That when a photograph of you doesn’t look like you…

Robt Sarazin Blake

Robt Sarazin Blake

I’m always interested when a photo of me doesn’t look like me.

Robert said this to me when we were doing a rough edit of the images we had just finished shooting. I had been wanting to photograph him for a couple of years, but the timing was never right. I had had an idea of the exact composition beforehand—I wanted him dressed in the same suit that you can see him performing in here, sitting in a low chair (my friend Walter had this sun-bleached chair outside for several years; when he sat in it one day, a leg broke, so he sawed the other three to match—I’m obsessed with the color), with his pant legs being pulled up above his boots by the low position, and crouching forward with his arms on his knees. The pose came from the Greek statue called The Boxer of Quirinal, but I always associated with the name Thom Jones gave it in his blunt-force-trauma collection of short stories The Pugilist At Rest.

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Posted in Black and White Photography, Portraiture, Thinking About... Tagged |

Buddha Tree In The Mist Published In PanoBook 2014!

I’m very proud to announce that a panoramic photo I shot in Laos earlier this year, Buddha Tree In The Mist, was one of the 150 panoramas selected out of 1677 submissions for publication in Kolor’s Panobook 2014.

Panobook 2014

Buddha Tree In The Mist

This panorama was shot as part of my upcoming series The Plain Of Jars. It was also the reward for $1000 donors on my Plain Of Jars Project crowdsource fundraiser on StartSomeGood for a small school in Phonsavan, Laos, called the Lone Buffalo Foundation.

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Posted in Black and White Photo Books, Black and White Photography, Panoramic Photography Tagged , |

Alex Timmermans’ Escape To Nature

Alex Timmermans

“Flight Instruction” Copyright Alex Timmermans

My photographic interests are fairly broad, from modern digital all the way back to the antique or alternative processes. That’s why I was very happy to see this short video Escape To Nature about Alex Timmermans and his wet plate collodion photography. It was shot by Patrice Lesueur, and is beautiful in its own right. Take a look… Read More»

Posted in Alt Process Photography, Black and White Photographers, Black and White Photography Tagged |

Robert Sarazin Blake — Workin’ The Crowd

It had been a long time since I had seen my old friend Robert Sarazin Blake play, and I hadn’t yet seen him with his new band The Put It All Down In A Letters. The band is tight and Robert is better than ever. His music used to be described as folk punk, but I always thought of it more as angst folk. That’s a bit different now—the politics are still there, but the corners are smooth, the edges aren’t so biting. He’s always been one to work the crowd, but he’s smoother now—a reliable confidence on stage that is the hallmark of—really something more than—an entertainer.

Photo Of Robert Sarazin Blake At The Conway Muse

Robert Sarazin Blake — Workin’ The Crowd

Posted in Black and White Photography Tagged |

RIP: Fred Branfman, And An Image In Your Name

I’ve been thinking a lot the last few days. Fred Branfman, a person who I consider a true American hero (and I do not use the term hero often—sadly it has become watered down from overuse—and misuse), passed away last week. And, in addition to the sadness I felt, I felt a pang of guilt. Fred and I had been corresponding ever since I got involved in Laos and discovered the horror—and the millions of still-deadly bombs littering the landscape—caused by America’s “Secret War” there. I think Fred was the first American civilian that discovered the brutal campaign we were waging—and I think he carried that unimaginable weight on his shoulders his whole life. This article When Chomsky Wept (and this obituary, will give you some insight into Fred).

That is why I wanted to have Fred as an endorser for my fundraising project The Plain Of Jars Project (POJP) for the Lone Buffalo Foundation. After reading the book of stories by the terrorized villagers Fred interviewed, Voices from the Plain of Jars: Life under an Air War, I knew this man could give me insight that I could not hope to gather on my own.

Photo Of Fred Branfman

Fred Branfman From The Front Page Of The POJP Website

Now, Fred was not a person to send you an email comprised of one sentence—he wanted to know everything about what you were doing, why you were doing it, and how it was going. I have an email in my inbox from Fred and it is labeled “draft” as I had not finished it, supposedly to do more important things. Here is what Fred asked:

  • Are you still in the PDJ? (Plaine de Jarres; from the French)
  • How much did you make from you fundraiser?

Then stated:

I am very interested, if you have time, to learn more about what life is like on the PdJ, the life of the people, the degree to which the government cares about the people, specifics on the LBF (Lone Buffalo Foundation), etc. And YOU—how are you doing?

The man never stopped caring about the people of the Plain of Jars, of the people of Laos.

Now the guilt: One day I was at Site 1 of the Plain Of Jars and I saw an amazing view with the sun breaking through the clouds over the jar site below. I took one look and knew that this was an image I was taking for Fred. I sent him the image and he loved it.

Later, I named the image Tribute To FB in his honor. It was the most requested image from the gallery of reward images for the project. I wanted to tell Fred that. I wanted to tell him that an image I loved, he loved, and that I shot specifically for him was now named after him and was the most popular of all my POJP photos.

And I didn’t. I didn’t because other things got in the way—things in hindsight that I can’t even remember; things that weren’t important at all. I can’t tell him, show him, because now it is too late. And I’m sad that I couldn’t pay back, in the tiniest way possible, the inspiration I got from Fred.

Thank you Fred. Here is your photo, RIP:

Photo Tribute To Fred Branfman Plain Of Jars Laos

Tribute To Fred Branfman

Posted in Black and White Photography, Humanitarian Photography Tagged , |