neck strap so its over my head & through one of my armpits because I'm thinking he's going to pull a "whoops" bump into me while slapping my camera to the ground. I continued shooting but in the end, it never came to that.

He soon left to go complain to a compatriot. I got what I was looking for, took that as my cue to go off on my own merry way.

So a refresher, while working taking pictures on the street,...

1. Knowing what one is allowed & not allowed to do will go a long way.
2. Though not applicable for this incident, acting/looking like you belong will illicit fewer questions.
3. Though not applicable for this incident, don't act like an asshole as your default position. Most people, like law enforcement, are just honestly curious as to what you're doing.
4. Hold your ground, if you think you'll go farther. Cut your losses, if you've met your personal threshold.
5. None of the above are absolute. Use your best judgement as it pertains to your situation.

I encourage you to opine, comment, whatever, so long as its civil.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Prom Dress Randomness

Anyone who has ever shot w/ me will know that I am horriblely, unpicky when it comes to wardrobe choices. Unless its a super specific idea where the wardrobe is essential for my big picture idea, I almost do not care. Bring what you have, I'll run w/ it.

Even before I began shooting Deborah, the day was what I describe as "blah". Major rainstorms. Cold, like (literally) 55 degrees in mid-July! I'm hungry because I still needed to go grocery shopping. No worries because I have a shoot later that day.

To make this story more entertaining, my model sends me a text that she's passed a certain subway stop. These were per my directions so I could meet her there BEFORE she arrives. So I sat there, one train goes by...then the second, then the third. Ok, I've never had more than 4 trains run past & not have my person show. The fourth one goes by.

I'm not going to lie. I'm starting to think she's simply BS'ing me, to afraid to outright bail so I get strung along. Considering I had a subject, not 2 days prior, message me that she was on the way at 10a & still hadn't arrived by 3p, I was kinda writing Deborah off as a flake. Needless to say I was wrong. Fast-forwarding to the end, Deborah arrives on the EIGHTH subway train.

That in itself makes for comedic copy but we're not done w/ this fish story.

So we walk the 3 blocks from the subway stop to the apartment, afterwards allowing her time to show what she's brought. She pulls this really cool prom dress that she got for $20! She then explains that its so new she hasn't had time to get it tailored. The Marine "improvise, adapt, & overcome" in me, isn't to worried. She takes time to do her makeup & hair while I figure out a work-around.

Fast-forwarding again...

She's in the prom dress & the back is only zipping so far. I'm starting to wonder if I can simply shoot her w/o the dress being loose in the back. Y'know like the running gag in Marilyn Monroe's "Some Like it Hot." A few test shots later, that idea wasn't going to work. I'm looking around the apartment for SOMETHING that will help us out. Nope, clothespins weren't working. Nor did we have any saftey pins handy.

What to do? What to do?

The roommate, who likes to making jewelry in her spare time, did have safety wire in the apartment. A couple holes punched in her dress, wire slipped through, we now have a corset. Presto-improvisio! We're ready to rock & roll.

Since it stopped raining & I was sick of shooting indoors, we ran outside & shot around the neighborhood which ilicited some strange looks by the passers-by (not that we cared).

*insert sinister laugh*

Got bored w/ that & shot in the stairwell of the apartment. Again w/ more passers-by & again, neither of us really cared what they thought. We were happily off in our own little world.

I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE random shoots like this. :-)


Monday, October 12, 2009

Obama's Nobel Peace Prize

I like a lot of people were stunned Friday morning in learning that President Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize "for his work to improve international diplomacy and rid the world of nuclear weapons."

Congratulations to you, Mr. President.

Not to take anything away the honor (its not like Obama lobbied for it anyway) but it certainly makes people wonder what the Nobel committee was thinking, considering that the nomination deadlines were due 2 weeks AFTER he took the oath of office! Ok, many people thought it was a good inauguration speech but I doubt anyway thought it was Nobel worthy. LOL

This leads to a couple of theories.

1. There are some title holders who likely get nominated every year regardless who holds it, in the hopes they'll actually do something to warrant it. The UN Secretary General, the President of the United States, the British Prime Minister, the Dahlahi Lami, the Pope, Director of Unicef, etc.

2. It just goes to show you that EVERYTHING is relative. During last Autumn's Presidential Campaign, I told nearly everyone that either canidate could do an absolute lousey job as President but since they'd be succeeding George W. Bush, they'd come off looking like a million bucks.

Think about it. Reagan was maybe mediocre to an above average President but because he followed Carter's lousey administration (particularly the last year & a half) & combine that w/ him making everyone feel better about themselves, the Old Gipper comes out looking like gold. Same w/ Clinton in a different respect. This is not to say that Bush, Sr was a lousey President, Clinton had that unique ability to A. get people to believe in his vision & B. HELPED create the conditions for people to prosper. If people are prospering, they likely feel good about themselves & their future.

Winning something like the Nobel Prize, any of them for that matter, so early in ones career/life has gotta be pretty dang tough. Its like any author winning the Pulitzer for his debut novel. Its like how the heck does everything that follows measure up?

Good luck to you, Mr President. I certainly do not envy your job.


Taken this past July during my stay in Boston. Its specifically of Government Center. The day inching towards dusk.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

My Loveable Headcases

I was reading Jaimeibarra's blog over on deviantART & it got me thinking.

One will detect an element of reverence, affection, &/or love when I speak about many of my subjects. I've periodically blabbed about my own photo-relationships & it caused me to expand upon the theme.

My style of shooting contains A LOT emotions. I'm almost entirely dependent on developing & establishing a rapport w/ my subjects. This means talking w/ them, getting to know them. Its a buildup in getting them to trust me while also revealing something wholely unique about themselves that they (in many cases) never knew existed. More importantly, I need honesty. Combine the uniquness & honesty, w/ pouring every last ounce of creativity that I can muster and I'm left drained upon a shoot's completion.

Contrary to Hollywood's portrayal, its not sexual. "Clinical" would be better description for I personally work. The bulk of what I do entails people being able to trust me as well as my crazy ideas. Its a waste of energy to hit on them because quite frankly, the creation process takes precedence. I certainly wouldn't be opposed if my subjects hit on me...but that's like different. At least how I'm viewing things, I am the one in a position of trust & I can't be the first one to blink.

Course I'm usually lost in my warped little world so if any girl was interested in me, they could walk up & shake my hand & I probably wouldn't notice. In all seriousness, it likely not THAT bad. It just makes for great comic relief. I am a tragic Red Sox fiend & they've been breakin' my heart since 1988.

There are also "my" headcases which are different than "the" headcases. "My" headcases are those I simply want to wring their necks (& they sometimes mine). They are the ones who no matter how hard we both try, nothing EVER goes as planned. Either the situation sucks; the weather's crappy; Plans A, B, C, D, & E get thrown out the window & I'm basically making it up as I go; Residual friend drama creeping in; whatever. There's often so much stress & intense emotions involved, I usually leave feeling like the entire shoot was a complete waste of time. This is why I like to decompress (2 weeks is usually good) because once said emotions subside, "my" headcase shoots are NO WHERE near as bad as I ever initially think.

"The" headcases are simply the aforementioned problems plus we're just not jiving for any reason. Could be crappy communication; one side simply "isn't feeling it"; something's put one of us in a foul mood; they look nothing like the test pictures they sent &/or those that are in their profile...the list goes on. These are the type of shoots that you remember, learn from them, mention them for comic relief but ultimately, let them die w/ dignity.

Isabel (shown below):

Photobucket one of lovable "my" headcases. Don't worry, I'm not insulting her because we've discussed this very topic long ago. I'm choosing this picutre because of her reaction. "Its so simple, I love it! To many people makes things so elaborate, making (the images & my job) a complete bore."

Our first shoot, she was pregnant & I just didn't get her personality. Left thinking, "Man, this broad is bitchy" & vowed to never work w/ her again. This was my first meeting w/ her baby's father who didn't impress me (more on him later)

Second shoot, I was passing through & she inquired if we wanted to work again. I remembered her initial bitchiness, chalked it up as a hormonal pregnant women, gave her the benefit of the doubt, & shot her again. Our initial plan never made it out the door but as usual leaving me to pull something out my rear.

Another entailed me being like 2 hours late. I swung by a local photographer's place to talk shop over coffee. I was expecting to be in & out in under an hour, maybe 2 tops. Low & behold 4 hours later, I left. I got the tale end of her group shoot thing (its not like I was doing anything that day anyway).

Another one driving through an unsuspecting snowstorm & thus having my vehicle slide off the road. That was fun. *rolls eyes*

The most memorable was the baby's father creating a stink (no pun intended) in the hopes of getting her custody agreement revoked. The claim was "we all were smoking weed in front of the little one." This is quite curious because I was shooting Izzy outside in the backyard) & had formally turned over the baby's visitation to the father. If he stormed out like he testified in court, how was watching the baby?

This resolution entailed me leaving work at 4a (I was working an overnight at the time), driving 2 hours, dressing for the family court hearing in case they wished to have me testify (I volunteered). I didn't "need" to be there but in my book, the possiblity of losing ones kid is a big thing, so I willingly made the sacriface. As Murphy's Law would have it, my transmission died (ah, gotta love beater cars) which required a rescue from one of my friends.

I think we had a few other shoots scattered hear & there but I've kinda lost count.

Its pretty safe to say that Isabel's personality is an acquired taste.Our work relationship has become more than the usual model-photographer relationship, we consider each other friends. This is not a term I throw around lightly.

I adore all my Farenell Girls but especially "my" lovable headcases.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Breast Cancer w/ Ashley & Ann

As stated in my 1 Oct blog, I'm involved in a Breast Cancer Awareness series. Knowing how I operate this will probably be a lengthy process...I'm not complaining considering the circumstances.

While I was in Boston this past summer, I was blessed in being approached by Ashley. She was enthusiastic about the series because the issue was very much in the moment.

Somewhere along the way, I discovered her mom had a mastectomy & in one of my WTH moments, I invited her mom presuming she felt up to it. Maybe they'd be interested in doing some mother-daughter stuff. Maybe she was more interested in staying in the background offering emotional support to her daughter. I dunno.

A reason why I like my editorial projects is that EVERYONE has their own story. It can be cathartic for them. But simply having them describe their struggles, helps me brainstorm, not to mention, its interesting to hear the variation in details.

At the time we shot, Ann was 2-weeks post-op. As she described it, she was just starting to get back on her feet but because of the recovery, she hadn't quite gotten a sense of her own limits. As sometimes happens, I was mesmerized by my subject, Ann, & thankfully Ashley called put a stop to things due to her mom's shaking. When I get mesmerized & intensely focused, I kinda have a situational awareness blindspot.

We soon called it a wrap. I got what I was looking for & was grateful they allowed me to be a part of their journey.

The shoot left me emotionally drained in a good way for a couple of days. Reflecting on Ann's bravery & how she carried & still carries herself, still leaves me in awe & leaves me a little ashamed.

Working w/ them & experiencing their battle reinforces the notion that there's more to life than materialistically, ephemeral things.


Feel free to comment, suggest, opine, whatever as you see fit, so long as you keep it civil.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

As many of you may know, I often have random thoughts (particular when alcohol is involved). "Why do we drive on parkways & park on driveways?" "How did military intelligence get its name when it seems like its anything but?" "Why do people knock masturbation when its at least sex w/ someone you love?" "What are the mythological archetypes between today's heroes & what links do can be made drawn upon established heroes from the distant past?" "Where can I find directions & the supplies to build a working Star Wars lightsaber?"

In fairness, none but the last are a Farenell Photography original but it does kinda illustrate how scatter-brained my mind works.

All kidding aside, my editorial instincts were reignited recently in wanting to do something w/ a social message. I'm still actively working on my "Critique of the Unsatisfied Relationship" series...


...& my "Grip of Anorexia" series...


...but either my ideas, my subjects personal stories, or my ability to translate them to a visual medium is not speaking as clearly as they used to. Whatever the deal is, I'm in a holding pattern. Stuff like this happens all the time, so I'm not to worried about it.

Somewhere along the way I got thinking about cancer. According to my mom, my maternal grandmother was constantly afraid of that while growing up. I think it had something to do w/ it running in the family. Not sure exactly. Then my thoughts drifted to she & my little sister. Then I got thinking about all the people I worked w/, 95% of them being women. This is not to say I don't mind working w/ men, its just a numbers thing.

My shoots are more like a social exercises &, for better or worse, I start to care about what happens w/ them afterwards. Granted they are free-willed individuals & whatnot but I care about their well being long after I've delivered what I was supposed to deliver. This is another reason why I have to actively control my exuberance. Because I'm like one of those knuckleheads who has a one-track mind. If I weren't told to go (expletive deleted), every now & then. I'd probably drive people nuts.

Because I work w/ so many women, it got me thinking about Breast Cancer. If you think about it, the breasts are as much of a physical manifestation of their gender identity as their genitalia is. The difference being breasts can be seen (whether they're covered w/ a bra over a shirt or in a bikini top or bare-chested) in some respect. Just think of how many women get implants in the hopes upsizing will improve their self-esteem. Yes, its overally simplistic but I bring it up to prove a point.

My original idea for this series is to illustrate taking the simplicity of a Richard Avedon BW portrait, combine it w/ selective coloring for the pink bow, combine my models being topless to drive the point home, & viola, Breast Cancer Awareness!

Like my Ana series, the overall hope is that the more people discuss a taboo subject, the more likely that an individual will be brave enough to take the treacherous first steps they may need to get said help. Again, probably overally simplistic but that's the premise I'm running under.

In terms of this project...I've tried playing w/ the ribbons as stand-alone cuffs (like how the old school Playboy bunny waitresses) but were dropped due to me sucking when it comes to figuring out what to do w/ hands. The toplessness was also dropped as a prerequisite when I continued to ran into the complication of having volunteers who were gun-shy about baring their breasts for a good cause. Considered everything & left the toplessness simply as an option if they were open to doing so. Nice to have to drive home the point but not completely necessary.

All that being said, I used Nancy (shown below) was my first volunteer.


This entire series is a work in progress. Hopefully, its one I'm able to do more regularly if I can get more volunteers.

If anyone has any suggestion in actually recruiting Breast Cancer patients, I'm all ears. I was blessed w/ working w/ one & her daughter while out in Boston & it was one of the most worthwhile draining shoots I've ever done (you'll be seeing some of those later this month).

Feel free to opine about any part of this entry if you wish to do so. Just keep it civil.


Monday, September 28, 2009


Daron is subject that found me through one of my local Craigslist ads.

That site can be extremely hit or miss. Get loads & loads of inquiries, even descending into the kicking around ideas stage. However for every 10 people that approach me, I consider myself lucky if I get 1 shoot to materialize. The ratio is pretty consistant across the board, regardless of where the inquiries are coming. It just is what it is, y'know?

Anyway, Daron was one of those ten percenters & we set something up in my local area. I distinctly remember having a Plan A but I just wasn't feeling it. This happens periodically because of my intuitive shooting style. After that we went to a local park & got some good stuff there. Finally headed to another local venue down by the river.

Though the previous ones were good, this one I feel was the keeper & torpedoes all the others out of the water. I just like how everything just kinda fell into place.


Feel free to comment, opine, suggest, whatever...just keep it civil.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Twilight Review

I've been observing the Twilight craze w/ curiousity & decided to read the book in the hopes of seeing what the buzz is about.

I'm not going to lie, its definately a mixed bag. I'm trying to analyze the novel as a stand alone (as opposed to comparing it to some other similiar book) but if I fail, please don't hold it against me.

1. Ms Meyer's does a decent job when she's describing her narrator's thought process. Its complete drudgery when describing what her characters are physically doing as well as when describing a setting. I also enjoyed the ambiguity about Edward's big mystery in the first 1/3 of the novel.

2. On her website, Ms Meyer describes her writing approach:

I wrote out whichever scenes I was interested in, rather than starting at the beginning and working through to the end. I wrote most of the books in scenes, and then went back later and tied the scenes together. It cut out a lot of writer's block to write whatever part I was most interested in at the time. And it makes it easy to finish. By the time you get around to writing the less exciting transitions, expositions, and descriptions, you already have so much done!

Though I think it can be useful, it becomes problematic in other ways that will be address later.

3. Because the author is so character centric, I really think it suffers by having a disjointed plot. They're like "Oh BTW, this important plot point happens & is the cause of of X, Y, Z". I use the transition into the 3rd Act as an example. The big problem in the later third of the book, never really gives us the reader that the person in question's life is in danger. Also the big connection between the menace & the Cullen family is cheaply thrown in there at the end. Had it not been mentioned, it'd have zero consequence in terms of the rest of the story. The main character's actions in the 3rd Act are so abrupt it forces you to reread parts of the novel because you're convinced you've missed something when you haven't.

Because the author's writing style has the scenes individually written & THEN linked together later, it creates a disjointed story. I really think having a better editor may help her in this respect. The same w/ how Ms Meyer's overuses the "I did this, then I did that, that I walk to the kitchen to do this, & he just sat their smiling at me" approach. There are other ways that the canvas can be illustrated while still achieveing the intended effect.

4. It was interesting in how there were shades of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice in Twilight, (you can thank my copy's discussion notes for that tipoff). I also can see glimmers of J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye w/n the rebelliously, independent Bella & all the trouble she gets into.

In conclusion, I am clearly not the demographic that Ms Meyer is aiming for. However it really does say something about the enthusiasm school age children react to this novel. If it gets them to turn off the Xbox for a few hours a day & get them to read stuff they enjoy, I'm all for it.

All in all, I give Twilight a 3 out of 5 stars. If you're looking for a light, quick read, this may be up your alley. If you're looking for something w/ a little more teeth & w/ rich detail, you'll want to pass.


In keeping w/ the theme of love & relationships, I'm showing you an oldie I shot w/ Elysie & her boyfriend.


Feel free to comment, opine, whatever any part of this, so long as its civil.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Political Irony & Jeanette

As I look at the self-proclaimed Tea-Baggers of the right protesting the policies of the current Obama administration, I really have to scratch my head.

They're fearful of losing their individual freedoms. Ok, I get that. But like where were they when AT&T, Verizon, & other major phone carriers in collusion w/ the Federal Government were listening in on your phone conversations w/o a court order? Or when torture, extraordinary rendition, & Gitmo were going on?

They're fearful of losing their tax dollars. Ok, I get that. But where was the outrage when federal government's spending more than doubled from what the Clinton Administration spent?

They're simply exercising their first amendment rights. Ok, I get that. But where was the empathy when Cindy Sheehan was exercising her own right to free speech?

They're worried about government incompetance about what might happen. Ok, I get that. But where was their outrage at ALL levels of government when Katrina flooded New Orleans?

They're worried about government giving away free hand-outs w/ nothing in return. But where was their outrage when the Congress from the President's own party awards defense contracts over the Sec of Defenses own recemmendations to axe systems like the Crusader artillery? Or the BS how Uncle Sam is now being a majority stakeholder in GM? Or what about the TARP bailouts pushed through in the closing days of W's administration & blessed off w/ little debate by a Democratic Congress?

They're worried about government intruding into people's personal lives, making decisions for them like "killing dear ol' Granny". But isn't that exactly what they were doing since 2002 when they ramrodded all these initiatives onto state ballots that define marriage being between a man & a woman? Isn't that also what a Republican Congress did in the Terri Schiavo case, interfering what should have been a very private family decision even after the courts ruled upon it?

Make no mistake, I completely get what's going on. The outrage is only just when its your side is the one doing it (whatever "it" is defined as). But like when the other guy is in power, you assert your rights because they're being trampled on. Don't believe me? The left is just as guilty. If it was about the war as they claimed for the last 6 years, then why did these Anti-War supporters stop protesting the Iraq War when all of a sudden their guy gets inaugurated? Or how Sen Chris Dodd (D-CT) created massive loopholes in the aforementioned TARP legislation for the applicable companies to take advantage of?

The Right say the current system needs change but the President's are to atrocious to even consider. What do they propose? I for one cannot think of a single thing because, for the life of me, I cannot remember them publicisizing a single proposal. Don't get me wrong, I know EXACTLY what they're doing. They're using the old defense attorney strategy in poking so many holes in the prosecution's case to win via "reasonable doubt." If that's the case, they're not really in favor of change at all like they claim but like the status quo. Ironic to say the least.

& people wonder why so many Americans are turned off by what passes for political discourse. Its so predictablely phoney.

Personally, I don't give to squats about one political ideology or another. My vote will go to whoever sorta are along my own beliefs system but more, for who can get the job done & bring results. If that means voting for the "other guy" or voting for a third party then so be it!

& people sometimes wonder why I'm so ornery. :-)



Outdoor location shoots are always interesting in the sense that I'm never really sure if Mother Nature is going to cooperate or not. Unless its like winter & there's some sort of snow storm on the horizon, the weather report is borderline useless, even when its 3-6 hours before start time. It just is what it is.

My shoot w/ Jeanette last Autumn was one of those days. It was partly cloudy which means the sun was jetting in & out as the clouds moved. Extremely annoying particularly when shooting in the unforgiving digital medium...but certainly not impossible.

I'm choosing the shot below for a number of reasons. I really felt everything came togther at just the right moment. Her expression, the location, the color palette, the brief gust of wind to blow her hair in front of her face.


Feel free to opine about any part of this entry if you wish to do so. Just keep it civil.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Woman in the Red Dress

Meeting J was one of those serendipitious moments in life.

She responded to an ad I posted back in November. We exchanged a couple of emails & strangely (to me at the time), communication simply stopped. I never (& still don't) think much of situations like those. People fly by the night. It sounds like a good idea at the time, then change their minds. Could be a boyfriend issue. Could be priorities w/ the family. Could be job related. Sometimes they just plain forget. The list goes on. Again, I don't hold it against people. It is what it is.

Imagine my surprise 5 months later when she replies!

In the midst of our reintroduction, the original nonresponse was simply a lack of self-confidence thing. I'm the same way (I only seem to do self-portraits when I'm bored & drunk), I can certainly relate. She also mentioned that she'd gotten into doing makeup, mostly for weddings, but was interested in building up her port in that respect. I was more than happy to oblige & immediately enlisted her aid during a shoot w/ Nancy.

Somewhere along the way, I persuaded her to be brave enough to be in front of my camera herself.

It was one of those shoots that I adore. Talk, kick around wardrobe selection (which I punt & pass to her), shoot, eat munchies, shoot, chat some more, rinse, recycle, repeat. It was one of those all day shoots where it felt like no time passed at all. I love that familarity.

I'm choosing this one as a journalistic'y shot of J making Nancy more pretty than she already is.


I'm choosing the picture below because I feel it best showcases J's own presence in front of my trusty camera.


Opinions & comments are welcome if you wish to do so. Just keep it civil (not that I've had a problem w/ that yet).

Monday, September 14, 2009

Health Care

I have some problems w/ the Universal Health Care proposal. Actually, its not w/ the actual proposals themselves, its w/ the rhetoric.

As a person who (I'd like to think) is somewhat educated, I've been trying to sift through all the plans to figure out what's what. Public option, no public option, a co-opt option, the Massachuesetts model, it can be quite dizzing and I'm actually TRYING to understand what's what. I can only imagine who confusing it is for someone who doesn't take the time to understand or leaves it for others to intrepret.

Until about a couple weeks ago, I hadn't put two & two together what the "public option" is referring to.

This begs the question in my mind. Why the hell doesn't the administration simply change the rhetoric...or at least the vocabulary. Let's assume that half of those still don't get what the public option is, because it is that complicated for them & are simply not making the Obama administration's intended connections.

Why not simply taut universal health care coverage as "expanding Medicare/Medicaid"? Everyone already knows what Medicaid/Medicare is. Instead of starting someone's knowledge base from scratch, it draws upon a known quantity. Its less time you have to spend building that foundation, just so to where you can even start explaining the nuisances.

Heck if it were phrased in that way, any Congressman/Senator would be begging to have their opposition hammer away at them whenever they were up for reelection. Just imagine the attack ads. Flashing pictures of overcrowded ER's. Picture of some mother (alla Dorthea Lange's) craddling her bundled up child. A baby coughing or crying in the background. Or another picture of ER workers at work attending to an accident victim. Then flash the words, "Senator So & So is in favor of the ordinary citizen getting sick." Maybe even have some C-Span snippet of him proudly proclaiming, "I'm against this bill." & then have some voiceover of "& he's against ordinary Americans being healthy while the fat cats line their pockets." Yes, its horriblely skewed but its not like attack ads are beacons of accuracy no matter what side its from.

This is different than auto insurance coverage (as a friend & I discussed today). Keep in mind, these are my analysis BUT driving a car is a priviledge. If I chose to drive my car, the states mandate by law that I have to have some form of auto insurance. If I disagree w/ paying auto insurance premiums, I forfeit that driving priviledge. However I can also CHOOSE to ride my bicycle or walk or ride public transportation or hitch a ride w/ a friend or pay for a cab.

Unlike my friend who viewed staying in good health a priviledge (still thinking along the auto insurance before I offered my counter-observations, I eventually pointed out his line of reasoning was contrary to the goverment's own actions, specifically citing the "Children's Health Insurance Program." In that case, they believe children should have a right to be in good health & have access to getting better if need be.

I still have a lot of questions about Universal Health Care. How're we going to pay for it, is one? How're we to speed up the beaurcracy because from personal experience, anything dealing w/ the government is mind-numbingly slow? How much of this is going to be horse-traded away & leaving us w/ what? I wonder how the President's pledge that any plan won't cover noncitizens squares w/ a doctor's ethical oath to "do no harm" as well as their standard operating procedure to treat the most critical paitent first regardless of what their background is. I also wonder how increased coverage is going to be balanced w/ the current shortage in health care professionals.

& for the record, it was extremely refreshing to talk to someone in a civil manner & understand their point of view even if I may or may not agree w/ them. In so many cases, the discourse is simply disappointing in that its like I can see the arguements coming a mile away & a person makes no attempt see another's point of view (even if they disagree w/ them). Hysteria may make for fabulous entertainment but as how Barney Frank expressed it, having a discussion w/ those kinds of people is like talking to ones dining room table.



The above is from my stay in Boston this summer. It was taken on one of the rare nice afternoons where it wasn't overcast nor rainy.

Feel free & comment away on any part of this entry. I'm an admitted feedback comment whore in that respect. LOL

Friday, September 11, 2009

America: the More Things Change, the More They Remain the Same

I wasn't planning on posting another blog so soon (& even then it was going to be on a different topic) but since everyone is on this Sept 11th rememberance kick, I'm going to repost something I wrote on Sept 11, 2008. Though some of details are outdated, the crux of the matter & my opinions of such have not.

The following is a repost:

Everyone keeps saying the world totally changed that day. It some ways it has, it more ways it hasn’t.

I remember what the big stories were on September 10, 2001. Britney’s VMA performance w/ a python, the faux story of Al Gore’s beard, the Chandra Levy case. What are the big stories on September 10, 2008? Britney Spears at the VMA’s, the faux missing flag pin or “lipstick on a pig” (take your pick), the never ending pretty girl who mysteriously vanishes in an exotic location that SHOULD be nothing more than a local story.

Just goes to show you that the more things change, the more that remains the same.

Where was I September 11, 2001?

It was a sunny day in Glens Falls, NY. I’d was at ACC for the day because I had classes. As per custom, I went to the computer lab to finish my scrumpicious hot chocolate while reading the morning’s news courtesy of the NY Times website. The connection was sluggish but thought nothing of it. Same w/ the Washington Post's. I overheard one of the student workers chime that he’d heard a plane hit the WTC. Like most people, I didn’t think anything of it, planes hitting buildings in NYC though not a common occurrence was common enough that it was not unheard of.

I continue to my Political Science class & was about to get rolling when one of the classmates comes in tripping out & demanding we turn to CNN. This in itself just goes to show you that even in the age of the internet & the dearth of 24-hour news channels, when you want infotainment, you go elsewhere, when the shit REALLY hit the fan, people still turn to CNN.

The girl was escorted out & we continued w/ the class the best we could. Classes were eventually canceled & everyone was let out.

Later that day, I distinctly remember being bored & going to the gym. It was like, I didn’t really know anyone that was even remotely in the buildings not to mention there was nothing directly that I could do. Everyone was rehashing the same dang thing, no one really knew what was what & wouldn't for the next couple days.

Despite being unable to do anything, I knew the attacks were a “big” event when hearing the planes hitting the Pentagon. I incorrectly thought they had SAM’s (surface to air missiles) protecting it but apparently not. I doublely knew it was big when Foreign Secretary Colin Powell announced that NATO was activating their collective defense clause.

What would this mean for me?

I was 1 year minus 14 days from my honorable discharge anniversary, I was fearful that I’d be called back up to the Marines. It wasn’t the dying part that concerned me, it was living by their stupid f***in rules. I mean seriously, having an officer complain that my room was a little dusty (in a building that was ALREADY condemned of all places) YET dog me out for cleaning my rifle to much is absolutely beyond me. That’s a true story BTW.

Even before taking oogles of Art History classes, I was always a Grecophile & used the Salamis analogy. For the uninitiated after the Thermopylae was overrun, the Persians marched on Athens & burned it to the ground. The Athenians fled to the island of Salamis (basically across from their “port” city of Piraeus) and made their naval stand in the adjoining strait. I made the analogy that perhaps those towers coming down was the price we as Americans had to pay in order to wake up.

Think about it. Western Europe had a bad run of terrorism in the 80’s. Thatcher’s cabinet was uncerimounsouly interrupted by an IRA bombing that killed something like 2 of her ministers. She took a day off, made a speech at the Conservative Party conference where the bombing occured, & went right back to business as usual. We had Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. People forget that Oklahoma City was a case of domestic terrorism. The USS Cole bombing. & this is just w/n the last 10-15 years, if I wanted to, I could easily trace the terrorism lineage back the US Gilded Age.

Yet what is the reaction I get, “(I am) an unpatriotic traitor.” This came from a family friend that has known me all my life BTW. This is also coming from a person who has for whatever reasons has not spent a single day in uniform while I have. Do I think it makes me any better or him any less? No, but I think its important to give context. Needless to say, I didn’t talk to him for over a year because of the statement. I‘ve since forgiven him for his words but I‘m sure as hell not going to forget. Even now, I avoid talking to him…not because of any remaining ill feelings but because I know the political shctick where he’s coming from. I can see it coming a mile away & debating policy or whatever is no longer a worthwhile experience. It gives me more of a headache than anything else. Course I’ve since grown to hate any political discussion because the two parties in power are basically one & the same, they care nothing about those at the bottom rungs & only care about keeping their jobs. Nothing more.

If Americans instinctively take their lead from the head of state, I really think we blew it after 9/11. We had so much international goodwill. So much opportunity to do good. So little things that divided us as Americans. So many opportunities where we could have used the attacks to unite us that AND we were willingly would have sacrificed for the greater good.

What does our leader ask of us? Not to donate blood, not to go to your recruiting station to help w/ the coming fight, not to raise taxes or ask us to buy War Bonds to help fund the upcoming fight, not to donate to charities…but to go out (& I quote) “buy things to help sustain the economy.”

That was probably the most exasperating thing to come out of it in my mind.

It was the sign of our times. Spend now & leave it for the next guy to deal w/. God forbid, we take responsibility for our own actions. There will be no “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” There will be no Eisenhower leadership qualities. There is no recruiting of the “best & the brightest New Frontier.” Nor are their efforts to create a “Great Society” for ALL Americans. No matter how bad our day seem, there'd be no Reaganesque "its sunny day in America." Nope, only W’s tax cuts.

Yes, I made my pilgrimage down Ground Zero. Yes, it was before NYC made it into a touristy hole in the ground. Mine was 2 months to the day after the attacks. Armistice Day, ironically. It was the eeriest trip to NYC that I’ve ever experienced. The stench in downtown was quite noticeable. People outside Trinity Church were wearing breathing masks. Memorials everywhere. The street silence coming off the subway was the most astounding. Before I got above ground, I seriously questioned if I was even in the right place. Of course I brought my camera. I kept trying to think of Margaret Bourke-White’s, “My camera is my shield. When it is in my hands, I have no fear.” I was just starting out then & lost 2.5 of the three roles due to a bad reel wind job during developing but I did get a couple of keepers. As seen here (outside Trinity Church):


& here (facing north from downtown Manhattan):


Not only that, I hate how certain political leaders have whored out the September 11th date for their own political purposes. Don’t get me wrong, I fully expected that. But it still makes me sick that a certain political party intentionally wants us to forget about this terrorism fight on nonelection years. Then when it is an election years, they whip up hysteria in order to get votes. Its shades of McCarthyism all over again. I completely understand what they’re doing, Terrorism is the new Communism. The players have changed but the rhetoric remains the same.

We’ve wasted our resources in a country that had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do w/ the 9/11 attacks instead of on a country that actually did. Don't get me started on the Iraq debacle. I’ll use a football analogy. When you give up 7 turnovers in the first quarter & your opponent converts them all into touchdown (6 points each for the uninitiated), yes, its still theoretically possible to rally but the likelihood of that is…well, you’d probably have better odds of putting money on the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series than you do winning your game.

Don’t even get me started on Guantanamo Bay either. *rolls eyes* How we can have the top law enforcement official in the land say (at his confirmation hearing) state he doesn’t know whether water boarding is torture or not? This is an interrogation technique that has been used by the Spanish Inquisition. How we can have the person who’s “a heartbeat away from the Presidency” say that terrorists should not be afforded rights as per the Geneva Convention because “they don’t wear uniforms”? This is ridiculous! Is he taking a play out of the Chinese playbook for the Korean War (though they’re justification for Geneva Rights denial was that “since a declaration of war was never declared, captured prisoners have no rights.”

This is fundamentally a fight about how WE do things, not of how some “raghead, dirty terrorists who chop people’s heads off.” Yeah, there are A LOT of really bad people in this world. Let’s say you sink to their level & you do get them, yeah, giving them shock therapy in a cold tub may make you feel better. But it also opens those who are on the front line to the same exact treatment that you’re giving the “bad guy.” What does it also say about us when we give these “bad guys” to our “not-so nice friends” who asks them questions w/ technique that we can’t even do in our own country? That’s like saying someone who owes you money is going to get a meeting w/ big, burley Bruno & then you walk away saying that you’re not responsible for your money owing friend’s inability to see the sunrise or eat or whatever. It may make you feel good but at the end of the day, you still don’t have your money!

Sometimes I truly think I’m living in a Bizzaro World of America. Where people cheer the presence of British troops & jeer Americans. No offense to you, Brits out there. But when the hell did that happen?!

By betraying everything we stand for, America under the present leadership has already lost this fight & we’re to blind to even see it.

Here’s to the next guy in hopes he can fix this mess, whoever they may be.