[In Memory] : Raymond Mausaleak

These flowers appeared in one of the spaces Raymond used to sleep, the stairwell of the Stockton Tunnel. Raymond was an Inuit man in his forties, from Barrow, AK; That lived sometimes in my neighborhood, sometimes at a homeless shelter. He was an incredible fellow that I slowly became friends with over the course of the 4 years that I’d been talking with him.

He left quite an impression on many people, and often “hung out,” next to the mailbox by the Tunnel Top Bar – Bush St, SF. For weeks after Raymond’s passing, there would be food, candles, small bags and things left in the neighborhood places where he frequented. He was certainly a well liked man, and certainly easy to overlook based on his appearance, that of a homeless alcoholic. If you’ve been living here long enough though, you know that this city provides angels, messages, and friends in the most delightfully varied of ways. My life is certainly enriched for knowing him.

If you’ve been wondering where he is on the off chance you’re one of the people that also knew him, Raymond crossed over to the other side in mid April 2008. In the last few months leading up to his passing, you’ll be happy to know that Raymond – was healthy, happy, and more lucid than I’ve ever known him to be. He’d made peace with himself, and given up his alcoholism.

The most important thing Raymond taught me was the importance of family. =]
Ray Ray, you’ll be missed. Hi !

[Photo taken with an Apple iPhone, and darkroom done digitally in Aperture.]

[between two buildings]: alley in SOMA

This is something I’d like to re-shoot, provided I make the discovery of it’s location again.  I enjoy urban still-life, and find it interesting to see the various combinations of objects as they share space with nature, partial nature, people, or buildings and or other constructed objects. In this case, I enjoy the rather slipshod appearance of the plywood juxtaposed with the graffiti and the lush, yet accidental plant-life that’s happening in this neglected area of space.  The ridges in the side of the building coupled with brick and the plywood meet appropriately in a classic homage to leading lines.  Shot with iPhone, darkroom workflow with Aperture.

[view from Buena Vista Park]: clear day

This is a concept shot, taken with the iPhone.  This is one of the several vantages from atop Buena Vista Park, located in the Haight Ashbury District of San Francisco, California.  Oakland can be seen in the distance.

This park happens to be the city’s oldest and first park, the trees were planted in 1863.  This predates Golden Gate Park, and all the others.  Wonderful trees can be found here, as well as a great place to clear ones mind.  The walk to the top will be accomplished in about 20 minutes if one is taking their time.

[selectively rewriting history]: Spike Lee

“He could have gone ahead and made it. Instead he was making something else.” As for Flags of Our Fathers, he says, yes, there was a small detachment of black troops on Iwo Jima as a part of a munitions company, “but they didn’t raise the flag. The story is Flags of Our Fathers, the famous flag-raising picture, and they didn’t do that. If I go ahead and put an African-American actor in there, people’d go, ‘This guy’s lost his mind.’ I mean, it’s not accurate.”

That’s a Spike Lee quote, from an article here: full story @ defamer.com Spike Lee is talking about Clint Eastwood. That’s not the scope of my article, just a relevant portion. The staging isn’t mentioned anywhere! Historical inaccuracy bothers me. If Spike Lee really wanted to create a stir, he’d remind everybody that photograph was staged. Read on.

Staged Flag Raising over Iwo Jima for journalistic benefit

The whole thing boils down to a stunt of nationalism. As a photographer, I’ve known for a few years now – that photograph didn’t happen like that. “that photograph.” That photograph was a construction. The embedded journalist knew it’d make an incredible shot, and he was right. They raised the flag a second time, for the photograph that made history as we all know it.