Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Trace Of Memory

Trace of Memory, Chiharu Shiota, Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, 2015

Better late than never, right?  Shiota's large, long term, eight room installation at the Mattress Factory first opened in September of 2013, a week or so after I'd last been there.  I had no idea or I'd have either waited a week on my last visit, or returned sooner.  Not only is this work visually challenging and engaging, but it's also unexpectedly evocative - as if you've walked into the web of someone else's life and have to figure out your place, how you fit.  It's dense and stunning, the yarn webview growing thicker exponentially as you move room to room.  It's an incredible feat, and if you have the chance to experience of any of Shiota's installations, whether yarn or other medium (she's based in Berlin and shows all over the world), GO!  Go and go again.
Also, a hats off to the Mattress Factory, a museum of modern art that is one of the best in the world, and deservedly so. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Snowy Egret Waterlogue

Snowy Egret Preening, Delaware, 2014

When I restarted this blog a year and a half ago, a version of this photograph was the first post.  A lot has happened since then (not really), and I would like to thank all of my readers for dropping in...but I'm curious - why so many Russian readers?  The largest foreign group that drops by my blog are Russian, oftentimes outnumbering the American readers.  What's the appeal?  Is there an appeal, or is it all just random?
Either way, I hope you all enjoy the Waterlogue Effect because it's going to continue until I am forced to stop.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Waterlogue 10th St. Bridge Pittsburgh

10th Street Bridge in Rain, 2005, Pittsburgh

Someone mentioned in the comments that perhaps an older picture that I'd taken in the rain, while driving across the 10th St. bridge to the south side of Pittsburgh might be interesting.  Well, here it is, and it's properly washed out as one would expect, as if a watercolor had been left out in the rain and the colors all ran.  I kind of like it.

Urban Ducks and Pigeons

Urban Ducks and Pigeons, Pittsburgh

We survived Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Chicken Noodle Darth Vader

The Force of Product Placement Awakens, 2015

I like Star Wars as much as the next geek, but the product placement is just insane this go-round.  Campbell's soup cans?   And, if I am going to have to endure Star Wars themed labeling on everything from Spaghetti-Os to Shredded Wheat, I would like Daisy Ridley's character, Rey, to be on the cover.  Vader, R2D2, Yoda, a generic Stormtrooper have been done to absolute death!  They are so ubiquitous as to be invisible.  Give us a fresh face, if we must be given anything.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Ducks On Lake Seneca

Mallard with Ducklings, Lake Seneca, NY, 2013

What could possibly be a more appropriate subject for the waterlogue effect than ducks on water?  The original photo was taken while a storm was brewing, the normally placid water had become choppy, and the mother duck was steering her brood toward safety.

Friday, December 18, 2015

New River Gorge Bridge in Watercolor Effect

Bridge, New River Gorge, WV, 2007

Yes, yes, I'm still tinkering with the microsoft app, Waterlogue.  I like it.  I don't love it, but I definitely like it - for now.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Man By The Sea

Man By The Sea, Maine, 2011

I find the waterlogue effect compelling in this photograph, but the reason why is unexpected:  We had stopped to get gasoline and cold drinks on our way to Acadia National Park, and I saw this young man sitting on some rocks near the shore.  He seemed distressed, perhaps he'd had an argument with someone, I don't know.  The thing is, I felt as if I'd intruded.  The original photo of this is very good and stands on its own merit, but I never used it for anything, or shared it anywhere.  This watercolor effect blurs his features just enough to make him unrecognizable, thus rendering him more of an 'everyman', representative of human anguish in general, as opposed to his specific suffering. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Carrie Furnace Waterlogue-ed

Carrie Furnace, Interior, Rankin, PA 2011

Ok, I admit that now I'm starting to enjoy the Waterlogue app more than I gave it credit for initially.  Also, if you are so inclined, you can learn more about the derelict iron works that was the Carrie Furnaces here, at Rivers Of Steel.
More waterlogue-d prints to come!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Digital Tomfoolery

Horseshoe Crab, Detailed and Watercolor, 2015

Big sigh, dammit.  I seldom delve into outright photographic trickery/mimicry, but I was curious about the waterlogue app, made even more curious because the price tag was only $2.99.  I thought, what fun!  It's more like 'eh'.  I suppose if I want to get into selling greeting cards, which is what this looks like and seems to be the right purpose for it, then I'm good.  Lighthouses, seas shells, the odd dried up horseshoe crab printed up on cheap card stock and sold for whatever you can wrench from the tight fist of a reluctant buyer.
Still, if anyone looking at this would chime in in the comments, which version of the horseshoe crab do you prefer?  The top image which is more of a proper study of the creature, or the bottom image distorted to look like a watercolor painting?

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Extra Cash

Vintage Teacup and Saucer, Japan, sold, 2015

Every freaking year for the two months leading up to the most over-hyped, bloated holiday that mankind has ever witnessed, I sell crap on ebay.  Some of the things I've sold are literal crap, as in coprolite, or fossilized dinosaur poop (remember:  Everybody poops!).  A lot of it though is just stuff that my mother has foisted upon me.  Case in point, the lovely, but not my cup of tea, teacup and saucer pictured above.  A piece so delicate that your gaze falling upon it might cause a stress fracture.  I have a whole area in the basement devoted to stuff to be sold on ebay or etsy, and most of his come from my mother - or I'm not quite sure where it came from.  For instance, a mink stole with matching hat.  One day it was in the storage room in the basement, as if materializing from another timeline.  Anyway, a guy bought it.  Supposedly he's going to repurpose the fur on fishing lure flies, but really, I don't care what he does with it.  It's his, he can dismantle it and sew up fashion furs for Barbie and Skipper and that would be awesome.
The things I enjoy selling the most are the oddities, those out of the ordinary things I come across out in the world.  The stray animal skull, or, if I'm truly lucky, the entire skeleton, fossils, old unwanted discarded bits of taxidermy, a haunted stuffed (as in stuffed toy, not stuffed as in taxidermied) otter missing an eye, an old book of poetry with a lengthy and nearly illegible heart wrenching and passionate inscription, an older picture behind an old picture in a frame, these are the things I love.  Surprises where one might not expect it.  Those things always sell, and usually for the most money.  People sometimes need something that is outside the ordinary to remind them how marvelous life can be.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Phantom War on Christmas

Pittsburgh Christmas Display 2013

There are so many things to loathe about facebook, not the least of which are all of those old high school chums that you have gladly not seen for 30+ years and their narrow world view.  I should just ditch fb, but it serves as a great way for me to stay in contact with long distance friends.
So, now we're neck deep in endless memes about 'the war on Christmas'.  Jesus H. Christ - there is no war on Christmas!  How can there be a 'war' on a holiday that itself is nothing but an appropriation of a pagan holiday?  If anything there's been a two thousand year war on Yuletide!  Where's the outrage about that?

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A Hussy, et al

Bargello, Florence, Italy, 2006

In the more modern vernacular we seldom use words like trollop, hussy, strumpet, etc., unless we're poking fun, and their meanings have fallen out of our collective purview (at least in the U.S., who knows what the Brits are employing to insult their women folk).
For this reason I have collected a list of words commonly used to denigrate women before 'ho' and 'bitch' became the standards.
Hussy - 1. A lewd or brazen woman.  2. A saucy or mischievous girl.
Trollop - 1. A vulgar or disreputable woman.  2. A sexually promiscuous woman, a prostitute.
Strumpet - A prostitute.
Harlot - A prostitute.
Tart - A woman who wears make-up and clothing in such a way as to garner sexual attention.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Madness and Guns

H.R. Giger

Let's talk about the gun violence in the United States, shall we?  Here in the good ole USofA, we have a plethora of gun violence because we have a love affair with guns that borders on worship.  I am saying 'we', but this is not me, yet I am a citizen of this country, so I can't distance myself from this collective nightmare.  For nefarious reasons known only to them, Republicans have embraced the maniacal tenets of the National Rifle Association where firearms meant for war are available to anyone who can pass a background check.  Can't pass a background check?  Just buy a used assault rifle from a private citizen, they don't have to do a background check.  The gun laws we must suffer under are completely and purposely devoid of logic.  And, they are not uniform but vary widely from state to state. 
The long shadow cast by the Second Amendment provides that a gun owner need not be responsible for that gun, which explains why toddlers have shot so many people this year.  I'm just going to lay this loaded gun down right here by this playpen and go take a nap...  When, how did Americans become so stupid?  Worse yet, they are PROUDLY stupid and defend it as if it's their right to be willingfully ignorant assholes who think that the solution is to arm everyone.  Yes, because having a gun in your hand when I drunken fight erupts is a good idea.
In my naivete I thought that things would change after the massacre at Columbine High School in 1999, but no.  If anything the NRA entrenched themselves further in the psyche of fear that they foster in the U.S.  But the mass shooting, and I don't mean to discount any of the mass shootings that we as a nation have endured, but the one that broke my heart, and resonates with me as raw as it did the day it happened three years ago, is the slaughter that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.  If we as a nation cannot come together and reach a consensus on what must be done to curb - if not stop - the wholesale violence that has become commonplace, after the massacre of children, then nothing will prompt action.  The vapidity of the political right always offering their prayers, and nothing else, following each shooting, should chill every person in this country to their core.
Madness reigns, and shoots. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Two Women Walk Into A Bar

Dead Fish, Outer Banks, NC, 2005

This morning on the radio, journalist Jeanne Marie Laskas was being interviewed, she of the 'GQ' article that lead to her book, 'Concussion', exposing the horrible truth behind traumatic brain injuries in football, and it occurred to me that two of the most important exposes that have been investigated and reported on football have been conducted by women.  Why is that?  In 2012 when Sara Ganim wrote a series of articles for the 'Patriot-News' newspaper out of Harrisburg, PA exposing the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky child sex scandal, many local sportswriters, all of whom were male, took to the airwaves on a Pittsburgh sports radio station to complain that they'd heard the same rumors about Sandusky that Ganim had, but couldn't follow up on them because they'd be banned from Happy Valley.  Some went so far as to say that Ganim didn't deserve the Pulitzer Prize that she'd won for reporting because she was an investigative reporter reporting on a sports scandal - which is utter and complete nonsense, and reeks of more than a little sour grapes.  But the more important issue is that these men had heard the very same rumors of child sex abuse at Penn State and chose to do nothing, lest they be denied access to the Penn State football program.  It's astounding to think that anyone would be able to ignore such accusations.
As the Will Smith starring movie version of 'Concussion' will be released later this month, there is once again a woman behind the big reveal, exposing the deadly long term effects of playing football.  I think it's fascinating to further note that the forensic neuropathologist who initially discovered CTE was a Nigerian, someone who wouldn't have any connection to, or adoration for, American football.  He could go into his work with a mind free of any bias.  I point this out because it seems that football does elicit strong feelings in the American population, both male and female.  I'll admit that I used to love football, on all levels, but that started to change several years ago, and changed forever after the Steelers QB was accused of rape.  I just can't get excited about the guys on the field any longer, but the worship of football is still shared by many who are not me.  Crazed fans cram stadiums from sea to shining sea every weekend in the fall.  All of those asses on the bleachers mean big money for both college and professional football.  BIG MONEY.  And all of that money doesn't like scandal, or inconvenient truths about permanent brain damage, or anything that doesn't fit into the furthering of their brand.
I can't answer why no men have taken up any of the biggest investigative stories regarding football in this country, maybe they feel as if they still have too much to lose professionally even if they aren't on the sports beat.  Thank God for the Ganims and Laskas out there carrying the torch, lighting the way in journalism.