Jardin du Luxembourg – 1987

Paris is a magical city for sure. So many of my favorite writers and artists were there as fantastic hot club du jazz music played. I made pilgrimages to Man Ray’s Atelier just up the street from the park.

On another note, I’ll be selling some guitars and my big amp. Since I got my Godin guitar the others are sitting idle. The mini amp is actually a better amp to record from – less hum and noise. I’ll sell either 3 or 4 guitars and will purchase another Godin.

It’s About Time

Musee d’Orsay, Paris – 1987

You’ve dreamed, waited, wanted and hoped. All of a sudden – its time – its your turn. Then it all seems anti climactic.

For years I’ve been wanting to “find my own voice” both musically and photographically speaking.  Think I already had “it” with my photography, but not musically. Until this week. This time, its not anti climactic because there is no end – no prize – this will continue to unfold and evolve.

I’m writing instrumentals I call “Grunge Lounge” music – only because I slowed the beat down and I play crunchy guitar. Adding the cello as bass has been fantastic.

As I was doing this – just like trying to be Henri Cartier-Bresson when I was in my 20’s (and not even seeing that I was actually developing my own style and vision), after playing guitar for several years in the 80’s and now the last three years – I am finding my own musical style.

The lightbulb went off yesterday when I realized I want to evoke a mood or emotion. I no longer want to be just like R.E.M. or some punk band or whatever.

I’m ready to be myself.

Hotel Murphy Self Portrait – 1987

1987 – Murphy’s, California

I love the California Gold Mine routes – all cross route 49. Silicon Valley has been the modern day version of The Gold Rush. and while I was in college my parents moved to Pleasanton, California.

You could say my life has revolved around Silicon Valley, and you’d be correct. Northern NJ – where I grew up had its share of extremely important technology – with Bell Labs creating UNIX and the C language. Everything in my career is based on those two technologies. In fact, I was 10 years old when work was underway on these technologies and living 45 minutes away from Bell Labs.

Getting back to the Gold Rush, the Murphy’s Hotel is one of many great historical landmarks in the Sierra Foothills. I’ve had so much fun hiking, backpacking and sight seeing in this gorgeous part of the world.

Parisian Street Vendor – 1987

Some images I remember clearly, others not so much. When I was in my late 20’s I did not print this. I didn’t think it was exciting enough.

Fast forward 35 years and I now regard this as one of my best, technically and composition wise. On a bright sunny day, nothing is washed out and the mans face isn’t in a dark shadow – in fact, its illuminated by the item he is clearly sorting through.

Besides the iconic hand made wooden street vendor “locker” that at night keeps thieves out, when he opens his stand, it is well stocked and even has an awning.

Lastly, his clothes are from a bygone era – something more from the 40’s than the 80’s. My uncle – who died in the early 2000’s used to dress like that – he was a WWI baby. I’m going to guess that 35 years has added significantly to this image – and that it has aged like fine wine.

Song wise – I’m loving the last one and this one that I’ll call “Grunge Lounge Music”. Its instrumental, has crunching guitars, has a ” heavy sound” and is slow-ish. The cello goes great with the guitar

New Moon Rising

I’m gonna get me
One of them there X100V’s
Go back on the street
Get back on my feet

I reckon it will be soon
Round come the new moon
Many months from June
I’ll sing a new tune

Gonna go back in time
I feel I’m so inclined
To re take what I find
The things I left behind

My recuperation so far has been so much better than last time – and going into it I prepared like an athlete would – who wants to get back in the game again – as soon as possible. I guess this is a great feeling at my age and time in life – but looking back at my 1980’s San Francisco, NYC and Europe photographs has me feeling like a new wind is at my back and I’m hungry to get out and re-take images of the world that seems so long ago. I certainly needed two strong legs – which I haven’t had in about 10 years.

Its hard to imagine that what I did (way) back then was with film – and where I had no idea what the image would look like – and I had to just trust my own skills and intuition – and looking back I did do a lot better than I actually remembered. Knock on wood – but 2023 does look like its starting better off than many years have – and lordy we have been to hell and back – we deserve some good times.

WHEP Public Access TV

Years ago, David Byrne starred in a fun little movie called True Stories. The plot was made up of tabloid stories. One could easily be done using Public Access TV shows (this may have been done but I don’t know about it).

YouTube started recommending old Public Access TV shows and I’m finding it to be even better than a David Lynch movie or TV show. There are several that rise to the top, but this one is in a galaxie far from this planet:

I suppose its partly the fact that I’m recuperating from surgery and its been raining for two weeks or more, but it just works for me. Its not as creepy as Blue Velvet but maybe because its a real life event that makes it even better than say a Twin Peaks character.

Amsterdam Cafe Passerby – 1989

This photo is one that would have been easy to miss back in the 80’s when I printed what I thought were the best. My technical abilities with the M6 were just OK – but composition wise I did better than I expected. Here we have me – who can see the woman in the window with the fellow walking past and looking at me. Now I understand Joel Myeorwicz’s idea of capturing the relationships between subjects in a composition vs. concentrating on the subjects themselves. Because I can’t remember if it was just luck to capture the fellow walking past – and I think it was – I don’t remember what was in my head at the time. That’s OK – its the final execution that matters.

Song wise – its a weird little ditty using electric violin, ARP2600 synth patch, piano patch and a mandolin. I’m doing great recuperating from right knee total replacement surgery, and so I can only carry small instruments out to the studio – but I was able to work in my studio pretty much the day after surgery – which is at least 3 weeks earlier than last time – when I was pretty much couch bound for those first 3 weeks.

Downtown Trains

I took this in NYC in 1991, which is the last time I’ve been on the East Coast. Growing up in NJ now seems like another life, where I was a different person.

I just listened to Tom Waits “Downtown Train” and a few other of his songs. What an amazing songwriter, singer, player and performer.

Healing

Amsterdam Market – 1989

I tried playing the violin holding it more like a fiddler. Its my weakest instrument, but I hope to start playing it more. Today’s song is as minimal as it gets.

Devon Boat

My mother was from Torquay, in Devon – U.K. She passed away in 2002 and tomorrow is her birthday. So, this is a birthday card and wish, wherever you are, Mom.