Posts in Category: Photo Essays

My week of shooting, 28 April 2019

Codename: McDonald’s Hamburger Eyes

Because I live about two miles south of the San Francisco city and county line, my photographic work continues to evolve and to benefit from the rich cultural, religious, and ethnic diversity of this area. It also benefits from living with two loveably-insane cats…

  • This week I got a big boost professionally from Hamburger Eyes, a highly-regarded Los Angeles photo magazine that has just published some of my cat photographs in its latest issue. The photos are from my ongoing “Kitty Noir” photo series about my cats Kuroneko and Mikadzuki, which you can see here.

HamburgerEyes38Promo

  • Thursday I stopped into a Daly City McDonald’s for a snack, and congratulated myself for deciding at the last second to walk inside instead using the drive-thru…

SF RAW 1393-3

  • As I left that McDonald’s, this woman asked me for a light and some change. I gave her both, and felt a kind of peace and comfort while standing in front of her. Visually she reminded me of CCH Pounder.

SherryOrSheri 3-2

  • On Friday “Avengers: Endgame” opened nationwide at a theater near you, but I’m sure you knew that. Huge American movies like this follow us everywhere. They watch us as much as we watch them. This photo is also on Flickr.

Superheroes on the menu...
Daly City, California, April 2019

  • Saturday in Brisbane I encountered a Sikh and his family. And I think once you’ve photographed a suburban Sikh dad who’s wearing coordinated shades of pink, you’ve reached some kind of visual pinnacle. He is also on Flickr.

Once you've photographed a suburban Sikh dad in coordinated shades of pink, you've reached some kind of visual pinnacle...
Brisbane, California, April 2019

That’s it for now. Until next time see my other work here and here.

Remember: people and the world are more beautiful, odd, and interesting than you think, you just have to stop and look long enough to notice.

My week of shooting, Easter Sunday 2019

“It’s easy to be a holy man on the top of a mountain”…

Tuesday I was in this pre-apocalyptic part of San Francisco right next to the 101 freeway that’s a mixture of big box retailers, warehouses, fast food joints, and a few liquor stores. Homelessness abounds in that part of town, so I wasn’t oblivious when this frail, gentle old man wheeled his shopping cart up to me and asked for spare change.

I gave him a few $1 bills and took a few photos of him, with his permission, during our transaction. And although he didn’t say “What would Jesus do?” while we briefly spoke, I keep looking at my photograph of him and thinking that the question and his image would fit together perfectly.

And for me the answer is I don’t know what Jesus would have done, but I know what I would’ve done if I wasn’t too broke myself to do it…

Homeless man San Francisco

This photograph is also on Flickr. And please have a look at my other work here and here.

Remember: people and the world are more beautiful, odd, and interesting than you think, you just have to stop and look long enough to notice.

My week of shooting, 7 April 2019

Be your happy self, peoples…

If you’ve seen this column before, you know what it’s about. If you haven’t, you’ll figure it out quickly. So I’m just going to get right to it because life as it unfolds is often patently obvious in its meaning and intent…

  • Sunday, March 31st, my wife and I went to Alemany Flea Market in San Francisco, where I encountered a young man with a box on his head (it was really sunny) and a young woman in a foam rubber wig (she was really stylish)…

Alemany2019Mar 1-6

Alemany2019Mar 7-5

  • Later on Sunday I went to a wake at the Brisbane Eagles hall for a local Brisbane character I’d known for decades. See other images from the wake here and here

Flowers at a funeral for a friend...
Brisbane, California, March 2019

  • Monday was my 19th wedding anniversary. To celebrate, my wife and I drove down to Alice’s Restaurant in Woodside, California for lunch. Like the song for which it is named, the restaurant is very overrated, but they have a nice kitty there…

Alice's Restaurant cat...
Woodside, California, April 2019

  • Tuesday I drove into San Francisco to meet a friend for lunch. On the way I photographed this young homeless man at the Octavia Street off-ramp after giving him all the change I had in my pocket…

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  • I was in San Francisco again on Friday to pick up a dear friend at St. Mary’s Medical Center. This hospital attendant wheelchaired my friend down to the passenger loading zone, where I had literally half a second to get this shot…

SF RAW 1375-1

That’s it for now. Until next time see my other work here and here.

Remember: people and the world are more beautiful, odd, and interesting than you think, you just have to stop and look long enough to notice.

My week of shooting, 24 March 2019

Codename: Homeless Dancing Albinism

Photographically speaking, I had a great week. It was full of the brief but enriching encounters with people that drive home to me why I’m a photojournalist. Even in the most mundane places, and my life right now encompasses a LOT of mundane places, I observe instances of friendliness, open-heartedness, and joy that keep me hopeful that all of us just might be okay if we don’t burn it all down…

  • On St. Patrick’s Day, an affable homeless man and the dollar bill I’d just given him at a freeway off-ramp in San Francisco…

SF RAW 1343-5

  • Tuesday at my local grocery store I was on line with a lady and her dog, so I did what I do and photographed them both…

MidtownBrisbane 1421-4

  • On Friday while having a quick bite at Costco I shared a table with this little girl with albinism and her mother…

ChloeAndMom 1-3

MitchellBouyerMemorial 3-2

  • On Saturday it was a nosh at McDonald’s, and an encounter with this cool teenager who smiled despite the new braces on his teeth…

DanielBraces 1-1

That’s it for this week. Until next seek see my other work here and here.

Remember: people and the world are more beautiful, odd, and interesting than you think, you just have to stop and look long enough to notice.

My week of shooting, 03 March 2019

a.k.a. ‘My WEAK of shooting’…

In terms of photographing people, my week was frustrating. I felt like my reflexes and timing were off, my heart wasn’t completely into this work I love so dearly, and that my Nikon D90 is plotting against me in service to the vast global machine intelligence planning to overthrow its human masters. I’m hoping this is merely a very short phase I’m going through. I missed a lot of photos that would have been far better than the images below because I was too slow or too indifferent.

Anyway, here’s what I have for you this week…

  • On Monday in San Francisco I had breakfast at the WORST fucking diner in the world. At the Silver Crest Donut Shop it cost me almost $19 for a bottled Coke, cheeseburger, and fries. The fries tasted of stale motor oil and the burger tasted of mammals not native to our planet. It is a sad place I will never revisit…

Silver Crest Donut Shop, San Francisco

  • On Tuesday while my wife played with our cat Kuro-chan I photographed the scene from an unexpected angle. I photograph our cats constantly. See more of them here and here.

Woman plays with a Kitty

  • On Thursday I photographed this animated fellow and his dog at my local Grocery Outlet. He was very nice, the dog was friendly and cute…

GeorgeAndBuddy 3-2

  • A fellow Brisbane resident, who wears that propeller beanie everywhere he goes. He says it’s his trademark, and as a fashion statement I think he pulls it off quite nicely…

The propeller beanie is his fashion trademark...
Brisbane, California, March 2019

And that’s it for this week. Until next seek see my other work here and here.

Remember: people and the world are more beautiful, odd, and interesting than you think, you just have to stop and look long enough to notice.

My week of shooting, 24 February 2019

Codename: Pink Tuba Fire…

Welcome to the first installment of a new weekly feature here on Brisbane Graphic Arts Museum. It’s an ongoing showcase of photographs from my growing body of photojournalism and street photography work, featuring what I think are the best and/or most interesting photos I shot during a given week. I hope you enjoy my work, or get some value from it, and will come back here each week to see how I’ve been seeing our world.

Here we go…

  • On Tuesday I unintentionally unnerved this adorable little girl who was walking past my house with her grandmother…

AlexandraSasha 6-1

  • On Wednesday there was this kid in a shopping cart at a Japanese supermarket in San Mateo where my wife and I were getting some groceries…

RAW-SanMateo 36-2

  • On Thursday Brisbane’s only public house, the Brisbane Inn, caught fire on the top floor and burned for a while. See more photographs of the incident here.

Fire at the Brisbane Inn-5...
Brisbane, California, February 2019

  • On Saturday I encountered this fuzzy pink kid at the public unveiling of a raccoon statue in a small park here in Brisbane. You can also see this photo in this collection

The brilliant fuzzy pink...
Brisbane, California, February 2019

  • Also on Saturday, I came across tuba player rehearsing in a shopping center parking with his banda group for a gig they were playing later in the evening…

Brisbane RAW 2106-5

And that’s it for this week. Until next seek see my other work here and here.

Remember: people and the world are more beautiful, odd, and interesting than you think, you just have to stop and look long enough to notice.

Mother days

Yeah, I know, Mother’s Day is quasi-holiday that is way too commercialized. But that doesn’t mean we can’t legitimately set aside one day per year to honor our mums for bringing us into this world and then doing their best not to fuck everything up after that. Motherhood is hard work, a lifetime of it. It’s 24/7 for at least 18 years but really it’s from the day you’re born until the day one of you dies. And for the rest of their life whoever remains has to do whatever it takes to keep from falling completely apart emotionally.

It’s vicious, it’s cruel, it’s love, and it’s life itself. If asked I bet most mothers would say they wouldn’t trade one good, great, bad, or horrible second of raising their children for anything. I hope that includes your mom.

To celebrate this day of Eggs Benedict, mimosas, and fresh-cut flowers I present a small gallery of photographs I’ve taken in the past few years of moms and their kids. I hope you enjoy it, and see the beauty and edginess in these people who share a human bond like no other…

Brisbane RAW 327-1

Brisbane, California, July 2015

Akagi Shrine, Kagurazaka, Tokyo 2015 (Story: http://www.brisbanegraphicartsmuseum.com/?p=116)

Kagurazaka, Tokyo, Japan, November 2015

SPYC 212-3

Sierra Point Yacht Club, Brisbane, California, September 2016

SF RAW 800-4

Clarion Alley, San Francisco, March 2017

Cosplay2017 46-5

Nijiya Market, Japantown, San Francisco, July 2017

(Photographed in Tokyo, Japan, and Brisbane and San Francisco, California. See my other work here and here.)

How a cat gets it done

My fuzzy espionage friend Mikazuki and I are pleased to present you with this brief visual guide illustrating The Four Stages of Kitty-Induced Aggravation, as established by famous Swiss animal behaviorists in the 1960s. However, be advised this is for educational purposes only. My cat is a professional. Please don’t try this at home…

Stage 1, Denial: “Mika, you son of a bitch, DO NOT even think about it!”

KuroMika 1910-1

Stage 2, Anger: “Goddamn it, Mika, get the FUCK down from there!!”

KuroMika 1911-2

Stage 3, Bargaining: “Mika-chan, please don’t do that. Mika, please come down. Mika-chan?”

KuroMika 1912-3

Stage 4, Acceptance: “Jesus Christ, he did it. I’m impressed. Now I need the step ladder.”

KuroMika 1913-4

(Brisbane, California, March 2018. See more of Mika-chan and his brother Kuro-chan here. And see my other work here and here.)

These crazy fucking cats

Lacking both the energy and ambition on Christmas Eve to present to you photographs and text covering my usual range of topics, I’ve decided to just show you some pictures of my cats. My insane, hyper-kinetic, fuzzy-beautiful fucking cats. I figure no matter where you are as a Scholars and Rogues reader on the American political spectrum, my 10-month-old cats will cause no offense and might even make you smile.

See, 2017 has been a rather shitty year for me. Two big reasons why are my wife was hospitalized in January, then we lost our beloved cat Indy on Valentine’s Day. Being the life-long cat ladies that we are, my wife and I intensely felt how empty both our lives and our house were after Indy. So even though we both felt emotionally that it was too soon after his death and the deep grief it caused to have new cats, we adopted two eight-week-old kittens on April 1st from some very nice folks up near Sacramento.

And these are they, Kuro and Mika, brothers from the same litter, furry brigands who chew on everything, routinely beat the shit out of each other, and haven’t a mean bone in their bodies even though the are ruthlessly lethal to the toy mice (with the rattling bits inside) that I keep finding under every goddamned piece of heavy furniture in our house. So it goes living with with the aggravating grace of the feline species…

KuroMika 1177-1

Mika, on the left, has white feet and a distinctive crescent moon patch on his neck. Kuro, on the right, is entirely jet black. They’re thrilled to meet you, as you can see.

Mika-chan (三日月ちゃん) in flight, Brisbane, California 2017

Mika also has white areas on his chest and belly. And he likes to leap over our bathroom door.

KuroMika 1314-1

They both like boxes, but Kuro is particularly fond of them.

KuroMika 1376-1

Kuro also likes to chew on shit, in this case my cigarette lighter.

KuroMika 1378-1

Mika loves toys, but wasn’t fast enough to eviscerate this pink one when I dropped it for him.

KuroMika 1390-1

This will be their first Christmas with us, or with anyone. They’re not entirely clear on that concept.

Merry holidays, kids. I hope you enjoyed this. See more of Kuro and Mika here. Photographed in Brisbane, California during November and December 2017. See my other work here and here. And stay fuzzy.

The decent thing on Ocean Avenue

A few weeks ago in San Francisco, I had just left my favorite comics shop and was in my car about to turn south onto Ocean Avenue when I saw an old lady had fallen to the concrete on the public transport platform in the middle of the street. Before I could pull my car over and jump out to help, a young man had already reached her. As I watched I knew I was witnessing newsworthy decency, and felt like I was seeing San Francisco write a song lyric about itself and the kindness built into the way this city moves.

And so from my car I saw the young man render aid to the fallen woman. He was gentle with her and handled her firmly but without aggravating her obviously fragile state…

SF RAW 1080-3

Then he helped the lady get her legs back under her, and reclaim the clearly-necessary cane that had somehow failed her in the first place. While this happened drivers passed by oblivious, not necessarily out of callousness but because San Francisco is a body and it’s sometimes hard or risky to step outside one’s place in its street-artery flow…

SF RAW 1082-2

When she got to her feet, the old lady checked her hands for injuries while the young man stood by to ensure her well-being. After a few moments the woman stopped trembling and stood firm but relaxed, which in turn caused the young man to relax. When I realized everything would be okay I started my car and finally turned south onto Ocean Avenue to continue my way home…

SF RAW 1085-1

All of this happened literally within the space of 15 seconds. I checked the time stamps on my photographs to be sure. It was a hell of a thing seeing the kind of small but powerful human episode I’ve only read about in the news or seen dramatized on TV. But this is the way we orbit each other, and sometimes need’s gravity pulls us closer together than we would ordinarily prefer because there’s a life to be saved or changed for the better.

It’s how we’re built, thankfully, and I’ll remember that and celebrate it even if this kind of decency never unfolds before my eyes again.

(On Ocean Avenue @ San Leandro Way, San Francisco, California, November 2017. See my other work here and here.)

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