Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Friday, September 9, 2011
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Friday, August 26, 2011
Thursday, August 25, 2011
All you need to do is follow Fraction on Twitter.
On Thursday September 15, ONE winner will be randomly selected to win a Think Tank Photo Speed Racer v2 camera bag.
The retail price is $179.75
Read the specs here.
So, go on over to twitter and follow Fraction.
Friday, August 19, 2011
Photographs by Richard Benson and Edward Ranney
An exhibition and limited edition book
Address: 307 Camino Alire, Santa Fe, NM, 87501
When: Opening reception Friday, August 26th from 5 to 8pm
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
You can't be taking pictures on the property.
Are you working security for the mall?
I'm chief of security.
Well, then I'm gone.
Thus went my recent conversation with a suburban police officer at a local mall.
I had been driving the access road that rings an upscale outdoor mall, camera on the passenger seat and left elbow (aka camera sandbag) on my windowsill. The mall buildings sit at the property’s periphery and face toward its center, so my vista was loading docks and steel entry doors. The photographic pickings were slim even for someone like myself, strangely obsessed with banal suburbia. At this tony mall, even the dumpster areas are tidily free of consumerism’s interesting detritus.
The trim, immaculately-uniformed and -mustachioed officer walked briskly around the rear of the car towards my opened window, and we had our polite exchange of words. Given that he was armed, and I was technically trespassing on private property, I had no standing on which to refuse cooperation. I have no doubt that, had I chosen to be obstreperous, he would have arrested me on the spot. And there were no witnesses in sight to back me, had he also chosen to embellish the story to my disadvantage en route to jail.
Only as I drove away replaying the encounter did the oddness of several things strike me. This was the first time I’ve been accosted by a uniformed police officer while photographing on public-space private property. One wonders, is it the policy of his department to allow its officers to wear their uniforms and sidearms, and drive taxpayer-provided patrol cars, on moonlighting jobs? And was he actually off-duty from his day job? Yeah, I'm cynical.
But most strange was his question. Who are you taking pictures for? Not the usual question, what are you taking pictures of? or, why are you taking pictures? His working assumption seemed to be that I was photographing at someone else's behest, for nefarious purposes.
I freely admit that photographing mall loading docks from a car window must seem pretty odd to the average non-photographer. Why would anyone do this for amusement or other innocent reason? Terrorist plotting mayhem? Maybe, but Google Earth and the mall website have better information for terrorist-planning purposes than I could gather with my camera. Thief plotting a burglary? The cop surely knows that the vast majority of business theft is perpetrated by employees, and shoplifting is relatively risk-free. Business owners mostly fear embarrassment and litigation, so I suspect that was his main concern.
Anyone who photographs publicly has similar stories of the suspicion or even hostility our innocent, perfectly-legal activity sometimes arouses. Child-kidnapping mass hysteria is impervious to comprehension of its actual minute rarity; but stoking this fear sure fills airtime. And people out in public increasingly believe they're entitled to some zone of privacy that the law doesn't grant them --- often the same people whose kids run wild in complete disregard of the space of others.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Sunday, July 31, 2011
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Friday, July 15, 2011
As you flit like a dragonfly from post to hyperlink to feed to page to stream to group, looking for the next particle of information you can’t afford to miss --- or important connection you have to make for your career’s sake --- social-networking becomes the deep-brain electrode whose stim-switch needs relentless hammering just to keep withdrawal at bay.
When I started photographing seriously again a few years back, Someone told me that Everyone Needs To Have a [Insert Social Network name] Presence In Order To Succeed. Well, I took Someone at her word, and pretty soon I was using regularly. I can’t recall whether Facebook was the gateway, or Twitter; but soon they were joined by a blog or two, a portfolio website, a Flickr stream, a Tumblr [?site --- is Tumblr a noun or an adjective, and can it ever be a verb?], and probably a few others I’ve left out. The means have became the end. But at least I’m part of...something. Aren’t I? Yes; the Legion of the Tired and Stressed, that's what.
So I was already weary when I caught wind of Google Plus. This --- in case you’ve been trapped on queue without wi-fi down at the DMV --- is the latest cyborg sent to aspirate our brains through hollow proboscides, mine our data, and leave behind our lifeless humanoid pelts like the molted shells of cicadas. Contemplating yet another Social Network, I felt even more like the junkie trying to stay clean while running a needle-strewn gantlet cordoned by dealers trying to entice him back into the life.
Obviously one can overdo the social-networking-as-narcotic metaphor; I spend less time than many banging away at it, trying to enjoy its undoubted benefits while minimizing its harms. But lately, as I find my available time pressed upon from all sides, I’ve had to choose more carefully how to spend the little I have. Social-networking's attractions have begun to pale compared to its real-world cognates: being with friends and family, and getting out and making decent photographic work --- as opposed to talking about making it.
Where does that leave me and Google Plus? After a bit of tinkering with it, I pronounce it Promising. I can see it consolidating or even replacing many of the other social-networking tools I use. I’ll keep trying it, and checking in with the others. But I really do want to take a step back and think about how much virtual connecting is too much; and whether the real, messy, person-to-person kind wouldn’t be far more congenial to a meaningful existence in the physical world.