[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.

[St. Patrick’s Church]: Built in 1851.

Saint Patrick’s church has been sitting between 4th and 5th streets on Mission St. since 1851. Really now, that’s impressive. While I personally am not Catholic, I visited the church website, St Patrick’s San Francisco and was very happily moved by the Dali Lama quote they’ve got resting on their services page. I’ll reproduce, due to the non-specific nature of it, and the sheer truth that rings in it. Beautiful.

“May I become at all times both now and forever. A protector for those without protection; A guide for those who have lost their way; A ship for those with oceans to cross; A bridge for those with rivers to cross; A sanctuary for those in danger; A lamp for those without light; A place of rugs for those who lack shelter; And a servant to all in need. – The Dalai Lama”

I find it incredible to reflect on history and note all the historical events that have occurred under the auspices of said old building, as well as amazing to reflect on the history leading up to it. For example, this building has stood through the entire past 100 years, and then some.

This building was completed in 1851, and I think designed by John Sullivan. The church rested on new land for the United States. Just a few years earlier, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was ratified – Mar 10, 1848. This treaty reflected an agreement, an agreement brought on by war. The Mexican-American war. The spoils of this conflict brought us California and New Mexico. Five years later, for a sum of ten million, we purchased what we know now as Arizona. This was widely viewed as a gesture of recompense to Mexico. Remember, in 1853 – 10 million is equivalent to roughly 246.5 million today.

Here’s a fascinating article on churches and cathedrals in San Francisco, focusing on St. Mary’s – which was given to the Paulists in 1984. Interestingly, it was the first church in the WORLD to be called Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception… Pope Pius IX had just defined the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception seventeen days earlier. It was also the first church built in California as a Cathedral. Haydn’s Mass #3 Played during the dedication, Christmas Eve 1854…and people literally hung from the rafters of the nearly finished place of worship for service. It was the tallest building West of the Mississippi, and the stones for it were cut and quarried in China. The cornerstone was laid in 1853, @ the corner of present day Grant Ave [formerly DuPont Street], and California Streets. It’s still there, 155 years later.

I am amazed and delighted by all the wonderful historical photographs this blog author has placed into their work. St. Mary’s Cathedral is a 5 minute walk around the corner for me, so it’s relevant to learn about ones neighborhood and surrounding areas I feel…

photo: me [Omar Amer] – via iPhone.

[Geoff Rickley]: Warped Tour 2002

Geoff Rickley, lead singer of the band Thursday, croons.

This image was shot by me back in 2002, with my Canon EOS 3 film camera. I have the PB-E2 power booster attachment on the camera as well, which makes it truthfully unstoppable. Truly a rugged camera, and *almost* as good as the 1V. Not nearly as waterproof, or as sturdy though, but well.. have you ever held an EOS 3 with the booster ? It easily weighs 8 pounds. ;] If I recall correctly, this was shot on Fuji Acros 100. Make that NeoPan Acros 100. Enjoy the photograph.

[rhyolite, nv #1]: broken down house

broken down house in rhoylite ghost town. rhyolite, nevada

This was photographed in a ghost town, that falls just a few miles outside of the California/Nevada border.  The town begins after Death Valley National Park ends, essentially 3 miles into Nevada.  After another mile or two – one finds themselves in the cute, but rather coarse [vs a big city] – town of Beatty, Nevada.  Beatty is home to about 3,000 people, and if you’ve been there, chime in.  I’d love to see your coverage of the area.  Most of mine is lost, however this old file was located the other day, so I’m overjoyed to post it.   I resized this from the 16 megabyte tiff I had created 3 years ago, and uploaded.  Levels are adjusted to what I’d be able to do in the darkroom.

That brings me to an important point for me, I don’t do anything I couldn’t do on film. with film. Generally.  It makes working harder, but I feel my work is much stronger for that.  I’ve always held this opinion.  Ocasionally I play with digital manipulation, however my work in what one might argue to be “simple black and white,”  I still find completely stunning and fantastic.  There’s nothing like it.  I try to stay true to form.

For example, I don’t even use layers.  You heard it directly from me.  Yes, I’m serious.

[abstract #1]: abstract images project.

abstract #1

this is image #1 in an abstract series. This series will be of images that appear almost entirely abstract. This project will focus on studies of light and shadow, seas of color, and beautiful abstraction. This idea is long overdue to culminate, expect it in the coming months. I lost my work on this project in the great-data-loss-of-2008, however I fully intend to re-birth this idea. Here’s that beginning. :]