Determination

Snack it up on human moments for #HopeTuesday

I don’t know about you, but my Facebook and Twitter feeds are saturated with links to media coverage of the race to the White House between TweedleBint and TweedleBitch. I’ve grown physically weary of the topic, and the climate of fear and anger that has washed over my country because of it. I found the best way to recede from this madness is by taking time to look around me at people and what they do. Observing such things brings a sweetness and a kind of joy to life that no fascist or machine-politician president can take away from us. I really believe that.

And there’s hope in this, which is why I pursue it and why I’m encouraging all of you to do likewise. You don’t even have to plan anything, just savor the unexpected moments life is throwing at you right now.

For example, recently at a Mexican supermercado I encountered a little girl who really wanted the hell out of some Cheetos. She knew I was watching, and didn’t care. She would not be denied, and so…

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Ghost town #1

Tucson… From there, it’s only about 650 hard miles NE across dry desert and mean hills to Nara Visa, NM (pop. about 112). Nara Visa is only about 100 miles from Tucumcari, NM, which was made famous by Lowell George, founder of Little Feat, in a tune about a hard-driving trucker who’d driven to “Tucson to Tucumcari, Tehachapi to Tonopah,” and was willing … to keep moving if you gave him enough weed, whites, and wine. Continue reading

Jasmine and Buddy

The streets don’t care if it’s the 4th of July…

She was sitting on a Japantown sidewalk, on Webster Street around the corner from Nijiya Market. She looked displaced, like a woman who’d just left a difficult relationship and the apartment that went with it. But she also did not look frantic, and I hoped that meant she had friends who could let her crash on a couch for however long she needed to.

Then there was the dog, Buddy. He may well have been the reason she was holding it together, not freaking out, while she figured out how to use the city to take care of them both…

(Japantown, San Francisco 2016. See more of my work here.)

Rumored to be empty…

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… but the landscape north of I-80 in northern Nevada isn’t. During spring the desert can be strikingly colorful. When August arrives, however, this will look … dusty and brown.

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“Tokyo in the Underbrush”: ArtsWeek

Pictures and poems from Japan’s bubble years…

Introduction
In January, 1987 I graduated from Lehigh University with a B.A. in journalism. By the first week of March I was in Tokyo, Japan to start my first real adult job and the rest of my life. I was 23 years and two months old, and had decided I wanted adventure instead of an entry-level stateside newspaper job. So through some business contacts of my father’s I secured an entry-level marketing position with an American information services company in Tokyo.

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What I present to you here are poems and photographs I created while living and working in Tokyo in 1987 and 1988. All the images are of Tokyo drunks and homeless people because, at the time, I was naïve and couldn’t believe this aspect of Japanese society existed. I felt I had to document it.

Poverty and homelessness still persist in Japan, of course, and through some strange twists of fate I resumed documenting Tokyo street life four years ago. This has resulted in a book I’m trying to get published called “Tokyo Panic Stories.” You can see samples my recent Tokyo work here and here.

So please enjoy this 28 year-old folio of words and images. And keep in mind that while I make no apologies for the quality of the poetry (I am actually still pleased with some of it), the poems were written by a man less than half his current age of 52 years. Also note that each photo is paired with the text right beneath it, and click any image to see it full-size.

Tokyo in the Underbrush

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Akihabara—May, 1988

Humor of the ‘surd

When you stare straight ahead, people love you. Continue reading

Northbound: Lake County, Colorado

“Slothful bitches”: the artist muses on the capricious nature of muses (ArtsWeek)

Artists don’t decide what their calling is. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Northbound: Lake County, Colorado

Northbound: Lake County, Colorado

When I set out to become a photographer way back in 2012 I had an idea what I was going to be. I live in Colorado, you see, so I was going to shoot majestic western landscapes. You know, like every other photographer in the state. I even bought a wide-angle lens for the purpose, not really understanding that wasn’t what wide-angles were for. They can be used for certain types of outdoor expansive shots, but they’re really great for making the indoors look huge.

But then something happened. Continue reading

ArtsWeek: our favorite photographs

As part of our ArtsWeek festivities, we asked some of the staff to share their favorite photos with our readers. [Ed. Note: The intent here wasn’t to launch a mutual admiration society, but it sort of got that way in the end. There are some talented folks here and we’re each other’s biggest fans, for good or ill.]

Cat White

Orlando Valenzuela: “Miliciana de Waswalito”

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Squinting at another reality

She was shuffling around Nakamise Dori, the shopping boulevard that leads to Sensō-ji in Asakusa. She touched a lot of elbows trying to speak to people who pulled away and ignored her. This did not phase her. She kept moving through the crowd, sizing up the passersby with a laser-sharp focus that seemed to cut through the communal illusion that we are all okay and everything will be fine…

(Asakusa, Tokyo 2015. See more of my work here.)