31 May, 2007

Movie Review: Harsh Times

Okay, I admit. I rent my movies at the library. I'm in there all the time as it is, getting books, and their DVD case is just sitting there waiting to be plucked clean.
I check out books because I ran out of room in my house for books, books to keep that is, so now I find myself "renting" what I read.
So I designed a 160-page book today, was nearly out of my mind with wrath toward the computer, so I ventured to the library to get a flick and leave the evil computer machine behind.
Every so often, once in a blue moon, a movie character comes along that truly makes me feel a little uneasy. You would think it would be a mainstream bad guy, but for the most part, movie bad guys don't scare me all that much. In fact, mainstream movies in general don't scare me, or interest me, all that much. If a movie takes in $200 million in the first eight minutes, chances are, I won't even bother to see it. There is just something about mass produced entertainment that seems to hit a little outside the target with me.
Now obscure, bashed by critics, in release for less than one week type movie, now that is more up my alley.
Harsh Times is such a film, and it's lead character, played by English actor Christian Bale, was one of those roles that just made my skin crawl.
This movie was wrong in so many ways I lost count as my level of depression pressed my body deeper and deeper into my horribly uncomfortable mid-century couch. In fact, the movie was so twisted, dark and wrong I ended up lying on the floor, figuring maybe I should feel the same pain the main character is spreading like a blanket over everyone and anyone in his path.
Iraq war vet, looked to be Special Ops, home from the war, and let's just say finding it a smidge difficult to blend into the old nine to five world rife with rules, regulations and those pesky laws we have.
Drugs, guns, nightmares, bad deals, violence, scams, missed opportunities, and just for kicks a South of the border love affair that can't possibly end well. In fact, the opening credits were enough to tell me that NOTHING in this film was going to end well, or even start well for that matter.
Now I'm not saying this was a great movie, or that torturing yourself with violence and depression is a great way to spend two hours on a Thursday night, but I have to say, there was something so wrong with the main character that he was actually right.
I kept mumbling to myself, "Ooohhhh nnnnoooo,"" because I knew that not only was there something horrible around every bend, but I also knew that this story just might be how this entire mess would go down in real life.
You ever pull a half gallon of milk out of the fridge and smell it, LIKE YOU SHOULD, only to be confronted with not really knowing if it is good or bad. It's on the line!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's six am and you sure don't want to drive to get more.........and then, my friend, it is YOU that is on the line.
THAT is what this movie was about. The other characters were somewhat irrelevant, but it was the main guy that I couldn't get a bead on. The accent was here then there, he was calm, then total rage. I just kept thinking, "I think I know this guy."
The truly scary character is the guy who is clearly whacked out of his skull, but who can ride that line, JUST close enough to make you think twice, and this is what Bale's character did.
How many guys like this are out there?
The script was good too, authentic you might say, and come to think of it, the storyline was also solid.
Again, is this a GREAT movie? Probably not, but I'm no judge of anything Hollywood(As you can tell from this post.) I'm not sure it was even in the real cinema. They might have just driven it by on the way to Blockbuster to drop off the DVD's.
But like I said, I rented it at the library, which has a selection a touch smaller than the major video store. It was either this or "Breaking Two, Electric Bugaloo," and I"ve already seen that too many times.

26 May, 2007

Spring Cleaning

This is the time of year that most of us looking at that garage, that storage area, that extra room in the house that has become the landing pad of all the stuff you don't know what to do with, and realize, "Okay, it's time."
The same thing happens now in the digital age. We acquire things. We store things, too many things, and every so often we have to stop and say, "Okay, I've got to deal with this."
Me, I've got a system. Whether or not this system is the best, or correct, or perfect, can only be answered at some time in the future. Saying that your system of storage is "fantastic" or "fool proof," cant' be proven, at least at the moment.
Talk to me in ten years, twenty, or even forty years.
So today, at the moment, I'm transferring things from one electronic place to another. It is tedious, boring if you will, but very important. Of course I do this all the time, on an ongoing basis, but several times a year, I go through the spring cleaning, fall cleaning, etc.
So right now, around me, there are lots of progress bars, flashing lights and negative sleeves, contact sheets and archival boxes brimming with collected film.

22 May, 2007

21 May, 2007

More Palm Springs Photo Festival Snaps



Palm Springs Photo Festival Snaps






Okay, just a tiny sample my friends. Next year, put it on your books and go.

More Kite Snaps




flying high

17 May, 2007

Brewton Napper Collage


Me shooting him with him shooting us. Does that make sense?

16 May, 2007

Reality

I needed to write this post because I, once again, ran into someone who said, "Wow, you have the best job in the world." "A photographer, just driving around all day taking pictures."
Well, I do have a great job, but it might not be exactly what a lot of people think it is. Now I can't speak for all photographers, or all kinds of photography, but I can speak for me.
My life is about 5-10% actual photography, and the rest is work. Now I like some of this labor, but much of it is work, just like any other line. I've worked on a ranch, installed hot tubs, worked construction and did some of the world's worst modeling jobs, and while some of these endeavors are more physical than what I do now, they all contain a similar level of attentiveness.
In fact, I work far more now than I ever have. My job is a 6-7 day a week job, all year long. It wouldnt' have to be this way if I made it easy on myself, just did one thing, outsourced, turned over control, but anyone who knows me knows that ain't gonna happen anytime soon.
You see, I was born this way. This photography thing was in me from the beginning. I'm a collector, of stories, of histories, of images, words, scrapes of this and that. I can't turn it off, leave it at the studio or forget about it, even on vacation(I don't go on them). And because of this, I'm cursed with always being on, always working.
If my wife and I have day when there is "nothing to do," we don't know what to do. This happened recently, not a full day mind ya, but a partial day with NOTHING on the books. We looked at each other and laughed.
"People do this all the time," I said to her. "Like every weekend." More laughs.
You see, I'm the one man band. Marketing, yep, that's me. Advertising, me too. Fulfillment, delivery, design, editing, archiving, creating, brainstorming, traveling, bookings, taxes, payroll, accounting, etc, etc. Me.
Sometimes when all this is on your plate it is easy to lose track of the fact that these days we are living, these days, right now, I'm talking about days like today, are the days that we are supposed to be enjoying. This is life.
For me, I reconnect, I remember in a way, by going out and making pictures, not for a client, or an assignment, but for me only. It is not that these photos don't have uses, don't get me wrong, but they originate inside me, for me. Selfish I know, but real all the same.
In short, I've go no complaints. I work my butt off, true, but I can't imagine it any other way.

Times Are A Changing

Well, it has been five years, and my internal clock, the one I can only rarely hear, has decided things have grown too normal, too routine. So, big changes on the way yet again.
For some reason, much to the chagrin of those around me, about every four or five years I make a change like this. I stop one thing and I start another.
What am I going to stop? What am I going to start?
You just have to wait and see.

Palm Springs Photo Festival 3

Also, stay tuned, photos from the festival are forthcoming.

Palm Springs Photo Festival 2

This post goes out to Maggie who was nice enough to send me a note.

In short, always go. As a "newbie" I think you would have been totally fine. If you have the passion for photography, want to learn, then it is never a bad thing to attend something like this.
The great thing about this event was that it was a true festival. Even though many of the photographers in attendance are "significant" within the industry, they are all there to look at work, and a range of work at that. People are relaxed, and everyone I met was kind and thoughtful in their reviews.
Although I did see a good amount of really nice work, the level of participant was far ranging.
You can take a workshop, attend a seminar or symposium, and at night you are treated to two amazing slideshows.
I think this event had something for everyone. Plus, great location, as you know, and a good sense of people just hanging out, relaxing and enjoying photography.

13 May, 2007

Palm Springs Photo Festival

Put it on your books for next year. Jeff Dunas and crew really pulled it off. A true festival of creativity, inspiration and dedication. More later.

02 May, 2007

01 May, 2007