Lesters Dad (song and 8mm clips)

From Les’ blog. I think Tom Waits would be perfect to record this.

Over the years, and I mean going back to when we shared an apartment in our 20’s, Andy and I wrote tons of songs, both on our own and together.  Even a few years ago the urge resurfaced and we spent a lot of time working with a synth and drum machine and software to do the arrangements with.  But somehow, compared to my photography endeavors, nothing ever happened with the songs.

I had a feeling with photography about how to get it seen, even early on when I first approached galleries.  You could take a portfolio and make the rounds.  And the photographs, the prints, they were finished products.  You didn’t need much imagination to like or dislike them.  Whereas in the age of singer/songwriter, it wasn’t that feasible to keep saying, “can you imagine this with so-and-so singing it. ”

Maybe there was a way, but without putting together a band with singers and musicians, you couldn’t just say to people, listen to this song and let them use their imagination in terms of what could be done with a good singer and arranger.  So that was the difference.

I think that if I had been able to perform my own music (I never had a pleasing voice, though I guess that didn’t stop some songwriters) but I also couldn’t get up in front of an audience and sing.  It was always too scary for me and still would be.

So that’s another difference.  As a photographer, you wander around and do your thing, but you aren’t a performer, and you don’t need to produce much more than a bunch of good prints.  To make it as a songwriter today — that seems to require more than just an ability to write songs.

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Korean Birthday

I can’t put up pix of my niece’s birthday party without getting flak from the family – but I did do the whole thing in color in a Korean restaurant — so I don’t think they’d mind if I put up a shot of the waiters arriving with the cake.

Though I did get a nudge in the ribs saying why was I photographing the waiters.  Don’t worry – when they bring the cake to her, I’ll shoot her.  You’d better.  Don’t worry, I will.

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1/20th of a second, asa 1600, f1.4

Spam, Chess and Moola

“NOTE TO PHOTOGRAPHY STUDENTS: I often get three requests a day for more information. Please do a search in the photo blog and you will find most of the information you need for your presentation.”

The deluge was so great that I couldn’t believe it but I put this note on the home page of my store.

I’m seriously thinking about responding that I will answer questions if you paypal me $10.

I remember when Soupy Sales, the host of a popular kids show, asked kids to go into their parents room and find those green pieces of paper they kept in their wallets and send them to him.  Uhm, that’s a paraphrase and I haven’t gone to Wiki to look up the exact words – but it was along those lines and boy did he ever catch hell for that. Continue reading “Spam, Chess and Moola”

After the War Was Finished (Part 1)

[Seeing as how he don’t have any new photos to post, though he did manage to get out and walk around with the camera, and how he didn’t find anything worth shooting, and how it was a beautiful spring day – finally – the blogger decides to post another installment of his so-called memoirs.  And how he calls ’em memoirs, but they’re just clips snapped of things that had meaning to him, both as a kid and later and  in no particular chronology.  ]

Me with my sister
The imp with me is middle sister who did nothing but get me into trouble.

We were raised to be brave. Our fathers had returned from winning World War Roman Numerals One Twice That, as far as we kids were concerned, was the best use of Roman Numerals which they were still forcing us to learn in public school at the time.  World War II.  That, I can tell you, had a ring to it for us kids born after it was finished.  World War I – that didn’t even get a numeral without World War II.  We discussed these things with dead seriousness between class.  We did, grow up in it’s shadow.  And our parents became parents in it’s shadow.

We still made model planes of Mustangs and Corvairs and the British Spitfires. When they were stuck together properly, we held mock dog fights. We knew the climbing rate of these planes; where the machine guns were located.  We had our favorites, mine was the Mustang because of that unusual shape at the front.  We made enemy planes as well, like the Zero.

We had our non-WWII heroes as well: Davey Crockett was a real person for us. He killed Grizzley bears (b’ars) with his bare hands. Our fathers had been through a lot. Whatever they could do – we could do as well, though we did turn out to be the Peace Generation. That makes sense now as a rebellion against the previous generation which had almost destroyed the world, and did manage to get pretty close.

Continue reading “After the War Was Finished (Part 1)”

Princeton – Part I

I Meet Mark, Become Friends with Derick; Start & Finish My First Programming Job

[The blog isn’t really a great place to tell long stories like this post.  Nevertheless, I’m going to keep adding to it; but at the same time go on with the rest of the blog.  Last added is at the bottom on April 8, of ’09]

****PART A ****

I finished the three semester programming course at Columbia University and was recommended by my teacher for a job in Princeton, New Jersey.  I was living on the lower east side at the time.  But you know how it is with that first job.  You pretty much take whatever you can get.

My interview with Mark went something like this.  He was at the Princeton trainstop to meet me in a used BMW.  Mark was stocky, with darting eyes, a close-cropped beard to hide the double-chin, and did I say darting eyes.  When I say darting eyes, I mean – they didn’t stay still for a minute.  There was a combination of dark weird stuff in them, and a hard sort of humor.  First thing he did was take me to a local Princeton restaurant where he raved about the whitefish salad.  I don’t like whitefish salad.  He spread it on a bagel and wolfed it down in such a way that I don’t believe he tasted any of it.  He would turn out to be a wolf and a predator.  A cunning,  unfeeling man – much like the robots he had designed while at NASA.  Mr. logic.  And at the same time there was a craftiness in him.

He drove me to Marklin which was on the outskirts of Princeton in what had once been some kind of factory.  (Oh, the name: Mark & Linda were the married couple that ran Marklin).  I had never been in a BMW before and he drove like the nut that he was, and scared me pretty good by the time we arrived.  Or maybe I scare easy.  He extolled the virtues of feeling the road and all that crap.
Continue reading “Princeton – Part I”

Uncle Sammy’s Gift Certificates

I added the Paypal Gift Certificate button to the store.  Why?  Because within the last few weeks I’ve had a few requests for it.  However, I have to say that when I used to have the gift certificate button on the site (a couple of years ago) I had exactly one order with it.  But what the heck – it was easy enough to do – and if I were going to buy a photo gift for someone, that’s how I’d do it.  (On the todo list: use one of my photos on the gift certificate rather than the default Paypal theme.)

I guess I’m not that sentimental.  My great uncle Sammy used to wrap up silver dollars and give them to me for my birthday.  Joe was my grandmother’s brother.  He was one of my favorite relatives (not because of the money) but because he was so much fun to be with.  He lived in this crummy one-room apartment near Coney Island.  My father would drop me off with him for the day, and we’d spend our time wandering around Coney Island, eating hotdogs at Nathans, and he’d let me ride the bumper cars for as long as I liked.

Continue reading “Uncle Sammy’s Gift Certificates”

Robert Frank & Jewishness

A reader sent me this link  about Robert Frank and Jewish photographers.  The Jewish part is something I have thought about, and I think it’s aptly explained in the essay.  There’s also a link to a film called Pull My Daisy which Frank co-directed.

Yes, being a Jew has placed a critical distance between myself and this society.    I suppose it began early on when I was picked on by the local Irish kids.  I can remember some of these young kids throwing rocks at me when I was leaving a local Jewish school (I didn’t attend Jewish School but some of my friends did).  And I was involved in fights with these kids nearly every day.  Sometimes I won, sometimes I lost.  It didn’t matter.  I was a target, and I wasn’t sure why.

One day I was caught by a few of them and hung by my feet over a churchyard wall where there was a ten foot drop.  Somehow I squirmed out of their hold and got back on solid ground.

Continue reading “Robert Frank & Jewishness”

Notes From Another Life

journal2

As mentioned – I’m cleaning house.  I came across an old journal.

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I’m moving closer to making photography a career – which is to say – trying to have more time for it.  I’m convinced that the effort should go into making as fine a print as I can – not sparing any expense or hardship.  And that the “rest” will unfold naturally, just as it has already.

Last week I sold 3 more prints in West Jersey to A–.  All in all I’ve sold prints to all my friends except Barry.  Barry is too much in competition to buy anything right now.

I was on a roll for the last week.  Began printing – smaller – 8 x 10 – on graded paper and was pleased with results.

I’m trying to be more Zenny – to do one thing at a time.  Very difficult for me.  I can’t stay in the moment.  I’m jumping ahead or behind.  I anticipate or dwell in the past.  I think it comes from stress of the computer field where – when – no – I remember it in all business endeavors where you are worried about sucess and failure.

If you can anticipate what will happen next – do you have a better chance to cope with it?  Maybe – but you lose the moment.  And the thing you’re preparing for may or may not happen.  What then?  Wasted energy.

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A few days more until I leave for Yosemite.  One week’s vacation.  That is perverse.  How desperately I am looking forward to ONE week.  That proves how mixed-up my life has become – and that I have become a slave again.  Now I am Mr. Responsible.  I must throw this all off if I am to attain any freedom at all.

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Hard to believe.  B. walks into my office and gives me a $4000 raise.  I am now making what – 60K for three days work?  How can I leave this.  They are driving me crazy with these gold chains.

::: They’re hard to read.  I was really so miserable.  Ten years ago.  People coming into my office to complain about tech glitches all the time.  Upper management pressing to get something done.  Underlings pressing because some piece of code either didn’t work, or was unclear.  Never a compliment.  Just promotions and more money.  And now I sit here and almost every day a nice note comes through the mail.  Now I worry about money – but not that much – and somehow things seem to work out.  There’s really something to be said for doing what you want to do.  Even if you don’t make it (money-wise) you still have the pleasure of feeling your spirit being unleashed.

From the last week:

Hi Dave,

I came across your website and work. Very nice work. Your “A Taste of Snow” photo is excellent and truly inspirational. As a photographer, I am always looking for those great little moments to capture.

Best,

C.

Surfing the web and saw your photos and had to write to try to say something that would tell you how amazing and beautiful I found them to be. But they are beyond words…

L.

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