Above: The wake of the alien ship. Hahahahaha. Ha. Joking, right? Right? Right?
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Above: Oh! Well! That was a, uh, surprise!
Above: In Thailand they say, "jebp" (pain)
Above: Was I ever that committed to my sport? I don't think so
Above: Surfin' da cheese grater
Above is a classic example of form over function. Re the photo immediately above, the dogs (biters, every one) were starting to rouse, and the man's wife was starting to yell at me for my rudeness, and I was blocking traffic, and I snapped what I could before the scene vanished. The two above that are just bad photography, but still kind of cool. Just about everything is wrong with the three shots above, technically, but the subjects (the forms) are just interesting enough to make them snapshots worth viewing occasionally. Form before function. Function if you can get it, always, but when you can't, then it comes down to form. The image immediately below is nothing but form -- no function at all! But I wouldn't delete it because it's whimsical and fun.
Above: A wonderful dream...
Above: I printed and made their signs in another lifetime in another Universe. I needed healing as much as anyone, but we couldn't find common philosophies
Above: These are fun to ride when it's breezy. If you're ten.
Above: A Buddhist monastery in northern Thailand (some call it Whoville, as do I). These structures are scattered throughout the jungle as resting places for prominent monks. They (the bodies) are sometimes encased in glass, or sometimes left to the elements. You can go sit and talk with them if you wish. I did. Most are long passed stinking. Just to the right of the structure is a big tree, and partially hidden behind that street is what appears to be a walking human form. I notice this only at this moment of posting this image, even though it was taken many years ago. The walking figure is curious because I was quite alone. I have less than no clue who that could possibly be. I saw no one for hours as I hiked and visited many of these places, dodging the Cobras. There was only one way in to this site. The person does not appear to be dressed in monk's garb, and there was absolutely no one within miles who was not -- except me. I knew most every monk there and I certainly knew every student. I am at a complete and total loss. One would surmise that this figure would have emerged from behind that tree within a second of me taking this shot -- yet I saw absolutely no one. Buddhist ghost? I don't really believe in ghosts, but the Thais sure do, and when I show this image around there will be quite the buzz. Can anyone speculate, male or female? Certainly looks young. I had been at that precise spot, kneeling down, for a moment or so and did not see this form go behind the tree from the left side of the tree. I was at this location (within four meters) for maybe 20 minutes before this shot, and for maybe 20 minutes after it. I reiterate: I saw NO ONE, nor did I hear anything. I remember that certain leaves on the ground had dried and were crackly under my own feet. I heard no crackles. Aren't ghostly specters supposed to be whitish, or darkish, or at lease wispy and diffused? I have a number of other shots of other structures like this in that same area. Now I must go through them all! I swear on a stack of, well, whatever, that this image is untouched except for color enhancements. Oh I can't wait to go scare some Thais!
ABOVE: Incidentally, regarding the red mark on the person's face, it is NOT part of any watermark -- there is no red in my watermark. It appears to be an artifact resulting from pushing certain colors too far, and nothing else. It appears on the right foot as well, and the right arm. The red slash under the right elbow? I don't believe that's a color artifact. It rather looks like a suspender. Someone has already argued that the forground and background around the person are fairly well in focus, yet the person is not. That makes it a ghost, they claim. But that is explained by the 60th of a second shutter speed in low light, and the subject was moving.
Immediately above is a crop from the original before anything was retouched. No color tweaking, nothing, not even horizon alignment. We must conclude that there was just some kid running around out there in the jungle (possible), who was wearing non-monk's clothing (possible) and who went completely unseen and unheard by me in any context whatsoever for as much as forty minutes. Possible but highly unlikely. The place was silent. You could hear a bug pass gas. It was so silent I swear I could hear the monk answer me from the very great beyond. Oh well -- the fun and adventure of photography!
ABOVE: And since we're on a weird roll here, of weird photos, let's consider this one. This was taken around 2019 or 2020 (it doesn't matter), indoors, with strobe, with a Canon DSLR. It's one of a series of perhaps 200 indoor shots showing people at a musical gathering. This image is untouched in any way except to have been cropped specifically for this display. It looks like nothing more than a classic double exposure, right? That was our initial thought. A double exposure is when the shutter clicks twice, without advancing the film. Film? There is no film here -- it's a digital exposure written to an SD card (actually to two cards and both images are identical). There is no way one image file can "partially" overwrite the same file. The image is either in one file, or in the other file. Two files can't mix, like a Dodge and a Chevy can't become one with each other to look like a Devy or a Chodge. But for one microsecond let's even say that the impossible has occurred and two digital files have merged together in some unholy union and produced this. How could it? The girl was there for an hour. In order to have a translucent image of the microphone BEHIND her head, she would have had to, what? Stand up and walk away for less than a couple of seconds, while the shutter captured what was behind her, and then it snaps her again after she came back and sat down, all in a split second remember -- and that second image captured her head, but not her solid head? And then mix those two files together in some bizarre and digitally corrupted way -- no, the file wouldn't even process after that. I have images from a second or two before this shot, and a second or two after this shot, as I panned around the room, trying to include as many faces as possible. There was no time for her to get up, leave, and come back and sit down again, in under four seconds, and it doesn't matter if she did -- two files can't merge. The only translucency occurs around her head and upper torso. So the ghostly question is, WHAT THE HECK IS THIS? The girl was real; she was really there. The microphone stand is BEHIND her as is the wall. The male to her left (your right) is completely there and solid, physically. This is the only shot I have with this girl in it. I've sent this to Canon and to every other outfit that "ought" to know, assuming it's knowable. I get only blank stares, like deer in headlights. No one has a clue. On that day there were maybe 200 images captured in that building using the same lighting and settings, and another 500 or so captured outside without any strobes. There isn't a single ghostly figure in any of them. Only this one. I am more than open to suggestions. They were singing Christian songs. Maybe God had a sense of humor that day. Interestingly, that camera is for sale as I type this -- it's being retired after serving faithfully and long; maybe I should keep it, like a magical camera from the Twilight Zone? Maybe if I sell it and ship it off to a European buyer, I'll find it on my front porch the following morning? Maybe I should be photographing things like roulette wheels and slot machines and ---
ABOVE: Hong Thong is a SE Asian whiskey.
Crewboat, construction workers being ferried to some remote tropical island, once deserted, but not anymore; once peaceful, but not anymore; once pristine, but not anymore; once the destination of my dreams, but not anymore
Another day, another goong. Or pla. Or ปู
I virtually never "name" my photographs. This was a man on the beach in SE Asia, near Cambodia (Kumboosha). His wife waited at a tiny BBQ she had set up, and there was a small cooler with ice and drinks. The beach was modestly populated; it was a warm day (what else) and kids were playing. The couple had sat together for hours, heads close, talking softly. I sat about 40 meters away in a chair, stealing art wherever I could see it. After some time, the man, who was rail thin and unsteady on his feet, painfully rose and waved off his wife who wanted to help him. He moved slowly and stiffly toward the water's edge and stood there wavering on his feet a long time, gazing out to sea. I studied him. I concluded cancer. Eventually, looking weaker, he decided to return to his wife's little beach camp and he shuffled slowly in that direction. But he encountered a low ledge in the sand, maybe four inches high. He needed only step up onto it in order to continue on toward his wife, but he couldn't manage that four inches. He tried and tried. I watched him through the telephoto. I tried to empathetically transmit some measure of strength to him, but after several minutes he realized that obstacle was too great to overcome. He turned and walked slowly a little ways up the beach, and then another way past his original point and down the beach, looking for a way around this barrier, but there was none. That four inch ledge extended for maybe hundreds of meters, parallel to the water's edge. I could see that he was becoming more and more frustrated. His wife was too far away for him to call for help, and she was busy preparing some food, her back turned to him. No one else noticed his plight. He returned to his original place and I thought I could see him kicking at the tiny ledge with bare toes, ever so feebly, trying to break it down into a kind of ramp that he could walk up. I could see he was getting weaker and weaker and I felt as though he was on the verge of panic. God forbid he should collapse there on the beach, in public, and require assistance from strangers. After perhaps 15 minutes I finally got up and slung the heavy camera over my shoulder and took three steps in his direction, intending to help him get back to safety and then quietly disappear before his wife even knew what happened. But just then she turned to see where he was, and this is what she saw. Instantly she understood and in a flash she was at his side, holding his arm, taking some of his weight, and he was able to make it up onto the firmer sand. After only a few moments they were back at their camp. She held him while he sobbed in her arms. I wanted to shed a few tears. But I don't cry. Except sometimes. I call this image, "Despair". Same man below. I doubt he had a week remaining in his life. Every photo has a story. Technically flawed photographs, completely unacceptable to any "stock agency"? You bet. I'm starting to regard that as a badge of honor.
Does the sea answer when you ask it your last few questions?
Above: Teak longboats are the cars of central Laos along the quiet Mekong. It was a peaceful and respectful life -- until they discovered that big engines go fast
ABOVE: The old palace of King Boun Oum, Pakse, Laos. I lived in a standalone apartment on the roof for awhile. Nice place -- except when drunken, obnoxious, belligerent, violent Thai men came over the border to visit and make life utterly impossible for the entire complex. Then it was Hell on earth. Let me repeat: It was Hell on earth for the duration of their stay. I have never experienced a more valueless, worthless group of miserable, confrontational assholes in my life.
Apples and oranges
Above: I used to make this in SE Asia for orphanages -- we call it "Candy Floss" here, not cotton candy. But the humidity will drive you to suicide
Above: A nice and quiet girl, eminently polite and respectful, who struggles with.....something.....and I never knew what. Every instant of life and existence is a work of art. I steal them as best I can and bend them to my fantasies. Should even the lowliest faded poloroid be sold willy-nilly at auction to the highest bidder, most likely some ham-fisted, unthinking oaf or oafette who would as soon buy a human life for their pleasure or profit, or use life's art as a tissue?
Above: A technically hideous image, but the content (form) is still fun.
Above: Don't be afraid to let photos be fun. Play as much as you want. That's half the magic of being an art thief -- you can bend it to your whims.
Above: I imagine his heart was beating. Is yours?
Above: Rocket Man Extraordinare or....Wiley E. Coyote?
Am I alive? Dare I look?
Above: This sea is meant for this, and many other things
If God had wanted us to fly, he'd have given us a brain with which to figure out how
in Jomtien, Chonburi, Thailand!