Friday, July 31, 2009

Me Tarzan!

When I was a kid I used to love watching the Saturday morning TV shows. They were still all B&W of course, but a few hours worth of cartoons and hokey adventure shows were a lot more exciting than listening to them on the radio as we'd done in the past. One of my favorite shows, as well as favorite comic book, was "Tarzan, King Of The Jungle". What a loin cloth wearing white guy ,armed with only a big knife, was doing living in the heart of the African jungle was never really explained, but we didn't care. His adventures were too exciting! There was also a love interest of sorts, Jane, but they never did anything like kiss because for ten year old boys that held no interest. Mostly Tarzan rescued her from the lions and such.

This patch of woods was about a mile south of our house, a bit of widerness never cleared for a trailer park or scuzzy little motel. Just lots of trees and vines where a K-Mart now sits.

I have no idea why Stephanie and I decided to take some pictures there, or why I took my shirt off to swing from vines. Her idea? Maybe. My hair had no grey hairs then and I still have all of it. The mustach has come and gone over the years, as have a series of beards. The most recent demise of the facial hair was a few months ago. My friend Janis is profoundly deaf and reads lips. She can read them best when she can see them.

As for the rest of me, I still weigh the same and have the same build, although the muscles in my arms might not be as clearly defined, but then at 66 years of age I do a lot less swinging on vines through the jungle than I did at 24. Stephanie shot five frames with the Minolta Autocord after I'd climbed up the vine hand over hand about ten feet before she thought that she'd "captured the moment". I know that I sure couldn't repeat that performance today!

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Note: Photographs and Text are COPYRIGHT

The material in this blog is copyright under the laws of the United States and international treaty. Use of anything appearing here, for whatever reason, must be done only with the written permission and consent of the copyright owner, and must be be accompanied by a credit line that includes the copyright information.

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More Pix Of Me By Stephanie Brundage

Click on the pix to make them bigger.

Back in the sixties there still used to be a bunch of run down motels, "tourist courts" they called back them, along Biscayne Boulevard (U.S. Route 1), as well as trailer parks dating back to the days when house trailers were small enough, and automobiles powerful enough, that you could actually both tow it cross country and live in it when you got where you were going. Little by little the trailer parks dissapeared and the motels got demolished to make way for office buildings.

You'd drive down the road and see signs advertizing the sale of everything in the apartments. I bought a wall unit air conditioner and a couple of TV sets for next to nothing. The trailer parks, sans trailers, were often still nicely landscaped with rows of stately royal palms. We used to like to go there to take pictures.

My wife Stephanie shot these pix of me with a Minolta Autocord. I had as much hair then as I have now but no dusting of grey. Those bell bottom jeans were light brown and the high side zip boots with squared off toes were the height of fashion. Yup, I actually drove around town in that brightly painted VW Microbus.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Legacy Of Nicotine ~ Smokin' Memories

I like to sit outside at Starbucks in the evening, enjoy a cup of coffee, smoke a few cigarettes, check out the chicks, and wish that I was thirty years younger. Lately I've been going through my files and posting pictures of girls who were in their teens and twenties when I photographed them, but that was thirty or forty years ago. My memories are often as hazy as that cloud of smoke, but it asmazes me what tiny little details can work their way up out of the murk, gradually over a week or two, when I decide on posting an old photograph.

This photo is one of my hold-the-camera-in-one-hand-and-shoot-myself shots with the 15mm ultra wide angle lens. I rarely crop, but here it seemed to emphasize the cloud of smoke better.

Yeah, Larry, my doc, is about the same age as I am, and we're always getting into it about my smoking and how it's bad for my heart, my lungs, my whatever, but he admits that yes, he's seen the research that nicotine increases cognitive abilities and delays the onset of Alzheimers, and that caffeine seems to enhance the effects. My last battery of scans and tests show clear lungs, clear arteries, everything works as designed, and I remind him that I'm the one with the flat tummy and full head of still mostly brown hair, not him. My mind still remembers all of those pretty young girls from the past and my eyes still enjoy looking at the ones here now. Drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes sure beats eating pills.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Party In Boston ~ Spring 1964

I have no recollection of who she was. I don't remember her name or exactly where the party was. A group of us were at somebody's apartment having a good time. College age people were still making do with bookcases made out of concrete blocks and bare lumber, and just about everybody had a footlocker being used for storage as well as serving double duty as a coffee table or an extra seat. Clothing, though, had yet to adopt the hippie look of studied slovenliness. Heels and a skirt or slacks and a sport jacket were still in fashion. Together with red lips and the pointy tip bra made famous by famous blonde movie star Marilyn Monroe this resulted in some very sexy looking broads. Believe it or not, this was not a posed picture, and I only exposed two frames of the two of them together. The shot of her playing guitar was also one of only two frames, and the other one was vertical.

For a camera I was using a Leica III-f with a 50mm f/1.8 Canon lens

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Monday, July 27, 2009

A Very Early Photo Of Elena Kaplan

It was maybe April 1971, still a few months shy of the "Due Date" and Elena was still in the oven. Stephanie has that glow about her that only pregnant women seem to exhibit. The abdominal bulge was Elena.

I was still driving my 1961 VW Microbus. Karl's garage down the street kept it running until I bought a brand new 1972 model a year or so later. We had a 12 foot boat at the time and I made a little platform on the roof-top carriers so I could stand up there for high angle shots at various concerts and events. Most of the time I just kept the boat there. The van had no AC and the shade kept it a lot cooler inside.

The North Miami door decals were the same ones used on all of the city vehicles. It was the city's idea to give them to me. It made it easier to get into otherwise restricted areas when I was shooting stuff for the city. After a couple of years some uppity county cop decided that only official city vehicles, those with a yellow license tag saying "CITY", could have decals like that. By then everybody around knew my van and my boat anyway. I could still drive and park where I wanted.

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Anti-War Protest, Miami Beach In 1969

The war in Vietnam wasn't exactly popular. It was extremely unpopular with the age group that was being drafted and sent to Vietnam. By 1969 it was all too obvious that the French had abandoned the effort to keep in control of their former colony for good reason. It was an unwinnable war. It was bankrupting France. Enter the Americans!

I guess we needed the practice. We needed to learn how to waste billions of dollars, tens of thousands of young men, how to lose a war. It would get us prepared for Kuwait and make the current situations in Iraq and Afganistan look more normal. People took to the streets and demonstrated against the war. Others moved to Canada. A few went to jail.

At some point the powers that be recognized the hard facts. We negotiated a barely face saving partitioning of Vietnam into Ours and Theirs, declared a truce of sorts, and for the most part withdrew. The protestors had won.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009


The back of the contact sheet has "Rachel Veronda" scribbled on it along with "April 1969". I remember that she loved rings, one for every finger and spares for a change in looks. Shooting these pictures was her idea. I don't remember why she decided on some not very revealing nudes but it looks like I was using up a few frames on two rolls of half shot film. I don't shoot many nudes but I was happy with these.

I do remember propping up a large white reflector panel, about four by six feet, to bounce some of that window light back onto the shadow side of her. This was the pose we both preferred forty years ago, and I still like it best. We soon lost touch with one another, another mysterious woman out of the past.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Elena Kaplan, Dieting At Seven Months?

She was big for a girl baby at birth, weighing in 7 pounds 6 ounces, but it appeared like it was all head. She had a big head and was skinny as a rail. She's still skinny as a rail and has a fairly large head. Actually, she and I both have big heads and we're both skinny, and we're similar in other ways as well.

Stephanie, her mom, used to like to take this little table out in the yard for a "picnic" and Elena loved it. She liked to look around, see the squirrels and watch the birds, but in truth she'd rather suck on her pacifier than actually eat real food. Why waste time eating when there are so many other things to see and do?

I shot this in November, 1971 with a Pentacon-Six and an 80mm f/2.8 Biometer lens.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Football At The Park ~ Nov. 1971

I shot this with my brand new Pentacon-Six but I don't remember if I was just looking for something to shoot with the new camera, or was shooting it for the North Dade Journal, or for the North Miami Parks and Recreation Department. So much of the scenery has changed over nearly four decades that I'm not even sure if this was shot at Cagni Park or Pepper Park. What I do know is that both photos were on the same 12 exosure roll of film. No machine gunning a few hundred frames with a digital back then. You had to know WHEN to push the damned button!

And those energetic young guys playing a pick-up game of football would all be in their fifties today, grey and balding, perhaps sporting a pot belly, maybe taking their grandchildren to the park. Life goes on!

Like a lot of these older pictures the scans were directly off the contact sheets.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Camera District, Bromfield St., Boston, 1964

Zeff was on the second floor of what was still Boston's "camera district". It was the "camera district" back in the 1930's when my dad lived in Boston. Zeff didn't need a ground floor location because it was a pro supply place, catering mostly to the portrait and wedding studios. You could buy frames and wedding albums, and they'd get the albums gold stamped with the bride and groom's names because the guy who did it was on the second floor right across the street.

It was a place where you could get replacement dark slides for your sheet film holders. They even knew where to send the holders to get the felt light traps renewed, or put new hinge tape on the flaps.

Ektacolor film was new at the time but they carried lots of B&W film and papers and chemicals by Ansco, DuPont, Agfa, Gavaert, Luminos, and of course Kodak. Sheet film was stocked up to 8X10 but a few customers had 8X20 and 12X20 "banquet cameras". Only one emulsion for them was in stock. I got my supplies at cost and got some great deals from the other dealers on the street. The repair guy across the street flash synched some old shutters for me at next to nothing.

Then Murray came up with this bright idea of switching health insurance companies. I wasn't on the plan because frankly for what they were paying me I couldn't afford it. The snag they had was that in order to set up "a group" they needed one more person, me. It would save them all a bundle compared to individual coverage. I ran the figures (never hire a bright stock boy!) and concluded that if they all got together and paid my premiums for me they'd all still be money ahead. So would I...LOL They didn't go for it.

I started asking around and within a week I had a new job in a photo lab, and it was $20 more a week. A decent amount back in 1964! Twenty bucks would buy a 500 sheet box of 8X10 Luminos paper or a 100 roll bulk pack of 120 Gevapan, and in either case you still had enough change for lunch and a pack or two of Camels.

That's Leo with his ever present pipe, and the two girls in the office, I can't remember their names. I guess it was Leo's brother-in-law, Murray, that co-owned Zeff with him. There was another guy, fiftyish, who was a salesman also. I was the stock boy, delivery boy, that sort of thing.

I shot the pix with my just purchased Minolta Autocord.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Feeding The Pigeons In Boston Commons ~ 1964

It was a chilly November afternoon, and as I was walking across the Boston Commons I spotted this woman feeding the pigeons. She was breaking up some bread, scattering it on the ground, and hundreds and hundreds of pigeons had gathered for the feast! I'd only shot three frames when she was out of bread and walked off. This was the best of the three.

I was using a Minolta Autocord, which took 12 exposures on a roll of 120 film. I'd been wanting one for a long time and just recently purchased this one second hand at a good price. I got a lot of good pictures with that camera. I recently got another one. I hope that the magic returns.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Helen ~ First Roll In The Minolta Autocord, Ever!

The three story tenement house at 3 Willis Terrace behind the Roxbury court house was cheap. Paul Band and I moved there in the summer of '64, splitting the $40 a month rent for the two bedroom ground floot apartment. Gas and electric extra, "heat" was from a kerosene "stove" in the living room, and about nobody we knew had a phone. Or a car for that matter! Public transportation was plentiful and reliable and we were but a block away from Roxbury Station, a covergance of bus routes, trolly cars, and the subway system. Fifteen or twenty cents would take you anyplace in the metropolitan area. I also I had a little Honda motorcycle.

Inexpensive perhaps, but any way you cut it it was two grades below what we'd refer to as "moderate income housing" these days. It was a slum!

The apartment was on the first floor too. Moving in that seemed a godsend, not having to schlep stuff up stairs. As winter set in we discovered the downside. Heat rises. When you live above a heated apartment some of that heat warms your place. When you're directly over an unheated basement it gets cold!

There was a dysfunctional couple upstairs with a husband who couldn't hold a job. They had a bright and pretty daughter, Helen, who was a high school senior. I wanted to marry her, mostly to avoid the draft, but Helen didn't want to get tied down at 18. A few months later I married Stephanie and we moved to New Bedford. I have no idea what happened to Helen after that.

This was the very first roll of film I shot with the Minolta Autocord. I'd bought it second hand for a bit under $40. Out of nostalgia mostly I recently got another one and started using it. Helen, where are YOU these days?

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

You Have To Go To Germany To Smoke Miami Style?

I've never been able to find Miami Style cigarette tobacco in Miami but for several years you could buy it in Germany and probably elsewhere in Europe. I've been rolling my own for decades now, going back to when fifteen cents would buy a pouch of Bugler.

Claudia and I have been divorced now for more years than we were married but when she goes back to Germany to visit her folks her dad always gives her a few pouches of tobacco for me, and there are always a few tucked in the box she gets for Christmas. Fritz, her dad, is the one who first discovered Miami Style and he started smoking it and thought that I might enjoy it also. A year or three ago Claudia couldn't find any when she went to visit her parents and the Christmas boxes started to contain a couple of pouches of other brands of tobacco. Fritz quit smoking and I'm back to Bugler, but thanks to Mukul Dube, a photographer in India, I've also discovered bidis. Maybe I should send some to Fritz.

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

This Bud's On Me ~ What "Miami Style" Used To Mean

It was surreal, really. I'd been invited to a birthday party at a nearby coffee house, the kind with live folk music, but the place kind of stretches the definition of "coffee house" to encompass a wide selection of imported beers and wines. The "birthday girl" was a local folk singer, perhaps too young to remember Bob Dylan in his prime, but not exactly a spring chicken either.

The place was crowded beyond belief. Since you can't smoke inside anyplace these days there were plenty of people outside satiating their nicotine requirements. Business people, doctors, lawyers, essentialy an educated and upscale crowd. Suddenly the guy I was chatting with said "You smoke, don't you, Al?" I held up my bidi. "No no! that's not what I mean!" as he pulled a little pipe and a bud out of a zip-lock that he'd had in his pocket.

Here we were, a bunch of rapidly greying and balding middle age and older guys, pillars of the community, passing around the pipe, toking away! Law abiding, too! We were doing it outside, right? Right across the street from the police station. I hadn't smoked in years and rapidly got really ripped. My benefactor gave me a bud "for later". He was really proud of his son and the great weed the kid was growing in his hydroponic garden. I think he said it was in Oregon. Gotta be proud of your kids! It was indeed some good shit!

When I got home I scanned the bud. The next couple of nights I had a great time incinerating the evidence.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

One Of My Favorite Images

I have a beautiful 11X14 print of this image framed and hanging on the wall but my scanner is too small. This is another one of those horrid old contact sheets that I used for the scan. The partial white circle on the upper left is where I'd punched a hole for the three ring binder where I used to keep them.

At the time we were living in a third floor apartment in New Bedford, Mass. I was playing around with using a pin hole aperture in front of the lens on my Minolta Autocord. I arrasnged several items on the kitchen table in front of the window. The sea gull is one of a pair of book ends. The other had a broken wing and eventually this one broke also. The ashtray was made by my father during one of his arty phases. I put the Minolta Autocord on a tripod, stuck the pin hole between the lens and a light yellow filter. I made several exposures, ranging from about one to perhaps five minute long. This particular one has a ghost cigarette. I'd forgotten that the cigarette was burning in the ashtray as part of the composition and picked it up for a toke about halfway through the exposure. I liked this shot best.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Bidis Arrived

First off I'm pleased to note that this blog has 7 regular followers who took the trouble to register. Thanks, folks.

This morning I got my parcel from Dehli, India. 500 bidis, those strange not-quite-cigarettes, not-quite-tiny cigars that are hand rolled in India. If you buy them in the U.S. they're a bit cheaper than cigarettes and come in boxes of 20. In India they're just bundled and wrapped in these pretty paper wrappers, no boxes, and extremely inexpensive. If you don't keep puffing they go out and you have to re-light them. Not only are they dirt cheap but I smoke half as many! Thanks Mukul. The photo shows the wrapper which is a bit torn because they seem to glue them together around the bunches of bidis.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Monkey With His Girlfriend in 1965

Some of you remember when I started using my childhood toy monkey as a character on the blog, how he flew out to the San Francisco suburbs and stayed with Todd Frederick for a few weeks, and how he picked up this sexy young female toy monkey named Monkette and brought her back to Miami. Monkette of course got involved with local politics and worked her butt of on Mayor Kevin Burns' re-election campaign two years ago.

Meanwhile Monkey begged off, citing age and infirmity. He's been helping me go through these old contact sheets. I know! I know! This contact sheet is way to flat and light, and Monkey thinks we should dig out the negative and start over. Monkette's eyes widened whe she saw first the image! "You've been sleeping with TEDDY BEARS!" she screamed. "Tell me all about it and it better be good! Pervert!"

"Well, Al was living in Boston back in 1964, and him and me was sharing a pad on Willis Terrace right behind the Roxbury court house. Al's room mate Paul Band was out of town but this chick comes aknockin' on the door. She was lookin' for Paul and she'd hitched up from the University of Michigan with one of her girl friends. She needed a place to stay."

Monkette was getting more agitated by the minute! "And just where does the damned teddy bear fit into all this?" she demanded. "Well, she and Al hit it off and pretty soon they were living together, planning on marrying, and when she moved in so did her Teddy Bear! It wasn't like I'd been looking for a cute teddy bear".

I guess Monkette finally realized that this all took place over forty years ago. The teddy bear was no threat at all.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Joe Hilton from Music Makers, July 1967

This really isn't a "photo" of the Minolta Autocord. I put it on the glass of my scanner. It's a scan of the Autocord.

I shot this with that old Minolta Autocord that I'd picked up second hand for $39.95 back in about 1964. The list price new was $99.95 back then.

Joe worked at a record shop at Northside Shopping Center at the corner of N.W. 79th Street and 27th Avenue. I guess that he was hired on as a "porter", a stock clerk essentialy, because that's what colored boys did back then, but he knew his music and was soon the most valuable sales person in the shop.

He's the one that first got me to listen to Jimi Hendrix, convincing me that Hendrix played rock, not "black" music. Once I judged Hendrix by his sound rather than the photo on the album cover I was sold!

A well known big name photographer of the day was Philipe Halsman who shot a photo of Marilyn Monroe jumping. It appeared on the cover of Life Magazine. I started getting requests from people to photograph them mid jump. It was easiest to do this in the studio with electronic flash. Getting a high enough shutter speed to stop the action outdoors wasn't always possible unless it was a bright sunny day. Most of my jump photos were shot with my Minolta Autocord. A twelve exposure roll of 120 film was more than enough. Very few people had the energy to even make six decent jumps before taking a break. Joe had the energy! He gave me the highest jumps and the best facial expressions. The last time I saw him was maybe 1970. I started buying my records at Discount Records across 15th Avenue from the 163rd St. Shopping Center.

For several years that Autocord shot a wedding about every weekend, sometimes two! Then I got a Hasselblad and the Autocord sat on a shelf. I finally sold it. A few years ago I got another one with a bunch of old photo stuff, and then that one sat on a shelf unused.

I dusted it off. The lens is clean and the shutter speeds sound right. I just got back from Wide World Photo, four rolls of Ilford FP4 film in hand. Life is good!

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Cindy & Sandy Acker ~ May 1971

Well, first off, this is The Price of Silver post number 1,200. If you're new here and want to read the whole blog start to last completed, and look at all the photographs, give yourself a week or two.

I had the names of these twins written on the back of the contact sheet. I can't say for sure, but I think that I took these photos for an acting composite for the girls. It looks like I shot the photos over by Arch Creek, a few blocks east of here. It's now a public park but back then it was privately owned. People used to go down by the creek to feed the ducks. I used to go over there to photograph people. On rare occasions you'd see somebody over there trying to catch a duck, probably for dinner. I haven't seen that happen in years.

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Why The Hell Did I Ever Sell It?

Here are a couple of shots that I made with the 4X5 view camera back in 1973 at the height of my love-to-tinker phase in life. The camera is a "Baby" Speed Graphic wich has afocal plane shutter so you can use lenses that don't have a built in shutter. I'd tinkered with the spring mounted ground glass back so it could easily be replaced with a 120 roll film holder. The coupled rangefinder was a German Hugo Meyer which was easily (HA!) adjusted to work with various lenses. At least it was easier than a Kalart rangefinder. Ivan Gambrel used to find these oddball lenses, and he gave me this 100mm f/2 Angenieux without any focusing mount. The side grip was something I'd carved myself.

The lens really didn't cover the full 2.25x3.25 inch film sharply. It did give a beautiful dreamy look though. Plus I was still at that age where I could still appreciate the fact that the rig itself looked kind of cool.

One day I was poking through a "junk box" at Brownes Camera and found a focussing mount off of an ancient Leitz enlarger. I had a Pentacon-Six camera and a set of extension tubes for it that I never used, and probably never would. The Angenieux lens got "mounted" in the Leitz focussing mount. In turn that was attached to the male bayonet end of a cut in half extension tube. Three cheers for epoxy!

I think I sold all my Pentacon-Six stuff a year or two later (they weren't very reliable cameras) but kept the lens. Eventually somebody offered me way too much money for the lens. I couldn't turn it down. I think that the Speed Graphic is still kicking around here someplace, waiting to be equipped with a Pentax full frame fish-eye lens, which will give a full circular image on the 120 film. I think my tinkering days have passed though.

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August 1973 ~ The "New" 4X5 View Camera

I never really thought of myself as a large format photographer but I ran into a great deal on a Graphic View II with a 203mm f/7.7 Ektar and a 100mm Wide Field Ektar. I bought it. Al Olme was using my darkroom and his 4X5 Omega D-2V enlarger was in it. I was sure that I could use the camera on enough jobs to justify the investment, and I did.

First I had to get up to speed on using the thing, though. Browne's Photo was stocking some off brand 4X5 film at a very reasonable price. I bought a 100 sheet box.

Elena had just turned two, the woman on the lower right was my wife Stephanie. The other woman was Carlene Wagner. I'd met her through Jane Ross and Shirley Rigby. The three of them were copy editors at the Miami News, close friends, and lived near one another in Coconut Grove. When the Miami News folded Shirley got a job with Time Magazine in New York. I met up with Shirley a few times when I was in New York, but within a couple of years I'd lost touch with the three of them. I heard that Shirley had moved back to England where she was from.

About a year later I concluded that I really wasn't a large format kind of photographer and sold the Graphic View camera outfit at a modest profit.

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

You Damned Well Better Vote For Our Candidate! (or we'll beat the CRAP out of you, Whitey!)

If you go to North Miami's website you'll get to read this:

"A Friendly & Diverse Community, A Bright Future...
North Miami is a multi-ethnic community. It shares South Florida's joy and excitement, and exemplifies the vibrant diversity upon which the region thrives. In that sense, North Miami is unique -- a micro-cosmos of a complex and rich palate of languages, cultures, ages, and races.

"North-Miamians are friendly, respectful, and appreciative towards each other and to visitors. Deeply immersed in their day-to-day city life, they are open-minded, cultivate a deep sense of awareness, and share a bright vision of the future."
...but that's turned into bullshit beacause we have a few crazed power hungry Haitian immigrants who claim that this is a Haitian city and they want to run it just for themselves. They want to run it their way.

I've been attending numerous community meetings lately and I've concluded that they don't represent our Haitian friends and neighbors in any way at all. When the first wave of Haitians settled here in the early 1980's we all went next door and introduced ourselves. We have Haitians that were elected to the city council with the votes of a wide range of ethnic groups. They serve on city advisory boards. They constitute a significant percentage of the staff at City Hall. Our current mayor, Andre Pierre, has served as president of The Greater North Miami Chamber of Commerce.

So just what is it that these renegades want? The recent May election is the first one in my memory to result in an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement about voter intimidation. These folks need to learn that we have certain rights guaranteed by our constitution. You just can't go around beating the shit out of anybody that doesn't agree with you or who might want to photograph what's going on at the polls.

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Friday, July 10, 2009

The North Dade Journal in 1971

I was shooting part time for the neighborhood weekly paper, the North Dade Journal. It was owned by Knight Ridder, parent corporation of the Miami Herald. It still exists after a fashion as an insert section called Neighbors.

It was a time when the schools were being integrated, kids even being bussed one school to another to compensate for segregated housing patterns. Our paper's coverage area included a section of North Miami Beach known as Washington Park with small lots, small houses, and nothing but "colored" people. Cities used to be planned that way. That way the maids and gardeners could live close to where they worked.

Their kids though were starting to go on to what was then Dade County Junior College and then finish there degree at Florida International University, or get a scholarship to another school. A lot of them did just that. I don't remember her name but this young black woman was working as a summer intern. I think the white reporter was named Marilyn.

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Year Of The Afros ~ 1971 (and we all got along)

Black Power! Black Pride! Stop trying to look like white folks! Show off that kinky hair instead of "getting a relaxer" and straightening your hair with grease and hot combs. The new styles were mostly embraced by the younger set. After all, it probably took longer to tease out that 'fro every morning than to put your hair in rollers every night.The hairdressers hated Afros! There's more money to be made in perms and relaxers.

I think I shot these pix for an acting composite. She had the biggest Afro I ever saw. No doubt about that!

But what goes around comes around. Today she'd be in her late fifties, most likely getting a monthly touch-up on her grey roots, a relaxer, and wearing her hair in a perm. Hairdressers love that!

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Thursday, July 09, 2009

Councilman Marcellus' Goons At The Polls, 2009

City Council candidate Marcellus did more to destroy the multicultural feel of North Miami than the KKK could have ever done. He had his thugs out by the polls intimidating whomever looked like they weren't going to vote for him. I'm sure that a lot of white people didn't walk the gauntlet and go into the polls at all.

Myself, I don't like being told that I don't like black people or that I hate Haitians, but Marcellus had these people whipped into a frenzy. I didn't appreciate being punched and pummeled and then paying to get checked out by my doctor and dentist, going to the dental lab to get my upper plate repaired...all in all several hundred dollars out of my pocket, a lot of pain and discomfort, and six weeks later I'm still in a bit of pain. Thanks a lot Marcellus! Might not an apology be in order?

If you and your thugs had checked out my racist history you would have discovered that I worked for a black newspaper for several years back in the early seventies. You would have discovered that I'd done a lot of work for the Jamaican Tourist Development Board. Maybe even that I'd shot a few hundred black weddings for some large wedding studios back when there were few black photographers and even fewer white photographers who'd venture into a black neighborhod at night.

You might have found out that I still get my hair cut by the same black Jamaican woman that I fell in love with and spent a dozen years of my life helping to raise her two sons. Maybe learn that her younger son went fishing with me and a professional fishing guide, Capt. Dave Kostyo on his boat Knot Nancy, two nights a week for months, and he won several trophies in the Metropolitan South Florida Fishing Tournament and had his name in the Miami Herald week after week. How photos of him fighting tarpon bigger than he was appeared in several fishing tackle manufacturing company's catalogs. How he was probably the first black fisherman to go to the Miami Beach Rod And Reel Club to attend their annual banquet and be awarded his trophies.

Marcellus, you racist pig, do your damned homework. As the lady who still cuts my hair used to say to her boys "Stop acting like a damned nigger!" Now I'm saying it to you. If you don't want me saying it then apologise for your campaign workers who acted niggrish (a Jamaican expression) and slugged me. Offer to reimburse me for my dental and medical expenses. Be a man!

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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Great Divide / Welcoming Faces

I'm getting a fair amount of emails about these shots. A lot of people seem to like the slightly blurred look. Hell, I was using a fairly slow shutter speed because of the low light, walking backwards, and in fear for my life. These racist f~ckers thought it was cool to beat up on a senior citizen just because he's white. Hey guys, I'd been under the impression that you guys came here, LEFT your beloved HAITI, just so you could enjoy freedom and democracy.

Sorry, I guess I was wrong. You left Haiti to come here and make North Miami over, make it into a black run dictatorship where the lucky few control everything and get to beat the crap out of everybody who disagrees with them? If you were unfortunate enough to not be one of the lucky few in Haiti you're trying to make damned sure that you'll be one here, no matter whose toes you step on (or face you smash?).

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

It's Just Sort Of A Strange Looking Photograph

They were tabulating the votes in the city council chambers, the place was overflowing, standing room only. Out here in the lobby there are two big TV monitors. Since they can zoom the cameras in for nice tight shots of the goings on you actually get a better look-see than you would in the council chambers.

Years ago there were ashtrays on the backs of the chairs inside and most of the city officials smoked too. At some point they restricted audience smoking to just the rear of the room. A few years later smoking indoors was banned completely. Now if you smoke you can go through a door in the back of the room to a rooftop patio, complete with a picnic table, some chairs, and the ashtrays! If it's raining tough shit. Smokers don't count. If we did they'd figure out a way to put a TV monitor, or at least a speaker, out there.

Anyway, a few of us were sitting in the lobby keeping tabs on the vote count. One council candidate lost by only fourteen votes so there was a recount for that seat. As I looked up at the monitor the photo of me on my shirt stared straight into the lens. I thought the shot looked kind of cool. I might have looked happier if one of Wannabee Councilman Marcellus's goons hadn't beat the shit out of me at the polls a few hours earlier.

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Monday, July 06, 2009

And I Still Can't Gain Weight

When I was a kid I loved a candy bar called Forever Yours, then suddenly Mars stopped making them. Oh well, bad for my teeth anyway, right? Then one day I noticed Milky Way Dark. I like dark chocolate. I bought a bar. It was great! Several years later I read someplace that they'd re-introduced Forever Yours under the new name of Milky Way Dark. No wonder I loved the taste!

Lately I noticed that the name is now Milky Way Midnight Dark but it tastes the same. All I miss now is the five cent price. The most recent price jump was from 3/$1.00 to 49 cents each, a far cry from the nickle when I was a boy.

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Sunday, July 05, 2009

Film For Bidis? ~ International Trade And Free Dress Shirts

Saturday, July 04, 2009

HAIR For The Fourth Of July 1971

Yup, that was me back in 1971. My daughter Elena was a newborn and I was the proud owner of a Pentacon-Six, a single lens reflex camera from East Germany that used 120 roll film and made BIG negatives. They went through a series of importers in a few years time, each in turn dumping their unsold inventory for cheap. You could by one for about 20% of the price of a Hasselblad, and the Carl Zeiss Jena lenses, also from East Germany, were a bargain to boot.

I don't remember which restaurant I was in, or who I was with, but they wanted to try the camera and I was a convenient subject. I probably only had my hair that long for a year at most. The girls loved it, but were very, very jealous that I didn't have to set it or anything. I'd just come out of the shower, lightly pat it dry with a towel, and give my head a good shake! Half an hour later it was dry and looked like this. No muss, no fuss, no bother!

Perhaps a year later my client list had shifted from rock groups and festivals to more civilized endeavors like a computer company, a couple of land developers, and so on. Time to trade jeans and sandals for suits and ties, and kiss the hair goodbye. I miss it.

On the other hand I could then afford to buy a Hasselblad and a set of West German Carl Zeiss lenses. In a few more years I even had myself a West German wife, Claudia. We're now long divorced but still good friends. She's always telling me to get a haircut! Had I done that back in the early seventies my life would have traveled a far different path. I never would have met her. Long hair does have its effects.

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Friday, July 03, 2009

Browne's Photo Center ~ The Used Case And Junk Drawer

This was taken when the store was still located on the corner of N.W. 79th St. and 22nd Ave. before Browne relocated "up town" to Biscayne Blvd. and 82nd St. He stocked a great selection of films, papers, and chemicals, but before the move the place was noted for the selection of used stuff because Brownie was just getting in to carrying new Mamiyaflex and Graflex. The Rollieflex, Hasselblad, Nikon and Leica franchises came a bit later. Norman Frank (pictured) knew the merchandise and could tell you what you'd need for some special job. There was always a selection of used enlargers on hand, big 4x5 Omega D-2's and Beselers, small Dursts, the occasional Leitz Focomat, and that's where I came by my Kodak Precision as well as most of my collection of timers, tanks and reels, baseboard easels, all that stuff, and cheap too!

Those drawers behind Norman, and the boxes on the bottom shelf in the showcase, were filled with "junk" that Brownie bought when he "bought everything" from some retiring photographer or perhaps his widow. You could paw through them and hopefully find that oddball filter, adapter ring, or synch cord you were looking for, or perhaps find somethig you really had no use for, but what the hell, the price was right. Someday you'd be kicking yourself if you had let it slip by.

This photo was shot with a Pentacon-Six using the 50mm f/4 Flektagon (I think).

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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Bidis End On


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

BIDIS ~ India's Answer To The High Cost Of Lung Cancer

My photographer friend in Dehli, India, Mukul Dube, is the one who turned me on to bidis. I'd mentioned the soaring cost of cigarettes in the U.S. as both the states and the feds are trying to balance their budgets on the backs of good law abiding patriotic smokers. Mukul told me about these low cost cigarettes in India, so low in cost that it's just the low class poor that smoke the things at penneys a pack. I decided to look about and see if our local Indian population was being properly seviced by our local convenience marts.

The first two that I checked out said "no". I had high hopes for the third one though. It's located directly across the street from what had been an Indian restaurant until it was done in by the current economic situation. A good sign was that the guy at the counter looked Indian and had the proper accent but he seemed taken aback when I asked if he had any bidis. "You know, Indian cigarettes with the leaf wrapper and the silk thread" I added. He reached under the counter and handed me a pack of Sutra Full Flavor Bidis. I asked price and was told $3.00. I put $3.21 on the counter. He took the bills, pushing the change back to me while saying "no tax".

They have a sightly sweet taste and they did a good job of keeping my nicotine addiction in check. They go out almost before you finish taking a toke so they last a long time. I just counted what I have left. I still have ten of them! Not bad at all compared to American smokes. A day's smokes for a buck and a half! I smoke about thirty cigarettes on an average day, and at much higher prices. Thank you, Mukul. Pretty soon I can buy myself a new SUV with the savings!

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