[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.

[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…

credits:
CathedralsOfCalifornia.com
wiki-answers
photo: me [Omar Amer] – via iPhone.

[found tattoo]: yay area

I thought it was a terribly unique tattoo, so I asked if I may photograph it, and we spent a moment getting it right. Although I only had my iPhone on me at the time, I’d say it turned out fairly well after it went through Aperture. Still, I only do things that one could really do in the darkroom. :]

[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.

[targeted info]: a fresh beginning, some words on film.

I prefer to shoot film, however the past few years of photography for me have been spent mastering the digital work-flow. I’ve been shooting digitally since 2002, however mixing film shooting in as well. I prefer black and white above all as a working medium, doesn’t matter if it’s film or digital. I enjoy working in the tonalities of grey vs color, it’s simply easier for me to highlight the things I want to share with the viewer. I do also shoot a smaller volume of color work, and quite enjoy doing so.

After shooting around 100,000 images in the year 2005, and a substantial break, I’ve recently – for all intents and purposes, began fresh. Due to massive catastrophic data loss, the aforementioned volume of photographic work has been “lost to the digital ether.”

Noticing how frustrating this was, I’ve decided that developing mostly film would be indeed prudent. Digital photography has many uses for me though, and don’t get me wrong – you’ll see many digital photographs here. I typically use digital to “capture ideas, and thoughts,” a way to bookmark concepts for later, and for sharing and response metrics.  I’ve redesigned my in-house data structure thought for storage, and I should be on the way to a much better system when I get to fully implement and integrate it.

[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. :]