Dredging canals.

Here are samples keyphrases internauts have used on popular search engines to find me. I harvested these by accessing my very own web statistics. I’ll have to plug them in myself and see what transpires as some of them seem rather unorthodox. Some keyphrases are mundane and to be expected while a few others appear to be the figment of sleep walking incidents.

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Photography is a beautiful lady.

For the past fifteen years, I have had the pleasure of seeing the photography industry transformed into more of the same. One thing by now is certain, it’s that, if anything, necessity is the mother of invention and invention is the bastard chump of imitation. Consequently, and if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery it might just so happen that flattery is to photography what imitation is to its means of production.
Categorizing is by no means one of my strongest points. Generally, any attempts at organizing my thoughts rapidly lead to roam.
So, if you, out of boredom, have decided to read on, you will surely come across my inner curmudgeons. No need to point them out, they are already known. I was born with an extra helping of curmudgeon; making any agreement to provisionally suspend judgement, in exchange for the promise of entertainment; a cantankerous proposition . So here it is, Photography as I see it, it’s all the buzz, and yet, I can barely hear it:

1- Nombrilism (fancy for navel gazing):

Historically speaking, these folks would have done well in the British Navy, given their love of uniforms, square meals and the sea’s deep blue immensity. Practitioners of this dark and thoughtful art are beloved, the world over, by sadists, MTV and non-profits. Naturally, they generally remain unseen when your cabin needs a good sweeping.

2- Fetishism:

Itself a great sin, Fetishism is undergoing a revival of sorts as an offshoot of afore mentioned category. Modern Fetishism is a daftly concocted reduction designed to cleverly shift attention from the navel gazer and his/her reflection to the relationship between them and their material possessions. This is the cult of the “Casual observation”. It is devised to bring attention to the everyday travails of inanimate objects.

Casuallity, as it is also known, is defined as the relationship between one object (the casual) and another object (the casualette); itself the consequence of the first object casually informing, suffice it to say, the narrative* tension of their respective and repetitive daily usage. In other words, if said “Casual” cannot be easily defined by its relationship with its afore mention “Casualette”, an observation may become delightfully and casually complex. Nevertheless, should such an unfortunate object occur, quickly turn lone object North North West and chant: ” I don’t know you that way”.

To be continued….maybe…!
* I’ll get to that later.

A bee’s knees…

Let’s pretend you are living on a deserted island and that you’ve already taken care of your most pressing needs. You have lots of clean drinking water while fruit and seafood are plentiful. Unfortunately, the goats and chickens you rescued disappeared and flew the coop. You forage by day, but at night you sleep fitfully, under a moonlit, tropical landscape. You have explored every square inch of your domain; but thanks to some unexpected flotsam, you can still shave every day. It’s been at least a dozen years since your boat took on water and sank without a trace….

Ask not what your money can do for you, but what you can do for your money.

Don’t get me wrong. I love money… but I just thought that it be wise to proclaim that my love of riches is an acquired taste . Money does not grow on that tree but you can, with an axe, take his house, and his wife, and bring all his birds and his bees to their tiny collective knees. After-all, even the last noble savage knows that his money can buy the guns he needs, to keep the bank from building a branch in his tree.

Money buys: That sandwich you just ate, that country house in Greenwich, the one by that creek where your children would have loved to play. Without it, you might live in a crate and smell like piss and jack fruit paste. Without it, that prime rib and real estate, might just be out of your two handed, tigh fisted reach.
Money buys: That foreign cheese you’d love to taste but without it, you’ll have to keep smelling those limbs you like to call your feet. Without it, you can’t buy clay pigeons and rat poison, George Clooney or Helium three, liverwurst or Damien Hirst.

Which brings me to the moral of this story, the money shot if you wish. Maren are you listening?

So, Damien Hirst loves cash money almost as much as diamond rings; and diamond rings love cash money almost as much as brides to be. So, he casted a pauper’s skull in platinum and covered it with enough bling to spit, shine and polish every pimpish grill from Monrovia to Peoria. It will cost some guy a hundred million cash, but his gallerist will take his half and bureaucrats a hefty tax. But once these checks have cashed, he’ll commission a replica; phone in some cats for a quick heist and switch the fake for his carats.

But someday, when he’s old and grey; he’ll call the cops, fess up and die. He’ll stun the world with this last farce, quite possibly his best and last. So, in death, as in life, he’ll have as they call it; the last laugh….

How I wish I had the skills to play the field as well as Damien Heist….! I wish mama had taught me how to cheat and lie, and look sincere for all the while….

Steve is so much more than behind the counter…

I wrote a dirty little ditty for my friend Steve Reczkowsky. I had originally written this poem for the Art World but soon came to realize that it could be used quite liberally. All I had to do was replace the “it’s” with a “he’s” and there it be. Steve, here it is, and thanks for all those wonderful years tending Robyn’s counter.

” Steve; he’s like…. ”

He’s like snatch; but sweeter
He’s got swatch; but sooner
He’s got stash; but bigger

He’s like smack but stronger
He’s like you; but better
He’s like Yak; but butter

He’s like; nice but later….
He’s got racks; like “Hooters”
He’s got back; like looters

He’s like grass and fiddlers…
He’s like ass, and fingers
He’s like mass but longer….

Pumpkin Paradise.

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Today is a beautiful day. No hurricane fog winds, just sun shinning, which got me to thinking about them “Friendlies”, bible thumpin’, door knocking, ape hatin’, door slamming, sun settin’, watch tickin’, bright lighting, two timin’, book burning, run screamin’….. So I did a little googlin’ for Jehovah imagery but came up with nothin’ like I remember seein’.

I was about to give up when I eventually came upon what looked like prize winning, lip smacking, eye catching, toe tappin’ Jehovah landscape pornography.

Das Kinder Blob….

Back in May, I reluctantly picked up blogging because my friend Steve, at Robyn, kept on needling me; and I kept on telling him to “blow me”. And then, my mother mentioned that I should write more regularly; I listened politely. Maren kept harassing me too but what else is new. So, Thing one led to Thing two, and Thing three led me to reading other people’s diaries; or as they say “bloggentries”.

In the world of photography, Alec Soth’s blog is high up on the people’s list, but frankly, anyone who regularly posts “Friday Poetry” is a little too Garisson Keillor-ish for me. I’ll have to go back and read more of it, but so far I glaze over quickly. Maybe, Ritalin and me have our very own theory about Alec’s poetry: Maybe, he is to photography what John Philip Sousa is to infantry; but more twenty first century. If you don’t know what I mean, that’s okay, I’m already knee deep in shit with this entry. So nevermind poetry….

Meanwhile, back in May and in New york City, I spent one night in Brooklyn. Raul, Jen and I had finished eating dinner when I began to contemplate the long trip back to New Jersey so I begged them to let me stay and play.

The very next day, I tearfully went back to the City, leaving them to potty train and spoon feed purée; rode back to New Jersey and back again to the City. Later, I got on a plane, landed, drove home and waited.
Later, after a few days, during those hours between night and day I had a dream about Raul, Jen and Raul Andres. It was one of those dream within a dream, a personal favorite I must say. A dream within a dream; how fucking great? Like Turducken*, but meatless, guey…!

I don’t really remember the dream within the dream, just the dream about waking up from the dream within the dream, and it went like this: Raul and Jen had since become “Yurt-parents” and had once again let me stay and play, presumably to save me from the long overnight trip back to Alma-Ati.

Upon waking, I noticed that two of Jen’s Korean relatives were covered in frost; the kind of frost you might see ruining a farmer’s crop. I too seemed frosty but felt perfectly dandy underneath my flowery quilt. They just told me that this was the best way to keep your cheeks rosy and stay healthy, so, why not me! Next thing I know, Raul Andres saunters over to proudly sit on his potty, right next to me; releasing quite a stink and waking me back to reality.

I have had every possible dreamable dream there is to dream, but smelling shit, in a dream, while dreaming about waking from a dream within a dream, was positively, weirdly dreamy. There is something to be said for waking up to a toddler’s feces, I’ve lived it, but to dream it…and survive it, NOW, that’s a blog entry, if I’ve ever smelled it.

* A Dreamdrucken.

Climates change.

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Back in 1995, I was in Guangzhou, P.R China, on assignment. It must have been around midnight and I had just stopped working. I took it upon myself to stop by a favorite restaurant within shouting distance of the White Swan. I was gnawing on crispy pigeon, I love pigeon, when a young woman came up to me and asked if I was interested in modeling. When I answered that I was not, she sweetened the deal by offering me a couple hundred bucks. I greedily and promptly agreed, a date was set, and the next morning I was on set, smashingly dressed in “Vincent‘s” finest.

The shoot went by quickly and the photographer was remarkably swift, shooting less that a roll of 120 per outfit. We were done before lunch. I pocketed my Remembies and took her out for tasty treats. We talked about her family and all I remember was that her father happened to be China’s most famous sports journalist. There you have it.

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It’s raining rats.

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Yesterday morning, and for no apparent reason, I was feeling rather agitated. After-all, it’s easy to do these days. Once you reach marriageable age and have pills to pay, these twin curses focus their hideous gaze and swiftly cheat you of your hard earned money.
So, as previously noted, I was feeling agitated, which in this great ape, tends to rattle his lavishly appointed cage. Maybe, now that I have reached a certain age and have participated in said “Rat Race” for a couple of decades, I can, at times, bounce off the walls and nervously pace .

But help was on its way. I picked up a freshly painted copy of The New Yorker and turned to page 68: “In 1943, when I was a fifteen-year-old schoolboy in Danzig, I volunteered for active duty”. I went back to bed and read “How I spent the war”, by Günter Grass.

Just the same, when I saw the “Tin Drum” in 1979, at a Paris matinee, I remember feeling similarly oppressed and agitated. The theater was Parisian small, and packed with the unemployed and the disenchanted, or was it a Saturday?

For lack of a better day, I had gone to see the “Drum” with a classmate I had just befriended. I can’t remember his name as we did not remain friendly for long; after-all I was on my way upstate. On his being the pompous spawn of old Parisian money, I remember going to dinner at his parents’ well appointed hotel particulier, where less than public servants served us dinner in white gloves and tails; on silver plates.

What struck me most was that Grass’s Oscar (our tiny protagonist) had remembered his birth date. Not long before seeing the movie, I had had a dream where my only and very still view of the world consisted of a grey metal dresser, pale yellow walls, an open window and in the distance, a reddish-grey-brick mural, upon which a faded ad had long ago been painted. A sunny day…..

I remember waking up and feeling that this was the room where I had spent my first uterus free day. I walked downstairs to talk my mother and described this fuzzy dreamscape and this is what she said: ” That’s where you were born Olivier”. She looked a little dazed and our conversation quickly ended, which seemed a little strange given my mother’s more than garrulous ways. May be she remembered that day, as if in a postpartum haze. Unfortunately, my first earthly day had almost resulted in making it: Her last day. She had bled profusely while her attending was away, delivering someone else’s birthday cake. She was close to death when my father finally came in and alerted the ward’s nurses. They managed to stop the hemorrhage and someone else’s blood saved her from her impending fate.

When we walked out, it was one of those dark and dreary French winter days. My schoolboy date wanted to chatter in a Montparnasse cafe but I felt irritated and only listened to him halfway. I finally came up with an excuse to run the hell away . He, no doubt, followed his golden crumbs back to his well appointed home and pontificated.

When I finished reading Mr.Grass’s essay on his days as a Waffen S.S, I was, magically; no longer agitated. So, if your mother lives ten thousand miles away, and you don’t want to wake her up to help you sooth your nervous ways; read a little Grass in the middle of the day.