Monday, March 28, 2011


I have mentioned before about struggling with this blog. One of my issues is vocabulary and the other being grammar, yet I write on.

It is remarkable how few words I used to convey any idea that maybe simmering inside of me. The other day looking at Zach Burden's Flick'r site, I saw this photograph LIVE ON AIR in bright red neon. In my sugar induce stupor I read "live on air"and started to laugh thinking this is better than "let them eat cake" when I sobered up and rethought about it Live On Air made the most sense then I felt real silly so the word for today is heteronym and it has nothing to do with sex .

I still feel a bit warm and fuzzy about my first reading I can visualize an imperious being saying this in a dark modern fairytale. The words hanging in the midair we are suppose to live on. I do believe in the idea that there is some goodness in all of us . If you can, I feel a good way to help others now is by visiting Life Support Japan. where a group of artists have committed their photographs to help raise funds for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. I am always saying that the photographic art community is there when funds are needed .Each artist is donating an edition of 10 printed on 9 x11 paper for 50 dollars.

Some nationally known artists have donated but over all there are good photographs supporting a immediate cause and to participate is inexpensive so please check it out.The site is updated every few days

Sunday, March 27, 2011

There Should Always Be Magic

Spring sends me into a frenzy of anticipation checking every blade, bud and shoot for that precious second when green comes to life. I shiver in excitement. I can barely walk because my eyes are darting trying to see that transformation, that trick. I think that nature has planned it so that it only happens when I asleep.I awake to another green world

Today is the day that is my actual birth date but not the official one .Of course this has lead many people to wonder was I really born. I use to celebrate my birthday whenever I needed to cheer myself up or needed a excuse to receive gifts or an excuse for a party and gifts.

Everyday can be a birthday, so 40 years ago I decided to do an official birthday as part of my Lenten denials , I gave up celebrating my birthday until Easter Sunday.There have been some great celebrations nothing pushes you like denial.I dye a few eggs buy a little chocolate and do a basket and then I am off hopping down some bunny trail. Speaking (typing ?) of bunny hopping one of the best celebration happened at a party in my home.There was a time when I would give myself a party, it is a control thing. My oldest friend (he hates to be called this) decided to surprise me and came to my house on a Sunday afternoon dressed in white tie, rabbit ears and tail, carrying a basket with 40, 9 inch solid chocolate bunnies and a single white chocolate one..What a surprise ! why because this friend is not into spectacle.

I still can not figure how he left his home and got to mine.

You may not believe it but it was magical for me, it made me sooo happy . Love is magical or maybe it was the I don't have anything else to do today.concept, but it was for me.

How we see and how we relate to light and image and smell , scent (O flowers, Ivory soap oranges ,peppermint, Juicy Fruit gum and Christmas trees ) and sound , I am drifting here.

The day I first saw this photograph it reminded me of the great Duane Michaels ... it made me wonder how do artists choose what to do ? My thoughts, 5 seconds tops

Once again I am using a photograph by the artist Zach it is an image of magic/illusion and I am sure there is a simple and sensible explanation of how it was made, but isn't it better just to see the magic ,it brings a smile which can be the best magicial gift of all

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Screaming Fire !

After lunch yesterday ( a very long lunch )that included visiting a few galleries and discussing Southern cuisine especially the choice of wet or dry ribs and the importance of sides and being mindful of Glenn Ligon's exhibition at the Whitney, while battering about the myth of the vampire I happened to mention in passing,the tradition I started for my siblings of setting the house on fire.I don't know if it was the gleam in my eyes or the passionate and hysterical tone in my laugh that most people ask me not to do, whatever.

It is a part of history

My Mother's Blue Mirror Tables and How A Tradition Began.

As a kid I use to spend a great deal of time watching Catholic Mass on television . An aside do we have to say Catholic and mass does any other religion have mass ? The big thing here that even as a kid I was totally caught up in the glamour of ritual. The moment my parents left the house for any good amount of time I immediately gather up all the blue mirror tables all the movable mirrors in the house and every candle and match and a few statues usually the Daphne and Dauphin of France then would create a respectable spectacle for my three younger brothers.

I also at that time had a great fetish for billowing draperies .I hope this picture come before your eyes, spring day gentle breezes dark and shadowy room shafts of mirror light and reflections wafting around the room, across the ceiling , giggling and awed kids singing if I remember it was either an Elvis or Johnny Mathis .

I am in heaven

Keep that picture in mind and think of the potential.There was a U-tube clip of some teenager screaming about a tornado that I saw today. Picture me running out of the house into the streets screaming Fire Fire Fire the house is on Fire in a jokey panic pitch.

It took a while for me to convince my parents it was not me who set the fire,I was the good child . So I saw this image by a young photographer on Flicker I was going to use it for my birthday post it is kinda magical for me. So magical I decided I could not wait.

I find Flicker to be like running a marathon and their picture a day to be a way to become stressed . Zach titled this photograph

do you really want to live forever ? : FOREVER YOUNG. I think this is a fitting title for this moment in my life.On the eve of a birthday it is a question that needs no answer. It is spring and it is the time we began to see new life, we see the possibilities in life, the forming of new ideas new discoveries, the joy of being alive . is the place to find many more of Zach images, It too is like early spring,

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Sitting here today thinking that I should call one of my younger brothers ,we were born two years and three days a part. As usual I had to think about it a lot ... for years we were the only two to live together until other children started to appear.I was not happy with the first ,and then more. My brother and I lived in mortal combat outside the eyes of adults. Adults are so without a clue. Funny thing my mother use to dress us as if we were twins.
Of course this was a strange joke only she understood since I was thin and tall and he the total opposite.I think she wanted to keep us from fighting.It did not work I think we were locked in a eternal battle for love. He became a famous musician in our home town.So many people claim to be his brother that left for New York, That I have to carry around a letter to say that I am the brother.I on the other became the lone wolf party guy who hides in his home.

Were we ever related ? We both have the charming traits of Aries and the fault too of not being able to focus to finish because we see resolution .

While pondering this phone call and whether it was necessary to make my day better,I received an email from Rena Effedi, a sign, I am sure.

One of my favorite images from the Hearst 8x10 is a little boy banging on a drum in an abandoned building ,Which today made me think even more of my young brother. So I made that called, and now before the clock strikes midnight I complete this blog post and say
Happy Birthday !!!

On another note one thing all my brothers and sisters did after me was set the house on fire

I was the first I am an Aries

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


This is still a monologue about beauty or at least the awareness of it.

A tangent/defining moment in a number of novels comes when a small photograph is revealed a lot of times the protagonist has hidden it. In these novels it seems that men have a study where no one can enter with locked drawers and hidden keys. In the silence of this holy space filled with books and leather and tobacco and the smell of male there is a picture. Here alone and with great ritual he carefully and lovely studied a image that would bring a grown man too tears.

credits for these images from the top : George Rodger, center John Patrick Dugdale, bottom : Phyllis Galembo.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Recently, maybe because of the art fairs going on in New York some of my discussions have been centered around ideas of beauty and desire . These words have few universal meanings that we all can agree on . They are spiked with a truth that sometimes reveal too much.

One of the argument in Plato's Symposium is that beauty is truth.Truth is beauty.Which raise the question, whose truth ? A lot more about this in future musing. It is often said by others that I tend to favor the image that is simple non demanding maybe sentimental even,I tend to think that I do not want confrontation in my home ,I do not want pictures that fight me, why ?

I think of my collection , like I feel about my lovers we do not have to talk, but after being together for a while there is always something revealed in the silence.A comfort, a question it doesn't scream but you notice and respond .Light moving across surface maybe that is a secret language we are forgetting.

So the other day after a screaming match with someone about another non-subject time and place(really why we did not see each other at 2 oclock).The discussion turned to photographs I am looking at and a new argument started about these two.I feel they are beautiful. They are both formal and have ties to art history that is immediate .They both have back stories but I will speak about only one.

The portrait is by Deborah Luster's from her Opus One Big Self.A series of portraits taken in the Angola Prison Farms over a period of time the photographs evolved,they started out seeking answer to a terrible tragedy and ended empowering the sitters,If I remember the story correctly this prisoner would stand at the edge of the photo sessions quiet and shy... but he attended them all, never saying anything until one day he spoke , he wanted his picture taken ... but felt Deborah would not be interested because of his scars.She was but did not want to offend and so here we have a extraordinary beautiful picture of a beautiful man.

I once model for Mark Kessell an artist that created a group of images called The Stranger Inside. So many images were made of me that his gallery asked for him to stop most of the images were not recognizable just blips of light and shadow on a silver plate funny people how knew me, knew my spirit a lot of these images went into museum collections.The one I kept is the one that say most definitely you are looking at John.There is a sadness that hint at the 19th century

We never know, I sometimes think, how can we see who others really are.Is it the perfect exterior,their acts.Being A big Picture of Dorian Gray feeling neither tells the whole story. I lay around most of the time like a guarded shape shifter, the public person being very out going. Remember, new nick name Big Happiness, may only be a public mask.and then again maybe not.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Storytelling : part 2

A little more about Sleepers when I first saw the images I felt as if I was invited into this world .

It was like being trapped in a very good film, the last reel finish and you are shock that you had lost yourself into another's reality and now it is time to leave.

Here are six more images from The Sleepers.

The images that I worked with in the exhibition are slightly larger than 20 x 24 inches. because of the enlargeing there is a a fine grain which gives each photograph a painterly quality or that odd feel of older cinema.

Today there is in the New York art and photography worlds a very hated word it is subjective, it is about personal feelings, we all struggle with it .What can creates such dread ?


I feel that Victor Yuliev SLEEPERS are not only good photographs with meaning ,empathy and maybe a bit of mystery. I feel that they are beautiful and tell a good story.

please Google Victor Yuliev or visit Hearst

Monday, March 7, 2011


Once upon a time a sweet clueless kid came to New York and the good fairy Serendipity made his life even more dream like.Was there a happy ending ? The story is still being written between parties and canapes and glasses of Lillet and champagne. There are stops for tears and doubt, moments for friends and celebrations of life.

A few years ago one of my southern friends who has lived here for a while decided to have a picnic in the park. All the guest who sat down on the grass on a carpet that lazy summer eve were either from Alabama or Louisiana maybe one other state.We were sitting by a small lake there were fireflies and children's laughter, softly in the distance.The world was golden

A cousin or maybe a play cousin of our beloved hostess brought about 30 lbs of fantastic bbq-ribs , carried lovingly for us on a plane that very sameday. The conversation was what you would expect from smart and passionate people, there was no need to explain as we swap stories and told jokes of Home, we spoke the same language

Do you ever stop and say to yourself , life is to good,why do I deserve this ? I am happy, my life is usually cushioned yet that does not mean I do not understand others suffer. So on this near perfect summer evening surrounded by friends and the world being wonderful everyday or so I like to think it is, a perverse wave of empathy creep into my head.

I had to stop and remind everyone that a revolution could come any minuet,we could all become less than we are just by accident.let us be grateful and not forget.

So why all these rambling words?Southerns are storytellers we sometimes think that the tradition is ours alone. Not always true, but sometimes when I hear people say they tell stories with their pictures I wonder do they. Maybe they give us the images to complete make the story.

These thoughts came to mind when I saw a group of images submitted to the 2011 Hearst Biennial by a photographer from Moscow named Victor Yuliev. His body of work "Sleepers" told a complete story from the first image until the last each of the 16 jpegs was an intricate part of his story about tents that are set up in parks around St.Petersberg for the homeless to have a place to go at night.

In sixteen photographs from the hulking tent to the movement of someone entering and all the expressions of the people who shared the tent we are made conscience of humankind, the suspicion, the resignation ,the acknowledgement, the gathering of tribes to spend a night against a very harsh winter. One can almost feel the closeness,damp and smoky.can hear the sound faint mutterings,singing, out bursts whimpering. The state of emotions that the homeless can acquire after a time on the street like paranoia and delirium. But there is also maybe hope and belief ... tomorrow.

Victor has told a complete story in the best tradition of photojournalism.I look at these images and understand there is more than one golden light.This work touch me in some deep hidden chamber of my inner world.

Not only did the 10 judges of the Hearst 8x 10 chose Victor's group of pictures, he won The Best international entry award for War On Wants in Document Photography.

please read these images from bottom to top

Thursday, March 3, 2011


I used to visit someone in my early teens, some afternoon occasionally on my visits I would hear beautiful, melacholic music. Now it seems a curious thing because I never asked about it.The sound floated about the room slowly and with much thought, when it ended I became very sad and quiet yet strangely fulfilled. It was haunting and stately I felt there was a beautiful greyness in its' measured chords .Then one day quite by accident I heard it was a pavane a type of dirge . I still listen to it and over years have acquired a number of versions which when played always make me feel a little sad and little sorry for the dead baby princess and a little sad for me and you too.

I saw this photograph by an artist name Kenneth Goldberg , his first solo March 4 - April 2
at Espresso77 please visit

the exhibition is

La Beauté Sombre
The Beauty in Darkness

This image remind me of those moments of grey, waiting until the evening ,the night,the day,
a pavane for transition