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For all artists – ways to improve your artistic vision – from photographer and teacher, Robert Rodriquez, Jr.:

Let go of identification and labeling. Learn to see the world as color, masses, values, shapes and edges.

 Develop a curious mind. Cultivate a childlike awareness and freedom, as if you have never seen nature before.

 Understand your own personal visual biases, those objects and colors that you notice and those that you tend to ignore.

 Study the art of others, especially painters. Try to understand their compositional choices and how they establish their focal point.

 Practice developing a vigilant eye. Always look for artistic potential wherever you are.

 Study light and all it’s variations; warm, cool, side, front, back, reflected, and diffused.

 Work to improve and sharpen your visual literacy. Learn to identify what separates a captivating image from a technically proficient image.

 Forget making masterpieces, learn to value practice.

Excellent advice from an incredible artist…

Robert Rodriguez, Jr.Robert Rodriquez, Jr.

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I can see the weekend from my house!

marsder san juan islandsSan Juan Islands       © Derrick Lin

See more at Derrick Lin’s Instagram

oxford circusTongue at Oxford Circus        © Bob Mazzer

Second week into new job…deep in the woods…posting light…

[more on photographer Bob Mazzer here]

…and if you haven’t figured it out already, I’ll be sleeping in:

© Jeff Kopito

He was always in a sharp suit or tux. Regularly at the Met Gala or the Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards to support his wife. Never caught stumbling out of the hot club at 4 a.m. He’d already been to a lifetime’s worth of parties.

He read a lot. He collected art. He painted. He and Iman socialized with the parents of their daughter’s friends at school. He spent his remaining time meaningfully and productively, and largely here.

He understood that in our minds we all held a picture of David Bowie, or Ziggy, or the Thin White Duke. It allowed him to walk among us disguised as himself, David Jones.

– excerpted from David Bowie: Invisible New Yorker
The New York Times, 1/17/16

bowie NYT 2David Bowie outside the Carlyle Hotel on the Upper East Side, circa 1980.
Credit Art Zelin/Getty Images

Post-eulogies…it was this photo that did it for me…famous, anonymous, style & elegance…

Only the Dead Know Brooklyn
by
Thomas C. Wolfe
(excerpt)

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“You come wit me,” I says. So when we gets onto duh train I says to him, “Where yuh goin’ out in Bensonhoist?” I says. “What numbeh are yuh lookin’ for?” I says. You know – I t’ought if he told me duh address I might be able to help him out.

“Oh,” he says, “I’m not lookin’ for no one. I don’t know no one out deh.”

“Then whatcha goin’ out deh for?” I says.

“Oh,” duh guy says, “I’m just goin’ out to see duh place,” he says. “I like duh sound of duh name – Bensonhoist, y’know – so I t’ought I’d go out an’ have a look at it.”

“Whatcha tryin’ t’hand me?” I says. “Whatcha tryin’ t’do – kid me?” You know, I t’ought duh guy was bein’ wise wit me.

“No,” he says. “I’m tellin’ yuh duh troot. I like to go out an’ take a look at places wit nice names like dat. I like to go out an’ look at all kinds of places,” he says.

“How’d yuh know deh was such a place,” I says, “if yuh neveh been deh befoeh?”

“Oh,” he says, “I got a map.”

“A map?” I says.

“Sure,” he says, “I got a map dat tells me about all dese places. I take it wit me every time I come out heah,” he says.

And Jesus! Wit dat, he pulls it out of his pocket, an’ so help me, but he’s got it – he’s tellin’ duh troot – a big map of duh whole goddam place with all duh different pahts mahked out. You know – Canarsie an’ East Noo Yawk an’ Flatbush, Bensonhoist, Sout’ Brooklyn, duh Heights, Bay Ridge, Greenpernt – duh whole goddam layout, he’s got it right deh on duh map.

“You been to any of dose places?” I says.

“Sure,” he says. “I been to most of ‘em. I was down in Red Hook just last night,” he says.

“Jesus! Red Hook!” I says. “Whatcha do down deh?”

“Oh,” he says, “nuttin’ much. I just walked aroun’. I went into a coupla places an’ had a drink,” he says, “but most of the time I just walked aroun’.”

“Just walked aroun’?” I says.

“Sure,” he says, “just lookin’ at t’ings, y’know.”

“Where’d yuh go?” I asts him.

“Oh,” he says, “I don’t know duh name of duh place, but I could find it on my map,” he says. “One time I was walkin’ across some big fields where deh ain’t no houses,” he says, “but I could see ships oveh deh all lighted up. Dey was loadin’. So I walks across duh fields,” he says, “to where duh ships are.”

“Sure,” I says, “I know where you was. You was down to duh Erie Basin.”

“Yeah,” he says. “I guess dat was it. Dey had some of dose big elevators an’ cranes an’ dey was loadin’ ships, an’ I could see some ships in drydock all lighted up, so I walks across duh fields to where dey are,” he says.

“Den what did yuh do?” I says.

“Oh,” he says, “nuttin’ much. I came on back across duh fields after a while an’ went into a coupla places an’ had a drink.”

“Didn’t nuttin’ happen while yuh was in dere?” I says.

“No,” he says. “Nuttin’ much. A coupla guys was drunk in one of duh places an’ started a fight, but dey bounced ‘em out,” he says, “an’ den one of duh guys stahted to come back again, but duh bartender gets his baseball bat out from under duh counteh, so duh guy goes on.”

“Jesus!” I said. “Red Hook!”

“Sure,” he says. “Dat’s where it was, all right.”

“Well, you keep outa deh,” I says. “You stay away from deh.”

“Why?” he says. “What’s wrong wit it?”

“Oh,” I says, “it’s a good place to stay away from, dat’s all. It’s a good place to keep out of.”

“Why?” he says. “Why is it?”

Jesus! Whatcha gonna do wit a guy as dumb as that! I saw it wasn’t no use to try to tell him nuttin’, he wouldn’t know what I was talkin’ about, so I just says to him, “Oh, nuttin’. Yuh might get lost down deh, dat’s all.”

“Lost?” he says. “No, I wouldn’t get lost. I got a map,” he says.

A map! Red Hook! Jesus!

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davidson_brooklyn gangNew York City. 1959. Brooklyn Gang
photo by Bruce Davidson

[Short story originally published in The New Yorker,June 15, 1935…read it all over at the Southern Cross Review…]

…time to dress down, dress up, and feed it some gas…

helena-christensen-wild-at-heart-peter-lindberghHelena Christensen, dressed in leathers, channeling Brando
For Vogue Magazine, 1971
photo © Peter Lindbergh

Had to do it…I am such a boy…and she is such a Brunette…

[…more over at The Selvedge Yard…the places I’ve been…]

Aside from the associations this day has with the labor movement, the first of May 1931 is also the day President Roosevelt hit a switch in Washington DC and turned on all the lights in the newly opened Empire State Building on 34th Street and Fifth Avenue in NYC.

All 102 stories were then opened to the public, 45 days ahead of schedule, and $5 million under budget.

Two years later, King Kong is released in New York City. The film that is…

empire state3AEmpire State Building, 34th Street NYC
Taken from West 32nd Street near Penn Station
photo © Jeff Kopito

I so love this building…

[Info resourced from The Writer’s Almanac and The Empire State Realty Trust…]

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 – From the opening to the book Hana, a collection of duotone still lifes
by Yasuhiro Ishimoto

Yasuhiro_Ishimoto_011photo by Yasuhiro Ishimoto

The…photographs of snowflakes were taken by Wilson A. Bentley in 1890 by means of a microscope attached to his camera. Bentley, a Vermont native, was a pioneer in photomicrography and captured the very first photographic images of snowflakes.

When asked about his work, Bentley responded, “Snowflakes were miracles of beauty, and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others. Every crystal was a masterpiece of design; and no one design was ever repeated. When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost. Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving any record behind. I became possessed with a great desire to show people something of this wonderful loveliness, an ambition to become, in some measure, its preserver.”

Bentley_snowflakes

Above assembly of images plus additional at Inconstant Moon…even more and background via Smithsonian Institution

It’s January. It snows.

© Bill Israel

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