Friday, September 12, 2008

Flying The Stars And Stripes!

Councilman Scott Galvin got this great idea that our North Miami residents should try to make the city look more patriotic by getting everyone to fly the American flag on national holidays. He made a deal with a local flag company and got a "wholesale price" on a mess of 3x5 foot flags complete with aluminum poles and brackets. Anybody stopping by his office could pick up a free flag. He was hoping to see the streets lined with flags on the Fourth of July. It didn't happen. Oh, there were flags flying, but nowhere near what he'd hoped for.

I was driving down the street and saw this house, probably in foreclosure, all boarded up, and a huge pile of trash out in front. I stopped to check out the pile for treasures. The only thing I salvaged was that cute little toy monkey sitting on the shoulder of the dressmakers' form. Monkette was sitting on my front seat and she suggested that I get a photo of the little toy monkey showing her patriotism by holding up the American flag.

Next year I'm going to suggest to Scott that he should get a whole big bunch of little American flags. Maybe we can convince all the toy monkeys in town to go out in their front yards and wave the red, white, and blue.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

From Barry University To Rootz Gallery

Here I am with Mario Flores at his Rootz Gallery a few weeks ago. Most of these prints are well over thirty years old. As I was digging them out of my files I ran across a lot of old magazines and advertising brochures featuring my photographs. A lot of that dated back to the period of twenty-five or so years when I did all the photography for Barry College (now Barry University) in nearby Miami Shores.

Claudia, my ex-wife called me a few days ago to tell me that her friend Ann had passed away. I knew Ann from back in the days when she worked at Barry, long before I'd met Claudia. A memorial sevice for Ann will be held Friday morning in the chapel and Claudia wanted me to know. She and I will go there together, but I also want to take a few photographs around the campus while I'm there.

The school has grown a lot over the past twenty-five years. I thought that it might be interesting to photograph some of the same buildings and scenes as they look today and put them here on thepriceofsilver along with the images from those old publications.

I also want to visit the school library. They have several of my prints included in their collection, and they're framed and on display in the library. They're from my Miccosukee Indian series. I'd like to get some photos of the prints hanging in there. Claudia is going to tell me that I'm on campus for a memorial service and to return some other time to take my pictures. Then she's going to yell at me for not getting a haircut. Some things never change.

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Monday, September 08, 2008


They just changed their log-in procedure. Now it's IMPOSSIBLE to get any information about my account. If you follow their directions it just runs you around in circles. You never do get to access the information. My friends who have Adsense accounts are all having the same problem. Does anybody else have that problem with Google Adsense?

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Beyond The Camera Into Uncharted Territory

When Mario Flores, the owner of Rootz Gallery here in North Miami, asked me if I could put together an assortment of prints for an exhibit I said "Sure! No problem!" I knew that I had lots of prints on hand. I usually make more than one print when somebody orders one. It's easier to make more right then at the time than to go back and do it later, and usually a print that sells will also appeal to others. In fact, when people see a framed print hanging at somebody's home or office they start to think about how nice it would look hanging on one of their own walls. And people have come to appreciate the look of a gelatin silver print.

Putting the show together would mostly be a matter of going through some boxes and envelopes, picking out the pictures and sticking them in frames. I picked them out. I stuck them in frames. They were all photographs I'd made back in the 1960's and '70's, and most of them were printed back then too.

Scroll down one post and you can see a couple of those images. While at the gallery I'd been looking at some paintings with strange effects of splattered paint, smeared together colors, and started wondering if that might be something that could be done with a gelatin silver print. But how?

I let my brain chew on it for a few days, then BANG!, the coming together of the idea and a way that it might be done exploded in my head. I soon was in the darkroom, so excited that I was looking for the right negative even before the air conditioner had a chance to cool the July heat. Here it is a couple of months later and I still don't have it perfected as much as I'd like but I like what I'm doing, I love the prints that I'm making, and other people seem to like them too. We added three of the new prints to hang alongside the older work. You can see one of them in this picture that Mario shot of me holding my Leica. He was using a Nikon DSLR.

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Friday, September 05, 2008

Life Is Just One Adventure After Another...

I never much thought that I'd led much of an adventursome life. Since high school I've spent the majority of it living in the same North Miami neighborhood. I'm now living about eight blocks away from the apartment where my mom and I lived back in 1956. Unlike most of my photographer buddies from the 1960's I didn't travel the world covering wars or shooting pretty pictures of exotic far away places. No, I spent it right here, or close by anyway, and my shooting was largely for local publications, companies, governmental bodies, and a lot of politicians. Everything from the local city council to a few U.S. presidents.

In the last few years, since starting this blog, a lot of people have remarked that not only have I led an interesting and adventursome life but I've managed to do it within just a few miles of my house. That didn't really sink in until Mario Flores opened Rootz Gallery, kicked me in the butt, and forced me to come up with some prints to hang in the Gallery.

When I stand there in front of a row of pictures like this it makes me see the variety of people and things that I've photographed over the last few decades. The blog is nice but the images are small, and a computer screen doesn't do justice to a silver print. He shot this picture of me a month or so ago, right after he'd hung the framed prints. Yeah, he made me put 'em in frames too. The only two photos that you can make out in this shot consist of a couple of elderly people all dressed up for a Halloween party at a nearby retirement home which I shot in the late 1960's for the local paper, and the other photo was taken maybe ten years later at the Brighton Seminole Indian Reservation just south of Lake Okeechobee. They raised cattle, rode horses, and dressed like cowboys.

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Damned Hair Is Turning White On Me!

I guess that I should consider myself lucky. My scalp isn't showing and my hair is still nice and thick but as I look back through the photos here on the blog it's pretty obvious that it isn't as brown as it once was.

A few years ago the city put in this plaza in front of the art museum and next to city hall. I honestly don't remember exactly what this "event" was all about but the Public Works guys set up a bunch of these little pavillions. As usual I was early. People were still setting up and the crowds had yet to arrive. Just out of frame on the left is a Starbucks. It's maybe 80 meters away from me, smack dab in front of the art museum. I walked over to get a cup of coffee while waiting for some people to show up.

Now there's talk about Starbucks closing that location. Not enough business. But across the street to the north is the Luna Star Cafe. Alexis was pissed when Starbucks opened there and now she can't wait for them to fold up and leave. If you're at N.M. City Hall, the Museum of Contemporary Art, or just visiting some of the many galleries in the area stop into the Luna Star Cafe and tell Alexis that you read about it here. She also has a variety of food items and something no Starbucks carries ~ imported beers and wines.

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Monday, September 01, 2008

Dreams Of Interama ~ The Fantasy That Failed

I'm still trying to decide whether to just write a straight piece about Interama, the failed project in the drawing, use it to make a point about failed projects of that sort in general, or go on another tack about how many projects of this sort are expected to fail from the beginning but funnel a lot of public monies into the pockets of those who came up with the idea, did the design work and promotion, etc. The project might have failed but the money flowed.

The second failed project for that same property was Munisport, and I was one of those who made some money taking lots of pix on the ground and from a helicopter of the property over a several year span. The only real need to keep the project going for several years was to get federal, state, and local tax dollars flowing into a few rich guys' pockets.

Now the land has the North Miami campus of Florida International University, a state park and mangrove preserve, and a few acres of new condo buildings. That's a lot better than wall to wall solid condos like some people planned when Interama bit the dust.

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