Posts in Category: Photo Essays

This past Thanksgiving

In the time of coronavirus, my wife and I didn’t do much on Thanksgiving Day 2020 but stay home and cook for ourselves. We didn’t even watch the Macy’s parade. Cooking Thanksgiving feast for two people, which included an 11-pound turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, and a persimmon pie, was a surprisingly time-consuming endeavor.

Still, I did get out briefly a couple of times during the day and shot this collection of photographs. Enjoy…

A suspension of color in my deceased father-in-law's living room...
Brisbane, California, Thanksgiving Day 2020

A suspension of color in my deceased father-in-law’s living room.

The calm of the world as the sun comes up...
Brisbane, California, Thanksgiving Day 2020

The calm of the world as the sun comes up.

A turkey at my neighbor's house...
Brisbane, California, Thanksgiving Day 2020

A turkey at my neighbor’s house.

The turkey goes into the oven...
Brisbane, California, Thanksgiving Day 2020

Our turkey goes into the oven.

MidtownBrisbane 2215-5

The flag and a family on the high street.

Last-minute grocery trip for daughter and father...
Brisbane, California, Thanksgiving Day 2020

Last-minute grocery trip for daughter and father.

My wife would like to show a happy world to everyone...
Brisbane, California, Thanksgiving Day 2020

My wife would like to show a happy world to everyone.

(Photographed in Brisbane, California on Thanksgiving Day, 2020. I hope yours was happy and safe. See my other work here.)

Saturday, at the edge of the world

My wife and I,
imprisoned with each other these past one million days,
decided on a Saturday morning
to hope in the car and go see the edge of the world.
(I meant ‘hop’ but the effect is the same.)

ThorntonBeach 7-1

When we got there
I looked out
at the crest of the ocean,
the horizon it made,
and I wondered if
there were people in Japan
looking from their edge of the world
who couldn’t see me either.

ThorntonBeach 8-2

It’s probable.
It’s likely.
My wife and I blew
the dreamers on Japanese coasts a kiss,
and laughed because we love
that the ocean is here
at the edge of the world
even though we rarely come to see it.

ThorntonBeach 9-3

And then I thought
in 31 years
of bad careers, drink, and madness in California,
she has been my sun.
My sun more than the actual fucking Sun.
And all the bad
was erased
standing on the edge of the world with her.

ThorntonBeach 10-1

Everything bad
in my life, in our lives,
was all worth enduring
to be able after 31 years
to stand at the edge of the world with her.

ThorntonBeach 11-5

And I told her that.
And she kissed me.
And I knew, once again,
we would be okay.

(Photographed at Thornton Beach, Daly City, California in November, 2020. See my other work here.)

To Michele on our 20th anniversary

After 20 years
I don’t have it
in me anymore
to not love you
more than my life
more than mankind
more than any life
but yours.

DR

You have saved me
so many times
from myself
I’m pretty sure
you hold the mortgage
on my soul.
If I believed in souls.
If I did
you would be one,
an immense, timeless
born-before-god-and-sin
holy, anti-entropy soul.

And I love you
more than
any version of god
anyone ever invented
and sold by the pound
to the poor, needy,
and helpless.

Jessica's Birthday 097

You are better than all of that, ever.
You are beyond that
in my uneasy mind,
a mind troubled by
literally every fucking thing
but you.

I want to hold on to you
to love you
and have you
near me
for 100 years more.
Alive, I mean.
I know you knew that.
There’s no sin
in the simplicity
of hoping for
an impossible wish.

MicheleSalmon 238-1

I already got one: you.
And I want
another 100 years of you,
because the 20
we’ve been married
just doesn’t
seem like enough.

(In California in 1991, 2005, and 2019. See my other work here and here.)

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…

SF RAW 1370-2

  • 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.)

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