Posts in Category: Photo Essays

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.)

The laundromat is a lovely-shiny-golden human place.

My wife and I live in an 88-year-old house which has never been adequately retrofitted to accommodate the installation of a washer and dryer for laundry. We’re slowly setting aside the cash to one day solve that problem, but in the meantime once or twice a month we schlep our dirty duds to a local laundromat. Now, you’ll get no argument from me that the process of driving (or walking) five or six pillow cases full of laundry to the laundromat then spending two or more hours washing, drying, and folding your wardrobe is basically a pain in the ass.

It is, particularly if the laundromat is crowded and you have to wait for dryers. So, yes, laundromats are as mundane as a library card. But they’re also rich, warm places in which to be in the thick of humanity’s ebb and flow. At least the one I use is. And yesterday, the last Monday in September, was a very rewarding day for me as a photographer washing socks and capturing human moments at the laundromat…

MarinaAndAngelina 2-4

Tiny twin girls, who were as adorable as their big, burly father was good-natured and easy with a laugh. I learned what a easy-going fellow he was when I asked his permission to take this photograph.

____________________

MilesChihuahua 3-2

Miles the laid-back Chihuahua, in the arms of his primary human and receiving loads of adoration from his fan club on the left.

____________________

EdgarAndMarsha 2-3

Edgar the relaxed Malamute, with a nice lady who coincidentally is the mother-in-law of a friend of mine. The lady rescued Edgar from a Malamute breeder who beat him the first two years of his life and kept him in a small cage with ten other dogs.

____________________

BrendaHasCancer 1-1

This is Brenda. She’s 72 and undergoing cancer chemotherapy for the first time in her life. She just started the chemo, that very morning in fact, but won’t know if it takes until some time this November. She’s happy to be getting treatment, because the cancer was making her very sick. She’s originally from North Carolina, but she and her man are moving to San Diego to settle while Brenda undergoes further cancer treatments. Her pink ribbon hat caught my eye, but her candor and aura of optimism and hope held my attention.

At the laundromat, there’s always more life and hope and joy and pain than you think.

(Super Coin Laundry, Brisbane, California, September 2017)

Spaceman and Mickey pants…

My wife has been in the hospital for almost two weeks. Thankfully, she should be home in a couple of days. It’s a dicey thing shooting photos in an hospital. Ethically (and morally, and legally), hospitals have very justifiably strict rules about whom and where you can take pictures. You can’t infringe upon a person’s privacy, nor endanger anyone’s patient confidentiality.

Fortunately, today I encountered a couple of good sports who allowed me to photograph them. I’m and grateful and happy to have the opportunity to showcase their visual distinctiveness…

An hospital technician in airborne disease precautionary headgear…

KaiserMyBaby 034-2

A fellow in Mickey Mouse pants who I happened to see in an hospital hallway…

KaiserMyBaby 036-1

Kaiser Permanente, South San Francisco, California 2017

Kaiser, my baby

I’m a lousy husband. I find it impossible to hang around my wife’s hospital room for hours watching her writhe in pain while the nurses and her doctor wait for her condition to stabilize. When it does, they’ll determine if she needs surgery. In the meantime, I’ve been bringing her things that she needs, and drinking too much when I’m home. This is all new and overwhelming to me. My wife’s the toughest son of a bitch I’ve ever known, and I can’t take away her pain. I can’t do anything at all right now but love her.

And take a few pictures, to maybe make some good come of this in the form of my inadequate art…

KaiserMyBaby 13-4

South San Francisco and the El Camino Real from the roof of the Kaiser Permanente parking garage.

KaiserMyBaby 15-1

Colma Creek from the roof of the parking garage.

KaiserMyBaby 16-2

Hallway on my wife’s ward.

KaiserMyBaby 18-1

Hospital gift shop couture.

Kaiser Permanente, South San Francisco, California 2017

My wife is in the hospital on her birthday…

She entered the hospital last night, for an ailment that is hers to disclose. Not life-threatening, but perhaps life-changing. She’s the best person I’ve ever known, so it was agony to see her writhing and shifting for hours in emergency room pain. I would have taken that nerve-lashing unto myself if I could.

And today is her 63rd birthday. I should be making her a favorite dinner, but she’s in a hospital bed on Opiate Street. “Time’s passing so slow” morphine-she said to me this morning. We both have less time than we used to have, but its savory quality has increased as we’ve aged.

I could’ve grown old with myself. I will likely grow old longer because of her. Not knowing what to do, and being a poor hospital tourist, I took some photographs when my wife didn’t need my attention. There will likely be more; but on her birthday when she can eat no cake on the inpatient ward, these will do…

KaiserMyBaby 2-4

The admitting technician was a fine fellow of compassionate demeanor.

Sunday night at Kaiser, South San Francisco, California 2016

A dinosaur-child in the hallway as my wife was moved from the ER to her room.

KaiserMyBaby 012-2

No names on the screen means no pain in a hallway for healing professionals.

KaiserMyBaby 017-1

She’s in bed and waiting, and monitoring time.

Kaiser Permanente, South San Francisco, California 2017

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